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TV Review: Bates Motel 5.3 “Bad Blood”
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Bates Motel 503-06

Bates Motel
Season 5 Episode 3: “Bad Blood”
Directed by Sarah Boyd
Written by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Created by Anthony Cipriano, Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin
Starring Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Nestor Carbonell, Olivia Cooke
A&E
Air Date: Monday, March 6th, 2017, 10pm

Warning! Spoilers below for the last 2 episodes of Bates Motel!

The final season of A&E’s series Bates Motel is off to a roaring start with back to back fantastic episodes, as we inch closer to the pivotal moments where the series blends with Alfred Hitchcock’s original 1960 masterwork. Norman (Freddie Highmore) has completed his transformation into full “psycho” mode, blacking out and living long murderous periods as his mother. Meanwhile, Dyl-Emma is off with their new baby girl, trying to make a normal life for themselves. Norman is finding himself attracted to a very Norma-esque woman in town, who is married to a man Norman knows is canoodling behind her back at the motel.

Last week was a rough one for Caleb (Kenny Johnson). First he was sent packing; in the nicest way possible, by Dyl-Emma… mostly Emma (Olivia Cooke). He arrives back in White Pine Bay to seek out Norma (Vera Farmiga), unaware she’s been dead for months. When he finds out accidentally, he draws a v-line for Norman and the motel, knowing Norman was responsible. It’s there he uncovers Norma’s preserved body right before getting knocked out by Norman with the help of Chick (Ryan Hurst), who doesn’t exactly need any prodding to help take out Caleb. So much so that the sight of Norman dressed as Norma doesn’t faze him too much. Norma(n)’s response, “Well now you know Chick, I’m still alive.”

Spoilers for this week’s Bates Motel below:

Caleb wakes chained to a pipe in the basement with Norma(n). After leaving him squirming down there, (s)he heads up to meet with Chick, and he builds his trust with her. Their relationship was complex when Norma was alive, this is just next-level bizarre. Chick stays by the house as “protection” but he’s probably hoping for some final revenge. Meanwhile former Sheriff and Norma’s widower Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) has failed in plotting Norman’s death, his would be assassin was killed off and dumped in the lake by Norman and Mother.

Romero is being transferred after an attack by some of the inmates. He uses the opportunity to escape, and kidnaps a guy into driving him away, likely towards Norman. Caleb wakes from dreams of his and Norma’s childhood to find Chick standing over him. He tries to convince Chick that Norman is crazy but he’s not listening. Ryan Hurst’s deadpan deliveries and straight up acceptance of the lunacy he’s surrounded by, is both hilarious and totally in keeping with the character. Chick and Caleb have a sit down discussion about the Bates family, with Chick digging into their past. Johnson shows tremendous emotion here. Sometimes less is more, and this scene was more. Speaking of less is more, behold the dinner scene where Chick cooks for Norman AND Norma!

Norman snaps back to reality when Madeleine Loomis (Isabelle McNally) shows up and confesses that her marriage is falling apart, and is seeking a friend. Freddie Highmore is so good at playing the dual personalities, the simplest expressions on his face are capable of changing the entire mood of a scene. Down in the basement, there is a somehow tender moment with Caleb and Norma(n). Chick begins recording the goings on in the Bates house, and it becomes rather obvious he is the “Robert Bloch” here, even picking up a typewriter at an antique store.

Three episodes in and this finale season is not skipping a beat. This week the pace slowed down, and we got some incredible moments of simple character interaction, taut writing and grade A acting. Kenny Johnson brings a raw emotion that isn’t seen on television that often. He is broken here. Ryan Hurst is enjoying a more lead role in the show, as a live-in friend to Norma(n) and I’m interested to see where the recording/writing story arc will go. I can’t imagine it’ll end well for Chick should Norma(n) find out what he’s doing. And of course, now Romero is on the hunt, although left in a bad position himself. This episode built tension with its acting and dialogue, while setting the stage for even more craziness next week.

A new episode of Bates Motel’s final season returns next Monday night at 10:00 PM only on A&E.

Bates Motel airs Monday nights at 10:00pm ET on A&E.

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Video

Bates Motel: Season 5 Episode 3 Preview | Mondays 10/9c | A&E

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