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'Bates Motel' season 2 finale recap: Horrible truths

Season 2 | Episode 10 | “The Immutable Truth” | Aired May 5, 2014

The season 2 finale of Bates Motel kicks off with hoarse Norman in his rain-soaked box pleading for help — to any stray leaf that’ll listen. Romero drives a lonesome highway and runs across Dylan, who’s on foot and immediately confesses that he just killed Nick Ford. Norman is still missing. Get in, Romero says. They drive back to Nick’s house. Stay put, says Romero, and when Dylan gives the slightest challenge, Romero informs him that he’s to follow instructions, in a tone that will brook no complaint. Romero searches the house and discovers Nick’s corpse. Delving deeper, he finds Nick’s No. 2, Ben, looting the safe. Tell me where Norman is, he says, and you can help yourself. Ben foolishly denies any knowledge and gets a hard smack for it. Effective. Next stop: Norman in a box.

Dylan calls for Norman, who thinks he’s imagining things, then starts crying his brother’s name. Romero shoots off the lock and opens the utility box to find a nearly dead Norman. “Is it really you?” bleats the delirious teen serial killer. They carry him away.

Norma bursts into the hospital, flying toward her son’s room with jagged breaths. Dylan gives her the short story. “You found him?” she asks, and takes a seat next to Norman. When she turns again to Dylan, her tearful sentiment is surprisingly heartfelt: “I love you, Dylan. I love you so much.” Dylan looks like a Popsicle that’s had a heat lamp turned on it: uncomfortable, but relenting. He’s going to go find a doctor.

Norman wakes and starts telling her about the dreams he had in the box. Put it out of your mind, she says.

Norma drives her weak and wounded son home to the motel. Emma comes running. And Norma lies: “He had the stomach flu,” she says, and bustles Norman up the stairs, telling him as they ascend that Emma is quitting because she’s not part of the Bates family circle of trust. What could Norma do?

Tucking him in, she offers him a pot roast and a mother’s gentle caresses.

At the grocery, Norma runs into Christine, who’s pissed that Norma blew up at her brother, George. “You are a train wreck!” she says. Norma can’t apologize enough — really she can’t, because Christine is not having it.

Stricken Norman comes down for dinner, but gets an earful of his mother’s troubles first. His wan smile isn’t enough to stop her from crossing a line and telling him that she tried to sleep with George. She did sleep with George, for one. Two, she shouldn’t be talking about her sex life with her teenage son. And then I remember how traumatizing all of this has been for Norma and feel bad about being critical. They need to go back to therapy pronto. Norman wants to tell her about what he remembered in the box. Norma forestalls him: Romero told her. Don’t worry about it. A little semen in a dead woman only proves that she seduced young boys. Romero just wants Norman to take a polygraph — no biggie. “Norman, there’s nothing to worry about,” Norma tells him. “You slept with her. You didn’t kill her.” Norman’s teary expression says otherwise, and then he says otherwise. He had memories in the box. He he had sex with Miss Watson, and then he killed her. Norma is stretched taut with emotion. She yells, “Stop it!” and slams her hands on the table. When she calms down, she urges Norman to eat before his dinner gets cold.

Later Norman wanders the house and takes a gun from his mother’s drawer.

Elsewhere, Norma protests when Romero insists on the polygraph test, but ultimately agrees.

Meanwhile, Norman makes what looks like a bucket list. He calls Emma up to his room and tells her about Dylan’s parentage. She swears never to tell a soul, and Norman asks her to please stay and continue working at the motel.

Zane hears the news from his sister that Dylan killed Nick Ford. She insists that Zane come over, saying that she doesn’t care what happens next to Dylan. She hangs up and turns to Dylan and Romero behind her.

Norman wraps his taxidermy in plastic, leaving his bucket list — almost fully crossed off — out in the open. After completing the “apple pie” portion of the list, only “mother” is left. He asks her to dance after dinner. They dance, disturbingly close, to Bobby Darin’s 1959 song “Dream Lover.”

