Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bates Motel 5x07 Review: "Inseparable" (When Your BFF is Your Dead Mom) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

Original Airdate: March 27, 2017

Norman and Mother are both fighting for the upper hand in their twisted relationship, and Dylan shows up to witness it.


Norman has some cleaning up to do after brutally stabbing Sam Loomis in the shower. Luckily, he has some help. Not in an "extra set of hands" sense of the word, but an inner monologue in the form of his impatient, but loyal Mother “self.” We are fortunate to see this played out physically with Vera Farmiga as Mother assisting Freddie Highmore’s Norman in the bloody aftermath. “You can think about the meaning of life later, but right now we’ve got shit to do.”

Norman is dealing with the realization of killing someone for the first time. He has murdered many times before, but he always blacked out and let Mother deal with it all — the emotions, the stress, and the dumping of bodies. Mother is well-versed in all of this. She tries to help him process it, but she mostly gets annoyed with his sensitivity. “We don’t have time for this emotional bullshit.” Norman is struggling between being in a state of post-traumatic stress and having some control over his actions. In a fantastic scene between the two of them (although, when are their scenes not fantastic?), Mother punches Norman as he becomes paranoid and unhinged. And Norman punches her back! I did not see either of those blows coming. Farmiga’s reaction was great. “I’m going to pretend that didn’t just happen right now.”

Mother is also trying to make sure he knows she is still needed. She talked him into killing on his own and is helping him to confront this side of himself, but she needs him to know that she is a vital part of his life. His lucidity and remorse are a threat to her existence. If he gets himself killed, she is dead, too. If he gets put into an institution and is forced to take meds, she is gone.


Another threat to Mother is Dylan. She knows that Dylan will want to get Norman help, and she can’t have that. Dylan does want to help Norman — he always did — and now seeing Norman’s living conditions and his erratic behavior, he feels it is imperative. He tries to get his old medications filled, and learns that Dr. Edwards has been missing for over a year! What?! That is an interesting and mysterious piece of information that I would like to revisit before the end of the series. Dylan is able to get a temporary prescription for Norman, and he insists that he take it. Norman is wary of Dylan’s help, but you can see compassion and maybe even a spark of hope that he actually can help. He apologizes for keeping Norma’s death from him, and even confides in him in a sad, cryptic way. “I miss our mother. So very much, I can’t even tell you. It’s not the same and it never will be.” This was risky considering Mother was watching.

Norman wants to be trusted to handle Dylan on his own. He tries to convince Mother that he won’t tell him anything, and that he will “never do anything to jeopardize” what they have. But, Dylan is persistent. So persistent that he aggravates Norman’s condition. “Stop trying to confuse me and stop meddling with the truth!” He starts crying and breathing heavily all while trying to convince Dylan that it’s okay for him to leave. It’s another heartbreakingly beautiful performance by Highmore. Max Thieriot is also wonderful in this scene, taking Norman’s plea for him to go as a cry for help.

But, Mother is like “nah bro” and takes over Norman’s body. Dylan watches the transformation in horror. Mother tells him that while she loves him, and is proud of him, she can only “ever be a real mother to one person.” I wish they would’ve cut Farmiga as Mother into this part before the scuffle with the knife. It would’ve been cool to see her say some of that stuff. Not to say Highmore’s delivery was lacking in any way, but I think it could’ve played nicely.

Mother comes very close to killing Dylan, but Norman is able to stop her/himself. They fight for the knife in a well-choreographed struggle, even showing Norman fighting with himself. Norman is able to vanquish her long enough to call 911 and confess to murdering Sam Loomis. His eyes were as wide as mine. He couldn’t believe he was doing that. Dylan couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. Twists and turns are still very much present even after the shocking one we saw in the last episode, “Marion.

Motel Amenities:
  • Freddie Highmore wrote the teleplay for this episode and also has story credit. 
  • The spiral move on Sam’s eye was so awesome!
  • “If I had a quarter I’d make a wish.”
  • The linen day line is from Psycho. Great piece of dialogue to include.
  • Maggie is an overly friendly hostess to the point where it’s kind of creepy. I’m sure she’s just looking out for Romero keeping his moral compass pointed in the right direction like she says, but it’s a bit much. 
  • It’s quite a sight seeing Norman push his dead, frozen mother in a wheelchair through the snow in the woods.
  • Dylan breaking down in Norma’s room was so sad. The reality of her death really hit him there.
  • “Every day feels like a small century.”
  • Highmore and Thieriot really portrayed their complicated relationship well, and showed how much love is between them. It was beautiful and tragic. 
  • Composer Chris Bacon is hitting all the right and painful notes. The score during the scene where Norman takes Norma’s body into the woods, and when Mother speaks with Dylan really played at my heartstrings. 


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