Did Norma really make it out of "Goodnight, Mother" ALIVE?
It was seriously debatable whether she would, as the tension between Norma and Norman was so thick on Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 2 you needed garden sheers to cut through it.
If Norma hadn't gone out on a limb on Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 1 by asking Romero to marry her, she'd be dead right now. By the end of this hour, she had used every trick in her book to get her son under control and failed.
Norman was preparing for a murder suicide when Romero saved the day. What occurred prior to that was one of the most entertaining and suspenseful hours of television I've seen in ages.
Norma's decision to keep everything in her life close to the vest didn't do her any favors. She has let very few people into her world, and even those that are inside the circle know very little.
Throughout this hour, Romero continued to ask her if Norman was dangerous in any way, but Norma never gave up her son.
She protected him time and again, even when she was trapped in the attic (the attic!) cowering in fear, she left him a message that Norman should probably be sent to the mental facility tonight if possible, like right now might be best and oh, by the way, I'm very grateful for everything you've done for me and been to me.
What the hell?! Can you imagine having a love as deep as what she feels for Norman that he could be coming for you with a gun and you'd still be unwilling to talk badly about him, thinking that maybe you wouldn't be getting out of that attic alive?
Especially when we have that image her future and the attic so interconnected...
By keeping everything with Norman so secret, not only was Norma's life in danger as we watched, but we can imagine how Norman might spin things to the outside world. Because the way he sees things through his mental illness makes sense.
He was missing the entire day Emma's mom disappeared. What he saw came in snippets of Mother, who was doing very nefarious things, as she is wont to do in his visions during lost days.
Top that off with his discovery of all of his frozen animals outside of the freezer (for shame, Mother, for not even bothering to cover your tracks and put the frozen goods back!), and Norman started piecing it all together.
Mother is out to get Norman, and the murderess wants to blame it all on her son.
I'm afraid of you and I love you, and that's a very frightening combination. You're not in your right mind, and I think you're trying to sabotage me.Norman
It's simply brilliant. Everything he said could have come straight from her mouth under different circumstances. The two of them really are so very much alike, and would protect each other above all else.
But Norman is just so confused. He's getting angry about being in the dark all the time. Mother is doing things without his knowledge. And if you love someone who is doing that, it's kind of rude and unsettling.
Sadly, the hospital is going to be of no use. It's not like they're going to be able to piece together his darkness and light. So here you were blacked out and you were actually killing your good friend's mother, see how it was confusing and you thought maybe your mom did it? It's because you were blacked out... Um. No.
It's kind of interesting that Norma hasn't really thought about that. While it's great to think you're going to get the son you love so much some help, how on earth can he really get any when the things he's covering up are so heinous. What happens if he uncovers them?
Now she knows that in the best case scenario, he'll blame her. The only positive outcome could be that Romero might give her an alibi, but she's not going to consider any scenario in which Norman goes down as a murdering psychopath a positive outcome or she would have already let it happen.
Could you believe Norma went the seduction route as a way to try to get the gun out Norman's hands and to save her life? While that scene freaked me out, suddenly their "unique" relationship made sense in the bigger picture.
I wonder who Norman would have killed first if he had the opportunity to start down the path of achieving peace for the abnormal pair. If he had killed himself, we know that would have changed the entire series. There is room for that. After all, it's a fictional world.
Would we expect it? Certainly not until the finale.
This was one of the best episodes of the entire Bates Motel series. It's exactly what we've been waiting for since it all began. The great showdown between Mother and son. The ferocity with which both Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore dug into their scenes was simply incredible. They know their characters so well.
It's hard to imagine a topper to this one, but when Norman gets out of the hospital, I'm sure we'll be in for even more of this tragic game of cat and mouse, but Norma will be at an even greater disadvantage. She'll likely think Norman has received some help. God help her.
What did you guys think? Were you on the edge of your seat? Did you expect Norma to ever come out of the attic? What kind of progress can Norman possibly make in the fancy asylum?
I know Dylan and Emma had some story, but it just doesn't fit right now. Bless their beautiful little hearts. Drop a comment and look here later this week for another edition of the Bates Motel Round Table!
In the meantime, watch Bates Motel online if you need to see how it all went down.
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.