Bates Motel “Unconscious” Review (Season 3 Episode 10)

Bates Motel "Unconscious" Season 3 Finale 2015 (4)

It’s been a great season for Bates Motel. After an incredibly confident first season and a somewhat wobbly second, the third one has done a great job to reinvigorate the series. All of our main cast has been very well developed in these ten episodes, with mainly Caleb and Romero getting some great material, and the introduction of new characters Chick and Bob Paris has been great as well.

Speaking of the elusive Mr. Paris, we kicked off the episode with a little glimpse into the DEA’s efforts to bring him down. Anika Noni Rose returned as the leader of this investigation, and when we started off the episode tonight she’s already planning out how to get into his house! I was surprised that everything moved forward so quickly with Bob Paris and this USB drive. I don’t know much about federal investigations, but the little I do know from from other TV shows and from the news is that these things can sometimes take months to get into place. There’s usually so much red tape and legal hurdles to jump over, but here it looked like they were storming the castle about one day after getting that flash drive! I feel like we were a little shortchanged in this investigation, and it’s a bummer considering they attached an actress as great as Rose to head this up. Maybe she’ll stick around for season four to try to figure out where Paris went, and maybe that will lead her to Romero. Alex did make that very ill-advised phone call to Bob to warn him. Won’t that phone call be tracked? Isn’t there a record of it somewhere? I guess we’ll find out next season. Overall it does feel like the “big bad” of the season was definitely downplayed in this season as opposed to the first two. However, I’m sure this was intentional so that we got even more screentime for the Bates family drama and all of the other characters that we’ve come to love so much.

The aforementioned Bates drama tonight came when Norma told Norman that she was looking for an institution to send Norman to. This obviously made him upset, which I can’t believe Norma didn’t see coming. It doesn’t matter how nice the looney bin is that you’re sending your son to, it’s still just a looney bin to them! I feel like Norma runs very hot and cold on her attempts to fix Norman. She had him talk to her boyfriend, the sometimes psychiatrist/sometimes college professor, which went understandably badly. Why not take him to a regular psychiatrist, or at least her local doctor?! She tries to get her son, the guy with well established mommy issues, to talk to a psychiatrist that banged her? She thought that would work? Even she admitted that it was stupid. When that doesn’t work, she shoots for the stars and inquires about getting him into a $40,000-per-month psychiatric institution. These are two extremes here, Norma. Two ends of the spectrum. Why not get some health insurance (They have Obamacare in White Pine Bay!) and take him to a doctor to see what they’d recommend. Not only is it a more rational and affordable thing to do, but it probably wouldn’t scare Norman so much. You can tell that he does want to get better, but not by being sent away from his mother.

Before we get to all of the craziness at the end, I wanted to squeal like a little girl when Dylan and Emma finally kissed! I’m really rooting for these two to work out, and I’m glad that Emma has survived through the season and that she’ll most likely be getting new lungs soon. I hope that A&E is able to lock up Olivia Cooke for as long as possible, because her work with Max Thieriot is wonderful. I also love the writing these two have had as a couple. They don’t talk like they have professional writers writing for them, they talk like teenagers that are trying to speak in romanticisms. It’s the best! “You’re the least ridiculous person I know” really isn’t the best line to use on a girl, but it really works for Dylan. I was also a fan of “You’re a friggin’ warrior.” They should put these sayings on those little candy hearts for Valentine’s Day!

Ok, we’ve put it off long enough, so let’s get to that crazy ending! As soon as Bradley Martin returned to White Pine Bay, you kinda knew that Norman would end up killing her. I’m glad that she came back to be this season’s big kill, because otherwise I was afraid it’d be Emma, but I just wish it wasn’t so obvious from the jump. Really it’s about as low risk of a kill as Norman can do. The only people who know she’s alive are his family members, and even if they found out he killed her they wouldn’t turn him in. I’m not sure if Norman is becoming more discerning and mature as a killer and he’s trying to only kill low risk targets that won’t be missed, or maybe he just had to let “Norma” take over and didn’t have any say.

I guess I’m still not entirely clear on how this whole alternate identity thing works. They’ve shown during this season that Norman has been aware of this Fake Norma not being real, telling her over and over again that she’s not really there. But then he ends up talking to her and walking arm-in-arm with her, so maybe he’s finally snapped and not been able to tell the difference between realities? The transition from Norman to “Norma” was incredible tonight, as the actor changed from Highmore to Farmiga right before Bradley was torn from her car. This was a brutal scene, but it was really cool to see Farmiga so heavily involved like that. This is a very interesting visual choice, and I wander if we’re going to see “Norma” commit all of his kills. After all, even when Norman’s all grown up in “Psycho”, he still thinks it’s his mom doing all the killing!

So here we are again! Another season in the books, and Norman has taken another big leap forward to becoming the serial killer we all know he’ll be one day. At this point you have to wonder how much longer they’ll keep this up. How long can they really run in place and keep Norman from making that final transition? Will they change the “Psycho” lore and keep Norma alive? Or can Norman kill Norma in real life and continue the series with Vera Farmiga only appearing as Fake Norma? I can’t wait to see what happens next! Bring on season four!

What did you think of the episode, and of the season as a whole? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– Did we ever get any follow up to Romero shooting that other Sheriff candidate in cold blood? This show isn’t usually one to let storylines dangle for too long, so maybe this will come back to bite Romero down the line. Maybe it’ll be part of Anika Noni Rose’s investigation!

– Not sure if I buy Dylan listening to Snow Patrol’s “Light Up” in the car. Doesn’t really strike me as his type of music.

– How bad is it that I just recently realized that they had recast Emma’s dad? Ian Hart played him in the first season, and now it’s Andrew Howard. I guess it means you did a good job recasting if I couldn’t tell the difference between the bald English dudes playing the role!

– I love how Norma recapped all of the crazy stuff that went down between her and Norman and then just handed Dylan the keys to the basement, and he just took them and kept walking without saying a word.