Most of us know the story of Norman Bates, the psycho killer from the 60s Hitchcock classic Psycho starring Anthony Perkins as a disturbed single man operating the Bates Motel where he kills single women who check in at the instruction of his insane mother. When I saw this movie, I was totally spooked by Norman’s final monologue and the conviction in which he delivered his “We all go a little mad sometimes” line which has cemented this movie as one of the most unforgettable psychological thrillers in history. When I heard that they were doing a prequel series based on it, I was completely psyched.
Bates Motel takes viewers back to teenage years of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) as an awkward, introverted young man who has an odd relationship with his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga). Viewers are also introduced to Norman’a half brother Dylan (Max Theriot), who, despite being estranged from his mother, decides to move in with the family after he loses his job. The plot delves into Norman’s dysfunctional family set up as well as his dealings with his peers, his relationship with the opposite sex and his constant the the struggle with his uniqueness.
While not at the same level as American Horror Story, Bates Motel manages to pull off a suspenseful and thought provoking series that gets audiences interested in the Bates family, most especially in Norma and Norman. From the first episode, one would already ask who is crazier of the two.Yet at the same time, with all of the events happening in the small town of White Pines Bay that makes it difficult for the two to start over, audiences will begin to feel an affinity with their helplessness against the situations that they constantly face, as well as their response to the pressure of a town that ostracizes them because they are different.
Freddie Highmore was a good choice to play Norman because he bears some physical resemblance with Perkins, plus he has this stiff weirdo vibe down to a science. He plays off Farmiga’s nutty, dominating, overprotective, temperamental basket case character and these two are so kooky to watch, in a good way.
Bates Motel is equal parts intriguing, endearing, twisted and disturbing, and makes one fast forward to the 1960 Psycho movie to try to figure out what happened to Norman and his mother that brought him to the point of being a serial killer. The addition of Dylan to family (although I don’t remember any reference to him in the movie) is actually quite a nice touch to add a sense of normalcy in the otherwise weird household but at the same time, it is interesting how the budding tension between him and Bradley (Nicola Peltz) would affect his relationship with his younger brother.
There are a lot of things to look forward to for the second season, but producers did a great job of closing the story just in case the network failed to pick up the show for Season 2. I for one, am excited to see how things turn out with Emma (Olivia Cooke), and Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell). I am keeping my fingers crossed that nobody of consequence dies in the near future. Not when I am just getting invested in them. But with horror series like these, one can never tell, can they?