Bates Motel: “The Last Supper” Review
If you’re watching Bates Motel because you love seeing the Bates family have happy times while getting along famously—I have a feeling that you’ll want to stop watching now. The events in “The Last Supper” promise to be the last happy ones for the Bates family—at least from where I’m sitting. This week, the particulars of Emma’s condition were revealed, Romero got his drink on, Chick pressed Caleb on a job, and Professor Finnegan got way more than he bargained for. As usual though, the big star was Norman Bates and is crazy ways—which are about to send him totally over the edge. Spoilers for “The Last Supper” follow.
Norma’s night of reactive panic left our friends in White Pine Bay with many consequences. The first of which is that Emma’s health has worsened, which Dylan learns when Emma’s new Dad informs him. No, Emma presumably has the same father she’s always had. But actor Ian Hart (Harry Potter 1, Boardwalk Empire) has been replaced by actor Andrew Howard. They look awfully similar though—at first I wasn’t sure it was a different guy. Emma staying up all night looking after Norman and Dylan has sapped her strength. It’s clear to everyone that she doesn’t have much time left. Emma resolves to get the most out of what remains of her life, which includes dinner with Dylan. Yowza!
Norma needs a new phone. While she’s picking one up, she calls Norman “a twit” and tells him he’s not masculine. Maybe don’t make him carry your purse then, Norma. When Norma finally gets her messages, she’s alarmed to see dozens of messages from Dylan, and a few more from Romero. Apparently everyone is afraid that Norma is dead. She finds that ridiculous. Riiiight. Across town, Bob “sex party” Paris is annoyed to see a car parked in his drive. He’s more annoyed that inside the car is the dead body of Marcus Young, his pick to replace Romero as sheriff.
Finnegan keeps calling Norma, which only adds to Norman’s jealousy and suspicion. She puts Finnegan off though. Norma returns home to find Alex Romero in her house (Jackpot!), and makes light of his concern for both of their safety. After some cajoling, Norma finally tells him where the flash drive is. He heads there. Dylan spends the morning talking to Mr. Decody about Emma. She needs a lung transplant, and for about $20 grand, they can move her up the list. Honestly, that figure sounds low to me. Dylan doesn’t say so, but we can see he’s determined to get the money. When Romero arrives at the farm, he meets Caleb for the first time; he then has some words with Gunner. Eventually, Romero looks at the Paris files—and gets some terrible news. It’s a list of those who profited from the WPB drug trade. Among them is his long-dead mother. I guess Norman isn’t the only one in that town with mommy issues. Turns out, Paris is not responsible for this. The culprit is Romero’s own father—and this guy is a piece of work.
When Dylan approaches his mom with a somber request to talk, she assumes he wants her to see Caleb again. But no, he needs to tell her about Norman’s latest psycho-tic break (see what I did there?). She seems worried, but not nearly as much as she should be. Dylan describes the situation best: between the dead animals, Miss Watson, the blackouts, hallucinations, fits of anger, together it’s all way too much to be dismissed. They even mention locking Norman up. Sad times.
Sheriff Sexypants heads to the prison, because that’s where they’re keeping his dad. Dad Romero could give a crap about his wife’s good name, his son’s feelings, or anything else that doesn’t directly impact him. Alex tells the old man that if he doesn’t get his mom’s name off that list—he’s going to kill him. I believe that, since we’ve already seen Alex kill several people. But I also think he’s killed too many people to say he’s “nothing like” his dad, who was a crooked cop. The drug guy from last season, and Marcus Young were both straight-up executions. Ditto Abernathy from Season One.
Speaking of untrustworthy characters, Chick pops by Dylan’s place to confirm Caleb’s participation in the driving gig. Turns out, it’s gun running—which is way worse than pot IMO. Caleb backs out, but Dylan says he’s in. Watch as Caleb tries to “father” Dylan. Not bloody likely. But given Emma’s situation, it seems clear that Dylan will do it—maybe with Caleb along for the ride. That could be the impetus of the kind of tragedy Bates Motel loves laying on us toward the end of a story arc. I do think Caleb is trying hard to be a good guy. He’s just not very skilled at it.
