'Bates Motel' S4E6: The Vault

★ ★ ★ ½

There is so much emotional baggage in the Bates family, some really heavy stuff, and all of the members got the chance to drop off a load of secrets and feel "OK" for once. That being said, Season 4 is building up to something awful, just based on how quickly their characters are trying to move on, because this is Bates Motel and nothing will ever end well for anyone involved. The secrets they've locked away are going to spill out into the open and, no matter what anyone does, those secrets are going to have consequences. While last episode focused on the benefits of lying, "The Vault" evened the scales.

Norman's character has taken a turn for the… abnormal, even for him. It's almost uncharacteristic watching him go with the flow instead of swimming against the current and, in light of all that's happening around him, he just accepts all of it? It's odd watching Norman calmly handle his traumatic childhood memories, being told that Dylan is dating Emma, and discovering that his alter ego is Norma. "The Vault," for whatever reason, distanced the audience from Norman in such a drastic way that reading his true emotions was not only difficult, but an alien experience. Watching him transition from Norman to Norma/n would have been more efficient if it weren't such an out-of-body experience to behold. It felt more like watching a possession than seeing Norman switch into the alter ego he so seamlessly transitioned into the last time.

Bates Motel: S4E6

It's interesting watching Norman's behavior when around both of his mothers, one real and one psychological, but the responsibility of the task has been relegated to Norma/n, who speaks out against Norman's therapy sessions in fear that he'll uncover more of his childhood and never recover from it. Norma to an extreme, Norma/n will go to any length to silence threats to Norman's livelihood, even if she has to be that threat. It'll be curious to see how Dr. Edwards handles Norman's sessions from this point on and if he'll manage to find some way to give Norman the reigns to his own mind or learn a way to control Norma/n himself.

Norma faced off with Chick, which was a weird dynamic to begin with. The plots in "The Vault" didn't lead anywhere particularly significant, but they did develop some things that needed to be said to other characters in order to get them up to speed on current events. Norman, for one, got most of the information and so did Romero, who Norma confessed Dylan's parentage to. Several of the things in "The Vault" could have been left there and no one would have noticed, but secrets being forced into the open was an intriguing set-up for the Bates family to have to deal with.

Norma got pushed to the breaking point and ended up impressing Chick and gaining Romero's unconditional affection, both of which surprised her insecurities. The Bates family is learning, slowly but surely, that there are people out there who can understand their situation and help them through all of it. Though, it may cost those people dearly.

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