Trying to pick the special moments from an incredible season is not as easy as it seems.
Before realizing things had gotten away from me, I had to stop and whittle it down from 31 categories. The proposal through the wedding and the reactions from family and friends alone could spawn several categories.
Norman's time in Pineview was a goldmine. From Normero to encounters with Chick to Dylemma and so much more, the season was impressive on a grand scale.
The bottom line is Bates Motel Season 4 scored an A in the TV Fanatic Report Card. Now, let's take a look at some specifics from the season!
Most Suspenseful Episode
Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 2, "Goodnight, Mother," was brilliant! Watching Norma fear Norman as he considered taking both of them out because they didn't belong on this earth, was far more dramatic than the actual event. She was running from him, flirting with him to get him to stand down and hiding in the attic, calling Alex Romero to say goodbye. It was shocking she made it out alive. But given what we know now, you have to wonder if Norman could have killed her in anger or if it was always going to be done out of love.
Best Norma/Norman Episode
Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 6, "The Vault," had everything we could have ever wanted for Norma. It was her happy ending. She stood up to Chick and discovered he had respect for her. She shared all of her secrets with Alex and discovered he had a love deeper for her than she could ever imagine. At Pineview, Norman recounted his desperate days as a young boy when he and mother lived terrified of his father. We learned how he became so incredibly damaged, from Mother, who appeared to Dr. Edwards. It was incredible stuff, and the calm before the storm.
Best Female Performance
Alright. This is a cheat category, but how else to praise, once again, Vera Farmiga for all she did this season as Norma and Mother? Especially since Norma had a chance to grow beyond Norman for the first time with him away in Pineview. She got her sea legs and found herself for just a while. It was beautiful! It was also the last we'll see of Norma Bates as we knew her. Farmiga has to let go of the woman she became and start with only what Norman wants the character to be, so always a challenge. No doubt she'll be up for it.
From the proposal to the wedding to moving in, nothing about Norma and Alex marrying was normal. But the love they fell into head first sure was as normal as it gets. The two of them wouldn't have gone about marrying any other way, would they?
Best Male Performance
Freddie Highmore scores the win! He was given the most difficult material, of course, as he's the man in this scenario. But he had a tough dual with Nestor Carbonell this season. They had some great scenes together and with Vera Farmiga. They shared the stage and will continue sharing it into Season 5. Norman's roundup of insanity, self-pity and humor really played well to the crowd, though, and Highmore carried it out beautifully, as always!
Most Welcome Development
Norma and Alex falling head over heels in love before she died was very welcome indeed. She got to feel real love before she kicked the bucket, even if she didn't quite have the confidence to pull it off. If Norman hadn't interfered, Alex would have pulled her up and given her the support she needed to move forward. There just wasn't enough time. But, for a while? Just look at that smile. Norma was happy.
Characters We Miss the Most
As much as we wanted Emma to be healthy again, we miss Dylemma. Dylan and Emma felt too distant and uninvolved. Moving to Seattle has to be an audience con, right? They'll be back surely, for we'll need the normalcy (Norman loves the word!). And nobody thinks Dylan will give up the investigation into Audrey's death, especially if he hears about Norma.
Best New Character
Norma begged Dr. Edwards to take on Norman, and with the help of a quickie marriage and some other finangling, I'm guessing Dr. Edwards was pretty pleased to have Norman Bates as a patient. He got Norman to trust him and really open up. Through his therapy, he even managed to talk to Mother. Will we ever see him again, though?
Bates Motel can be dramatic, horrific and gut-wrenching. It can also be ridiculously silly and funny. This scene after Norma was down in the pool pit checking for evidence of Audrey's visit is a great example. As Norman talks seriously to her with mud on her face, Norma just has to stand there and act normal (there's that word again). Norman's scenes in Pineview when people tried to get him to participate in activities were also great.
Norman had already gone through the house and turned on an old furnace intending to kill himself and Norma, succeeding on one account. He'd dug up Norma and let her body unceremoniously flap around in the dirt and on the pavement. He held and kissed her dead body. But nothing compared to getting out the taxidermy glue and opening Norma's eyes for good. That was all kinds of creepy.
Most Interesting Adventure
Norman and his quasi-pal from Pineview had quite an adventure when they broke out. They went to a strip club, where Mother showed up when things started getting sexy. It was a great moment for both Freddie and Vera and they must have had a blast filming the scene with the feather boa.
Most Heartbreaking Moment
After Norma died, watching Romero sob over her dead body when he couldn't bring her back was enough to bring me to mush. To put things into perspective, we learned in the finale he and Norma were only married for two weeks. They had and on-again off-again dance for what felt like forever, but it probably came down to next to nothing overall. Their slice of happiness was so short-lived, but it was genuine. Tragic.
Saddest Christmas Ever
Sure, Norman looks like a kid at a candy store, staring in awe at his mother. But what the outside world doesn't know is that SHE'S DEAD. It's all in his head. He was going to shoot himself to join her in death, and his illness saved him. The mind is a crazy thing. His dog, Juno, and Mother are alive and well in a decorated house all ready for Christmas. Meanwhile, he's still wearing the shirt in which he dug her up. I repeat. Tragic.