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What Bates Motel Revealed About Psycho

Norman soon becomes Norma. It starts in what seem like moments of forgetfulness when he speaks as if he is his mother, but then you see him murdering Bradley as his mother, testifying as his mother, actually being his mother until it becomes a full-blown transformation after her death. He wears her robes and a blond wig around the house. The more Norma seeps into him, the more brazen he gets. During a psychotic break when he identifies as Norma, he drives to a local bar and drunkenly has sex with someone who has the wrong idea about who “Norma” really is. He remembers nothing.

In the guise of “protecting” Norman, Norma dictates what she wants him to remember and what she doesn’t after a psychotic break. Guess who that backfires on when he attempts a murder-suricide by turning up the gas heater way too high so they can die in each other’s arms by morning. Except he survives, and she lives on in his hallucinations. However, the attachment is so hardwired that he digs her body out after the funeral and sits her on a chair in the house while he lives in a state of constant psychosis and sees her everywhere. If he commits a murder, she is really the one behind it. The only thing that speaks louder than Norma is evidence. 

Perhaps Norma’s worst sin is one of omission. She has known about his psychotic breaks at least since she was attacked by her abusive husband, which triggered Norman to punch him in the head with such ferocity that he accidentally killed him. The memory lapse that follows makes it easy for Norma to drag the body under a tool shelf and convince Norman his father died from an accident. Norma could have reported it as an accident and used the insurance money to start her son on a treatment program instead of indulging her dream of owning a motel. She should have also checked herself into therapy while she was at it.

Would Norman have still had a body count beyond his father if Norma decided not to “protect” him as she repeats ad nauseam but started treatment after the incident? Nobody knows. It is doubtful even Hitchcock or Robert Bloch, the author of the book that inspired the original movie, could answer this.

While not everyone who vanishes in White Pine Bay is Norman’s prey, and Alex Romero also has corpses to answer for, there would have probably been a better chance of Norman improving if he started therapy as a teen. It is too late by the time Norma, at Romero’s insistence, begs Norman to sign papers admitting himself to a facility. He is no longer a minor who can be admitted involuntarily. He is also older and far more clever, trying to escape and later lying about a drastic improvement so he can, as a legal adult, sign himself out. He even flushes his meds down the toilet after her death so his psychosis can keep bringing her back to life. 

Normal Louise Bates dominates her younger son’s mind whether she is corporeal or incorporeal. Maybe that explains why he doesn’t fight his older brother after charging at him with a knife and ending up fatally shot in self-defense. He knows he is going exactly where he wants to be, in the grave right next to his mother’s.




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