Bates Motel
What's Wrong With Norman?

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 5 USERS: A
Luminosity Entails Numinosity

I have trans friends that are turned off by the Norman Bates myth because of the weird way it permeates our culture, which is already so confused about gay and transsexual and transvestite and pedophile and whatever else you can cram in there. It's something I was wary about going in, but I've never felt that way about the movie and I certainly don't here, because if anything this is a situation in which everything in their entire house is basically luminous, basically numinous -- look at the way each room is used differently, with a different spirit and family dynamic -- and even objects brought into that house acquire a glow if they come in the right/wrong way. So while I'm not exactly dying to see Freddy Highmore in slingbacks at any point in time, it's firstly not really ever gonna be a question of gender identity, that's simply part of the whole difficulty people seem to have separating their memories and cultural understanding of the movie from the actual movie itself, but most of all because hiding this gun under the bed was -- just as it was this morning for Dylan -- already an act of drag.

So he sets his back straight, in that way he has when he's about to tell the truth, but first: He very carefully unrolls an immaculate sweater down, straightens the collar, snaps the cuffs. Mother calls it putting on her face.


Norma: "I make a turkey pot pie! And it smells magnificent!"
Norman: "I kept Keith's belt."
Norma: "Do what?"
Norman: "When we loaded his body into the car, I kept it? Hid it under my bed?"
Norma: "You hid it there? I mean... why? Why would you do that? Why would you want to keep that thing?"

His face crumples, because he already knows that he doesn't know why: That he doesn't have the words for why. And that's the part that is killing him right now. Not the complications, not the betrayal of their household, none of it. The why of it. And that's what she keeps asking, and that's why he breaks down. And once she sees that, she stops, because that's terrifying. And sad.

Norma: "...All right. Well, if the police had found it, they would have said something, so. And they haven't. Now I've got to go figure this out. Enjoy your pot pie and please do not be so hard on yourself."


Ethan explains the White Pine Bay Thing to Dylan, how the pot works and how the justice system works and how sometimes somebody will set your boss on fire and you will cry and cry, but eventually that person will also be set on fire.

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Bates Motel




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