After a full day of Norma not returning messages, Finnegan shows up at the Bates place unannounced. She invites him in to speak with Norman, which does not go so well. Norman calls him out about sleeping with his mother, a patient, and how that could lose him his license to practice. Even though we know Norman needs therapy, the way he verbally decimates this guy is nothing short of delightful. Observe how the sparkling dialogue occurs amid Norman plucking the insides out of a dead bird. I think it’s an owl. Sucks that some wizard probably won’t get his mail now. J That buzzing Norman describes is heard by a lot of people. Finnegan starts out intrigued, but gets increasingly furious when Norman presses him about what it was like to sleep with his mother. Finnegan does recognize this for the Oedipal nightmare it is, which spurs Norman to choke him out. Or wait—was that Norman? I’ve watched this scene a dozen times, and am pretty sure that’s Norman as Mother who decided to choke a bitch. You can see the transformation while Finnegan is still talking. In the end though, the helpful family therapist runs out of there in terror. Get him some help, Norma. Right away! Yeah, like that’ll happen.
Many of Bates Motel’s references to Hitchcock and Bloch are subtle, and you almost need to be looking for them. This season though, they’ve become downright blatant. Norma wraps her arms around her darling son and explains, I just went a little mad. We all go a little mad sometimes. We already know this is one of the more memorable lines from Psycho. Does this huge hint dropping mean that we’re getting closer to the film’s inciting incident? I think so. Norma decides to make her boys a nice meal—but first, a drunken Sheriff Romero asks her to come pick him up. He’s a funny drunk too.
When we first met Romero, he seemed like a hardass who was gonna be nothing but trouble for the Bates family. These days though, he and Norma have developed a mutual respect. That’s why it’s so damn cute when he drunkenly tells her that she’s pretty, and the two share a flirty moment. She’s right—he will hate that he said that to her. Nothing untoward happens though, which is a relief. Alex sleeps it off at the motel while Norma prepares the so-called Last Supper. This episode title more than any other (except this season’s finale, but I won’t reveal that for those who don’t already know) portends doom for at least some of our favorite characters. Dylan and Emma decide to have their dinner with the whole Bates family. Not very romantic, but Norman is supposed to be her boyfriend anyway, not Dylan.
While Norma heads out to the garden to pick herbs or some such, who should show up but Caleb, with flowers? She resists this overture, but ends up inviting him in for dinner. They sing piano songs, just like she and Norman do—or did. It’s cool seeing Dylan when his parents are together—even if they’re totally Lannister. All of these people deserve to have a decent life. Norman is furious when he thinks Dylan brought Caleb into the house, and inconsolable when he learns it was actually Norma. That’s when Romero shows up, and we see who all the guests at “The Last Supper” will be. Norman’s jealousy doesn’t seem related to his mental illness, only to his upbringing. Norma’s beautiful toast is a sad reminder that all hell is about to break loose. The other shoe will surely drop soon, and it’s gonna be nightmarish. Also, I don’t think you’re supposed to offer a choice or red or white wine with chicken marsala.
If you were bummed that “The Last Supper” wasn’t creepy enough, the last scene should fix you right up. Norman sneaks into Norma’s bedroom while she’s sleeping, eyeing her hungrily and proceeding to lay hands on her in a way that’s unbecoming of a son. “You belong to me” plays in the background as Freddie Highmore gives us another of Norman’s insanely disturbing camera mugs. We can see the madness radiating from him. That poor kid.
I’d love to know who you all think will die by the end of this season. I’m thinking these last three eps will be a massacre. Either Dylan or Caleb will surely die on the gun run—maybe even both. Romero could die due to his feud with Paris, Emma is terminally ill, and Norma doesn’t even seem to realize the peril she’s in with her own boy. I’m feeling reasonably sure that this is the season Norma gets it. Luckily for us, that doesn’t have to mean we lose Vera Farmiga. I await your predictions.
See you’s next week!