Culture of Pop

Bates Motel Review: 4.1: A Danger to Himself and Others

Bates Motel is back! In the premiere of Bates Motel season 4, Norma Bates is still a tragic, sympathetic trainwreck, which means I’m still all in on this show. There was a ton of great stuff this episode, but the best scene was easily when Norma asked Alex Romero to marry her so that she would have health insurance. When he stared at her in disbelief, her response was, “It’s not like you’re doing anything else.” Amazing.

It should be interesting to see what they do with Romero now that it seems like any affection he had towards Norma has run out. Will he be a complete antagonist or will she be able to get him back on her side?

Norma’s journey hit a heartbreaking emotional turning point when a nurse chastised her for never getting Norman treatment, calling it negligence. She started off so defensive and firmly against Norman getting help, but at this point it feels like she’s really hearing these words. Everything she’s done has been to protect Norman and it was emotionally gripping to hear her be told that everything that’s happening to him is her fault– and to see her realize that in some ways this is not untrue.

This episode definitely gave us more of Norman as a bone-chilling killer. It was gradual, but by this point he’s pretty much completely transformed from the troubled but sweet kid at the beginning of the series. At the end of the episode, Norman killed yet again. This time his victim was Emma Decody’s mother, so this season already has a great major incident to bring all the characters together.

The character of Audrey, Emma’s mother, provided an interesting counterpoint to Norma. She removed herself from a situation despite the fact that it meant separating from her child, the one thing we know Norma has always been unwilling to do. Of course, both Norma and Norman chastise her harshly for this decision and have no sympathy for anyone who would separate from their child, for any reason.

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