[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]
Season 5, Episode 7 “Inseparable”
Written by Freddie Highmore
Directed by Steph Green
How can Bates Motel top the death of Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols) last week in “Marion“? By charting through the post-Marion Crane story giving Norman (Freddie Highmore) a bit more agency while revealing how determined, tenacious, and ruthless Mother (Vera Farmiga) can be when her existence and relationship with Norman is threatened.
Add in a whopper of a misdirection reveal and you’ve got one heck of a script — written by Freddie Highmore himself.
“Marion” put a Bates Motel spin on the Psycho Shower Scene to create something new within the classic. “Inseparable” borrows directly from the film; the first thing we see is Sam’s open, “dead-still … fish-like right eye.” Bloody faced, Norman stands mute against the bathroom wall. He doesn’t even notice Mother bustling in with her fully-stocked cleaning cart. “I know you’re in shock … You can think about the meaning of life later. Right now, we’ve got s**t to do.”
Mother’s non-helpful pep talk continues on their midnight ride to dispose of Sam’s body. But somebody’s beaten them to Lake This-Is-Where-We-Dump-Corpses. What looks like the entire White Pine Bay police force is parked by the shore as a body (most likely the missing Joe Blackwell) is retrieved from the water. Norman vomits. Mother sighs. “It’s going to be a long night.”
Luckily for Norman, Mother’s kept her eyes open for other spots to dump bodies since they can’t use the lake “this time.” He asks her, “How many bodies are they going to find in that lake? How many times have we done this?” Be careful with your questions, Norman. You may not like the truth Mother tells you.
One comically inept trip to an abandoned well in the forest and Sam Loomis is history — for now. Norman continues to be amazed at Mother’s knowledge of things like “chop shops” that will give money for cars. Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) didn’t give him any money for Jim Blackwell’s car!
Norman and Mother walk home after a long night of evidence disposal. Mother wonders where she left the Luminol. Norman, still apparently in shock, wonders if he should just turn himself in. With a combination of concerned care and and unstated threat, Mother offers to “take over” if things get to be too much for Norman to deal with.
Our murderous duo arrives back at the motel just in time for Norman to completely fail at deflecting
Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene’s (Brooke Smith) kind but persistent questions regarding the motel, guests at the motel, and those odd tire tracks in the parking lot gravel. Oh, and by the way, “multiple” bodies were recovered from the lake nearby. Norman nervously babbles his way through a very unconvincing story about recommending the lake to guests and getting started on “Linen Day” before Sheriff Greene takes her leave.
Whew! Norman now has time to drag a wheelchair (?) from somewhere in the house, drag Norma’s corpse out of cold storage, bury his mother in the shallowest grave in Oregon before promising, “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” If Norman isn’t consciously trying to turn himself in yet, he’s unconsciously leaving plenty of clues for the White Pine Bay Police.
To make Norman’s day even more crap-tastic, Dylan (Max Theirot) pulls up to the house! No naptime for Norman yet. Norman apologizes for not telling his brother of Norma’s death. Seeing Mother behind Dylan, Norman whispers to his brother, “I do miss our Mother, so very much Dylan … I can’t even tell you.” Dylan, puppy-dog eyes full of tears, says “I don’t think you’re well, Norman,” and offers to stay for a few days.
Norman (finally!) goes to take a nap after leaving his brother with a Norman Bates Sandwich Special for lunch. Dylan opts for a self-guided tour through a home full of pictures, dust, and wilted flowers. He breaks down in tears in Norma’s room. Even in death, Norma’s ability to guilt trip the men in her family is uncanny.
Poor Norman. Mother wakes him up from nap time to deliver another veiled threat; this time it’s about Dylan. He’s a nice boy, they all love him, but “he’s never really understood us. We can’t have him in our lives anymore.” Norman must get him to leave — with the silent promise that Mother can take care of the situation if Norman cannot.
Dylan will not give up on Norman. But trying to help his brother sets in motion a confrontation with Mother that almost costs Dylan his life. He stops at a pharmacy in White Pine Bay, asking them to contact Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton) for a prescription refill. The pharmacist has to tell a shocked Dylan (and an equally shocked audience) that Dr. Edwards has been missing for about a year and is presumed dead.
A stunned Dylan tells the pharmacist his brother needs his medication or “something bad will happen.” Too bad he (or the pharmacist) doesn’t go to the police with this information. Dylan gets a few pills and heads “home.”
Madeline, loitering by the motel, delivers a helpful “my husband Sam Loomis is mysteriously missing” plot point to Dylan before leaving her only scene of the episode.
As is Tradition in the Bates home, a tension-filled dinner (in a remarkably cleaned up kitchen) ends in disaster with food on the floor, broken glass, and attempted murder. Dylan begs Norman to take one of the pills he brought. Norman in return begs Dylan to “just leave me be and let me live how I need to live.” Pill in hand, Norman walks to the sink to get a glass of water.
Mother “just wants to talk” to Dylan; she turns from the sink and addresses her eldest son. Mother loves him very much, but can only be a real mother to one person. Dylan means well, but he is in the way.
Down comes the water class on Dylan’s head, followed by a knife wielded by Mother. Dylan, stunned and bleeding, sees Norman fighting with himself; we see Mother viciously fighting to break free and kill Dylan. Norman manages to take control, shoving Mother off the table before scrambling to the phone.
Norman calls 911 and says words that sets Bates Motel on a fascinating, uncharted course.
“My name is Norman Bates, and I killed Sam Loomis.”
~ RomeroWatch – Former Sheriff and Current Prison Farm Escapee Alex Romero is still recuperating at the home of former flame (?) Maggie (Jillian Fargey). Romero is feeling well enough to frantically search Maggie’s home for his gun after a good breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and sausage.
~ This season began two years after Norma’s death; Dr. Edwards “disappeared” one year ago. The coffee talk scene between Norman and Dr. Edwards in “Dreams Die First” was all in Norman’s mind.
When (and how) did Dr. Edwards become such a threat to Mother’s existence that he had to die? Will we get to see THAT flashback? Congratulations to the entire Bates Motel crew for pulling off the rare (and tricky) “Sixth Sense” twist.
~ In a Hollywood Reporter interview after “Marion,” Executive Producer Carlton Cuse used an interesting word with respect to Norman killing Sam in the Bates Motel version of “the shower scene.”
“There was a very clearly designed progression in terms of his culpability, and that was his journey as a character as a serial killer. It’s weird to use those words, because I don’t think we ever thought of him as that. We thought of him as someone who was troubled and had this horrible psychopathology and it’s just getting progressive, and it’s part of that progressive journey as he becomes more and more on the hook for his actions.”
Good News – Norman Bates is getting some agency in his story and some responsibility for the many crimes in his wake. Bad news – the Norman of Bates Motel may end the same way as Norman in Psycho – with the son subsumed completely into Mother.
~ Mother remembers the Luminol – so important for the “micro cleaning” of Room One.
~ Oregon does have the death penalty – for aggravated murder. However, there is currently a moratorium on executions.
Bates Motel airs Monday 8/9 Central on A&E.