A&E’s ‘Bates Motel’ has been stellar in the second half of Season 4. The last few episodes have been the best outings the series has ever offered. But can the quality last ‘Forever’?
The following review contains minor spoilers for ‘Forever’. You’ll be OK to check into the review before watching. Nothing major is ruined. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Norman Bates has been through a lot in the fourth season of A&E’s Bates Motel. He’s been away from his home. He’s been locked up in a mental institution. He’s been away from his mother. And well, he’s killed the mother of Emma dressed as his own mother, Norma.
In Forever, the culmination of Norman’s further progression into his personality-disorder gives way to his family (mostly), including newly minted member Alex Romero, becoming more distant than ever; This is the main theme of Bates Motel’s newest episode.
Look at us Mother. We are vary charming people.-Norman Bates
While the script isn’t nearly as focused as last week’s Unfaithful (written by star Freddie Highmore), Forever is one of the better written, and overall constructed, episodes of Season 4. I’ve seen far more contrived episodes of Bates Motel than Forever.
There’s really only one thread that has nothing to with Norman’s murdering ways specifically. Bates Motel has frequently been, and often unintelligibly so, about too many unfocused and uninspired story threads–Not Forever.
Written by Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, every scene in Forever is about Norman’s dangerously fragile psyche, save for the escalating situations between Rebecca and the DEA. In an episode that’s unusually heavy on the Dylan, which does strengthen the narrative, it all ultimately plays into the same hand.
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Everything’s about how potentially deadly Norman has become and how Norma just can’t seem to ever truly see his suspect behavior. Everyone around her yearns for Norma to finally see the truth–Love can be blinding. Sadly, it might be too late, as the end of the episode is truly shocking and I was left simply stunned. I mean speechless Horror Heads.
Also, the scene between Dylan, Norma, and Norman is one of the series’ best. It’s been a long time coming and Dylan, played by Max Thieriot, really gets to shine in the Forever. He’s not the best actor, but he does get his moment.
The acting in Forever is quite serviceable and effective as well. Like the tools of leaf blowing company, this stuff doesn’t suck…that should be the company’s slogan.
Vera Farmiga and Max Thieriot in ‘Bates Motel’- Courtesy of A&E
Of all the great acted scenes in Forever, the ones that stand out are:
The above mentioned moment between the Bates family, a scene between Norman and Dr.Edwards (where Freddie Highmore again delivers), an amazing scene when Norma breaks down (Vera Farmiga showing just how amazing she truly is) and the greatest scene of the episode, featuring Nestor Carbonell‘s best acting of the series in which he expresses his true feelings of Norma. This is one powerful scene, with powerhouse acting from Carbonell. You’ll surely love it Soldiers of Springwood.
Moreover, Forever’s direction, lead by Director Tim Southam, is pretty solid in parts, especially in the outing’s second half. It’s true, the first half is pretty standard TV stuff, but then this baby gets disciplined.
The great direction includes, but isn’t limited to, an amazingly swift shot where Dylan arrives at Bates’ house (camera does a have half-revolution and ends with Bates’ house in view and Dylan being featured in his side mirror), two great shots (a great high-angle and an effective low-angle) when Norman is digging a grave, a great shot when Norma opens the refrigerator (camera pushes in on her face, then pulls back to Norman standing behind her), and lastly, a great super-low angle shot when Norman goes downstairs to handles, what he feels is, necessary business.
There’s also an amazing montage-like moment at the end featuring The Chordettes‘ Mr.Sandman that’s truly stunning.
So, whom exactly is Norman digging that grave for? Will Romero be able to protect Norma and himself from an increasingly dangerous Norman? Will Dylan be able to make peace with the situation, while convincing Norma of Norman’s mental state? You’ll have to check in at Bates Motel to find out Fright Fans.
Tim Southam’s Forever is another great entry of Bates Motel; A welcomed trend as of late. It’s an hour of entertainment that sets up the season finale perfectly. It features a few decent shots, two extremely great scenes from its cast, and pushed Bates Motel down the home stretch with an ending that’s not only unforgettable but one that will leave you in that seat long after the credits roll. So it’s time check out of this review and into Bates Motel. I think you’ll love your stay.
THE GRADE: A-
Check out YouTuber EmmightySofia‘s take on Forever, but be aware, it may contain massive spoilers:
Keeping up with A&E’s Bates Motel? Excited to see where the series goes after Monday’s Forever? 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.