It is very difficult to write about the ugly natures of pretend characters when in real life we are confronted constantly by the atrocities of real human beings. But that is why it is so important to examine our character through proxy. So this post on Bates Motel is of course, a general review of the show, but it will also examine the snarls in the fabric of these characters. The many possible lies they tell themselves to get through life and where it leads. Though this wasn’t one of the strongest episodes, it does clarify things. It brings into stark relief the choices that each character has made, and where those choices are leading them. The individual strings converge and the ball of yarn they create is so thick that eventually, poor Norman will find himself unable to extricate himself from it. He was born in his trap.
That is the line that resonates in my mind, from the original film. “I was born inside mine”, Anthony Perkins almost murmurs, during his tête-à-tête with Marion, not long before the infamous shower scene.
In sociology we consider arguments that decipher human nature and human nurturing. The faults of humanity lie in both. We are born sometimes with crossed wires, ghosts in the machine of our existence, or we are born to people who have them and who slowly and steadily corrupt our young lives with putrid influence. There is statistical data that indicates that most people will aspire to great things but end up in very similar places as their parents. By staggering numbers. It could be that the familiarity of our early childhood always compels us to relive that moment or those moments that we are trying to correct. It may just be a numbers game. There are statistics on lottery winners that are quite compelling as well.
I don’t want to go too far into the science of psychoses, but when I watch Bates Motel, I can’t help but pick it apart through the filter of the given data. Norman is the embodiment of all of the fear of nature and nurture compounded by violence that a lot of people have the privilege of avoiding throughout their lives. They may see these things on the news but never have that close and uncomfortable relationship with impending disaster and doom. But many do experience these things, and those moments lodge like shards of glass in the consciousness.
Norman asserted himself in episode four, to a male, his brother. Norma comes down hard on him for it. She does not recognize Dylan as her own offspring, has rejected him and only tolerates him because he will not leave. Dylan urges Norman to get away. He tells Norman that she is a poison and that she lives for the drama. That is pretty apparent in the guilt trip she lays squarely at his feet when he visits her in jail, after carpet fiber samples found in the watch on Keith Summers disembodied hand threaten her freedom. She sits in jail, still a queen on the throne of ultimate power over this boy. Blaming him for this. Always blaming him. Always forcing him to feel the consequences of her rejection. He longs to be her savior, begs her to let him help her.
The savior who ultimately comes to her rescue, a man Norman believes to be a monster, is Deputy Shelby. There is this moment, in his car, where as he confesses his love for Norma (while calling her an idiot in the same breath), he seems crouched like a predator waiting to attack. He lunges for Norma. He grabs her. His voice changes for just that instant, but in that instant, we see (and I think Norma does too), the real danger in this man. It’s a sense you evolve. But the love. Norma is such a sucker for drama, after all.
Deputy Shelby does come to her rescue. He tampers with evidence, another crime in itself. He “loses” the fiber sample for her and without it there is nothing in the world that can touch Norma. She is free. Because of her gallant knight in shining star shaped badge.
Meanwhile, Norma and Emma explore the further mystery of the despicable journal and Norman realizes that his brief interlude with Bradley was cold comfort. What they find while pursuing the leads of the intrepid Emma and reveal to Norma in one of the rooms in the hotel, her reaction to it, will establish the rest of this season.