selenak: (Norma Bates by Ciaimpala)
[personal profile] selenak
"I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."



Considering headwriter Kerry Ehrin is a self confessed Wuthering Heights fan, and managed to smuggle Emily Bronte's lines in the middle of Norman's s4 finale breakdown last season ("don't leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you!"), it seemed fitting for me to start this last Bates Motel review with the last line from Wuthering Heights. Incidentally, it did take me until the show finale to realise that Dylan is Hareton Earnhaw, though of course he is.

From a sheer suspense point, the episode leading up to this finale was better, but then, suspense wasn't the point of the finale. Alex Romero dies early on in the episode, and if that necessitates some writerly sleight of hands (Alex turning his back on Norman for eons being the biggest one), it's, to me, forgivable, because the former Sheriff of White Pines Bay had already given up on his life at this point, and while the determination to kill Norman hand been the one goal that had kept him going, I can buy him not going through with it before Norman kills him because seeing Norma's body had to bring back at least to some part of Romero the awareness the very last thing she'd have wanted was for him to kill her son to avenge her. But before he dies, Alex Romero, befitting his character's terseness, sums up the crux of what dooms Norman: Norman killed his mother. And he can't pretend that away.

Though he tries his very best. I had expected Norman (i.e the Norman personality, as opposed to the Mother personality, or Mother-plus-Norman) to become dominant again for the finale triggered by the sight and the awereness of real Norma's dead body, and so he did. But while that leads to Norman for the first and last time saying the unspeakable out loud - "I believe I did kill her" -, it also leads him to regress into fantasy even more than he already did in the s4 finale. This time, instead of fantasizing Norma into life again, he returns mentally to the show's pilot, their arrival in White Pines Bay, so full of hope, teasing each other. But even that fantasy has in-built cracks. Norman, when he calls Dylan, might be acting within his delusion for the most part, but not completely. Pilot era Norman would not have called Dylan; he was deeply distrustful towards him when Dylan did show up an episode later. But current day Norman, who knows his brother loves him and that he loves his brother, would. To make the family complete? Yes and no. Not that Norman cold bloodedly planned suicide by Dylan, but in terms of wishes and wanting, I think he wanted an ending, he knew he wouldn't be able to keep up the fantasy for much longer, and that if he was captured again and medicated he wouldn't be able to keep it up at all. And given that he hadn't been able to succeed with his three suicide attempts (one near the end of s2 when he first realises he kills during his blackout, stopped by Norma, one the murder-suicide from s4, stopped by Romero, and one after Chick has made him face reality for a moment, stopped by Mother), it would have to be someone else who had to kill him. Now if you're Norman Bates, and you killed your mother not because of hate but because of love, that logically means the person who should kill you had to be the last person who still loves you, and who loved her and understands what life is without her: your brother.

By the time Dylan met with his sidekick from the endless drug subplots of seasons past to get a gun, I knew where this was going, and it felt right. And sure enough, it did. As Nelly Dean puts it:

"But poor Hareton, the most wronged, was the only one who really suffered much.  He sat by the corpse all night, weeping in bitter earnest.  He pressed its hand, and kissed the sarcastic, savage face that every one else shrank from contemplating; and bemoaned him with that strong grief which springs naturally from a generous heart, though it be tough as tempered steel."


(Not that Norman was the Heathcliff type, personality wise; as Dylan notes towards the hapless mother with children (the last Norma avatar the show offers), he was always very polite. "Thank you" makes for a kinder farewell than a sarcastic grin.)

There are things I'd have done differently. No Norma in white, for starters; the flashbacks to Norma-from-the-pilot contrasted with her dead body were far more effective. But still: this sad, elegic farewell moved me on behalf of all the participants (including poor Regina, who thankfully gets released from her hostage situation early on), and it was the only way this particular incarnation of the tale could have ended. Like Hareton, Dylan gets his new life with new family. And leaves the sleepers in that quiet earth.

Date: 26 Apr 2017 23:05 (UTC)
serrico: (borgiasheart)
From: [personal profile] serrico
Agreed that this was a very strong, very fitting end for this version of the Bates story. It was a tragic love story from moment one; there was no way Norman was going to live very long without Norma, even with Mother keeping him company.

I thought the gravestone summed them up perfectly: Norman's completely effaced next to Norma's effusive remembrance. It's on-the-nose in the way a lot of this show's detail work was on-the-nose--INCREDIBLY on-the-nose--but as a function of the show's tragi-gothic genre, it was very successful, and a nice little button.

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