Bates Motel (S05E05) “Dreams Die First”


“Maybe fate wins here,” is a line once uttered by Norma Bates in what seems like a lifetime ago. Bates Motel is by and large a prequel to the film Psycho as we know, but it takes a lot of creative liberties as well. When Bates Motel started many critics and viewers took note about how many changes they were based on the limited backstory we learned from the psychiatrist’s monologue in Psycho. Bates Motel from the offset offered us a re-imagining of the world of Psycho in particular this week’s and next week’s episode. In this re-imagining Norman Bates has a half-brother and Norma Bates (not named until this show let me remind you) but it is hard to imagine her as being named anything else. Norma Bates was given depth and a heartbreaking backstory. This Norman Bates would never violently murder his mother, leaving her to peacefully rest before turning on the gas. Much like Psycho, however, Norma Bates can never be truly gone even after her death, living on as Mother. Where Psycho was a story of mystery and the supposed serial-killing mother not revealing the twist until the end, Bates Motel is about Norman and Norma.


The blue (Norman’s favorite color) light that emits from the motel sign seems to fill the series as a whole and at the same time doom it. The sign is a lot like Norman actually. The sign appears innocent to the passerby and its glow offers warmth and perhaps even a nice little chat (especially for next week’s arrival) but more than it offers promise. Suffice to say–it can easily be disappointing. 

This week saw our first introduction to the new Marion Crane. She’s introduced much like the Marion Crane we meet in Psycho in a room in Arizona Seattle and she is in bed with Sam Loomis. One could point out in this version Sam is married, but let’s be honest he was probably married in Psycho as well. Marion wants more with Sam, and we see her try to convince him to let her be a bigger part of his life. He says someday they will be, lying right through his teeth. Marion believes him because Marion trusts him. Marion leaves and heads to off to her job at the ?office? to discuss with her boss about a promotion. He says now and sets her off on the path that Marion Crane must follow: steal a bunch of money and end up at the Bates Motel.

Marion does decide to pack the money away but its not long until she gets stopped by serious co-creator and executive producer Carlton Cruse (making quite the appearance mostly due to suggestion that his partner-in-crime Kerry Ehrin suggested he do it because she thought he bared resemblance to the original cop in Psycho. After that Marion heads off on the open road awaiting her possible fate.

Elsewhere its truth time at the Massett house as Dylan after Emma discovers her mom’s earring, that its time to come clean about what happened way back in the season 4 opener. Emma’s confused about what Dylan is trying to say at first, but eventually she gets the point. Norman is dangerous and probably hurt her mom. Its revelations aplenty and while I was hoping for Emma to crime-solve again it seems like protecting the baby is more important. Emma becomes upset at Dylan and rightly so, although I do feel like this moment took a little longer in the timeline than it should I understand why it couldn’t.  Emma sends Dylan off and he goes out into the night, but not to the Bates Motel.

Norman happens to see Dr. Edwards as he driving into town and decides to go in and share a cup of coffee for him. Let me just break down this scene for you as Norman enters his darkest of fears and his most somber of thoughts Highmore’s eyes literally turn black. Don’t ask me how, but they do and it is amazing. I don’t understand how its even possible but I’m starting to wonder if Highmore can even be a good doctor (joking, Highmore will do great but what if The Good Doctor was actually a sequel where Norman gets his medical…we’ll just stop here). Anyway Norman tries to convince Dr. Edwards that everything is fine with him and Dr. Edwards is not buying it–nor should he. Norman admits to the concrete truth he has been trying to forget about for the past two years: His mother dead, sometimes he sees her, and other times he becomes her. These steadfast rules form more than a balance for Norman’s issues they represent Norman’s issues. Norman runs out because he has to return to the motel and faced with his fears upon returning Norman is still nowhere to be seen.

While Dylan’s away Emma decides to dip her toe back into those 2013 sleuthing waters and Google search “the Bates Motel” and it is there she finds an article. Norma Bates died two years ago. This beat is barely given any room to land or take shape although it will certainly be expanded next week.

Norman Bates returns home and the audience is treated to a beautiful overhead shot of Norman looking at the rain. No matter how hard Norman, Marion, Sam, Madeline, Dylan, or even Emma may try that rain will still fall and no one will be able to stop it.


  • Usually my crew/cast praises are sent further down in my thoughts but today they get the top spot. Great job to Erica Lipez and Kerry Ehrin on the looking-through-a-window like script. Next up, Nestor Carbonell who payed homage to Hitchcock just enough without crossing the line. I felt the same about his turn in the director’s chair last season with “There’s No Place Like Home” especially that ending shot. I also want to give a special shout-out to the editor of this episode which if I am able to trust my IMDB sources is Cedric Nairn-Smith. Finally, thanks to the entire cast and crew for what has been quite a ride for these past few years–you guys are great.
  • Marion and Norman should get along great next week because they both have no poker face.
  • I have so many questions as to why Dylan kept the necklace in a drawer, after their move, but I have a feeling I am not going to get it answered.
  • Okay if there are any Psycho super fans out there, I have a question. Obviously the rain needs to fall in the movie so Marion decides to pull over and stay somewhere for the night but it is also foreshadowing to the later shower scene or just coincidence?
  • Madeline is such a MiniNorma that I am so conflicted about her fate.
  • No Chick today my love has gone away…how could I want that Marion/Chick scene there goes all my hopes & dreams.
  • Me, chanting at the TV to Emma & Dylan: Get back in the plot!!!!
  • I would love to chat with you about this week’s or next week’s episode of Bates Motel on Twitter and you can find me @atwrites