The season three finale of Bates Motel begins the morning after Norman has an episode with Bradley in one of the motel rooms. Dylan walks downstairs at the house and finds Caleb’s gift that he dropped off for him the night before waiting in the living room. When he learns that Caleb had left it for him so that he wouldn’t have to say goodbye, Dylan is obviously disappointed and Norma tries to console him. She also tells him that he’s going to check out a facility for Norman that deals with mental issues. Before she leaves, she checks on Norman, clearly conflicted about the decision she has to make.
There’s a lot of loose ends that are seemingly going to be tied up in the finale. We see Caleb camped out in the woods and Dylan missing his dad. Meanwhile, Emma’s dad tells Emma that there is a pair of lungs that’s ready for her but Emma doesn’t seem too excited. Back at the motel, Norman brings Bradley a plate of food but once he gets inside her room he discovers that she’s gone.
Norma arrives to the mental health facility and speaks with a consultant about the care available at the facility. The advisor tells her that she will have to go through her insurance company in order for the treatment to be affordable which, of course, makes Norma nervous as she doesn’t appear to have insurance.
Dylan calls Caleb and leaves him an angry voicemail about leaving without telling him. At her house, Emma hears her dad on the phone with the hospital and leaves without telling him. Bradley, on the other hand, waits outside her mother’s house. She gets inside and steals all of their watches, their jewelry, their cash and trashes their home.
Dylan gets a call from Emma’s dad and he’s looking for her. He’s worried if they miss their chance at the Portland hospital, that will be it for her. Dylan returns back to the farm and finds Emma there. She’s scared of the transplant and explains that she doesn’t want to die sooner than she has to. Dylan tells her that she’s strong and then they totally make out. Yeeeeah… It’s a nice moment and their chemistry is so natural and sweet – I’m really liking this pairing. Emma agrees to get the transplant.
Back at the motel, Bradley is evaluating what she stole and what it’s worth. Norman is concerned about what she’s done but she doesn’t seem worried. She also seems convinced that he’s coming with her but Norman doesn’t think he can leave his mother. She pleads with him to come but he gets scared when Norma arrives back to the motel.
Norman rushes up to the house after her and they sit down to talk. Norma tells him that she’s worried about him and that she thinks he needs help that she can’t give him. She suggests therapy and medication and possibly a facility that can help him. Not surprisingly, Norman does not react well to this news. He feels like he’s given up on him.
Meanwhile, while Romero watches as the DEA preps their raid on Bob Paris, Norma stands in a fitted pants suit (she was wearing a tie earlier) – a contrast to the usual ultra-feminine homemaker type dresses that normally make up her wardrobe. As Norma locks up the motel office for the night, an SUV approaches. It’s Romero and he came to tell him that he was sorry he couldn’t protect her. Norma softens to him and tells him she understands that he tried but everything is bigger than them. She tells him that she’s scared for her son and that she loves Norman but she acknowledges that he is broken. She’s given up because she realizes that essentially, it’s all not up to her but fate. She thanks Romero for coming by and she goes back up the house.
Romero drives along with the DEA as they are ten minutes outside Paris’s house. Romero calls Paris and warns him the DEA is on the way to arrest him and that his getting arrested is not in his best interest. When the DEA arrives, they storm Paris’s house to find him not there. Paris makes his way to his boat where Romero is waiting for him. After some tense words get exchanged, Romero shoots Paris and kills him. Oh snap!
Back at the house at the motel, Norma walks into Norman’s room and finds him dressed and about to pack. She asks him what he’s doing and he tells her that he’s leaving and that they’re not good or healthy together. So, he’s breaking up with her. Gross. Keep in mind though, Bradley is “dead” as far as everyone but Norman and Dylan knows, so Norma naturally thinks that he’s cracking up. They start to scuffle at the top of the stairs and Norma falls. As Norman tries to take his case and run, Norma hits him over the head and knocks him out. She drags him into the basement and ties his hands and feet. Norman comes to and sees what Norma is doing. She locks the door and calls Dylan for help. She’s worried that Norman has gone out of his mind and she’s scared so Dylan comes home and goes downstairs to find Norman isn’t there. He’s escaped through a window and Dylan tells Norma that Bradley isn’t really dead… I have to say, I thought for sure Dylan was going to bite the dust at this point. I’ve honestly been waiting for the “bang” all season and as the episode comes to a close, I’m wondering: who is going to die?
Norman gets into the car with Bradley and as they drive, Bradley tells Norman that she’s proud of him for leaving. Norman starts to have the vision of Norma and he starts talking to her because “Norma” wants to talk to Bradley. Norman begins talking as though he’s Norma and gets out of the car and chases Bradley, tackles her and smashes her head on a rock until she’s dead. He drives Bradley’s car with Bradley’s dead body in the trunk to the bay and lets the car roll into the water. As the old car sinks, it’s reminiscent of the shot in Psycho of the car being pulled out of the water. The episode ends with Norman talking to the vision of Norma, who promises that she will make sure that no one will ever find out what he’s done. The season ends with Norman standing by himself at the edge of the water.
Well, that was rather anticlimactic! I wondered aloud if Norman would kill Bradley last week because, hello, she’s a victim who is already “dead” and who would ever know what he had done? While I loved this season overall, this episode was a real dud. This whole season had been building with such supreme tension and high stakes for all of the characters involved only to, in the end, sputter out. Here’s hoping that if and when Bates returns for its fourth season, the team behind the scenes continues with the track they are on but with real consequences.
What did you think of the season three finale? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!