One thing is clear, Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 7 made it very difficult for our round table participants to feel sympathy for Norman Bates going forward. How will it all end? We're worrying already!
Join the participants as they clutch their worry beads. TV Fanatics Lisa Babick, Stacy Glanzman, Yana Grebenyuk and Carissa Pavlica get the horror story started. Pick it up with your own thoughts in the comments or on social media!
What was your favorite part of "There's No Place Like Home"?
Lisa: Definitely the exchange between Norman and Julian. It was unexpected and incredibly creepy.
Stacy: I liked Romero showing Norma the money. "Remember when I said I was hiding money down here? I really was..."
Yana: The end. It's exactly what the show always was and it's the type of scene I enjoy even though I may deny it at times. The more episodes we get, the closer we get to that inevitable end, and I am kind of excited. It will be painful, but it's the essence of the show and what path it always planned to take.
Carissa: I think I agree with Yana. Even though I hate it for what it means, the fact it makes me shiver means it's perfectly set up.
What do you think about Dylan digging into Audrey's death now that we've seen how Emma feels about her mother?
Lisa: I'm about done with the whole Emma and Dylan storyline. I wish he would just let it go. Not that Norman should get away with her murder, but what exactly would he accomplish even if Audrey was alive?
Stacy: I feel like Emma's explanation will deter Dylan from pursuing this, but I hope it doesn't. I want him to keep looking into this because I'm ready for someone to finally find some hard evidence that Norman is a murderer. Dylan is already so close and he's the most open to the idea that Norman could be a killer.
Yana: It worries me if Dylan keeps it up because this can't end well. If I could hope for at least one person to stay alive it would be Dylan. We know Norma's fate is doomed, but Dylan might still have a chance. If he keeps digging, I can't imagine this going anywhere good for him.
Carissa: Dylan is interested in making his girl happy. He's skeptical of his brother. Of course he's going to keep digging. And frankly, I wouldn't want Dylan any other way.
What are your thoughts on this quote from Norman..."I know how to make the world see me as someone normal, someone kind, someone nice..."
Lisa: So, he's been putting on a show this whole time? I have a hard time believing he's that calculating, but if that's the case, there's absolutely no hope for him. I really think that had Norma told him about Romero before he learned about it in the newspaper, things might have been different.
Stacy: It didn't surprise me. Norman is a sociopath, and it is incredibly scary how easy it is for sociopaths to convince people they're normal. We've seen plenty of examples of it in history, and after a person is caught, you always hear people say how nice they were or how they would never have suspected.
Yana: I wasn't shocked at all. Norman was never a character who sat right with me, and I never see myself trusting him. He might not have realized before how well he can pretend to act innocent, but I'm sure now he is very aware of his abilities.
Carissa: I loved it. It shows how very good he is at what he really is because he had the audience fooled for a time, too, and we've always known he was nothing but a killer. I can't decide where I allowed myself to think his blackouts were real again, but for the longest time, I didn't. Now I'm completely unsure.
How did you feel about Norma, coming off such a strong episode, suddenly unable to be that person again?
Lisa: It's disappointing that she couldn't keep it together. I think what triggered her return to her old self was Dylan telling her the news about Audrey. I think she completely forgot about it all because she was having such a blissful time with Romero, and she feels she's the only one who can protect him. It's unfortunate.
Stacy: I don't blame Norma for relenting. He's her son, and he begged her with those puppy dog eyes. She's a mom, and she gave in because she loves him. I was incredibly annoyed with the doctor, however. He should know better. He should know the signs of a sociopath, and he should know when he's being manipulated. He should have done whatever he needed to do to keep Norman in there. When Norman inevitably kills again, it's on him, not Norma.
Yana: Norma can only hold up so much because, frankly, I was shocked she even admitted that Norman needed help. She could only be strong for so long before she gave into him. I agree with Stacy that the doctor wasn't approaching this correctly since Norman is clearly a sociopath.
Carissa: I wasn't disappointed that she wasn't strong, but I was disappointed that she continued to lie. After she bared her soul to both Chick and Romero and came out alive, she should have taken her chances with both Dr. Edwards about Norman's violent tendencies and Norman about her marriage to Romero. What's the worst that could have happened?
How do you feel about Norman after this episode?
Lisa: I don't know what to think about Norman at this point. If he's been stringing everyone along this whole time, then it just proves he was born to be a murderous psychopath.
Stacy: He's beyond the realm of being saved. He's learned how to manipulate anyone and everyone to get what he wants, and that's not something he'll give up. Things will only get worse until he's committed.
Yana: I never liked him, and I don't think I ever will. He is getting worse and worse; it's only a matter of time before he hurts someone closest to him. It's hard to watch him spiral while knowing where this all will end up without being a little angry with him.
Carissa: I'll never feel for him again. As soon as he admitted out loud that he knew what he was, it was over. No more crocodile tear saves for this viewer. I'm hoping he dies in this version. May the stuffer get stuffed! (Let me dream, you guys!)
What were your thoughts as you saw the closing scene, panning to the attic as the two of them walked toward the house?
Lisa: My heart sank. It was a fantasy to think that maybe the writers would do something different and not end it the way we thought it would. Poor Norma and poor Romero, but I'm looking forward to see how we get to that inevitable point.
Stacy: I'm worried about Romero. I don't see Norma dying before the end of next season, but Romero's time could be about up. It would be a devastating blow to Norma, but it also might be what finally makes her give up her "Norman's not violent" mantra.
Yana: Again, it's hard to like Norman all on his own, but when other characters come into the mix, it's an even bigger mess. We are supposed to fall for these characters so that if anything happens to them we get even more emotional. Well, knowing that some will for sure die doesn't help when I watch each new season. You keep wishing that somehow this will end differently, and yet you know that soon Norma will die and Romero might die with her. It's tragic, and it's painful because you can't change a thing.
Carissa: I'm with Lisa. My heart sank. It was a physical feeling. Knowing it's coming doesn't ease the pain at all. Watching The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story didn't help me feel better about the suffering everyone did through that case, either. The next 13 episodes of this series are going to be edge-of-your-seat viewing.
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.