SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST IS CHOCK-FULL OF ‘EM

You’re fresh as a spring rose. Don’t worry about it. The Miata top wasn’t down that long. Your hair looks fine, you look fine. You are beautiful, so don’t feel you have to make yourself different than you are right now, in this very moment. It’s not too late. You can return the money. Just say you made a mistake. Turn around now. You might even be able to get the money back into the bank without anyone ever noticing. You definitely do not need a shower.

But no. We know how things turn out (probably). We’ve been waiting for you, or someone like you, since the Bates Motel series started. For many of us, to be sure, the entire series has been one extended tease leading towards the inevitable: showering, screaming, knifing and an extreme closeup of abject terror.

We thought it would be Emma, and thank the sweet muse that it wasn’t. Who doesn’t love sweet Emma? For a few interesting moments, we thought it might be Emma’s mother. It turns out that kill was just a little sip of murder to slake our thirst and keep us coming back for more. But when Norma meets his crush, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to his pretty blond mother, we think, “this is it!” Nope. The blond was a red herring. In this final season, it turns out that Rihanna’s character was who we’ve been waiting for this entire time. Welcome to the Bates Motel, Marion Crane.

It’s almost a damn shame the writers made the character so sympathetic. The setup adds immediate discomfort to our foreknowledge. We know that Sam, the douchebag who is married to Normans’ crush, is cheating on someone.  We know this because Norman spied them through a bullet hole in the motel wall while the two made love. We never saw the woman’s face. In episode 4, we discover Sam is sleeping with Marion Crane.

Marion doesn’t know that Sam is married. We find this out via a post morning-sex scene where Marion asks Sam to Marry her. The acting is very good, considering that Rihanna definitely didn’t find her costar attractive at all, as revealed by the wails of “eeew, gross!” every time Rihanna sees herself kiss Sam on screen as seen in her Livestream reaction to her performance. At one point during said Livestream, it sounds like Rihanna is saying something about the actor’s back and “…he is so disgusting.”

Rihanna’s Marion is an administrative assistant, who also happens to be a notary public. Sam’s morning wood has made her late for work. The fact that she is a notary is crucial to the plot for some reason. Her notary skills are mentioned several times, and she displays a lot of cleavage while she notarizes under the skeevy stares of two white dudes who practically drool on their cheap suits. But the notary scene is how Marion just happens to gain access to more than $400k in cash. Don’t question the improbability of a real estate deal done this way, just check out the cleavage and move on. Also, her boss is a dick, so yeah, money. Lots of it. Steal away, Marion (pun intended).

Marion’s compulsive act of revenge embezzlement sends her on the run to Sam, who is too dumb to keep his voice down on the back deck while talking to his mistress while his wife Madeline is making dinner. “Who is she?” Madeline asks when Sam comes back inside. Who is she, indeed. She’s the one heading to the Bates Motel to fulfill her destiny and possibly recreate one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history.

Given that the writers have a lot riding on this, and folks are already falling all over themselves to compare the Marion character to the original, I suspect this might be a bait-and-switch maneuver. What if Marion isn’t the one who gets killed? What if Madeline ends up in the shower instead? Anything might happen.

The show has demonstrated a keen ability to ram through exposition to steer the plot where it needs to go. There are many loose threads flapping in the wind, much like the hem of Marion’s raincoat that we saw get slammed under the trunk lid of her red sports car. Romero is still out for revenge, Emma might want to confront Norman about her missing mother, and Norman’s brother doesn’t know his mother is dead. A lot of people might soon consider a trip to the Bates Motel. Don’t even get me started on the two gay people who have seen both Norma and Norma and who are still alive to tell the tale. Death markers abound.

Well done, Bates Motel. The season has me hooked like a chubby, bald middle-aged tuna.