In the latest Bates Motel recap, Norman begins to slip further and further away from sanity all leading to a family dinner where everybody is invited…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
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One of the subtle things that ‘Bates Motel’ has managed to do over the past two plus seasons is to build a cast of characters surrounding Norman Bates that you can’t help but care about. From his wayward brother Dylan to his sometimes girlfriend Emma to the sheriff and even an uncle, ‘Bates Motel’ has brilliantly painted the edges around Norman a beautiful set of colors, rich and vibrant, full of life.
And it’s going to make losing them that much harder when Norman finally snaps and starts killing them one by one.
This week’s episode ‘The Last Supper’ was another display of the tertiary characters in this series coming to the forefront with few more outstanding scenes while ultimately all of them take a backseat to Freddie Highmore slowly slipping from coherency to lunacy while Norman Bates goes from quirky high school kid to knife wielding psychopath.
‘Bates Motel’ always intended to be a slow burn with Norman’s fractured psyche splintering more and more as each season developed, but this latest batch of episodes have really started to turn the corner for the character as he embraces madness and escapes reality.
With that, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Bates Motel’ titled ‘The Last Supper’.
Where Were You Last Night?
Picking up from last week’s episode where Norma finally returned home after a night away from Norman, she’s trying to get a new cell phone after throwing it on the ground and shooting it with a gun losing it in some mud and when her phone turns on she’s all a flutter with 100 messages from Dylan not to mention just now hearing about Sheriff Romero getting shot. Norman is more concerned about where she spent her night away from him and she responds by questioning his masculinity. Ouch.
Back at the motel, Norman again crosses boundaries when he answers Norma’s phone and discovers a man calling her named James Finnegan so of course he’s curious. Norman is not only obsessive, but he’s starting to get down right invasive as well.
Things only take a turn for the worse when Dylan finally comes clean about what happened the night Norma took a trip to Portland to escape her own life while Norman completely broke away from reality. He tells her how he blacked out, went into a semi-catatonic state and only woke up in the middle of the night while wearing her robe and basically lost in a haze that he was actually Norma Bates. Norma knows something is seriously wrong with her son so when Finnegan comes calling to see if she’s okay, instead of talking too him she suggests that he go down to the basement and give her some a little personalized therapy.
Once Finnegan goes down to Norman’s taxidermy shop where he’s currently gutting an owl, he starts to psychoanalyze the teenager with frightening results. Just when Finnegan thinks he’s digging into Norman’s mind, it’s young Mr. Bates who counters with some accusations of his own — namely that Finnegan is sleeping with his mother.
Finnegan wonders why this matters at all to Norman before asking the wrong question — does he secretly want to sleep with his mother?
Norman freaks and tackles Finnegan on the stairs and nearly chokes him to death before the psychology professor gets free and runs out of the house in a hurry. On his way crashing through the exit, Finnegan tells Norma in no uncertain terms that she needs to get her son some serious help.
Instead of calling the guys with white coats to come pick up Captain Crazy, Norma opts to comfort her son while reminding him of the good old days when it was just the two of them. It’s here that ‘Psycho’ truly comes to life as Norma drops one of the most famous lines from the classic Hitchcock film on her son.
“We all go a little mad sometimes”
Norman smiled while tucking that one away in the bank for later. Perhaps when a lost traveler decides to stay at his motel after a rainy night on the road when all she’s looking for is some dinner and a nice hot shower?
Dirty Little Secrets
Let me put all these cards on the table first before recapping this section of the episode — Sheriff Romero is officially a freaking bad ass. Okay there, I said it.
The episode this week opens with Sheriff Romero dropping off a present to Bob Paris’ house — Marcus Young, his expected replacement in the next elections, shot to death in his car parked in Bob’s driveway with a note attached to him that says ‘I officially withdraw my candidacy for sheriff’.
Maybe one of my top three moments in the history of this show.
Romero goes on the offensive this week while searching for a way to get to Paris so he turns to Norma after she finally resurfaces. He tells her that Bob likely has no intention on fulfilling his promise to her so he needs to flash drive to figure out what is actually on there so he has leverage to use against one of White Pine Bay’s most powerful citizens.
