Review: Bates Motel S5 E08: The Body

It’s all coming together. Just when I thought Chick (Ryan Hurst) was going to be forgotten, missing from the last few episodes of Bates Motel, he returns in 508, “The Body,” for his storyline to conclude.   He has never been one of my favorite parts of the show; however, I did find myself wondering what had happened to him. His final scene is as funny as it is brutal.

It involves Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell), who has finally reached White Pine Bay and the Bates Motel. What he learns there is enough to push a man who’s teetering on the edge, all the way over it. That’s even though the motel and house are empty, sealed for investigation following Norman’s (Freddie Highmore) confession last week that he killed Sam Loomis.That’s the focus of the episode, as Norman/Norma (Vera Farmiga) plays a cat and mouse game with Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) during multiple interrogations. Norman sticks to his story about killing Loomis and hiding his body, but Greene doesn’t believe him! It’s only when Norma takes over in an effort to protect her son that Greene becomes suspicious.

Norma doesn’t come and go as easily as she used to. In fact, the only way she can emerge is to physically bash Norman’s head against the toilet in his holding cell until he’s unconscious. Highmore, as always, does an incredible job of becoming Norma and imitating Farmiga. As usual, though, she makes matters worse with a failed attempt to throw Madeleine (Isabelle McNally) under the bus.

These scenes are fascinating to watch. We see Highmore/Norman sitting at a table in the interrogation room, then the camera pans to a mirror, where we see Farmiga/Norma in his place. Although this “trick” has been used before, Highmore directed this episode and it feels creepier than ever. (He also does some interesting camerawork with Chick’s arrival at the motel.)Meanwhile, Dylan (Max Thieriot) checks into the Kings Motel while trying to get his brother’s medicine to him and hiring a lawyer, Julia Ramos (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) to represent him. I don’t remember if Julia appeared in other seasons of Bates Motel, but it’s clear that Dylan knows her from his days in the town’s marijuana industry.

If there’s a common thread to all this, Dylan explains it best. “He belongs in an institution. He’s crazy, but he’s not a bad person. He’s not a criminal.” Dylan knows that. Chick knew that. Norman has even accepted that. Now, though, when it counts, Greene and Ramos have to figure it out for themselves. The wild card remains gun-toting Alex. I don’t think Norman’s mental state matters to him.

The Body
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