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[personal profile] rachg82
So I realize there aren't really many people left here who probably even watch Bates Motel, let alone want to read my random thoughts about it, but I've been pretty okay, very obsessed with it these last few weeks, and I need somewhere to flail so I don't just start talking to myself about it on the streets or something.

At first I just enjoyed the show on an OMGWTF level, to be honest. It had great acting from the start (most notably from Vera Farmiga, who steals the show for me on the reg, though Freddie Highmore is outstanding as well -- his murder-eyes kill me every time), but its campy creepiness, random jolts of humor, & sheer absurdity is what initially drew me in. Well, me and my 13-year-old nephew, technically, haha. We binge-watched the first three seasons on Netflix together when I lived with them last summer, and it was a lot of fun. Still, I will admit my interest waned a bit midway with Caleb's boo-hoo eyes (is he ever NOT on the verge of tears?!) and all the drug trade stuff (NO ONE CURR), but that's partially because I'm just not that interested in Dylan by himself--i.e. not having to do with his relationship with Norma--and anything that takes away from Norma & Norman (and Alex!) makes me all put-out. Heh. Sorry, Dylan & Emma, you're good people, but ain't nobody got time for you.

My interest came back though as Norman's descent into total cray-cray territory escalated--causing the tension to wind up deliciously between him & his poor mother--and as Norma & Alex grew closer & basically destroyed me.

Everything *really* paid off though & got taken to a whole new level, imo, in season 4, and that's where my obsession truly began. I went back & re-watched the first three seasons right after finishing it (just a few weeks ago), and there was so much foreshadowing & subtle build-up that I missed the first time around, and it's kind of brilliant in retrospect. I was definitely able to better appreciate the complex depth of Norma as a character & her feelings for her sons as well (the show is certainly not all crack after all). Also, the pacing, which waxed & waned for me a bit throughout the first few seasons, was pretty perfect in s4. And then to see that crescendo of Norman finally & quietly murdering Norma with such great camera work & music -- it was probably my favorite scene of the entire series. All the closing of vents like walls coming down around her, and the music choice, ugh! Wonderful continuity there, remembering how they sang it together so happily before. Not to mention how fitting it was -- "Mr. Sandman" as she goes to sleep FOREVER. *wails* I have more to say about that, too, but let's talk about a couple other things first:

-First up, Norma, a.k.a. my spirit animal forever. I love her SO MUCH, and just want to hug her to death. Like she actually makes my heart hurt, ha. "Screw off, shithead!" INDEED, NORMA. Indeed. Whenever I'm having a bad day from now on, I'm just going to visualize her going to town on that bypass sign in her evening gown. Impossible not to laugh at that image, seriously.

I kind of feel like she's the light of the show, breaking up all its intrinsic darkness. Not only with the little touches of humor Farmiga infuses her scenes with, or the character's classic & radiant beauty (THOSE EYES -- they are so big & blue, and her mouth is amazing - she basically hypnotizes me), but with her almost inconceivable optimism. No matter what happens, no matter how doomed she may feel deep down, she keeps fighting -- keeps hanging onto hope for a new beginning waiting around the corner. Despite her many mistakes & frustrating flaws, you can't help rooting for her (or I can't, anyway). Which is one reason why it's so painful to see her lifetime of bad breaks & violations get capped off by her wack-ass son killing her & keeping her defenseless body in the basement. Like DAMN, can't a bitch even find peace in death? Apparently not!

Also, can we please talk about that scene with Head Norma (heh, shout-out to Battlestar Galactica!) & the stripper? Because um, yeah, that was all my queer ass ever wanted in life & didn't even know was missing.

-Speaking of asses, all my shipper behind wanted for the first three seasons was for Alex & Norma to get together, and the fourth season delivered on that wonderfully. That fake!marriage turning into a real one was such an unabashed fanfic-dream come to life -- I was absolutely dying over it. Also, that proposal! "It's not like you're doing anything else." Hahaha. NORMA.

