Now with only three episodes left of A&E’s Bates Motel, Norman’s life begins to crumble as “lies” become fact and allegiances become tested. In Norman’s eyes, everyone is ‘Unfaithful’
The following review of Unfaithful, Bates Motel’s eighth episode of season 4, contains extremely minor spoilers. Check in at your own risk. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Throughout Bates Motel’s run, I’ve always wanted the show to become more focused and clamp down on its arguably excessive story threads. For my money, real storytelling is about roller coaster plotting and exhilarating scenes that tie together perfectly; Unfaithful, Bates Motel’s latest episode, seems to understand this amazingly well.
My whole life, you have kept me so close to you that I couldn’t breath without you-
Written by Freddie Highmore, who also plays the show’s central character, Norman Bates, Unfaithful is almost literally at the literary the top of the Bates Motel hill, just before the show’s roller coaster drop, if you will.
Much like last week’s fantastic There’s No Place Like Home, almost every story thread revolves around Norman, and specifically here, Norman Vs. Romero in a bloody battle to the death at the center stage that is Bates Motel. The winner’s prize: the sweet-and often sadistically manipulative, Norma Bates.
It’s true, there is one otherwise distracting story thread, which as Rebecca’s situation with attempting to leave for Indianapolis, but even that ties to Sheriff Romero’s implications in the disappearance of Bob Paris, and thus, is connected to the main story.
The show even brilliantly weaves the on-going story of Dylan and Emma into the fold by having the two characters go out for family fun night with Norman and Norma. With it written this way, you never leave the thread of Norman, Norma, and Sheriff Romero.
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On top of its focus, Unfaithful also features amazing dialogue. Three scenes really stand out in Bates Motel’s latest offering: a confrontation between Norman and Romero at Romero’s place of business, the sheriff station, and a heated discussion between Norman and Norma while ironically shopping for Christmas trees and lastly, the ending scene, which is downright tense, terrifying, and titillating; This is the best scene in the history of Bates Motel.
These three scenes were amazing and you’ll no doubt be singing their praise from the rooftop of your local motel.
Also, there’s a classic Psycho callback within the episode and I freaking clapped when the situation played out.
As for the acting in Unfaithful, it’s even more sensationally solid work from the cast of Bates Motel.
Vera Farmiga is doing wonderful work, as always, playing Norma Bates. As Norma, the actress brilliantly straddles that fine line with, what seems from the outside looking in, ease. She shines particularly in the tree shopping scene, performing with not only driven conviction, but robust, jaw-dropping, emotions.
Freddie Highmore in ‘Bates Motel’- courtesy of A&E
Freddie Highmore is also doing great work here. While he’s not as great as was in last week’s episode, There’s No PLace Like Home, where he could’ve been simply handed an Emmy, Highmore still more than earns his money from A&E, and our respect, in Unfaithful. It’s always great seeing Highmore preform with his amazing portrayal of Norman’s sociopath-like tendencies.
Then there’s Sheriff Romero, played by Nestor Carbonell . With more screen time here than normal, the actor is knocking it out of the park–and his chemistry with Farmiga is undeniable. I’m really glad he was cast, as some actors would’ve had a hard time playing that line Romero walks between caring and corruption. Luckily for us, Carbonell, the actor tasked playing the gun-strapped stepdad, is more than up for the challenge.
If you’re a lover of direction, there’re a few delicious shots to sink your teeth into in Unfaithful. Directed by Stephen Surjik, the opening establishing shot, followed by a ceiling shot (which moves down to reveal the subject of it’s eye: Norma Bates), a nice side-realization shot featuring Norman at the Christmas tree shop, as well as nicely tilted composition in the final diner scene (which makes the confrontation even more menacingly awkward and suspenseful) are great. Cinema-freaks are sure to love eat them up.
So, will Norman finally fix the situation between Romero and Norma once and for all? Will the FBI convince Rebecca to tell them what actually happened to Bob Paris? Will Dylan finally rid himself of the family that has brought him down for so many years? You’ll have tune in to find out Fright Fans.
Stephen Surjik‘s Unfaithful is the best episode of Bates Motel that A&E has ever aired. It’s even better than last week’s There’s No Place Like Home, which if you read my review, I simply loved. You’ll be more than hooked when you watch Unfaithful and, like I, will be counting down the days till the next episode. Monday night can’t come fast enough. See you at Bates Motel Horror Heads.
Check out a preview of next week’s episode, Forever, courtesy of A&E:
THE GRADE: A+
Keeping up with A&E’s Bates Motel? Excited to see where the series goes after Monday’s Unfaithful? Tune in to Bates Motel at 9/8c Mondays, Only on A&E. Don’t forget to sound off below with your comments, opinions and insights so we can keep this Bates conversation going.