Bates Motel Round Table: Did Norma Get Her Happy Ending?

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This week the round table takes on Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 9, discussing what would happen if Norma was resuscitated and if not, what drove Norman to the act and if the two could have ever overcome their codependency.

Join TV Fanatics Stacy Glanzman, Lisa Babick and Yana Grebenyuk to chat it out. Don't just read about it, be a part of the conversation! Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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Norman pulled the trigger. React!

Stacy: I feel like I shouldn't be surprised, because I definitely considered the possibility early on in the season that her death could happen at the end of this season. However, knowing it was coming at some point didn't make it any less shocking when it actually did. All the camera shots of him going around closing vents increased the tension and made the scene feel like it went on forever.

Lisa: I can't believe it. I didn't expect her to be the one to go, if she is indeed gone. I'm also at odds with myself as to whether I liked her going out this way or not. On the one hand, she finally gets some peace with a rather peaceful death. On the other hand, it just seemed too easy. I'm shocked, but I'm disappointed, too. And, I agree with Stacy. The camera and editing for the scene was amazing.

Yana: I wasn't registering what was happening until the very end, and I wasn't happy. It came at such an unexpected time, yet the episode kept leading us in that direction. When Norman woke up, I was kind of upset that he survived, and I am sure Alex will say something about it next week.

What drove Norman to follow through on the act?

Stacy: I think seeing his mother in so much pain, especially after her breakdown in the kitchen. In his mind, he felt the need to end her suffering.

Lisa: I think it was so he could keep her all to himself. He wouldn't have to share her with Romero or anyone anymore. And all their problems would disappear forever. I think he realized his mother had, perhaps, finally given up.

Yana: In some twisted way, he must have thought he was leading her towards her happy ending. But once again, Norman is selfishly thinking he knows best, and he finally went too far with this way of thinking.

What would have to change in order for Norma and Norman to live and come out of their codependency?

Stacy: I'm not sure if they could ever come out of their codependency. Norma has been in denial a really long time. Maybe if she actually witnessed him kill someone with her own eyes she'd start to believe it, but nothing short of that is going to work.

Lisa: It's never going to happen. All the progress Norma made while Norman was in Pineview disappeared almost instantly, the minute he returned. And it just got worse. Norma just can't separate herself from her son.

Yana: I agree with Lisa. The only sliver of a chance would have been if Norman stayed in Pineview, and Norma never let him come home.

If Norma is resuscitated, what is next?

Stacy: I would be annoyed for one thing. That was the perfect ending for her, and we all know she dies, so for them to bring her back just to kill her some other way next season would feel cheap.

Lisa: She'll probably blame it all on Romero that he was trying to get Norman out of the way because of jealousy. She might even throw Dylan under the bus with that, too. Then the game becomes Norman and Norma versus the rest of the world again. Unless she has brain damage, then that changes the game. It could be the catalyst for Norman to take the role of Norma to new heights, because she's no longer capable.

Yana: Even if Norma comes back (she won't), all I can imagine is her still staying on Norman's side. I don't think that anything can faze her, because in her mind everyone but them are at fault. It would always be Norma and Norman against the world.

If Norma is not resuscitated, what is next?

Stacy: I don't think Dylan moves to Seattle. He and Romero will be the ones who know in their hearts that Norman did this, but to the outside world it is going to look like Norma planned to kill herself. Norman's history of mental illness will help their case. I think they'll do whatever they can to get Norman committed back to Pineview. I also don't think this will be the last we see of Norma. Vera Farmiga is too good to be gone, so we'll see her in Norman's head. He's going to have a complete breakdown.

Lisa: There are going to be questions. For a woman so dedicated to her son, why would she try to kill herself and leave him to fend on his own? How will Norman be able to support the motel? I see Norman blaming this on Romero and going after him, but what is the next season going to be about then? Norman having a complete breakdown and killing Romero, Dylan, and Emma?

Yana: Dylan and Romero were onto something, Norma dying might be the last straw that will push them to actually confront Norman. Their biggest obstacle was always Norma, with her death comes the freedom they will wish they never had but that they will take advantage of to bring some kind of justice to the victims. But I am also worried that Romero will fall off the deep edge, grief stricken to the point where he does something stupid. And honestly anyone who even thinks Norman might be a killer won't make it in my mind. The story can only end if Norman stays in that hotel and continues killing with no one actually aware of how dangerous he really is.

Share any other feelings on the episode.

Stacy: It was fantastic, and as I said before, the camera shots were so well done. Romero is going to be feeling so guilty for leaving Norma alone with him, and I'm just looking forward to seeing where the story goes next!

Lisa: I really enjoyed the scene between Dylan and Norma before Dylan stormed out. Dylan has always been Norma's voice of reason, but with how she acted and reacted, it showed how far gone she was. The kicker was her asking for the earring before Dylan walked out. She's never going change. She's stuck in a cycle of stupidity and denial. And if she's dead, none of it really matters anymore, anyway.

Yana: Romero's entire last scene was moving. From finding them, to trying to save Norma, to realizing that the woman he wanted to keep safe is now gone while her killer is safe and sound. My heart went out to him, but then I would get frustrated again. We knew what would happen, and seeing Romero try to help Norma throughout the episode and fail? Extremely frustrating.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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