Bates Motel has always had a complicated relationship with the truth. If characters aren’t covering something up, they’re in active denial about almost everything. “The Immutable Truth” changed that, though. Not only was it full of rewarding honesty, but it also redefined what truth means, particularly to Norman. And while some of the episode was tied up too neatly to hardly be believed, the creepy factor between Norma and Norman was ratcheted up so high that ultimately this somewhat disappointing finale has to be called a success. Hit the jump, or how the hell dare you!
Though Bates Motel runs a conservative ten episodes per season, there’s still a lot of space for fluff. The series has found ways to plausibly (and sometimes implausibly) expand its world throughout its run, as we all know, through Dylan and Emma. But with Emma largely sidelined, it was up to Dylan to shoulder the “other than Norma/Norman” burden. That expanded look at the drug plot all season had an intriguing start, but sadly in this finale, ended with a fizzle.
Apparently, the kingpins of White Pine Bay are great at creating schemes to kill other people, and controlling the town’s politics, money and social scene, but when it comes to personal protection, or having much sense, they’re lacking. Dylan killed Nick Ford easily in the last episode, and thanks to some very disloyal lackeys, Romero was able to find out Norman’s whereabouts in “The Immutable Truth” with ease. Did Nick Ford not have anyone in place as a second-in-command? Was there not video hooked up to every room in the house for monitoring? This seems like Drug Kingpinning 101.
Then, there were more illogical occurrences and ineptitude on the Morgan side of things. Why doesn’t Jodi have any security at her house? How is Romero able to waltz in and demand she give up her brother? And how did that hatred get bred so deeply between them? To have Jodi and Zane both killed off easily and unceremoniously, only to have Romero suggest that Dylan take over the power vacuum in town, was ludicrous. There was no need to close those stories off that quickly. The other question is, where does Christine fit into all of this? If drugs run the town, and Norma’s counsel seat was given to her thanks to threats from Nick Ford, why does Christine think she can reverse that? Are there more powers at work that haven’t yet been introduced?
It’s best to forget about all of that when considering “The Immutable Truth’s” legacy as an episode, though. What “The Immutable Truth” did right was set up a new world order for the series. Truths were laid bare: Norman tells Emma about Dylan; Norma tells Dylan how much she loves him; the drug guys are all killed, so Romero weaves a tale to move forward from it, trusting Dylan; Norman admits his guilt to Norma, and Norma admits her sins to Dylan. Where things changed was when Norman got a vision of his mother during the polygraph, telling him that she killed Blair Watson to protect him. Given what happened in the first season, it’s plausible within Norman’s internal deniability. But it’s also a key point in his transformation, where his bad deeds are all committed by “Norma,” not Norman. It’s a change that’s been teased for awhile, but “The Immutable Truth” made it without question. The duality begins.
Moving forward, this seems to set up the show’s upcoming third run as one where Norman may begin to commit murders in the name / guise of Norma (at least in his mind, initially). The fact that he passed the polygraph will keep Romero off of him, and Dylan being in a power position could also help shield him from suspicion in town. But what we keep coming back for is more weirdness between mother and son Bates, which was on full show in “The Immutable Truth,” from dancing to a record of love songs, to Norma telling Norman they were meant to be together forever, and then kissing him on the mouth and neck. No need to run to Montreal, it seems. They’re staying, and we will too.
Episode Rating: B-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I loved the opening scene where Romero runs into Dylan, who spits out that he just killed Nick Ford and is now searching for Norman. Efficient!
— “How the hell dare you” – Christine.
— Norma: “You slept with her, you didn’t kill her.” Norman: “I think I did, mother.” Norma: “Don’t say that!”
— Romero changed his mind about the polygraph test it seems. In the last episode, he was fine putting that shithead in jail, but just wanted to know the truth about Norman for his own sake. This time, he tell Norma that if Norman doesn’t pass, he’ll reopen the case.
— I still don’t know who Romero was connected to regarding the drugs, or whose rules everyone is playing by.
— “Can you imagine Norman in prison? He’d just dissolve!” – Norma.
— “You’re a miracle, that someone like you could come out of something like that” – Norma. It was very satisfying to have Norma finally embrace Dylan.
— I can’t decide if it was intentional or not that Norman’s handwriting went from being that of a teenage girl to an old-school script between his suicide To Do List and the note he left for his mother.
— “Finish sparrow, apple pie, mother” – part of Norman’s list.
— At least Emma got one answer. I hope that satisfies her for awhile!
— Great final creepy shot.
— “We’re together though, and that’s all that ever matters” – Norma.