Bates Motel: Goodnight, Mother

Bates Motel

If the ultimate outcome of Norman Bates story wasn’t so terrifying and heartbreaking, this week’s episode could have made quite the comedy. Something Bates Motel does well sometimes is throwing in a bit of black comedy, and with this week’s pile of misunderstandings between mother and son, had the stakes not been, you know, murder – then this week’s “Goodnight, Mother” could have been a real laugh riot. (Or maybe I’m twisted? Don’t answer that.)

We open on Norma leaving a message at Pineview, explaining that Norman was blacked out when she came home and broke down a door. She then leaves a message for Dr. Edwards, begging her to call back. When she goes to check on Norman, he can’t remember anything from the night before except that she locked him in her room. She tells him she had to run out for groceries, and then gets him to agree to stay home and rest. When she leaves to make breakfast, Norman goes to wash his face and has flashes of dragging Audrey’s body to the basement and putting her in the freezer where she wakes up. Norman/Mother then sits on the freezer to make sure that she’ll stay in there and die. When he goes down to breakfast, he presses Norma again on where she went, wondering if she went to get groceries, then where are the bags?

Dylan is at the hospital with Will, watching as they prepare to extubate Emma. The whole process is painful, and for lack of a better word, icky which makes Dylan freak out a little bit, worrying that Emma might be suffering. However, she eventually starts breathing on her own and all seems to be well.

Norman comes in with a stack of DVDs as Norma does dishes, but she tells him she has things to do at the motel. She tells him to stay home and rest while she clean up after the guest who checked out. Norman is surprised that there was a guest, but she reminds him he was blacked out for a day. When Norma leaves, Norman heads to the basement and opens the freezer, discovering that Audrey’s body is gone.

Later, Norma returns and calls for Norman but there’s no answer, so she heads to the basement and finds him standing by the freezer. They go back and forth a bit, and Norman accuses Norma of putting Audrey in the freezer, and tells her he just wants to help her and won’t judge her. Norma just rolls with it and tells him it’s going to be okay, before the doorbell interrupts.

Romero is behind that doorbell and tells Norma he came to check on her and to apologize for not helping her out with insurance. He points out that the pit by the motel is going to turn in to a lake because of the rain, and Norma acknowledges that she needs to get it filled in but can’t afford it. They talk about Pineview, and Romero asks her if she’s afraid to be alone with Norman, but she tells him it’s not his problem and not to worry. Before leaving, he tells her that if she gets scared to let him know.

Romero heads straight home and digs out his fireplace money then goes over to Pineview with some of it in an envelope. The administrator insists there are no openings, but Romero tells her his mother was in and out of this place and he knows there’s always a bed for a Senator or CEO’s kid and hands her the money to pay for Norman’s first two months and a little extra for her. He assures her that after two months, he’ll be on Romero’s insurance since he plans on marrying Norma.

Norman is reading out loud from Great Expectations while Norma looks at the pit and wonders if that’s where he buried Audrey. She tells him to go rest (for the 75th time this episode) while she does chores and when he leaves, she heads down to the pit in her rain gear, kicking around in the water and only finding a work glove. Some guests show up at the motel at the same time Norman comes down from the house to ask why she’s there. They argue over who gets to check in the guests and Norman roughly grabs her arm, then tells her he’s just trying to protect her and she should go get changed while he checks in the guests.

Norma is changing her clothes and gets a call from Romero telling her he got Norman into Pineview and that he’ll marry her if she still wants him. She hesitates for a moment and then tells him she doesn’t know how to thank him. He tells her that Norman needs to sign a consent form for Pineview, since he’s eighteen, but Norma says he’s not in his right mind to do that. Romero explains that it’s a long process to get him committed without his consent, but if he’s dangerous, then he can expedite something. Norma insists, again, that he’s not dangerous and Romero tells her they’re faxing the papers over now, and she immediately panics because Norman is in the office. After Norman banters with the guests a bit, he heads into the back office and finds the commitment papers.

Dylan and Will are talking over coffee, and Will thanks him for being there for Emma, then goes on to talk about her having a future now and not just a girl planning on dying. Will advises Dylan that if he’s serious about a relationship, he needs to do something besides sell pot and assures him he’s too good to be doing that anyway. Dylan goes to see Emma and she thanks him, while he tells her he can’t stop thinking that there’s nothing holding her back anymore. He has to leave to go check on the barn, and she asks if he will come back and he agrees to if she wants him to, then kisses her on the cheek before leaving.

Back at the motel, Norman is reading the papers and hallucinating his dead father, Sam, while also having flashes back to killing him. Sam tells him that Norman didn’t kill him, his mother did and that he needs to control her before she destroys him. He leaves the office and Norma is outside and she quickly runs in to discover that the papers are not in the fax machine.

Norma returns to the house where Norman scolds her for not staying inside. She starts getting stuff to make dinner and tells him to go take a bath, but he doesn’t want to leave her alone because he doesn’t trust her. Norman goes on and on about being afraid of her but still loving her and Norma probably knows better to rock the boat too much and just rolls with it. They eat dinner in silence, and Norman tells her he knows that she killed that woman along with Blaire, Bradley and Sam. Norma gets emotional while Norman gets enraged thinking that his mother is trying to blame him for everything and lock him up. She runs upstairs and looks for her gun but Norman already has it. She goes to him and kisses his face, trying to grab the gun but he pushes her away, forcing her to run into another room and lock the door. She calls Romero and gets his voicemail, telling him that Norman needs admitted now.

Norma eventually comes out of the room and hears music downstairs. She goes down to find a laptop playing a movie, but no sign of Norman so she grabs a large pair of scissors from a nearby drawer. Down in the basement, she finds Norman sitting at the worktable. He tells her he knew the best way to get at her was to ignore her. He has the Pineview papers and tells her he won’t let her lock him up because he’s not the crazy one and he can’t leave her out here alone. He grabs the gun and proposes that they just end things together because they’re both broken and won’t find peace and happiness in the world. He hears the noises of Romero and another cop bursting into the house and Norma takes the gun from him, apologizing that she had to do this. Romero comes downstairs and says they’re going to take him to get help, and Norma tells him he won’t sign the papers, so Romero says he’ll be going to county hospital then. Romero takes him out and Norma follows with the papers, and begs Norman to sign it so he won’t have to go to Willamette. He hesitates but does it, and Norma tells him she loves him as he gets into Romero’s car and they drive away.

  • Two episodes in a row without pointless White Pine Bay drama, keep it up!
  • Was there ever any doubt that Romero would cave and agree to marry Norma? Of course not!
  • If either Norma or Norman would actually say what’s going on in clear, concise English to each other, would this have been less confusing for them or just made things worse? One will never know.
  • Will is right. Dylan has always been too good for the messes he’s gotten himself in to. And if Emma’s lungs work good enough to mean she can take on the world, she should grab that Dylan and run as far away from the Bates family as possibly. I hear New Zealand is lovely, you crazy kids.
  • Vera Farmiga is always spectacular, but this week with all of this emotion and fear simmering underneath while she tries to keep Norman calm was some of her best work.

Photo Courtesy of A&E

About Lisa Eastham

Lisa is probably a marine biologist in an alternate universe, but in this universe, she decided job stability isn’t that important and became a writer instead. She tweets @itslisae and her other writing can be found at her blog.