It’s lights out at Jodi’s house, as Romero and Dylan prepare for Zane’s arrival — only they didn’t turn the lights out. Romero investigates and gunshots ring out. Jodi slips downstairs to get her gun. Someone shoots the dog. Zane and Jodi argue, she slashes him with her big knife and he shoots her in return. Just as Jodi’s brother turns on Dylan, Romero blows Zane away with a shotgun. Romero explains the cover story he’ll tell the cops and tells Dylan to go — that he was never here. Dylan wants to know why he gets a pass. Romero makes it clear that he wants Dylan to “fill the vacuum” left by the deaths of all of these drug dealers. He wants someone in the role who understands the rules.

Norma meets Dylan in a secluded spot near a lake and tells him that Norman said he killed Blair Watson. Norman can’t go to prison — “he’d dissolve.” Norma says she bought three tickets to Montreal and she wants Dylan to come with them. Then she gives her best speech of the season when she tells Dylan that he’s beautiful and it’s “a miracle” someone like him could come out of all her tragedy. A hug later, Dylan tells her she needs to allow Norman to take the test, and they’ll have to send him somewhere he and others are protected from his mental illness.

When she gets home, she finds a stuffed bird from Norman and a very obvious farewell note. Emma saw him go into the woods. Norma runs after him. Carrying a gun, he stumbles over tree roots and Norma tackles him. He recognizes that he had a blackout the night his dad died. Norma holds his face and explains that his father was hurting her and that Norman was just protecting her. She says she’ll die if Norman leaves her, that they’ll face the consequences of his illness together — and then she kisses him on the mouth. Norman: “All right, Mother. You win.”

Romero leads Norma, Norman and Dylan into the polygraph testing facility. They stay outside as Norman takes the test, answering “Yes” to every incriminating question, until the big one, “Did you kill Blair Watson?” Norman has a “dream mom” interlude in which she confesses to killing Miss Watson and tells him he has to keep it a secret. Emerging from his delusion, he’s asked again if he killed Blair Watson.

Norma, Romero and Dylan still wait outside. Declan, the polygraph tester, comes out and says Norman passed: “In my opinion, he did not kill Blair Watson.” Norma embraces Dylan. Norman remains wired up as Norma tentatively enters the room. He raises his eyes to reveal the psycho monster well known to legions of fans.

What did you think? Did Bates end on a high note for you? I’ll post an update from the finale’s follow-up, Bates Motel: After Hours, to tell you what creators say is in store for fans in season 3.

UPDATE: Below are a few notes from Bates Motel: After Hours, hosted by Dave Holmes. Creator Carlton Cuse doesn’t give up much, but Freddie Highmore jokes that Norman will be dabbling in drag next season. Here’s hoping he wasn’t really joking, and we get to see that transformation happen!

Max Theriot (Dylan): His take on Dylan and Norma’s relationship at the end of season 2: They’re at a “nice, sweet spot” at the end.

Vera Farmiga (Norma): Dylan will have to make the call about how close he and Norma get. Norma thinks she’s going to be able to love Norman into a better condition. She jokes that Dylan’s new pot business may help with Norma’s neuroses.

Freddie Highmore (Norman): He appears via satellite — he’s finishing finals at Cambridge University. When Vera Farmiga asks if Freddie is wearing lipstick, he answers, “No, Mother. That’s next season.” Freddie says his time in the box was one of his favorite scenes to perform, as well as Norman fusing with his “mother” personality.

Nestor Carbonell (Sheriff Romero): He doesn’t wear eyeliner! He graciously submits to a makeup-remover test.

Olivia Cook (Emma): A scene with Emma and Norman kissing was cut. She says it’ll make a good DVD extra. (Look out for it, fans.)

Bates Motel creator Carlton Cuse: How they plot out the season: He sits down with co-creator Kerry Ehrin, they act things out and “purposely write ourselves into corners, and we try to sort of walk up walls to get out.” Calls the show “pulpy,” with nuanced character work. On The Kiss: credits the actors and director, Tucker Gates — they made that happen. Vera and Freddie worked out what worked in the scene. “It conveyed the intensity of what goes on in their relationship, and it was just a critical part of understanding how much Norma loves Norman.” On the third season: The bypass will be built. Cuse jokes that Max will not wear a shirt at all in season 3 — definitely something to look forward to for some Bates Motel fans.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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