We're starting up a round table with Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 1. We cannot let the goodness of going full on psycho pass us by! We're chatting about Norma's parental skills, our concern for her future, Norman's mental state and what might happen when Dylan and Emma discover Audrey is gone, among other things.
TV Fanatics Stacy Glanzman, Paul Dailly, Lisa Babick and Carissa Pavlica are sitting around the table during the discussion. Pull up a chair and join in! Share your thoughts in the comments or on social media. We'd love to hear from you!
What was your favorite scene from the Bates Motel Season 4 premiere?
Stacy: Norman as Norma at the end. Freddie Highmore does such an amazing job with those scenes and it is impressive how well he nails her mannerisms.
Paul: Norma going to desperate measures with the Doctor, only to be told that he's gay. So funny!
Lisa: Norman opening the door as Norma and Emma's mom acting like she'd seen this a thousand times before. It was perfect and further highlighted the similarities between them...and possibly even their fates.
Carissa: I agree with Lisa. When Norman opened the door, I couldn't believe Audrey continued on with the conversation. She must have been really desperate.
Do you agree with the hospital administrator's implication that Norma was a terrible mother?
Stacy: Yes and no. Norma obviously should have gotten him help sooner, but I can at least understand where she's coming from. Fear can be debilitating, and you hear stories all the time of people who let their tumors grow to enormous sizes out of fear of going to the doctor.
In her defense, the hospital didn't find anything in their tests from his blackout, and the county doctor released him only hours before he then went and killed someone, so it is hard to place all the blame on Norma, though she does shoulder most of it.
Paul: I agree. Norma has a duty of care for her son, but she's tried to protect him way too much, and had she got him help sooner, he may be a bit better now.
Lisa: Not necessarily. She's a single mom with no support system who grew up in an abusive household with no frame of reference for what constitutes normal. No parent wants to admit there's something wrong with their kid, and like Stacy said, it all boils down to fear.
Norman is the only thing she's got, and she's going to be fiercely protective of him, even if it means denying what's so clearly obvious. It doesn't make her a terrible mother, just misguided.
Carissa: It's also hard to point fingers when you know she could wind up killed like dear old dad. I think we're going to learn (or I hope we do) just how fearful Norma has been of Norman this whole time. Or how she should have been!
What did you think of Norma's proposal to Romero?
Stacy: That wasn't one of the most romantic marriage proposals ever on TV, that's for sure. It was funny how casual she was about it, like it wasn't a big favor. Though, granted, Romero did already kill someone for her, so maybe in the grand scheme of things it really isn't that big.
Paul: Is she crazy, too? That came out of nowhere, but should I have expected anything less from her? Probably not.
Lisa: It was a very Norma thing to do and goes back to her taking whatever steps necessary to protect her son. Romero has helped her before, so it's not surprising she would turn to him again. The look on her face after he turned her down just oozed a mix of desperation and panic. I felt sorry for her, because I think she realized that all her old tricks aren't working anymore.
Carissa: Oh my. The way she said it was the real kicker. Soo. Ya know. We should get married. Sort of like she says THAT everyday, too. A lot of that going around in White Pine Bay.
Do you think there is any stopping Norman at this point?
Stacy: No, he's too far gone at this point. The only way to stop him would be to get him committed to a psychiatric facility and on medication, but I don't see that happening.
Paul: Not a chance in hell. He's crazier than ever and it's not going to end anytime soon.
Lisa: No, he's crossed the bridge of no return. There's no treatment that's going to rehabilitate him, and I don't think there ever was. The only thing we can hope for is that he's locked away before he kills someone else.
Carissa: No. I think the only thing that keeps him from being Norma (and this may be determined upon by her reactions to him) is Norma's presence. When that goes, so too shall Norma. So anytime she's not around? Bodies will pile up.
What's going to happen when Emma and Dylan find out her mother went missing?
Stacy: I am sure Emma will be upset when she finds out, and I would not be surprised if Dylan suspects Norman's involvement. I can see it potentially putting a strain on their relationship.
Paul: I agree with Stacy. There's probably going to be some tough times ahead for this duo at least until Emma gets some closure.
Lisa: I think Emma is going to blame her dad for her mom "leaving." It's going to take a while before either of them start pointing the finger at Norman. They need to worry about what's going to happen when Norman finds out they're dating.
Carissa: Stacy has a good answer for this one, especially since both Dylan and Emma have witnessed Norman at his worst. If they find out Audrey was at the hotel, they'll wonder and it will be difficult.
How worried are you for Norma at this point in the series?
Stacy: I mean, she has to die right? I always assumed the series would end with Norman murdering her, but I could also see her dying at the end of this season. It would be interesting to see the immediate aftermath of that next season.
Paul: I kind of feel like if she dies before the final season, there would be a huge dip in the ratings and quality. Obviously, Vera Farmiga would still be part of the show when Norman sees her, but it wouldn't be all that enjoyable. I am worried for her though.
Lisa: At this point, she's stuck up the creek without a paddle. Things are only going to get worse for her now that Norman's danger zone is off the charts. I don't see him killing her yet, but that endgame is clearly in sight.
Carissa: Oh. Whoops! I kind of already mentioned this, but as soon as Norman stops liking Norma's behavior, he'll cut her down and replace her with his own version. The good news for US is we'll still get to keep Vera Farmiga around because of how Norman sees himself. Whew!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.