Note: this is a collaborative review written by Dave and Sam!
This season starts off a bit slow but once it starts to pick up the pace it certainly does redeem itself as a final send off to Norman bates.
I’m gonna start off with the things I didn’t like about this season, as I have already mentioned before some of the earlier episodes this season was slow and no much happened and I was not impressed with the way they killed off Caleb. They spend a whole episode with Caleb and chuck in a basement all tied up and Caleb saw Norman in his full psychotic state. It seemed it was leading up to Caleb dying at the hands of Norman but after all that he just ends up getting run over whilst trying to escape, I can’t help but think that was a pitiful way for Caleb to bow out. Then there were the scenes in which Norman was imagining his mother which for me got very confusing as to whether Norman knew whether his mother was dead or if she was alive in his head and is hiding out in the motel. I also wished they would have picked a better actress to play such an iconic role as Marion than Rihanna. Her acting was so wooden and I literally cringed watching her trying to act, especially when she was on screen with Freddie Highmore, who is a far better actor, by miles.
The things that I absolutely loved about this season was for me the shower scene. I loved how they tricked you into thinking they were killing off Marion in the shower just like in the movie psycho but instead she gets out and walks away leaving you to think that we’re not going down the way of the movie at all. To then flip the whole shower scene on its head and have sam as the real intended shower victim was impressive and caught by surprise. It also proved to me that they made a perfect choice in choosing Freddie Highmore as Norman bates. In that particular scene, he looked menacing and completely out of his mind. It was scary but a fantastic scene.
The amazing thing about Norman is that even though he is a killer and we supposed to hate him, I can’t help sometimes but feel for him, he is like a lost little boy who just wants his mother. That is made abundantly clear in the final scenes in which I watched at the edge of my seat. It was heartbreaking to see Dylan try and save his little brother from his own insanity when all Dylan ever wanted was a normal life with his family but the truth is he can never have that as Norman wants to believe his dead mother is alive and everything is all rosy. When Norman finally starts to realise his mother is no longer around he reacts in a way that only he could understand and that is to take away the one person he believes is taking away the person who he really loves, Norma. Those scenes in which he sits his mother’s corpse at the dinner table are truly terrifying but you can’t help but carry on watching it.
The ending does make sense to me as Norman truly can’t live without Norma, even in death, and even though their bond was at times quite strange and weird it is clear to me that it is always going to be Norman and Norma against the world.
As a final season it is quite good and even though I enjoyed some episodes more than others I am really glad that they ended it right.
My thoughts are little different on this series than that of Sam’s, however we can agree on one thing, Rihanna as Marion just didn’t work, she was wooden and it felt like they were trying too hard to push her onto the audience. Let’s get one thing clear regardless of my disappointment at series 5 as a whole Freddie Highmore played the character of Norman Bates very well, in fact I think he deserves an Emmy nomination at the very least.
My disappointments of the series have got to be how they handled the Marion character, they built it up to be more than it actually was and the direction it went was disappointing in the end Norman allowed her to escape but killed her cheating boyfriend in the shower that was a homage to a scene that originally had Marion being stabbed to death by Norman Bates (Psycho movie) and while I understand that they didn’t want to copy the movie (I’m glad they didn’t go that route) it still felt disjointed that they changed the character who was killed in the shower and thus they played around with a scene that didn’t need to be touched. It also felt like the series could of done without the Marion character because she didn’t add anything to the series as she was not one of Norman’ victims.
At times this series was very slow and it showed as the series moved forward, Dylan and Emma were not even introduced until much later in the series which i don’t understand because there was more than enough room for them early on, in fact bringing them back earlier could of helped with the slowness of the series at the start. It also felt like brining Emma back was only done in order for her to learn about the death of her mother and the fact that it was Norman who killed her.
The ending of the series is a more difficult one to sum up, we saw Romero kidnap Norman from his holding cell only to have Norman kill him, it wasn’t the death of Romero that was irritating it was the fact that he turned his back on Norman a man who he knew had killed his own mother, Norman then took the opportunity to hit him a few times before shooting him with his own gun. It was clumsy and not something that a police sherif would do. Norman then returned home under the delusion that his mother was there, mixing it with flashbacks from series 1 was a good idea as it returns the audience to the beginning, Norman was preparing dinner when he called his brother Dylan who he invited to the house still under delusion that “mother” was alive.
Dylan arrived at the house and saw Norma’s dead body (which by now would of been decomposing in a big way) Dylan began to argue and try to reason with Norman that he needs help, this is where it went downhill because in that instant we are expected to believe that Norman snapped out of his delusion and realised that “mother” is in fact dead (a man who was earlier in the series diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder) in that moment he couldn’t bare to be without his mother and saw only one way out and so he picked up a knife from the counter and ran at Dylan who was forced to shoot Norman, who then died in his arms.
While I didn’t completely hate the ending it also didn’t seem right, here we had Norman who was under the delusion that his mother was still alive sometimes to the point where he would take on her personality and yet it all it took was for Dylan to shout at him in order to snap him out of it, I just didn’t buy it and would of preferred my alternate ending (see below).
Norman is found guilty of the multiple murders and is sentenced to death by lethal injection. We see Norman on the gurney, he is still under the delusion that mother is alive and well, his personality flits between the two as Norman gives his last words, drugs are then injected into him as he lays strapped on the gurney. Dylan, Emma and Romero are all sat in the witness room next door watching the execution through a big glass window, they all look emotional but with differing emotions, Emma and Dylan are upset but Romero looks satisfied. As the drugs are pumped into Norman’s body his eyes close and he fades to unconsciousness, the last thing we see is a smile light up Norman’s face. FADE TO BLACK.
Overall the series wasn’t as I had hoped it would be but it also wasn’t as bad as it could of been (not half as bad as the How I Met Your Mother final episode, yes I’m still mad about that). It could of done with a little tiding up in places and some characters like Emma needed more screen time, while others felt out of place (Marion) but overall It’s still a series I will re-watch and will be on buying on Blu Ray boxset (when it’s announced).