Instead of arguing with him for an hour about her new highway exit and pool, Norma tells Romero exactly where to go and what to do. Romero arrives at Dylan’s farm where he meets Caleb for the first time and tells Gunner to open up the flash drive that he finds hidden behind the timer by the light switch. When Gunner plays dumb, once again, Romero ups his bad ass credentials when he tells him that if he doesn’t cooperate he’ll pull out his gun, smash his face into the table and do that entire dance or he can just open the flash drive and save himself a lot of pain and suffering.
Gunner decides to play ball but when Romero starts looking through the information he finds out something rather disturbing. He gets his confirmation after a brief visit with Bob Paris at the shooting range and a stop by the local penitentiary — his father, a former dirty cop, was one of the people handling the financial matters of the drug payouts in the town and he did so by using Romero’s mother’s name. To make things even worse, Romero insinuates that his mother killer herself more than 20 years ago thanks to his father’s corrupt practices.
Romero decides to drink himself into a stupor before calling Norma to come pick him up. When she does, Norma takes him back to the hotel to sleep it off and the two share yet another tender moment before he passes out. When he wakes up, Romero is ready to go home but first he has to tell Norma where he’s going and before long he gets roped into a very strange family dinner.
Not Long for This World
Following a night away from home to help care for Norman, Emma is sick and her father is finally taking a stand and making her spend some time away from the motel so she can rest and heal. Emma’s dad is getting more and more concerned about his daughter’s illness, especially considering that lately she hasn’t been taking care of her self very well. All Emma wants to do is live a normal life for as long as she can live it and that includes going to dinner with Dylan, who invites her out to say thank you for helping him with Norman a couple of nights ago.
Dylan eventually visits Emma’s father to talk to him about her battle with cystic fibrosis. He’s scared to lose his baby girl and the only thing that could save her is a lung transplant, but chances are she’s not going to get one — well not without greasing a few palms to the tune of $20,000 that would move her from the bottom to the top of the transplant list.
Dylan says he’ll be in touch as he starts to search for a way to save his new (girl) friend.
Back at the farm, Chick arrives with some lamps to give the fledgling pot growers while discussing his driving job with Caleb. Following his reconciliation with Norma last week, Caleb has once again changed his mind and doesn’t want to take a job that would put him in danger much less do something very illegal.
Caleb asks Chick about the job — it pays $25,000 and he’d be running guns (at this point, could we just put a cut on Ryan Hurst already and just call him Opie?). Caleb is interested because that would be just enough money to save Emma, but Caleb tells his son no way he’s doing the job. Chick tells them to figure it out and let him know by the end of the day so he can make plans for his gun running operation.
Following a day where she rescued Romero after binge drinking, hearing that Norman slips into a second personality where he believes he’s her and news that Bob Paris might be gunning to kill her, Norma decides this is the perfect time to have a big family dinner.
She even invites Caleb to join after discovering him outside where he was leaving her flowers and a note to say thank you for accepting his apology. The siblings even share a song on the piano as the Bates house comes alive in a way like never before. Norma tells Dylan to invite Emma to dinner as well (there goes that first date) and when Romero tries to escape after waking up from his drunken stupor, she demands he stay as well.
Norman is there too, of course, and while he tries to blame Dylan for bringing Caleb, his heart is shattered even more when he hears that it was Norma who invited him into the house. Norman is calm and creepy throughout a toast and the beginning of dinner, but just like he described when he told Finnegan about the buzzing that goes away whenever he’s cutting into an animal to begin his latest round of taxidermy, as everybody starts to eat, he looks up and there’s nobody left at the table.
In his mind, Norman just made them all go away. Maybe the next step is actually eliminated one of them in real life as well.
The episode ends with another disturbing step for Norman as he enters his mother’s bedroom while she’s sleeping and he kneels down beside her bed. Norman reaches up and touches his mother gently as she lays there motionless and an unsettling shiver washes over his body.
This kid is one step from the peephole and a butcher knife.
Only a few episodes of ‘Bates Motel’ to go this season so make sure to tune in next Monday night at 9pm ET on A&E to see what happens next.