It’s been a fun and (unfortunately) short 10-week ride, but A&E’s Bates Motel has come to an end at least for season 1. Expect season 2 to air between Fall 2013-Spring 2014.
SPOILERS AHOY!: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS AWESOME SHOW YET (AND WHY THE HELL HAVEN’T YOU?) THEN THIS REVIEW WILL MOST CERTAINLY SPOIL MAJOR PLOT POINTS FOR YOU, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. SPOILER ALERT!
Bates Motel is a tv prequel spin off of the Pyscho franchise, the main characters are the Bates; Norman, Norma, and Dylan played by Freddy Highmore, Vera Farmiga, and Max Thieriot respectively, who seemingly impulse buy a motel complex without dong very much research on the town that holds it, and it’s pretty fucked. Full of deadly deals, head turns, and murder the town of White Pine Bay seemed like a nice liveable place on the outside looking in.
Things quickly escalated when the Bates (then just the duo of Norman and Norma) decided on officially calling White Pine Bay home. In fact after the first 15 or so minutes of the pilot there’s a very violent rape scene involving Norma and the former owner of the now Bates Motel. “Good Son” Norman comes to her aid however and stops the rape midway in process. As Norman struggles to look for the phone i think), the rapist (forgot his name, apologies), taunts Norma telling her “she knows she liked it”, which leads an already emotional disturbed Norma to kill him. Norman rushes in ad is shocked by what has occurred, then shit just gets crazier from there, nice TV crazy, but crazy none the less.
Norma convinces Norman to help her hide the body, because she’s afraid of what the police might do. Being the “good son” he is he reluctantly agrees. Soon after two officers (Sheriff Alex Romero and his Deputy Zack Shelby) arrive at her home to question. They’re quickly able to put things together, but only frighten Norma in the process. It is soon revealed that Shelby ad the former motel owner were involved with a sex slave ring together, after Shelby enters a relationship with Norma. A shoot out between Shelby and the Bates (mostly Dylan) occurs, the Bates survive and Norma goes to tell her information to Romero. He decides to keep the info between himself and Norma however.
Norman’s relationship between Emma (an oxygen tank carrying girl) and Bradley (a kind hearted popular girl) begins to blossom. For starters Emma develops feelings for Norman, while Norman develops feelings for Bradley, which grows very quickly after the two have sex while Norman attempted to comfort her after the passing of her father. Things soon get out of hand and Bradley decides to cool down their friendship a bit, much to Norman’s disappointment. Close to the finale the relationship between Norman and both end on an unfortunate low note. Speaking of low notes, there’s one heart winching scene involving Norman and a dog, that made me both angry and sad at the same, angry at the writers for finalizing the scene in the script and sad that it actually occurs, all while trying to avoid tears coming from my eyes at the same time.
Meanwhile a man by the name of Jake Abernathy, an old acquittance of Shelby and the former hotel owner, checks in to the motel. Right away you get an instantly creepy vibe from the guy, mostly due in part to the phenomenal portrayed by Jere Burns, who plays the role. It turns out Abernathy was the front man of the sex slave ring, and he is quickly able to discover the Bates involvement in it. Abernathy goes from kind hearted creep, to sadistic murderer creep only a few episodes after his introduction. He soon threatens to kill the Bates kids first if Norma doesn’t give him $150k (I believe it was). Norma informs Romero who seemingly ignores her request for help, but when it becomes time for the deal, he suddenly appears before Abernathy (who hasn’t met up with Norma who was hiding), and it looks as if Romero will begin working with Abernathy, but that certainly wasn’t the case, as Romero shoots Abernathy dead as soon as his back gets turned.
Later on Norman has a confrontation with Bradley’s boyfriend, and his teacher Ms. Watson, catches up with him and offers him a ride home, which he accepts. It was previously revealed (thanks in part to Bradley and Dylan snooping together), that has a ‘s deceased father had an affair with a woman who had a “B” initial. Norman another mental episode with his imaginary/mental version of his mother while in Ms. Watson’s home. We are then shown Norman running home, he meets up with Norma and they have a heart felt moment in what seems to be the closing scene. We are then shown a dead Ms. Watson with a necklace that reads the letter “B”.
THE GOOD: Bates Motel was excellent drama series from beginning to end, mainly thanks to the cast, their acting, and the writting.
THE BAD: Too many characters were introduced and killed off for a 10 episode season. It’s understandable considering how much time the writers had to deal with, but unnecessary. By the season’s end you lost sight of who, if anyone, was the main antagonist.
THE UGLY: None besides the horrible scene with the little dog.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I’m not very big on scripted drama series, but Bates Motel is a definite exception. The characters and acting is strong, as is the writing and music. There were plenty of “what the hell?” moments that worked, but things got a tad out of hand with the consistent character introductions and kill offs. Overall the series has been great, and will be on my watch list for years to come.
Otaku Dome gives A & E’s Bates Motel Season One a 95 out of 100, and can’t wait for 2014 so season 2 can start.