‘Bates Motel’ episode 9 recap: Top 5 moments from ‘Visiting Hours’ include Norman/Norma dissociation

It took a long time for the penultimate episode of the final season of “Bates Motel,” entitled “Visiting Hours,” to find its way but the show did finally get on track in the last 15 minutes. The series has always run into trouble when it ventured away from its central characters of Norman and Norma Bates (Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga) and this episode continued that pattern. Too much of the beginning of the show was devoted to supporting characters and it wasn’t until Norman took center stage again in the last few minutes that the episode began to thrill. Read our recap of “Bates Motel” Season 5, Episode 9 below and then vote in our poll to let us know what you think Norman’s ultimate fate will be in next week’s series finale.

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Norman’s lawyer tries to get Dylan to stand by Norman — Dylan (Max Thieriot) had told Norman’s lawyer Julia Ramos (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) that Norman isn’t bad, he’s just crazy. Ramos comes to Dylan’s motel to convince him to help her save Norman from the death penalty. Dylan reluctantly shows up in court to support Norman, but ultimately walks out of the courtroom.

Norman/Norma meet with their lawyer — Norman dissociated back and forth from himself to his mother as he discussed what plea to make in his trial. When confronted about his multiple personalities, he defensively responds, “Everyone has multiple personalities, Julia. We pull out what we need when we have to.”

Emma visits Norma’s grave — This was a nice clarifying moment for Emma who seemed to be inordinately sad while mourning the death of her birth mother who never really did anything for Emma while she was alive. This scene showed that Emma is really mourning her friend Norma who was in actuality the only real mother she had ever known.

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Emma meets Norman in prison — The somewhat tedious pace of this episode was changed for the better when Emma (Olivia Cooke) comes to see Norman in jail and the reason was the excellent Highmore’s performance. Harkening back to “The Silence of the Lambs” as the series has done a lot this year, Emma speaks to Norman through a glass prison window just as Clarice Starling spoke to Hannibal Lecter. Emma has figured out that she is really talking to Norma and not Norman and lets Norma know she wishes to speak to her old friend. Highmore is working at the peak of his craft here. He just seems to ooze smarminess and deviousness while also affecting a slight effeminate quality that never goes overboard but still is present enough to show he really is inhabited by his mother’s personality at this point.

Romero returns — Romero has spent this entire season trying to get back to town to take out his vengeance on Norman for killing his wife, Norma. He finally came face to face with Norman in the final minutes of the show but instead of killing Norman when given the chance he instead demands that Norman take him to Norma’s body. Nestor Carbonell as Romero has always been an unsung hero of the series and he is not disappointing in the series’ final episodes. He brings both a brute force and a tender sentimentality to the role of the husband so in love with his wife’s memory that he is willing to sacrifice his life to avenge her murder. Sadly there is only one more episode to go for this excellent series.

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