TV Review: Bates Motel S4, Episode #9 (Forever)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

EPISODE 9: Forever

CHECKING IN: Norma (Vera Farminga) leaves Romero (Nestor Carbonnell), Dylan (Max Thieriot) wants "out" of his family's BS while Norman falls apart at the seams (Freddie Highmore). 

THE ROOM: Consider my ass royally kicked by last night’s BATES MOTEL. It was actually the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning – I feel like I'm in mourning. To say I teared up like a man-child with a filled diaper would be an understatement; I got schooled and then some! Yesterday’s episode was a very emotional hour starting with the aftermath of Norma and Romero’s break up. 

The confrontation Norma had with Romero, Norma completely breaking down in front of her son when realizing that it is in fact over with him, Norma's letter to Romero (with the ring) and her being back where she started, in that dysfunctional  vicious circle. Man… it was so heartbreaking for me; to witness a character that wants her life to be better, that wants to be happy but that alas doesn’t have the tool-set to achieve said goal. She is her own worst enemy. I’ve met a couple of “Normas” in my life i.e. people that are beyond saving – and yes that did up the emotional resonance of the episode for me.

Norma, Norma, Norma…:(

Dylan realizing that as well (how nothing will ever change with Norma) also made way for quite the poignant scene. For a bit there I was afraid for Dylan as he was being reeled in once again by Norma and Norman’s antics; hence I almost wanted to cheer when he put his foot down and said “enough”  – I’m out. I say almost because I was too wowed by Max Thieriot’s powerful performance to be in a cheering mood. Thieriot has come a long way in the role of Dylan; and for me he peaked here giving his 4 seasons best. That was one hell of a scene for the lad. Kudos!  Witnessing Norma and Norman “reconnect” and fall back into the same old patterns stirred me too. In fact, not once in 4 seasons I have felt as much pity for this duo as I did last night. You want them to evolve, you want them to overcome and to see them rinse and repeat was depressing.

Obviously the biggest stab in the heart was the finale. Norman finding Emma’s mom suitcase, putting on the iconic “Mother dress” (a PSYCHO fanboy pleasing moment) and realizing that he/she or they are too f*cked to go on in this world. The manner in which they orchestrated the scene (to the tune of Mr. Sandman no less) with the beautiful tracking shot through the vents was captivating and disconcerting. But I felt hope as Romero barged into that door. I was sure Norma would be saved and we’d move on. So when she didn’t wake up and Romero (An excellent Carbonell – the man brought it!) broke down – well I broke down with him and realized “oh f*ck, they just pulled the trigger”.


I knew it was coming, we all knew it was coming but there was no way I knew it was coming in this episode. Just two episodes ago or so we saw Norma achieve her life long goal: she was free of her son, she was in love with a GOOD man and she was happy! Now I'm writing a f*cking eulogy. I was crushed and am still crushed.

So yeah, a moment of silence please for one of the most layered, likeable in all of her "f*cked-upness" and memorable female characters to ever grace our TV set. I am very much aware that Vera Farminga’s Norma will be back as Norman’s split personality – but the real Norma, with all of  her ups and downs, her endearing neurotic demeanor, her charm, sexiness and winning sense of humor – well it seems that she’s gone…for good. One more episode to go and one more season to go. See ya next week Bates fans. Today, I am in mourning…

Random Thoughts: I didn’t address the DA subplot, cause it felt inconsequential in light of the other events in the episode – but seeing that chick get Romero-ed was a pleasure…lol!

Was I alone in shaking my head in despair when Norma still wanted that earring to protect Norman after her fight with Dylan?

Romero didn't die, Caleb didn't die, Chick didn't die – this season fooled me and then some. Props!

I have to ask: you think real life Norma is gone for good? Is she coming back to life in the next episode? I don't think so, but am curious as to your thoughts…



Source: Arrow in the Head

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