The season finale opens with quick, short scenes. We’re flicking from person to person, place to place, and it works well to really crank up the tension. Especially as, everyone, it seems, is working to their own agenda.
Norma heads to Pine View psychiatric residential home to check it out for Norman. Caleb leaves White Pine Bay, and poor Dylan turns up too late to stop him, finding nothing more than the smouldering remains of his campfire. Bradley checks out of the motel, through the bathroom window, and poor Emma takes a leave of absence when she finds out there’s a set of lungs waiting for her. Meanwhile, the DEA have arrived.
Terrified that her body will reject the transplant, Emma creeps out of the house when she’s supposed to be packing, and goes to the farm for a think. Good old Dylan figures out where she’s gone, and goes after her. They talk, they kiss, and he convinces her to go for the transplant.
Bradley trashes and robs her mum’s house, returning to the motel with thousands in cash and jewellery. She’s still expecting Norman to go with her, despite his refusal. But then Norma tells him about Pine View, that she wants him to get proper help. “I’m glad that we had this little talk of yours,” he says. “I see where we stand. You’ve given up on me.”
He’s right about one thing though; Norma has given up. Romero turns up to say he’s not sorry for handing over the flash drive, although he is sorry he couldn’t protect her. “Maybe fate wins here,” she tells him. “We’re all doomed in the end, right?” She recognises that Norman’s fate is out of her hands now, that if Bob Paris decides to re-open the case of her husband’s death, there’s just nothing she can do.
But Romero still has a card to play. He phones Bob, tipping him off that the DEA are on their way. He says it’s “Because, Bob, you getting arrested is not in my best interests.” He waits for Bob on his boat, they talk, and Romero fills him with bullets.
Norma catches Norman packing to leave. He tells her he’s running away with Bradley. Of course, Norma thinks Bradley’s dead, and she thinks her son’s really losing it. They argue, things get physical, and Norma takes a tumble down the stairs. But she’s fighting back, and wraps a hefty vase round Norman’s head, knocking him out. She drags him down to the basement, ties him up, locks him in, and calls her first-born for help.
When Dylan arrives, they find Norman’s bonds lying loose on the floor, and the basement window open.
But as Norman and Bradley set off on their adventure, hallucinatory Norma sets up on the back seat. She talks to Bradley through Norman, and we all know this won’t end well. Norman/Norma drags the poor girl from the car, bashing her head in on a rock. “Mother! What have you done?” Norman screams.
And Bradley ends up dead, just as everyone thinks she is. And her final resting place is in the boot of her car, in the cold water of the dock.
Unlike previous season finales, we’ve not been left with a cliffhanger, or a frustratingly unanswered question, just a chilling promise that things are going to get a lot worse. As Norman and his hallucinatory mother cling to one another like lovers, they promise that they’ll always be together, that no one will come between them again.
The Ronettes’ upbeat pop hit ‘Be My Baby’ has never sounded more terrifying.