Bates Motel Season 1 Review

bates motel

Bates Motel‘s first season comes to an end.  How’s the show’s freshman season?

A show about the prequel of the movie Psycho?  It’s so hard to think that it’s a good idea, but the show proves everyone wrong.  Bates Motel turns out to be a great show, and maybe even the best new show of this season.

The shows takes place in the contemporary modern time.  While it might seem bizarre at fast, but it allows the story to be more relevant to viewers.  The story begins with a 17 year-old Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) moving to a small town in Oregon where they bought a run-down motel.  Since we know what Psycho is about, we’ re expecting signs of Norman’s obsession with his mother.  It turns out, Norman himself is not the main issue for the icky relationship- Norma is not helping with the issues, either.  She’s overbearing, and over sexualized when she’s with her son.  In fact, their interactions are sometime closer to a couple, instead of mother and son.  Very icky, very uncomfortable.

An overbearing mother doesn’t necessary explain Norman’s violence behavior, and it’s revealed that Norman has the tendency to hallucinate his mother during tough times, and he blacks out once the hallucinations convinced him of doing things.  Once happens when he was convinced that the hallucination tells him to steal the belt from Zack Shelby’s house; another happens during the season finale.  The hallucinations will take over Norman’s personality and turns him into a clod-blooded killer.  Once he wakes up from it, he won’t remember a thing at all.  The character is getting closer and closer of what he will become in Psycho.

Norman’s interest in taxidermy is explained in the show already.  He befriends a girl named Emma (Olivia Cooke), and her father is a taxidermist.  He’s been teaching Norman how to stuff animals since Norman’s pet dog is ran over by a car.  Slowly, the show is shaping this seemingly healthy kid to the same psycho we known and feared in the movie.

He might seem nice and cute, but he's a psycho alright

He might seem nice and cute, but he’s a psycho alright

Norma is a interesting character to look into as well.  While she appears to be normal and all, she’s clearly unstable.  While I’m sure she has no sexual feeling for his son (I hope), she’s behaving inappropriately with him.  She’s vulnerable, and she uses her son as a substitute for her emotion, and physical absents.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that she’s depending on her son in a way companions depending on each others.  It really is a sick, a twisted relationship.

At first, Norma’s unstable-ness makes me believe that she’s the one that killed her husband in the beginning of the show.  When it turns out that Norman is the one that actually killed him, it makes me wonder if Norma actually makes a fatal mistake on her own part?  I understand that Norma has issues, so she thinks the best thing to do is to keep her son around.  However, what makes her think that Norman will not kill her one day?  A big mistake…

a mom knows best... right?

a mom knows best… right?

Now, Let’s talk about Norma’s older son- Dylan (Max Thieriot).  When he was first introduced to the series, I though he would be one of those selfish, asshole characters.  It turns out that Dylan is the one with most hearts in the entire Bates family.  Dylan left the family early when he finds out just how fucked-up his family is.  Now he returns, he’s shown as a very caring big brother who just want what’s best for his little brother.  He protects Norman, and even tries to get him away from Norma because he knows she is not a good mother for him.  At first, Norma and Dylan fight a lot over the matter of Norman, but he slowly learns to accept her as a mother, and begins to help around the motel.

One important thing though, we learn that Norma was raped by her brother in the season finale.  Can Dylan be a product of inbreeds?  If anything, it explains why Norma has so much resentment towards her son.

Dylan’s introduction also serves the purpose of going deeper of the town’s mythos.  Through Dylan, we learn that the town is run by drug money and almost every important figures in town are pretty much involved.  At the same time, a whole different human trafficking/sex slave operation is run by Deputy Zach Shelby and the former owner of the motel.  How fuck up is this town?

The human trafficking story opens a whole different door with a very real kind of threat.  Jake Abernathy (Jere Burns), or whatever his name is, is the boss of human trafficking.  Both Shelby and Keith Summer work for him, and he wants his money back.  Burn does a good job in this show, and he’s really, really creepy.  I really like this character, and it’s too bad to see him go at season finale.  Heck, we still don’t know his real name at the end.

"I'm sorry, I seem to have lost my keys... Can I call for front desk from you room phone?"

“I’m sorry, I seem to have lost my keys… Can I call for front desk from you room phone?”

Bradley Martin (Nicole Peltz) is introduced as Norman’s typical high school drama.  Her story is boring, and she’s only there to build on Norman’s dark side.  Too bad though, because I really thought she’s going to be a different character than those teen drama ones.  After she slept with Norman, everything goes south from there.  Seriously though, I don’t know how Bradley makes it out of the season alive.  Anyway, I don’t really care about the teen drama aspects of the show, and I wish less of those next season.

Emma is my favorite character of the show.  A character with cystic fibrosis, and she needs to carry a oxygen tank with her at all times.  But she doesn’t let it get her down, and she lives the with much hope and optimistic.  She befriends Norman when he first arrives school, and she has a crush on him ever since.  She is genially nice to everyone around her, and she serves as a ray of hope in Norman’s dark soul.  While I really hope Norman and Emma can be together, we all know that’s not going to be the case.  If anything, I can see that Norman actually killing Emma by the end of the series.  Him putting out the ray of hope himself.

Ray of hope

Ray of hope

It turns out, Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell)is a hero the whole time.  The entire season he keeps us guessing where his true alliance lies, and i’m glad to see that he turns out to be a good guy at the end.  Once again, Nestor Carbonell delivers another epic role since his character Richard from LOST.  What a wonderful actor.

Remember, don’t fuck with Sheriff Romero’s town, assholes.

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You heard the guy

Anyway, let’s talk about the season finale cliffhanger.  The final scene in the finale shows Miss Watson’s (Keegan Connor Tracy) death.  While it’s meant to seem like Norman killed her, I believe it might just be red herring.  Remember we see Miss Watson arguing with someone over the phone earlier in the episode?  It’s a high possibility that whoever she was arguing killed her.  Or maybe Norman really killed her, but the police are going to believe whoever she was arguing with killed her instead.  We don’t know what really happened, but we’re sure to find out next season.

Bates Motel does a good job for its freshman season.  The show holds a lot of potential  and intriguing characters.  While the show has some down moments (high school dramas), there are still a lot of wonderful stories to keep people hooked.  Can’t wait for next season, and how fuck-up the stories and characters will become.

8.8/10

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