“BATES MOTEL: Season 4, Episode 7” (TV Review)


There was something unique about last week’s episode of BATES MOTEL, entitled “There’s No Place Like Home” after the mantra repeated by Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ to help her come back to reality. Directed by Nestor Carbonell (who plays Sheriff Romero on the series), “There’s No Place Like Home” offers an interesting dynamic and perspective, especially considering Carbonell is someone who has crafted a vital character on the show. Nestor’s vision is absolutely stunning, and this episode, much like Romero himself at times, has a very sweet tone to it.

For instance, the episode begins with an interesting shot that highlights the juxtaposition of the current state of affairs for Norman and Norma: Norman is in his very dreary room at Pineview, looking wary and fearful before the camera pans overhead from Norman’s room into the bedroom of Norma and Alex, where the sunlight spills into the room illuminating them as they roll around in bed. Carbonell and Vera Farmiga have such genuine chemistry and are shot with such delicate detail that the scene feels legitimately like some quality romantic time between newlyweds.

Yet the episode isn’t as much about Alex and Norma as it is about Norman learning about what’s been happening outside of Pineview. Understandably, it makes him quite angry but that only lends itself to Norman’s tragedy as he feels like he was shipped him out so everyone could move on and be happy: Dylan is chomping at the bit for the chance to leave White Pine Bay with Emma, while Norma is genuinely happy after shacking up with Alex. It’s been fascinating this past season to see Farmiga jump between old, “helicopter mother” and new Norma, who has finally found some happiness and wants to enjoy it, and the actress emotes this emotional struggle as if you can actually see the wheels turning in her head.

"There's No Place Like Home"

However, if there’s anything this season that has left me scratching my head, it’s the Dylan/Emma romance, which almost feels like padding or filler. Max Thieriot has been highly underutilized this season, leading the audience to wonder when his storyline would ever have some weight, and with the disappearance of Emma’s mother, Audrey, it looks like something is finally coming together. Emma finds out that Dylan met her mother at the hospital while Emma was in surgery, while Dylan discovers the letter that Audrey had written for Emma in Norman’s room, and the pieces of the puzzle are starting to create a defined picture. I am hoping that this means we will see more of Max Thieriot as the pre-Emma Dylan as opposed to lovesick Dylan before the season is over.

The episode ends with Norman and Norma arriving back at the Bates house, with the former having been checked out of Pineview by the latter. With Norman now coming face-to-face with Romero as a “father” figure, the show is allowing Norman to go further down the rabbit hole. The tension is reaching its boiling point as the season is nearing its end so I expect these last episodes will be real nail biters.

About the author
Amy Seidman

Amy Seidman is a Toronto based writer for Fangoria Magazine, Delirium Magazine, Shock Till You Drop and Thrillist. She has a tattoo tribute to Castor Troy from Face/Off and is currently working on her Bates Motel fan fiction “Masterbates Motel.” She is proud of her life decisions. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram..

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