Review: Bates Motel S5 E07: Inseparable

A+E Network

This week’s episode of Bates Motel, Inseparable, begins immediately where last week’s ended.  I’m not considering talk about the big event of that episode to be a spoiler now; however, if you haven’t seen Marion yet, you may want to wait to continue reading.  You’ve been warned…

Yes, four episodes from the series finale, Bates Motel delivered a shower scene, albeit a deconstructed one.  Marion Crane (Rihanna) apparently completed her two episode guest appearance by drying off, getting in the car and driving far, far away.  But there was a second shower scene in which her lover, Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols), was brutally stabbed by Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore).  As in Psycho, the physical perpetrator of this gory crime was Norman, but…

…new to the TV series is the fact that the psychological perpetrator was also Norman, not his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga). In fact, instead of staring at the bloody body of Loomis on the bathroom floor and saying, “Mother, what have you done?”, Norman says, “Mother, what have I done?”  This seemingly minor distinction is really a big one and led to my comments last week about Norman being aware of his crimes and perhaps accepting responsibility for them.

My theory seems to be valid, particularly in the final scene of Inseparable, which I will not discuss until next week.  For most of the episode, though, it’s a return to the dark comedy of Bates Motel as mother and sun run around White Pine Bay trying to dispose of bodies and vehicles.  Norma is relentless in her mental manipulation of Norman, but he acts mostly dazed and confused.

While we do get a couple scenes with Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) as he convalesces and searches for his gun, the main thread of this episode is the return home of Norman’s brother, Dylan (Max Thieriot). His presence provides an update about Norman’s medical status.  Specifically, we’re reminded that Norman stopped seeing Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton) after Norma died and he has not been taking his medications.

This plot point seems barely worth mentioning; it’s stating the obvious. However, it’s important for the overall story to remember that Norman had (reluctantly) sought help in the past.  In this episode, it’s also important for a surprise that reveals even more information about Norman’s fragile mental state.  I didn’t see it coming.  I doubt it will be mentioned again, but it’s a lovely detail that adds another level to his character.

Not quite as shocking as Marion, Inseparable at least doesn’t let up much steam as Bates Motel deals with the aftermath of Sam Loomis’s murder.  It’s a fast-moving hour that races towards its mini-climax just as the entire series races toward its ultimate conclusion.  For the second week in a row, we have no idea what’s going to happen next.  We’ll see next week if episode eight picks up immediately where episode seven ended to answer that question.

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