TV Review: Bates Motel – 209 – “The Box”

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You can read my review of every Bates Motel episode here!

Once again, I am late to the party on getting a review written and posted for Bates Motel. I apologize to all of my loyal readers for that. Things have been hectic lately as we prepare to take The Obsessive Viewer Podcast to Indy PopCon later this month. If you’re in the area May 30th, by the way, check out the convention and come see us! For now, though, let’s get to the review of this season’s penultimate Bates Motel episode.

Spoilers ahead

First things first, I like that Emma finally blew up on Norma for her lack of involved with the more unsavory elements of the family Bates. It’s a unique dynamic that the writers have been playing all season. Even though it’s been a common thread this season, the writers still keep it fresh. And Olivia Cooke plays the part so well.

bates-motel-2.09x7I wonder what will come of her two weeks’ notice. There are a couple of ways the writers can handle it, as far as I can see. Option A would involve her going through with it and then season 3 would see her gaining a view of the family and its activities from the “outside.” Or Option B would have her boyfriend getting killed and her turning to the Bates for support and Norma finally taking her in. I would pick Option B, though the absence of the boyfriend (whose name, again, I completely forgot….Grant?) makes me think that’s not what’s going to happen.

That’s the best I’ve got for that plot line.

Elsewhere, Norma flipped out at George. Once again, I get the feeling that maybe I’m wrong on that front as well. I feel like if George was working with Ford or using Norma for some other nefarious purposes, it would have been revealed by now. I might have to throw in the towel on this theory, but I’m holding out hope that the end of tonight’s finale will feature George and his sister revealing to the audience that they are in fact a threat. If that’s the case, it could make for an interesting season 3 plot.

romerotheboxbatesRomero is still wrestling with his conscience. I really like this plot line and wish that it would have been a season-long arc for Carbonell to run with. Alas, it’s been handled very well over the last several weeks. His plan to use what I can only assume is somewhat forceful “lie detector” techniques shows how desperate he is for the truth.

I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m curious what will happen with Romero. Frankly, I’m also a bit concerned. He’s heading to rescue a kid who is…in an intense emotional space. Keeping the “Psycho” boxed with his thoughts could trigger him to have an “episode” upon being rescued. Given that Romero is in a very personal/redemptive head space, I’m getting nervous that they’re setting him up to be Norman’s next victim. I won’t be pleased, if that’s the case. Though, giving the DNA evidence to a new sheriff could be cool for season 3.

In this episode, Nick Ford made an ultimatum. Dylan was to kill Zane in exchange for his brother’s safe return. I realize I’m burying the lead a bit here, but oh well. As far as Dylan getting the extra incentive to kill Zane is concerned, it’s like I said last week: At this point, is there any reason for Dylan not to kill Zane? As far as I can see, there’s not.

Unfortunately for me, Dylan didn’t kill Zane. Fortunately, however, his reason for flaking on it was due to lack of opportunity. I’m relieved they didn’t have him back out for ethical reasons. It would have been passable for the character, but it would have been close to going against what we’ve seen from Dylan.

batesmoteldylanDylan’s confrontation with Ford, however, was the highlight of the episode for me. Holy crap. It was just the right amount of intensity and the implications of Dylan killing him are staggering; both for the finale and next season. Dylan killing him also killed the tension gained by the thugs finding Miss Watson’s pearls on Norman. But that’s forgivable.

So Norman had a nice little sweat lodge going in this episode. It was intense, to be sure, and also very enlightening for our budding serial murderer. Freddie Highmore played his scenes in the eponymous box very well. His anger and rage really gives an idea of what the character has residing underneath better than the blackouts do.

Throughout the episode, Norman had visions of his mother. What began as comforting, “happy place” visions quickly turned into introspective uncovering and potentially a new dawn for Norman Bates.

I said before that it makes me uncomfortable seeing how the writers are getting close to a self-aware Norman Bates. I’m still uncomfortable. I can’t make sense of how Norman remembering killing Miss Watson would go against the source material.

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Psycho spoilers ahead

To be fair, however, I haven’t read Robert Bloch’s original novel. I have seen Hitchcock’s classic several times. While Anthony Perkins’ iteration of the character was conscious of the murders, his mind pinned the actions on the alternate personality he had in his mind. In other words, in Norman’s mind, his mother was the killer.

Psycho spoilers end here

So I’m not sure how the series can reconcile Norman having the memory of himself murdering Miss Watson with the source material. Then again, I know all too well that this is a re-imagining of the Norman Bates character, so the writers here aren’t beholden to Hitchcock’s classic the way Norma was beholden to Ford.

This was a surprising precursor to the end of the season. I’m looking forward to watching how the season is wrapped up. Here’s to hoping some of my predictions aren’t right!

GET SEASON 1 ON DVDBLU-RAY

PRE-ORDER SEASON 2 ON DVDBLU-RAY

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments and make sure you check out all my other Bates Motel related posts. Also, follow me around the internet with the links below.

You can get the episode on Amazon and iTunes.

CHECK OUT MY EPISODE REVIEWS OF HOUSE OF CARDS AND UNDER THE DOME.

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