HIDDEN Cars, Homemade Cakes and a Nervous Norman on BATES MOTEL
Season 5, Episode 4 “Hidden”
Written by Torrey Speer
Directed by Max Theriot
[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]
Dylan Massett is off camera this week, safe and sound in Seattle with Emma and baby Kate. But Max Theriot, the actor who plays Norman’s half-brother, makes his Bates Motel directorial debut with “Hidden.” We also get to see a lot of Madeline Loomis (Isabelle Mcnally) wearing Norma’s old clothes; maybe that’s why she veers dangerously close to “Too Dumb to Live” territory for her own good.
“Hidden” picks up right where “Bad Blood” ended. Mother (Vera Farmiga), Norman (Freddie Highmore), and Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) gather around the bloody, lifeless body of Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) lying on the road. Chick checks the body and declares Caleb deceased with a gruff “Yup.” He continues his campaign for Permanent Houseguest status by doing as Mother recommends (via Norman) and “taking care of” the Caleb’s corpse.
Chick may be the weirdest resident of White Pine Bay (which is saying a lot), but he seems to have missed his True Calling as a Beatnik Shaman/Viking funeral director. Considering how little Chick did to help Caleb out before accidentally killing him, Chick sends Norma’s brother off with dignity. He assembles a White Pine Bay version of a Viking Funeral Boat at the edge of what looks like the same lake where Norman dumped Jim Blackwell’s corpse a few episodes back.
Norman deals with having to subcontract the disposal of yet another body by – getting rid of Norma’s old clothes. When Mother asks “What got into your pants?” Norman snaps (well, figuratively at least). “Nothing every happens the way I think it should, Mother!” They argue over Chick staying in the house until she snaps back “Well, make up your mind!” If only it were that simple.
An unwelcome visit from the new Sheriff delays Norman’s trip into town.
Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene asks about Jim Blackwell – Norman’s name was found written down among his effects. Turns out Blackwell had just gotten paroled from the same prison Romero just escaped from! What a coincidence! Throughout this and the other encounters between the Greene and Norman in “Hidden” we learn the Sheriff is quite a sharp, subtle interrogator – and Norman is a terrible and easily flustered liar.
Norman finally makes it to a donation kiosk outside the only church we’ve seen in five seasons of Bates Motel. A few items get tossed in before Norman pauses and looks towards Main Street and Downtown Hardware. Even Madeline Loomis’ professional charm cracks a bit as Norman notes “I must be mad” when he offers her Norma’s old clothes. At least his order of shower curtains is in. “You must go through a lot of these.” Oh if you only knew, Madeline.
Norman’s golden mood is shattered as he pulls into the motel parking lot. Chick’s unloading his car at the base of the steps. Norman stammeringly tells Chick that having another person in the house with himself and Mother would just be too much. Chick counters,”I’m going to help you with a lot of things, Norman … Help you out with everything.” Amazingly enough, Norman stands his ground. Chick leaves in a huff but leaves the chicken he brought for dinner.
Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene stops by again for a chat. She’d like to go over the guest register in the motel office. Norman can’t stop eating candy while she looks for a clue regarding Joe Blackwell. Stammering, Norman slips up and mentions the name listed on the dead hit man’s license – Canyon City. Sheriff Greene finds that odd, since she never mentioned where the late Mr. Blackwell was from.
Norman is so rattled by the questions about Blackwell, he insists Mother must help him hide Blackwell’s car. Despite all the care Mother took to hide it – removing the plates, erasing the VIN number – Norman insists.
A miserable Dead Mother and Son midnight hike gets even worse after Norman accuses Norma. “Maybe you want us to get caught, Mother.” Mother responds by shrieking at the top of her lungs,”Please catch us! We’re right here!”
Norman lunges at Mother, smothering her cries until her eyes film over – is it possible to kill an imaginary mother? Apparently not, since she pops back to life, scuttles away from Norman while warning him not to do that again.
Fortunately, Norman has plans for the evening. First, he tells Mother that he’s having dinner with Madeline Loomis and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Then a quick stop at the local junkyard/squatter’s camp to ask a still-peeved Chick for help permanently disposing of Blackwells’ car before confessing “It’s not me … it’s her, Mother … I don’t know how to reign her in.”
Madeline must’ve gotten over the weirdness of wearing Norma’s old clothes; she appears at the door dressed in a lovely blue dress that fits “like a second skin.” After a lovely dinner of coq au vin, Madeline not-so-innocently asks Norman to help her bake a cake they can eat while watching a movie later. Baking leads to making out in the kitchen before Norman sees Mother’s reflection glaring at him in the window. A bloody vision of Madeline with a slit throat sends Norman fleeing into the night.
He finds nothing at the Bates home but a kitchen table neatly set for breakfast. “Mother?” Our last image of the episode is Norman gazing into the camera with Mother’s gaze.
Former Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) continues his relentless path back to White Pine Bay. Nothing will come between him and his self-appointed task to “take care of” his stepson Norman.
Despite just getting shot, in this episode Romero manages to:
~ Persuade the kid who shot him last week to get a first aid kid (did nobody in the nearby farmhouse hear the very loud gunshot?). Romero staggers to his feet and escapes.
~ Walk all the way back to WHP, spies the only working public phone booth left in America (helpfully labeled PHONE) next to (what looks like) the Kings Motel.
~ Use said phone to call 911 and report a fake emergency, steal medical supplies and cast from a conveniently out-in-the-open wallet, then
~ PERFORM DIY SURGERY ON HIS GUNSHOT WOUND
~ Lurch to the home of a woman named Maggie (Jillian Fargey) who appeared in one episode back in the first season.
Hope he finally gets some sleep. The guy’s had a busy day!
~ We have our Detective Milton Arbogast! The scene with Norman at the motel was an amazing version of an almost identical scene in Psycho. Freddie Highmore does an amazing job with the same mannerisms (stammering and nervously eating) that Anthony Hopkins created for Norman in the original film. Let’s hope Sheriff Greene avoids the main staircase in the Bates house – or she may share Det. Arbogast’s fate.
~ Madeline is wearing a dress that looks very much like a shade of “periwinkle blue.” Is Bates Motel (as I noted here) echoing the moment from Psycho when Mrs. Chambers remembers she helped Norman pick out a dress just that shade for Norma’s funeral?
~ In the final second of the teaser for next week’s episode we see Marion Crane pulls into Bates Motel parking lot on a rainy evening.
~ Chick mentions that his suspense novel would “make quite a good little movie.”
~ Again no sign of Emma, Dylan, or baby Kate. Good news if you picked them in your “Bates Motel Survivor Pool.”
Bates Motel airs Monday at 10/9Central on A&E.