The Horror Honeys: BATES MOTEL: Season 4, Ep. 1 ~ “A Danger to Himself and Others”

BATES MOTEL: Season 4, Ep. 1 ~ “A Danger to Himself and Others”

A Horror TV Honey Recap with Jennica

Before claiming the title of Horror TV Honey earlier this year, I must confess that I was not watching a lot of recent horror television shows. You might be surprised to know that about eighty percent of my regular weekly television viewing consisted of comedies and melodramas such as Bob’s Burgers and Degrassi: The Next Generation. But since 2010, I could always count on Bates Motel to provide me with a touch of suspense in my television routine. In Season 3, we watched Norman slip deeper and deeper into a state of psychosis, believing that he and his mother have such a close bond that they are literally one in the same. Concerned about Norman’s continually increasing blackouts, Norma Bates travels to a luxurious in-patient psychiatric facility in Pineview to get information about admitting Norman before someone gets hurt… again. Upon discovering his mother’s plans, Norman decides that he has no other choice than to run away from home before his mother locks him away. With his friend Bradley also feeling betrayed by her family, Norman invites her along for the ride but it is not long until Norman experiences severe separation anxiety, as he becomes his mother and murders one of his only friends. 

After much anticipation and questions left behind in the last season, the premiere of Season 4 finally came last week and if one thing is made clear, it’s that there is no limit on the power of a desperate mother. Season 4 opens with Norman in a field and seeming very dazed and confused, arguing with a woman—his mother—who is only visible to him. A farmer passes by Norman and stops to stare for a moment at the boy arguing with himself or someone imaginary. He then approaches Norman and attempts to assist him with whatever it is that seems to be troubling him, concerned for the young man’s well-being. However, when the farmer draws closer, Norman grows hostile and pushes the farmer away as he proceeds to argue with a hallucination of his mother. Still eager to help the conflicted young man, the farmer draws nearer once again and as Norman lashes out, the farmer knocks him unconscious with one impressive old man punch.

Awaking in a psychiatric hospital, bound to a gurney by restraints, Norman deliriously asks for his mother and demands to be released. Norma receives a call from the hospital and immediately grabs Dylan and requests that he accompany her to the hospital where Norman is being held… but Dylan has other plans. Upon hearing the news that Emma will be in surgery for a lung transplant, he reveals to Norma the nature of his current relationship with Emma and makes his priorities known. As Dylan enters the hospital waiting room, out of the corner of his eye, he catches a glimpse of an attracted middle-aged brunette at the front desk of the hospital inquiring about Emma. The woman insists on seeing Emma but she is denied in the end. 

All he wanted was a Pepsi...
Coincidentally, Norma’s first guest at the motel this season also happens to be the same attractive brunette, Audrey. Audrey claims that Emma had told her all about the kind-hearted people she had met in White Pine Bay, including Norma and Norman. Suspicious of this new character on her property, Norma questions Audrey about her relationship with Emma and it is revealed that Audrey is Emma’s mother. Feeling that she could confide in Norma, from one mother to another, Audrey asks Norma if she could deliver a letter to Emma in the hospital, seeing as she dearly misses her daughter but the doctors will not allow her entry into Emma’s room as requested by Emma’s father. Norma’s face instantly turns to stone and her tongue turns to ice as she tells Audrey that she would prefer not to get involved in another family’s affairs. Pressing the matter even further, Audrey asks if she could possibly ask Norman to deliver the letter, but being the over-protective mother that she is, we all know that is completely out of the question.

Adding motherly symmetry to last week’s episode, Norma marches down the hall to the front desk of the psychiatric hospital, demanding that Norman is released immediately but, just like Emma’s mother, her assumed maternal rights seem meaningless. Norma is then questioned by a Dr. Louise Palma regarding Norman’s strange behavior, his blackouts, and her neglectful parenting tactics. Norma admits that she is aware of Norman’s increasing blackouts and that she had not pursued the matter further with medical experts like a normal concerned parent. Baffled by Norma’s irrationality but feeling hopeful, Dr. Palma agrees to release Norman under the condition that Norma will be required to get Norman the help that he needs from a licensed medical or psychiatric professional and if the condition is not met within a given time period, Norma will be forced to admit Norman under the care and supervision of the medical staff at the psychiatric hospital. 

Desperate to keep her son out of the confinement of the psychiatric hospital, Norma first runs to her usual knight with a shiny badge, Sheriff Alex Romero. We come to find out that, like many Americans, Norma does not have health insurance, the one thing standing in between having her son back permanently and seeing him hauled away by hospital staff. With drastic times potentially calling for drastic measures, Norma proposes—or rather purposes—to the sheriff a plan to walk down the aisle in marriage as soon as possible, even agreeing to consummate the marriage in order to seal the deal. Despite his incurable adoration for Norma, Romero declines without a second thought, looking unsettled by the very idea of eloping with a woman who is clearly off her rocker. 

"Where's my ring, Norma?"
With the wedding off the table, Norma’s last hope is to make another trip back to the fancy secluded facility at Pineview. Unfortunately, Norma discovers that entry into the pearly gates of Pineview is not as easy as she had presumed. In order to get a golden ticket into the in-patient facility, Norma must first schedule an appointment with an approved doctor to examine Norman and prepare a professional diagnosis. Of course, again, without insurance, this feat appears impossible. Using her charm and attraction, Norma approaches one of a Dr. Gregg Edwards outside the facility and attempts to flirt her way into an urgent doctor appointment for her son. But Norma is taught the valuable lesson that her seductive power does not work on everyone, as she is immediately shut down. However, feeling sympathy for a mother in need, Dr. Edwards agrees to set an appointment to see Norman. 

Home alone and playing dress-up in his mother’s bath robe, Norman hears a loud knock on the door. As he opens the door, he sees that it is Audrey, Emmas’s mother. After her altercation with Norma, Audrey is delighted to find Norman standing in the doorway—although she is puzzled by his current choice of attire—as she is still eager for her letter to her daughter to be delivered by someone that Emma trusts. Inviting her inside, Norman sits with Audrey as she explains who she is and that she wants so badly to be able to see her daughter in this critical time. Norman, channeling his mother’s emotions from her previous reaction to Audrey’s desperation, begins to chastise Audrey for not reaching out to Emma sooner and leaving her father to take full responsivity. Tensions rise between the disturbed Audrey and her disturber Norman, and Norman soon adds another notch on his belt in a state of murderous oblivion.

Mother, can you pass the lipstick?
Will Norman get away with murder again? 
Will Sheriff Romero finally accept Norma’s crazy and take the plunge ‘til death?