TV Review: Bates Motel 5.5 “Dreams Die First”
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Bates Motel
Season 5 Episode 5: “Dreams Die First”
Directed by Nestor Carbonell
Written by Erica Lipez & Kerry Ehrin
Created by Anthony Cipriano, Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin
Starring Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Nestor Carbonell, Olivia Cooke
Air Date: Monday, March 20th, 2017, 10pm

Warning! Spoilers below for the last 2 episodes of Bates Motel!

As we reach the midway point of the final season of A&E’s Bates Motel, Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) is struggling to deal with the walls closing in around him. Mother (Vera Farmiga) refuses to let him make his own decisions, and after telling off Chick (Ryan Hurst), he ends up begging for his friendship. This after Chick gave Caleb (Kenny Johnson) a viking funeral! There’s a new sheriff in town who is starting to poke around, and brings warnings for Norman as Romero (Nestor Carbonell) has escaped custody. Then there is the trickiest of all situations, as Norman gets closer to local store owner Madeleine Loomis (Isabelle McNally), but alas Mother inevitably will ruin that. This week Nestor Carbonell steps back behind the camera, as we inch closer to Hitchcock and welcome a very special guest to the Motel.

Spoilers below for this week’s Bates Motel:

After a few episodes away, Dyl-Emma are back on screen. I really hope it’s brief. I want them to stay away and live a long happy life. When Emma (Olivia Cooke) finds an old earring and tries to discuss bringing Norma into the baby’s life, Dylan (Max Thieriot) does not handle it well. Sheriff Jane Greene (Brooke Smith) can’t fight the feeling that Norman is a target for Romero, and tries to dig deeper into Norman and Romero’s tumultuous relationship. This includes Norman’s visit to the jail just a day before the escape.

Norman finds out that he blacked out again after running out on Madeleine, and Norma(n) wound up at a bar late and left the car there. Madeleine apologizes for being forward but Norman chalks it up to needing human companionship. Freddie Highmore continues to dazzle by subtly towing that line between a strange yet innocent, lonely young man, and quiet sociopath. He recommends she talk it out with her husband, but he is busy canoodling with Marion Crane (!!!), played here by popstar Rihanna. Sam (Austin Nichols) wants to leave his wife and marry Marion in Seattle, but his debts are too big to leave. When she offers to go to White Pine Bay, he tells her how claustrophobic it is. When she heads back to work, she’s objectified by the men around her including a man who shamelessly showcases a briefcase filled with $400K inside… not a good idea.

Norman confesses to Madeleine that he knows about Sam cheating, and that does not go over well as you may imagine. Neither does getting the car back from the bar, in which Norman first gets weird glances from the owner, and then finds undergarments in the back seat of the car… Marion’s boss hands her over the briefcase to make the deposit. I totally get the desire to include these scenes because they echo the original film closely, but because they follow the film so closely, it actually feels a bit forced. One of the things I love so much about Bates Motel is the show’s ability to take characters that are part of Americana since 1960, and make them fresh and original. With Marion’s entrance, it works counterintuitively. Maybe it’s me being picky, and my critique here is not a slight against Rihanna who handles the role quite well.

Norman has a random encounter with Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton) and they sit for lunch. He lies about still being on his meds and not having blackouts. Edwards knows what’s up but Norman runs off, back to the motel. As Norman flees one uncomfortable situation, Marion pulls her own disappearing act. She deposits the money into her own suitcase and heads off down the Pacific coast.

Dylan finally confesses what has him so torn up. The earring Emma found was actually her mother’s and he is worried Norman did something to her. As their peaceful world implodes, Norman goes into full meltdown finding out that Norma(n) has been picking up men at the bar where the car was parked. As Norman gets back to the hotel, he is there right in time to meet the newest resident.

This was a transitional episode as the focus here was on meeting Marion Crane and getting Dyl-Emma back to White Pine Bay. The wheels are turning towards the finale, and I’m not interested to see how far they take things into the world of the film. I told my wife that if I had my druthers, the last scene of the last episode would be Marion knocking on the door of the Bates Motel looking for a room. With an entire season left, I am just worried they are going to forego the show’s uniqueness and originality to fit everything into place. Critiques aside, the show remains one of the finest acted on television and we got another tour de force from Freddie Highmore this week. Rihanna was excellent and I’m genuinely intrigued to see what direction they go in now. It has all built to this…

Bates Motel returns to A&E next Monday night at 10:00 PM.

Image Gallery


Bates Motel 5×05 Promo “Dreams Die First”

Norman attempts to piece together Mother’s movements. Elsehwere: Dylan and Emma confront an ugly truth while Sam’s girlfriend Marion makes a spur-of-the-moment decision with far-reaching consequences.

1 Comment »

  1. I agree that the introduction of Marion Crane and setting up the original “Psycho” scenario seemed forced and took us out of the usual flow of the show, which has always worked so well on its own. It’s not a major complaint, but I didn’t know if I was alone in feeling that as I watched those scenes so I am glad to see you mention it. As you say, Rihanna does just fine in the role (and she is absolutely gorgeous) so it’s not her fault at all. And I have faith they will successfully weave all of this together and do justice to the source material while maintaining the unique pulse and style of the show. I think these remaining episodes are going to be bonkers. The already twisted Norman/Norma thing got even more so with the reveal that Norma is going out in public and interacting with people, but it’s Norman in drag. Whoa! I love this show.

    Comment by Hugomarink — March 22, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

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