Bates Motel (S05E03) “Bad Blood”

PHOTO CREDIT(S): A&E

Family. It’s a complicated thing, especially for the Bates. The lineage that Norman derives from and Dylan as well is a combination of drugs, incest, as well as domestic abuse. Suffice to say though, at least there can be love. Can love right all the wrongs even when everything is doomed? That’s the question Bates Motel  has been asking for quite sometime and in this week’s episode we finally get the answer.

This week’s episode picks up the next morning after last week’s episode . So it appears that Bates Motel will be having each episode take place over the span of a day, The audience first sees Caleb locked up in the basement as he hears Mother talking to him, his vision is blurry and it’s only as he regains full cerebral function (well, as much Caleb can anyway) that he realizes that it is actually Norman talking to him. Caleb asks to leave the basement, but of course Mother cannot let him do that. He knows something he should not.

Chick has manged to stay overnight at Bates Manor and is able to gain the trust of Norman through some classic Chick-isms (you can find some below). Where exactly Chick fits in the long-term is still unclear, but the show pushes the importance of his presence. From a narrative perspective Chick is a great addition as well and it is because it gives Norman someone to talk to. Granted, Norman talks to Head Norma all the time, but the need for Norma to talk  a real person is important. First, it allows us to see Norman expressing himself to someone else besides someone in his mind. Second, Chick works as a gauge for Norman to see how much he is still a part of reality. Eventually, Chick will have to lose Norman’s trust (although that may have been setback with this week’s new bonding activity).

Chick is also the perfect complement to the show as a whole and although I originally was skeptical of him upon his first appearance (strange man in woods), Ryan Hurst has been a great presence in White Pine Bay.

Romero is being transferred this week, and it is clear that he’s going to make an escape. He takes some guy’s car and makes him take him out in the woods. The guy is afraid and tells him he has wife and kids, and Romero tells him that everything’s going to be fine. Yes, this week brings yet another reminder that Romero is out there but obviously for story’s sake cannot reach Norman yet. But, we mustn’t forget Romero is a bad ass. I felt that Romero’s story line showed the lengths he was willing to go to find his way back to the Bates Motel, but other than that it was largely inconsequential .

Chick eventually brings Caleb food and has a chat with him and asks him about his past and the whole Norma/ Caleb thing. Here, we see some of the depth I was hoping for last week with the Caleb character. The ending is a tragic one for the season-long Caleb story line but in a way it is almost a mirror image of Caleb’s first episode. In that episode, back in season two, Norman as Norma goes and talks to Caleb at the King’s Motel. Here, a similar thing happens. Caleb tells Chick about his childhood, and the backstory of Norma. A flashback will help tie this point together, as young Norma and Caleb are seen. Caleb’s looking worse for wear at this point and when asked by Caleb to free him, Chick replies that’s not his purpose in this whole thing.

The dinner scene between Norman, Chick, and HeadNorma is quite entertaining. Luckily, Chick is smooth with this conversation, although Norman does become easily agitated at points. I spoke earlier of the show using Chick as a narrative gauge and this is perhaps the strongest example present in this episode. Norman is not even able to spend the equivalent of 200 seconds without becoming paranoid that Chick was not answering Norma. This is a perfect example of just lost Norman is, if we can even call him that anymore.

As Chick goes out to get groceries, he stops along the way and finds himself a typewriter. He has decided he is writing a novel, lending even more credence to the theory that Chick is a stand in for original Psycho author Robert Bloch. Chick has decided that perhaps there is something to be gained from this experience after all.

HeadNorma wakes Norman up and tells him that he needs to do the thing she cannot: Kill Caleb. On a quick side note, the audience has so far seen two examples where HeadNorma has the same limitations emotion-wise as real Norma. The two being the relationship with Romero and the one with Caleb. Norman does not want to kill Caleb, he wants to be happy like he was on his afternoon walk earlier in the day. Norma calls bullshit and Norman decides to pull up his boots and go down and do the job.

Except… he doesn’t. He can’t. He lets Caleb go free as he runs out the door, but not before Mother decides that he is too much of a danger and takes the gun and shoots after Caleb. Mother misses but it marks an important message to the audience. That emotional line that Norma could not and would not cross earlier has been dissolved. She will not be reluctant now given the chance to kill Romero and when the time comes she will not take the time to ask Norman for help.

The episode ends with Chick hitting and presumably killing Caleb with his car. That’s where we are left. A common hobby: murder. That sounded better in my head.

After-Thoughts

  • “We’re all in this sideshow together, and then we die”
  • Mother does not like kimonos.
  • What did Chick bring this week? Well he supposed to get milk but I guess killing Norman’s uncle is probably an equal or better trade.’
  • Please, please, please tell me that Chick shares a scene with Marion Crane this season. Please.
  • “If it worked for Hemingway…it’ll have to do for me.” Chick values himself, hopefully deep writing is the only thing he shares with him and I say that Ernestly.
  • No one else could do a better job, here’s to you Vera Farmiga! A weekly reminder to the Emmy’s.
  • Dylan and Emma were absent this week. Presumably Dylan stared in a mirror contemplating whether or not he was far enough along in the season to make his move.
  • So since Romero got shot, I’m not really certain how much this sets us back, but I’m going to assume a lot.
  • “Is that a good thing?” “Yes, its a very good thing.” Madeline you better run as far away as you can.
  • “The woods’ll always be out there” Apparently Norman’s psyche is just as excited about the Twin Peaks revival as I am.
  • Days without a Murder at the Bates Motel: 0
  • Another week, another psychologically anxiety inducing episode. And I would like to give a shout-out to the entire crew of Bates Motel you all did a fantastic job.
  • This is my favorite episode of the season to date, and it may or may not be because of the sound effect HeadNorma’s  gun made.
  • Seven episodes remaining, can you believe it? I’ll see you here next week as we discuss “Hidden”, the fourth entry of this season of Bates Motel .
  • I would be obliged to discuss this episode’s events on my Twitter. I hope to hear from you guys there!
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