My Reaction to One of My Favorite Shows, Bates Motel Coming to An End Last Night [SPOILERS]
It happens to every television show at some point; the inevitable final episode.
That was it. Nothing more to look forward to. No anticipation for next weeks 52 minutes. It's all done.
Bates Motel is easily one of my Top 10 favorite shows of all time. I was always a fan of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," so when Bates Motel was set to air as a prequel to the movie, I was psyched (pun intended, sort of.)
The premise, for those who are in the dark is following Norman Bates as a teenager and watching as he slowing turns into the "psycho," we all know from the movie. It was always set up to be a 5 season television show, I just always hoped they'd change their minds.
The writing on this series, along with the acting is absolutely unlike anything else; it's amazing. It's an Emmy nominated, Peoples Choice winner of a show and it never faltered from that.
Over the course of the 5 seasons, (and I'll say this now, if you haven't seen the entire series, there will be spoilers, especially for last nights finale. So, don't say I didn't warn ya!) we watch a teen aged Norman go through his final high school years and what begins to show his triggers of dissociative identity disorder.
The short of the long? He blacks out and basically believes his Mother is telling him to act a certain way or do a specific action - in some cases, most cases, murder. Eventually as the seasons go on, he kills his Mother and continues to see her and become her.
This leads us to the final season and last nights final episode. It's amazing how you can feel so strongly for what is truly a "bad guy," with Norman but over the last five years, you connect to him as a viewer. You see how he doesn't want to do the things he ends up doing but he almost can't control himself. He has remorse and guilt as he finds out about the crimes he's committed.
We start the final episode with the former Sheriff, Alex Romero holding Norman at gunpoint having him lead to his Mothers body. I say Norman, but at this point he's really "Norma," aka Mother. What's amazing to me is how Norman, actor Freddie Highmore, mimics Norma, actress Vera Farmiga's characteristics and speech pattern to a "T."
Romero is lead to Norma's body, which leads to a bloody fight and another dead body. Here's a hint, it's not Norman that dies. He is bloodied up and knocked unconscious and the conversation he has with "Mother" (remember, she's dead) left me sad for him. Yes, I was sad for a serial killer - what is wrong with me?!
Norma tells him it's time for her to go and he responds in desperation, "No, I'll have no one, you can't leave me now." She responds, "You know everything now, there's nothing for me to protect you from." Which is exactly what she's been doing the entire series and the cause of his "blackouts." He can't hurt from what he doesn't remember.
Norman is hurled back into the memory of when the two of them first moved to Oregon, where they fixed up the then foreclosed motel and turned it into their home. He rips down the "Sheriffs Line Do Not Cross" yellow tape as if it's his first time at the Bates Motel, he even checks in an unsuspecting Mom and two kids, one who has the same name as his brother, Dylan.
He seems so happy, I just want Norman to be happy. But he can't be, it's all a fantasy in his head. They didn't just move there, Norma isn't alive even if he does have her dead body posed at the house, Dylan is aware of the situation and this won't be the first time they've seen each other since a "fight in Scottsdale" before they moved as Norman mentions within a phone call to his brother.
A wave of emotions from sad, to panicked, to heart pounding, that's what I felt in the final minutes of the show; Norman trying desperately to make this fake world real ("if you believe hard enough you can make it that way!") Dylan trying desperately to get his brother the help he so needs, Norma - poor Norma, just trying to sit upright, dead in a dining room chair. It comes down to a battle, brother against brother. One of them has to go for life to move forward and with a pounce from Norman, knife in hand, Dylan pulls the trigger of his gun with tears streaming.
In a beautifully crafted scene, Norman slips away into the arms of his awaiting Mother, which is where he always wanted to be, just the two of the them.
It may be one of the best finales of a series that I can remember watching. It truly is a perfect bookend to what was an exceptional drama. If anyone is thinking of creating a prequel to something, this should be their model to base it on.
I'm left wanting more, but there really isn't more to be had. The story or Norman Bates is done. What started out as a prequel, lead us straight through "Psycho" the movie (with a twist on a character story we didn't get in the original) and there after. Maybe if I believe hard enough, I can make more of the show happen. Or maybe I don't want to venture down that road.