Overall, I found the USTy build-up & eventual consummation of their feelings so immensely satisfying & sexy. Their chemistry alone could light the screen on fire, and I loved seeing Norma happy for once with her crazy self -- being protected & cared for, gently cherished even. Alex too, of course. He was so deliriously happy with her, totally unable to quit smiling, and it utterly charmed me. Mr. Tough Guy Sheriff all melted down like a teddy bear carved out of butter.

-Finally, to the death scene, which I'll admit made me cry in that chin-quivering sort of way. It made total sense for Norman to kill her (while of course trying to kill himself as well -- in his mind, that was the only way they could find peace & be together forever at that point), but it was so heartbreaking on so many levels, especially as I didn't expect it until I was spoiled. I knew he would eventually have to have her body in the house based on what little I remembered of the movie, but for some reason I just assumed she would die in some other way, and THAT would be what drove him over the edge. Until season 3, anyway, when I did start thinking it was coming, but even then I just didn't anticipate it happening *yet*. I couldn't imagine the show without her. But now that I know there will only be one more season, and that Vera will still be around as Head Norma, it definitely feels right. (ETA: I'm finally re-watching the movie now--the first time I saw it, I was only 4 years old--and DUH, now I get even more why he had to kill her after she got together with Romero, and why it made sense for it to be an attempted murder-suicide & for them to be found in bed together. It works so well with the show's canon too though)

But yeah, HEARTBREAKING. If she had just left him at Pineview to begin with, or had him involuntarily committed later, she could've stayed blissfully happy in her bubble with Romero -- FINALLY. Something she so deserved after all the shitcakes life had dished out to her, y'know? And poor Alex was clearly so devastated too. It was actually his crying when he found her that made ME cry. And when he visited her body in the morgue & gave her back that ring? Ugh! Flashbacks to Roslin & Adama much? My fucking heart.

The second saddest part for me though, behind Norma NEVER catching a damn break her whole freaking life (and the awful grief Alex must be feeling in her absence), was how childishly Norman reacted to her being gone & leaving him behind. I was a little confused at first about whether he'd actually been blacked out when he killed her (if so, his "you should've told me your plan" would've been an honest statement; if not, it was just his desperate attempt at denial in the wake of doing something so terrible that his mind couldn't handle it), but regardless, her death has left him impossibly alone, and that's something I can't help but identify with. I told my sponsor recently that my mom's death felt like an invisible umbilical cord being severed, one which left me flailing through space with nothing to hold onto. Later I thought more about it, and remembered Norman's comments about the cord between them, and it just hit me like ow. And when he complained about not being able to find her? Ow again. It's like you could search the whole planet if you wanted to, but you'd never be able to find them again. It's an unbelievably lonely feeling. And it must be especially so for him considering how codependent their relationship was. Oh, AND? Those scenes where he was hallucinating her at the piano? Jesus. Merry Christmas.

Don't get me wrong though -- I still want him in prison or dead, but my point is he does make me sad. I can't help it. Even aside from his grief, just seeing him lose his mind so completely is tragic. Particularly if you look at it from Norma's perspective, like how she would feel if she could watch what is happening to her son from beyond the grave. I wonder if she could ever be at peace while that is going on.

I'm so glad though that she left Alex that note before she died. I would've hated it if her last words to him had been angry. Instead they were sad, but they were at least loving. And I'm glad they had the chance to be happy together for a time before Norman showed up & ruined everything. THANKS, NORMAN.

Anyway, I don't have cable, so I'll have to wait until tonight's episode is available online to watch it, but I'm really looking forward to it. In the meantime I've been trying to find good fanfic, and I haven't been able to find a single one. They all either have awful characterization, awful plots, or awful grammar. CAN'T HANDLE IT. I may have to give in & write one of my own, but we'll see.

I'll leave you all with a Vid of the Day (remember when I used to do those?), which focuses on Alex & Norma. Enjoy!

August 2017

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