Season 5, Episode 4
Brian Tallerico writes: The psychosis of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) reaches a new level in “Hidden.” For four seasons, Norman has blacked out in moments of severe stress or anxiety, and “Norma” (Vera Farmiga) has taken over. Toward the end of this week’s episode, we find ourselves at a moment in which it appears this transformation will happen again but Norman stops it, preventing “his mother” from taking another victim. The scene that follows hints that this new ability is not necessarily a positive development, while also calling back brilliantly to the final shot of Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie.
“Hidden” opens in the aftermath of the car accident that closed last week’s episode. As we suspected, Caleb (Kenny Johnson) is actually dead. Norman suggests calling the sheriff, but “Norma” and Chick (Ryan Hurst) advise against it. The blossoming writer who actually hit Caleb with his car (and has a violent history that could get all involved into trouble) also reminds Norman that “there are other things in your basement.” Chick and Norma win the fight, then Chick burns Caleb in a Viking funeral the next day. There really must not be a lot of people living anywhere near the Bates, huh? Chick doesn’t seem even slightly concerned that someone might catch him burning a body on the lake.
Former sheriff and now escaped convict Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) is still alive, but he’s in bad shape. He convinces the kid who shot him in the stomach to go inside for help and then he flees. Not long after, he calls an ambulance from a pay phone, then raids it for supplies while the EMS drivers head in for the fake call. By the end of the episode, he’s stumbled his way to safety, barely kept alive by his desire for vengeance.
While that happens, Norman meets Alex’s replacement, Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith). She may not yet know the danger that hides behind Bates Motel, but she’s instantly suspicious of the young man she meets on his front step. Little does she know he was just arguing with his dead mother about what she wears, giving Farmiga her best line of the episode: “Dead or not, I can’t be prancing around this house naked!” Greene ruins Norman’s day by 1) Asking about the missing Jim Blackwell, and 2) Letting him know that Romero escaped, and is probably headed his way. Interestingly, Norman doesn’t tell his mother about the latter, perhaps thinking he can handle the vengeful lawman himself.
Norman is tossing his mother’s old stuff away when he stops himself and goes to visit Madeleine (Isabelle McNally). After a clever, movie-referencing conversation about how the Bates Motel goes through a lot of shower curtains, Norman gives his new object of affection his dead mother’s clothes. Nothing weird there at all. For some reason, she doesn’t run screaming. In fact, she takes the clothes, promising to take good care of them.
Now that he’s dressing his new girlfriend in his dead mother’s clothes, our big boy Norman has to get rid of his guardian. He tells Chick to leave, and I’m not sure I believe this bit of plot development. Yes, Norman feels like he’s being told what to do by “Norma,” and that could be the reason he gets rid of Chick, but he also knows that Alex is coming for him…. (read more)