Bates Motel: “Marion” Review

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Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

As mentioned in my review of last week’s Bates Motel, “Dreams Die First,” Marion Crane is crossing paths with a very different Norman than the man who was depicted in Psycho. Fans of the film will recognize similar beats and the occasional nod and/or wink to the Hitchcock classic, but Norman was in a very complex headspace in “Marion,” actively wrestling with his own subconscious in a fascinating and suspenseful way that made for a stunning new read on the old storyline.

Most notably here…Marion got away!

Oh, someone still got stabbed in the shower, allowing for that memorable moment to get shifted over nicely into the long-form tale that Bates has been spinning. But it wasn’t Marion. No, Norman was able to feel his “Norma” personality kicking in and provided her with ample warning. So, strangely enough, if anything, Norman was the one of the best things to happen to Marion Crane in her life probably. A far cry from the gruesome end she met back in the movie.

"Marion"

Yes, this Norman was able to welcome her cordially, make her a sandwich, tell her that she’d been lied to, and then encourage her to escape with her cash and find a new life. The two of them were even able to bond over the themes of loneliness and love. Rejection and heartache. He was a catalyst for a huge change in her life and one she’ll never forget. And all the while, Norman started gaining even more clarity over his entire delusional home life. How his mother wasn’t there, cleaning up the place and making food. He even noted that she’d show up whenever an attractive woman popped up in his life (granted, he did have a tendency to pleasure himself while watching some of them through a peephole). Norman was actively connecting all the dots. But to what end?

At the same time too, Dylan was now discovering what happened to Norma and trying to reach out. But Norman knows his own mind is completely unreliable and couldn’t even settle on what “reality” was. This was a Norman Bates in the middle of a cerebral storm. Marion made it out of the maelstrom alive, but Sam didn’t. And it’s really important to note that Norman, apparently, killed Sam himself. Meaning, he wasn’t “Norma.” He didn’t blackout. Oh, he still went on a stab fest in the heat of passion. A state of mania that he seemed to wake up from after the murder was done, but he did this one on his own. He didn’t become something or someone else.

Sam having the same name as Norman’s dad, while also sharing some of the man’s deplorable traits, sort of brought this whole series full circle. Norman knows that he created his mother persona to help protect his mind from terrible traumas, but now he’s killed without having to use her as a shield. He’s still seeing her, of course. That hasn’t gone away. But now he’s entered into this new realm of Psycho-dom. One that Rihanna’s Marion survived, but not Sam.

The Verdict

Like in the iconic film, Marion stopped for a stay at the Bates Motel, but in this clever and winning take, this alt-verse, she met with a different fate. One that allowed her to live while Norman wrestled with his myriad mental maladies, knowing that he was insane. This was an awesome mix of old and new that drove Norman to different, and shocking, methods of murder.

Editors’ Choice

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