TV Show Review

TV Review: BATES MOTEL: Season 2, Episode 10: The Immutable Truth

Vera Farmiga Freddie Highmore Bates Motel The Immutable Truth

A&E‘s Bates Motel The Immutable Truth TV Show Review. Bates Motel: Season 2, Episode 10: The Immutable Truth has exceeded all of my expectations. It has never fallen prey to the gimmicky, pedestrian story telling it could have. The writers have expertly woven a calamitous tale of mother and son, intimately bound, running from their past and rapidly plundering into their doomed future. It is a tragedy that speaks to how we love, how we hurt, how we break…and what happens when some are too fragmented to repair.

In this last chapter, aptly titled “The Immutable Truth”, Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) and Dylan Massett (Max Thieriot) gathered enough information to accurately locate Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) in the woods and rescue him from the metal box. The two then teamed up to take Zane Carpenter (Michael Eklund) and Jodi Wilson (Kathleen Robertson) down. Zane angled to kill Dylan, Jodi played along while being “covered” by Dylan and Romero. Romero killed Zane exactly and made good on his promise to “take out the trash.” As both drug kingpins are now dead, Dylan seems positioned as the head of the White Pine Bay drug trade, a position endorsed by Romero. It is clear that Romero has an agenda, how nefarious it is or isn’t, we won’t know until season 3. Jodi has relinquished all power, and her motives are consistently unclear. I don’t feel her character has been enmeshed enough in the overall storyline for me to expect to see her back next year. Nestor Carbonell has been allowed to shine this season, a true pro with an incredibly powerful and vulnerable charisma.

Norman was rescued and taken to the hospital. In a brilliantly uncomfortable and telling moment, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) tried to welcome Dylan back into the family. She reached tenderly to caress his cheek and nodded toward him while mouthing the words “I love you.” He didn’t respond. Vera Farmiga plays Norma with such expertise and grace. The moment was poignant, loving, but exceedingly manipulative at its core. Max Thieriot responds perfectly as his character Dylan knows his mother well.

Norman desperately needed to tell his Mother the truth of what he learned while being locked up in the woods. She shushed him and didn’t want to hear any of it.

The terror of what he might say…she doesn’t, can’t lose her son. And the terror of him being caught…or not caught! Norman finally confessed to Miss Watson’s (Keegan Connor Tracy) murder there at the dinner table. Norman seemed relieved and terrified at the same time. With red-hot alarm, Norma beseeched him stop talking and steered her son back to some shred of their past life…a life slowly slipping away from them with this confession. I can’t say enough about the brilliance of Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga in this scene.

Norma, rightfully anxious about the upcoming polygraph test scheduled by Romero, booked a flight for the three of them (Dylan included) out of White Pine Bay. Mother and son came together, while Dylan urged Norma to see the test through to the end. She needed to know the truth…and maybe an institution was the right place for Norman.

Norman carried out a list of tasks that could only be interpreted as the premeditation of suicide. He told Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke) a dark family secret, finished up some taxidermy…and danced cheek to cheek to “Dream Lover” with his mother. In a deliciously intimate moment, Norman expressed how much she meant to him, as if between lovers. He then left her a note and escaped into the woods, with Norma on his heels. When she called out to him, Norman turned to point the gun on Norma, and she didn’t flinch. The following moments restrengthened the mother and son bond and extinguished any rebellion still coursing through Norman’s veins. The open-mouthed kiss between them is distressing (to say the least)…and perfect.

The anticipated last sequences found Norman preparing for the polygraph. Both mother and son were consumed with apprehension as we saw with Norma’s hand wrapped around his, and as Norman absent-mindedly held onto her purse as they got out of the car. When Norman was finally sat in the chair and asked about Miss Watson’s death, everything slowed down. Chris Bacon’s score is wonderfully foreboding here.

And now mother appeared, she came to him in his “mind’s eye” to tell him that it was she that killed Miss Watson, not him…she was emphatic. It was this “vision” that allowed Norman to pass the polygraph. Sheriff Romero didn’t know how to feel…nor did we. Norma was relieved, but we could tell she knew this wasn’t over. There was relief, not comfort.

Mirroring the final moment in Psycho, the camera pulled in as Norman’s dropped gaze looked straight up into the camera. He is now realized, aware of himself…any innocence that was left, is now lost.

It’s very simple, this was an outstanding season…chapter 3 can’t come soon enough.

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Eden Tirl

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