Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bates Motel 5x09 Review: "Visiting Hours" (Brother’s Keeper) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

"Visiting Hours"
Original Airdate: April 17, 2017

The penultimate episode of Bates Motel is a quiet one. It focuses on how the murders affect the people involved and how their reactions affect those close to them.


The amount of crap Dylan gets from people in this episode is absurd. He is grieving the loss of his mother as well as the fate of his brother. His wife is harsh, the lawyer he hired guilt trips him, and Madeline puts some blame on him. And he is understanding about all of it, taking each burden on his shoulders as it is handed to him. The massive amount of compassion that Dylan has is why he can empathize with every person that takes their sorrow and frustration out on him. 

At first I was a little perplexed as to why both Emma and Madeline were so distraught about the deaths of Audrey and Sam, respectively. Of course a family member dying is awful, but I figured that the victims being awful would make the hurt a little less severe. It wasn’t until the man at the funeral home tells Emma that “sometimes those are the hardest losses” that I started to understand how the ill feeling about the relationship can expose the unresolved issues and keep them exposed like an open wound. Dylan already understands this having gone through something similar with Caleb, and if he finds out about his death, he will have to deal with even more of these conflicted feelings. Dylan is patient and accepts other people’s pain and worry, and adds it to his own, but how long can he keep that up? Emma does soften a bit toward the end which is good because Dylan needs her support and to grieve with her.

Madeline is much colder, judging Dylan on his relationship with his brother and how he is dealing with his grief. I realize her horrible husband is dead, but that is no reason to get nasty with someone she doesn’t know and has no idea what he’s been through. It felt like a kick him while he’s down moment, and the whole episode really made me super sad for Dylan.


When I described this episode as quiet I meant up until the last five minutes when Romero breaks into the jail and takes Norman. Is it a thing to ship a murder? Because if Norman is going to die, I want Romero to be the one to kill him. Romero is a broken hearted shell of a man who only has this revenge killing to keep him going. If he completes his mission, I’m not sure what will become of him. If he doesn’t, I don’t see him surviving the pain and defeat.

The thing is, I don’t even know if I want Norman to die. Even though he is bat-crap crazy, I am kind of fond of the Mother he created. Although she is not Norma, Norman was close enough to her to imbue some of her spirit into his manifestation of her. Even the death of a whacked out version of her will feel like the death of Norma, my most beloved character on the show.

And does Norman deserve to die? Mother makes an interesting point: “Death isn’t about deserving. It’s just part of the deal.” This kind of thing is an oft-debated subject. Dylan says “Norman is sweet, he’s just out of his mind.” Who pays for the sins of the crazy person? Will it bring justice to the victim’s families? Everyone is a victim in this situation, including Norman. He is consumed by his disease, and we witnessed his valiant albeit futile fight against it. His lawyer makes a good case to Dylan: “No one is going to want to see his illness once they see the evidence of his crimes. They need to see his connection to humanity.”

I surmised in my review of “The Body” that there is no way out for Norman. I don’t think there is a way out for Romero either. However it ends in the finale, Romero will just suffer more or cease to be. It is tragic, but we have to know that there was always a high possibility of not getting a happy ending. The film didn’t have a happy ending. The film didn’t even have closure, so even that is not guaranteed. I have enjoyed this series so much, and especially this last season, that I predict the finale will be satisfying even if I can’t pinpoint what a satisfying ending would look like to me.

Motel Amenities:
  • I wonder if Chick’s manuscript would’ve been used in Norman’s trial.
  • “I never wanted to bring you anything but happiness.” 
  • “I don’t know if we’re going to make it through this.” Um, excuse me, Emma?!
  • “Everyone has multiple personalities. We pull out what we need when we have to.” I love love love this line!
  • Mother talking to Julia about being a mother is so enthralling. We see Mother saying these things about motherhood and it makes sense. She is still a mother trying to protect her child even if she is a figment of Norman’s delusion. But, we know Julia is seeing Norman say this to her which must be really eerie. 
  • “One step closer to Hell?”
  • “Now a bad time?” “It’s going to be a bad time for awhile.”
  • “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys is a gut-wrenching song to play while Romero is on the screen. 
  • I like how Vera Farmiga as Mother stood up in the courtroom when the judge asked the defendant to stand.
  • “Norman only tricked me for a couple of weeks. How did he trick you for your whole life?” Take a seat, Madeline. Take several seats. 
  • The scene where Emma goes to see Norman is fantastic. She needed a little redemption after being so hard on Dylan. She immediately sees that it is not Norman and she asks to speak with him. Mother won’t let him talk to her because he is sleeping and she wants him to wake up to the smell of apple pie so he will know everything will be okay. I can’t with this imagery, Mother. All the tears. Then Emma asks Mother to tell Norman that she misses him. More tears. 
  • OMG, Romero is having Norman take him to Norma’s body. The finale is going to be INTENSE!


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