TV Review: Bates Motel - Season 5: Episode 9: Visiting Hours

BATES MOTEL has transformed into a story of ethics in crime and how the actions of mental illness can affect loved ones. While it's sexy to play sick, these last few episodes of the series are really taking things seriously knowing that this is the end game for Norman. Secrets are coming out and Dylan is really feeling the guilt for letting things get this far. He knows Norman is a killer, victims including his own mother and mother-in-law. This leads to some tension between him and Emma as she is just learning her mother's fate. 

Despite her lack of relationship with her mom, Emma is still taken aback and returns to White Pine Bay. She takes care of the funeral arrangements and lets Dylan decide on how to approach dealing with his own family. Emma was a huge influence on the first couple seasons of BATES MOTEL, always watching out for Norman and he would do the same. This season, she hasn't really been given much to do so it was nice to see her given plenty of screen time. She had become a fan favorite as a new character in the PSYCHO universe and the size of her heart was shown off here. While it is easy to assume she hates Norman for all that he's done, she surprises us all by paying him a visit before leaving town. I initially thought it was going to be an outpouring of emotions as she's been pretty reserved in terms of communication, so it really took me aback when she started speaking to Norman. 

Since being taken into custody, Mother has taken over and no one seems to notice until Emma comes to visit. On a more technical standpoint, we get plenty of creative devices toying with reflections to remind us that while Freddie Highmore might be on the screen, we are actually watching Mother failing at trying to get back home. Emma sees through the glass that who she is speaking with isn't Norman and asks for him to come back. Mother lets her know that he is sleeping and will one day wake up to the smell of apple pie so he knows everything will be alright. It's in this exchange that Emma knows Norman isn't responsible for his actions and will always love him as the friend who would do anything for her. The episode felt like a goodbye to Emma as she left town at the end and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see her again as we have one episode left. It was the perfect send off for Emma and I'm satisfied with her arc. 

Dylan, however, is getting an onslaught of guilt everywhere he turns. While he wants Norman to be committed, he still is paying for his defense and is unsure where he stands in terms of being on his brother's side. There's two women still alive in Norman's life (Emma and Madeline) and he witnesses how much damage he's done to them. Madeline tragically blames herself for Sam's death as she feels she is the one who brought Norman in their lives, forgetting that Norman met him before from checking into the motel with Marion. He's put in an awful position where, in the end, he decides that he can no longer support Norman. Standing by Norman will only cause him even more distress and maybe he no longer wants to be stuck in that hole. 

Alex discovers that Norman has been arrested and makes his way into the police station, shooting an officer on the way and busting Norman out of custody. Nothing good can come of this situation, but we have to wait until next week for the series finale to find out how this plays out. He wants Norman dead, but not until after he finds Norma's body. I see more bloodshed to come next week and am curious to see who makes it out alive. Regardless, it's clear that there will be no happy ending. 

Jovy Skol