You should check-in to the Bates MotelPosted: March 19, 2013
A Psycho prequel? No. That was my initial reaction when I saw the first sneak peak of A&E’s new show Bates Motel. The more I thought about it the less it bothered me. Serial killers, mass murderers, and psychopaths have always fascinated me. It was part of the reason I studied psychology. I decided that I should at least give Bates Motel a try because it would attempt to explain why Norman Bates turned into a ‘Psycho’.
Bates Motel is not set in the past but rather set in present day. The creators are clear that this is inspired by Psycho, not an attempt at a perfect prequel that would lead up to the events of the film. When Norma and Norman pull up to the motel for the first time you still get the iconic image of the creepy house on the hill behind the motel. Norma definitely has signs of an overbearing and manipulating mother. Norman is 17 and seems very innocent and naive but is obviously trying to push back against his mother’s controlling behavior. Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore both clearly hit the ground running and fully embody the characters from the very beginning. It would be easy to overplay manipulation for Farmiga, or for Highmore to go full tortured teen but they keep it subtle.
About midway through the episode a pretty disturbing scene occurs involving Norma and a disgruntled man from town whose family used to own the land and the motel. It was a moment that I thought, “no, they won’t go there” and they did. If that event could occur in the first episode I can only imagine how far things can go in the future. Norman found a notebook full of disturbing drawings in one of the rooms and the teaser at the end of the episode leads me to believe this unidentified guest will play a role in future episodes. So despite my hesitations I am definitely hooked and ready for next week. If you like a show that keeps you saying “Whaaaaat?” and “Are they really…yeah, they really are going to do that” then you should definitely check-in to the Bates Motel Monday nights on A&E at 10:00pm EST. It’s what mother would want.