Review: Bates Motel (Season 5)


After the last season of Bates Motel, in which we see Norman (Freddie Highmore) digging up his mother’s body and taking it to his home, we definitely reached the big moment: the show would catch up to Psycho. How would it be like? Would it be the same as the film?

Expectations got higher when it was announced that Rihanna would play Marion Crane, the victim of the classic “shower scene” in the film. What would the scene look like in the show? Exactly the same or would you suffer a change?

All of the issues raised were answered throughout the 10 episodes of the show’s last season, which came to an end this week.

More than a year later, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) died and Norman follows his life “almost” normally: he works in the administration of the Motel; is happy with the arrest of Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell); and no longer has contact with his brother Dylan (Max Thieriot), who married Emma (Olivia Cooke), with whom he has a daughter. There is, however, one small detail: he walks around the house talking to his mother, telling himself that she has not died.

This situation makes the interaction between mother and child become much more interesting. If in the previous seasons Norma showed several characteristics, now there is only one major one: as the controller and assassin that takes over the body of her son every time she feels he’s being threatened. She is cynical, sarcastic, practical, cold and calculating. Vera Farmiga’s performance is a gift for the viewers: she is splendid in this version of Norma.

For the same reason Freddie Highmore is spectacular this season. Whether he is Norman or Norma, the actor is able to transform without much apparent effort: his voice intonation, his glance, the grimaces with the hands – everything perfect.

Incidentally, it’s unbelievable that only Vera Farmiga has been nominated for an Emmy in 2013. Both she and Freddie Highmore have been great since the first season and only improved.

Norman not only assumes the personality of his mother more frequently, but also comes to realize at times that the situation is getting out of control. The biggest example is during the iconic “shower scene”: the creators of the series decided to spare Marion and kill another character instead. When “Norma” finishes murdering him, Norman says “Mom, what have I done?”, which is a considerable change from the original scene (“Mother, what have you done?”).  Norman finally realized that he killed someone.

The internal conflict, however, remains throughout the rest of the season and comes to the end in the last episode, when we can see Norman completely disconnected from reality after killing Romero (by the way, his death was sad but expected, since in the movie Norman had killed his mother and “her lover”).

The end of the show, with Norman’s death, is probably the best thing that could have happened to him: being arrested or being taken to a psychiatric institute would not have been a good outcome. With his death, despite being by the hands of his own brother, Norman can reconnect with its mother in some parallel world. In addition, he was buried with her, as he always wanted.

Bates Motel is an intense series, both from the point of view of physical and psychological violence. But it is very interesting precisely to show to what extent a person with dissociative personality disorder without treatment can get (similar to Split).


Brazilian lawyer that has more passion for movies, theater and music than for the law.

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