Christina and I tuned in for Bates Motel every Monday since the premiere in March. The season finale aired this past Monday (May 20th), and I have to admit, I’m still not sure whether I liked it or not? Even though I felt the Bates Motel finale fell way short of any expectations I had, overall I must say I did enjoy this new series.
***Yes, there are definitely spoilers ahead – tread carefully…***
The season starts out with a nice, shy, clean-cut, teenage Norman Bates waking up in his room. He wanders around the house looking for his parents to eventually find his father dead in the family garage. In a panic, he runs through the house calling for his mother – Norma. She calmly steps out of the bathroom after a shower, which I thought it was a nice little Easter Egg/allusion by faintly acknowledging THE shower scene from Psycho, and follows Norman to the garage. Norman cries while Norma just watches with an expressionless face. Roll opening credits!
WOW! Hello, got your attention now??
Norma, apparently looking for another fresh start, decides to buy a small motel with the money from her husband’s life insurance policy. Hoping that her and Norman can run the motel as a family business and start over in what appears to be a peaceful small town – White Pine Bay, Oregon.
I didn’t mind the opening approach. Knowing that Norman Bates eventually becomes a psycho-killer, and Norma possibly already being a killer, it gave the air of darkness coming to town.
Keith Summers, the motel’s former owner, isn’t too happy that somebody bought the motel. A property which has been owned by his family for a long time. He stops by a few times to voice his displeasure and harass Norma for buying the motel. He eventually comes in uninvited and rapes Norma. Norman, who wasn’t home when Summers first arrived, shows up and hits him in the head to stop the rape. When Norman scatters to find a phone to call for help, Norma grabs a huge kitchen knife and stabs Keith Summers multiple times (shower scene style), killing him. By the end of episode one, Norma and Norman’s fresh start is officially over when they dump Keith Summers’ body in the river instead of reporting the incident.
As a viewer, I felt the writers left us with an awesome concept: Did Norman come to the motel as a psycho, or did this corrupt town/horrid experiences in this town shape Norman into a psycho?
Leading up to the finale the key story-lines were the disappearance of Keith Summers with the police suspecting Norma. The motel being used for sex trafficking, and the town’s economy – which is almost solely controlled by the money made from the huge marijuana fields on the outskirts of town. The cops and other prominent local officials are all in on the pot-plot and get a cut, but the sex trafficking seems (at this point) was a smaller operation, with only a few key players in the loop. One of those key players was Keith Summers.
I said earlier, I was a little underwhelmed with the finale because felt the finale’s resolutions impacted all of the supporting characters more-so than Norman. Leading up to the finale, the writers spent way more time developing the aspects of a corrupt small town and the history of the motel more-so than Norman Bates the character as well. I do understand to develop the concept of nature/nurture, the focus can’t solely be on Norman, they have to acknowledge his surroundings. But man… I feel like the show missed an opportunity to reveal, or grab a sneak peek at Norman’s true character, rather than the awkward high school kid persona.
Though, to give you the teaser that the writers gave Christina and I. The last image of the season is Norman’s English teacher laying on her bedroom floor with her float cut open, cameras then cut to Norman running through big rain storm – roll credits.
Bates Motel WAS picked-up for a second season and will air in 2014. So now Christina and I will just have to play the waiting game and see just exactly what Norman is running from?