Is Norman Bates just a victim at this point in “Bates Motel,” or is his homicidal future already a foregone conclusion?
That’s question the new episode of “Bates Motel” left viewers with after a major revelation. First Dylan, Norman’s half-brother, plants a seed of doubt in him that his father wasn’t killed by a freak accident, but rather intentionally by his mother Norma. Norma, when asked, denies its. Later, Norma explains to Dylan what actually happened the day her husband died. The damning flashback reveals that Norman – not his mother and not a falling shelf– actually killed his father.
Or did he? We have only Norma’s word for it and she’s hardly a credible source. She has killed, obscured evidence and a past of obscuring evidence and is often clearly unstable.
By contrast, Norman, up until this point, has been a model of relative stability and common sense. He has somewhat normal relationships with girls. Overall, he seems like he’s just trying to do what’s best for his struggling, single mother, who he thinks might need help. He even urges her to confess to killing Keith Summers, her would-be rapist.
The flashback, however, throws a wrench in the game and provides yet another taste of the psycho Norman will become. If he can suppress a memory like killing his father, he certainly could go through the mental gymnastics of becoming his dead mother. Even though Bates Motel often casts him as a victim, he’s well on his way to becoming a psychotic killer.