Bates Motel Series Finale Seals Norman's Fate


The Bates Motel is officially closed for business. For anyone who didn’t catch Monday night’s series finale, there was surprisingly more snow than blood — but still plenty of blood. Jumping back in where “Visiting Hours” left off, “The Cord” puts us right back with Romero, who has broken Norman out of jail at gunpoint and driven him to the woods in search of Norma’s body.

It’s not long before we say goodbye to one of our favorite characters and arguably the show’s protagonist as Norman shoots Romero in the forest, killing him only a few feet away from Norma’s frozen body. This perfectly mirrors the scene in the original Psycho films in which Norma is killed by Norman alongside her husband. Even though they didn't die at the same time, Norman is the cause of both their deaths and it is only when Romero puts his guard down to weep over Norma’s icy body that Norman is able to catch him off guard. This serves as a nice parallel to the original films and a tragically romantic end for Romero.

As the episode continues, Norman awakens in his home, with Norma laying beside him, a halo of sunlight behind her head as she assures Norman that going to jail and killing Romero were all just “silly dreams.” What’s most interesting about this episode, though, is the flashbacks Norman has after waking up in a pile of frozen blood.

In his fugue state, Norman remembers the first time his mother showed him the hotel and every wonderful moment he’s ever had with her, reconstructing all of his favorite parts of her within his mind. This compilation of memories showcases the sad reality that Norman lives in his mind every day and demonstrates to us a side of Norman that we have never seen before. In this state, he is no longer himself and cannot register the consequences of his actions.

Definitely the most intense scene of the episode, Dylan enters the Bates home after accepting an invitation to dinner with Norman — and Norma. Before entering the house, Dylan gives Emma a call and tells her he loves her, no matter what happens, leaving his wife to wonder if he is alright. Before the dinner can even begin, Dylan enters the dining room to find his mother’s corpse freshly dressed and sitting at the head of the table, causing him to gag. Norman enters the room and assures Dylan everything is alright, showcasing the sad severity of Norman’s condition and his inability to accept that his mother is truly gone.

The episode reaches its climax when both brothers enter the kitchen and Dylan expresses to Norman how much he wants his brother to be well again and to be happy. He wants Norma to be alive again and he wants them both to meet his daughter and spend Christmas with them. But Dylan makes it very clear that he “wants all of these things that are never gonna happen,” hinting at what is about to happen as Norman pulls a large knife on him, threatening to stab his brother. In a moment of fear, Dylan shoots Norman in the torso, crying as his younger brother dies in his arms. Meanwhile, Norman greets Norma — dressed in white — in the middle of the forest, as she hugs him, welcoming to be with her forever at last.

At this point in the show, despite losing his mother, his father, his stepfather and having to kill his own brother, Dylan is still able to have a happy ending with Emma and their daughter Kate years later. Though it goes against the original storyline, sparing Dylan most definitely softened the blow of all the other drama that happened in this episode and left us with something to cling to as the the story we’ve grown so attached to over the years comes to an end.

Even though the story is over, we can relish in the fact that the people of White Pine Bay are finally safe, and Norman was finally left alone with what he wanted all along: his mother.