Bates Motel


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…***

alfred_hitchcockFor those unaware… Bates Motel is a re-imagining/prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary 1960 film “Psycho”. So Bates Motel SHOULD have nothing less than very lofty expectations.

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 Bates
Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates

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.

Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates

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?

8 replies to “Bates Motel

  1. I am yet to see the last episode and I still cannot decide if I like the series or not. It is enough to entertain, to pass the time but not quite enough to make me a fan, or anything like it. I seems to be missing something, I can’t put it to words… It’s strange but it’s like the characters aren’t completely immersed in the horror or the hate or the fear, it’s like a walk in the park or something.

    Hannibal on the other hand, that one made me fall in love in the first few minutes of episode one, and to think season two is at risk is just offensive.

    1. Yeah, Hannibal definitely has some bite… (pun intended) 🙂 Really enjoy Hannibal.

      I agree with you 100% – in that whatever is lacking from Bates Motel, I have a hard time describing it also.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hmm…wasn’t sure what to say about your Bates blog as I’m not particularly into the show, but these short comments so far have inspired me to finally make a comment of my own: Johnny agrees.

    Also, I do like Hannibal, so if anyone is interested, I’m going to start throwing dinner parties before the show each week. Just be warned: nothing will be vegetarian…and I suggest you don’t read any sections of the paper that talk about local missing persons…

  3. I saw the commercials and groaned as Psycho II set the bar too high for any Bates-based story to even touch. Including the original. Should I really give a couple episodes a shot?

  4. The show is extremely dark but electric; It’s well casted and written with intriguing plot twists. If they decide to pick up a few more seasons, this will be a great precursor for his unraveling. Hannibal, while even more disturbing than Bates, is so smart. The constant psychoanalysis between the characters just stokes the fire. It’s pretty intense. Just wish it wasn’t so gruesome.

    1. But the gruesomeness of the crimes is really the only thing that sets it apart from any other crime drama. Speaking of which, it’s time for lunch. Also, just for the record, Bate’s mother is sexy (though still not as much as Arrow’s).

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