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‘Bates Motel’ Recap: ‘Visiting Hours’

A&E | Photo by Cate Cameron

Our favorite cast of characters is in deep trouble, Bates fans. And they’ve only got one episode left to sort it all out!

While last week’s episode followed Mother and her attempts to manipulate the legal system, this week’s episode put our eyes on Emma as she deals with the aftermath of her mother’s death.

As Norman/Mother is being processed at the county jail, Emma turns up in White Pine Bay to offer Dylan the support he needs during this ordeal. Almost straight away, Dylan lays the bad news on her shoulders: that her mother is dead and that Norman is the culprit. Initially, she’s in disbelief and Dylan takes the opportunity to reason with her. He explains that Norman is still the sweet guy Emma remembers, but that he simply has a darker side to him that sometimes takes over.

But Emma won’t have it. No explanation is enough for her to excuse Norman’s actions. More than that, though, she never wants to see him again. “I just might kill him,” she explains.

Emma spends much of the episode at the White Pine Bay funeral home making arrangements for her mother. Here, she asks about Norma.

“She was more of a mother to me than my own mother,” Emma says to the funeral director.

It’s interesting to see how many people truly loved Norma despite all her flaws. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but even I have found myself getting a little weepy over Norma’s death. The impact of that character is still so real–not only for the other characters on the show, but also for us an audience.

A&E | Photo by Cate Cameron


While Emma’s making funeral arrangements, the police are canvassing the Bates home and motel for evidence. They find Audrey’s luggage and Chick’s body. They also find that Norman’s been sleeping in Norma’s bedroom. As the camera pans over the room, we see yet another example of how difficult it’s been for Norman to cope with Norma’s death. The room is scattered with photos of the two of them at different points in their lives. The photos are selected with care and at very first glance, they tell the whole story to anyone who sets eyes on them: this mother truly loved her son, and Norman simply can’t let that go.

Just after we’re confronted with these heartwarming images, we’re reminded of the tragedy that mother-son bond created. We meet up with Romero, who has taken Norma’s car and is lying in wait to catch a glimpse of Norman. He’s super gung-ho about tracking Norman down and nothing is going to stop him from achieving his end goal.

In jail, Norman/Mother visits with lawyer Julia who explains that it’s in his best interest to plead insanity. But Mother is completely against the idea. The problem is that there’s simply no other option, unless Norman would like to face the death penalty.

Here, Julia shows a softer face than we’ve seen so far. She’s convinced that Norman has dissociative identity disorder and would benefit in this situation from a proper evaluation. Though Julia may be a no-nonsense lawyer, she seems to be experiencing a tiny bit of sympathy for Norman. The sad part is Mother isn’t exactly receptive to that sympathy. I have a feeling that Julia will be danger in the next episode if she presses the issue…

In court, Norman faces the judge with Julia and Dylan at his side. On the opposite side of the courtroom sits Madeleine Loomis, who blames herself for what’s happened to Sam.

Later, we meet up with Emma again as she makes a last minute decision to visit Norman in jail. It’s not clear what she hopes to find, but I can guarantee you that it’s not what she’s expecting.

“Where’s Norman?” she asks as Mother comes to the surface.

“Norman’s sleeping.”

“Can you tell him something for me? Tell him that I miss him,” Emma says just before she takes her leave.

This scene perfectly captures how strange loss and grief can be. Here, we have Emma grieving over the losses of her mother and Norma, but also very obviously grieving the loss of Norman. That Norman ceases to exist when Mother has taken over is, in fact, a strange kind of death. Could it be that all this time, Norman’s subconscious was simply trying to recreate through murder what he himself experiences when he loses control?

The final scenes of this episode were pretty intense and the bringer of that intensity was, of course, Romero. After learning that Norman’s been arrested for murder, Romero decides to take the only logical course of action…which is to hold the Sheriff’s office at gunpoint and demand to be taken to Norman. Once that part of his mission is complete, he takes Norman hostage and asks to be escorted (personally, by Norma) to Norma’s body…

And that’s where we leave off this week.

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Tara Martinez
Tara Martinez is a New York-based writer with a passion for pop culture and a penchant for analysis. She frequently covers film, television, and representations of women in the media.