TV Review – BATES MOTEL “First You Dream, Then You Die”

I’ve been anticipating this show for a while.  Read on to see if you should make reservations or not…

Spoiler Alert!

In case you didn’t know BATES MOTEL is the prequel to the Hitchcock classic PSYCHO.  We first meet a seventeen year old Norman Bates, played by Freddie Highmore, as he finds his father dead in the garage.  He screams for his mother and finally runs to find her in the shower.  She seems unconcerned when she sees her husband’s body.  Hmmm.  Flash forward six months and we find out that Norman’s mom Norma, Vera Farmiga, has bought a motel and the big house that looms behind it.  As the duo ascends the staircase of their new house my stomach knotted.  I half expected someone with a butcher knife to slash their faces.  Having seen PSYCHO well over fifty times that staircase still freaks me out.  Of course nothing happens, but I hope to see them do something with those stairs in a future episode.

Norman begins to make friends with some local girls and at school his teacher encourages him to try out for the track team.  I thought Norman might be picked on given his quirkiness and terrible wardrobe.  When Norm presents his mom with a permission slip to join the team she passive-aggressively tells him that it will be fine, she’ll just have to do all the renovations on the house herself.  This woman knows how to give a guilt trip.    The gals Norm met earlier in the week stop by the house one night to invite him to the library to study.  His mother doesn’t even give him a chance to answer and pretty much slams the door in the girls’ faces.  Norman storms off to his room and texts the girls to wait for him.  He naively brings his books with him but the ladies think it’s cute.  They end up at a party of course where Norm awkwardly holds a beer bottle.

"Do you like my sweater?  My mother picked it out for me."

“Do you like my sweater? My mother picked it out for me.”

Meanwhile back at the old Bates place…Norma has a visitor and not a welcome one.  It is Keith Summers, his family owned the property for over a century until the bank took it away.  He is none too pleased and he has a box cutter to prove it.  Norma screams for her son as Keith handcuffs her to the kitchen table and begins to rape her.  Bam!  I wasn’t expecting that from a show on A & E.  Norman finally comes home and knocks Keith unconscious.  They cuff him and Norm goes to call for help.  While out of the room Keith comes to and tells Norma, “You liked it”.  She snaps, grabs a butcher knife, and stabs him repeatedly.  When Norm reappears she tells him they are not going to call the police.  After all what kind of people would want to stay in a motel where someone was raped and someone else was stabbed?  Good point I suppose.

They use all the sheets from the motel to sop up the blood and then they drag him down to one of the motel rooms and dump him in the tub.  Keith’s body has left another blood stain on the carpet so mom decides it’s time for a midnight carpet ripping up party.  She also informs Normie that they will have to do the same in several other rooms so as not to raise suspicion.  In one room Norm finds a small notebook with drawings of women in different stages of bondage…kinky!  And this is when the fuzz shows up.  The sheriff and his deputy want a look around the place.  Guess which room they pick to inspect?  You got it, Keith’s room, and the sheriff has to pee!  We hear the lovely sound of urination and get an overhead shot of just how close he is to Keith’s current resting place.  Norma and Norman are saved by the dispatcher and the two have to leave on a call.  Phew!  Close call!  The next night they dump the body in a lake and have a heart to heart conversation.  Norman is definitely a mama’s boy I can tell you that much.  We end with a girl handcuffed to a sink and someone is sticking a needle in her arm.

"Who shall I stab today son?"

“Who shall I stab today son?”

So kiddos let me tell you what I thought of it all.  First I was a little confused as to what time we were in.  The way they were dressed in the beginning lead me to believe we were in the fifties or sixties.  When I saw Norman’s I pod it slapped me in the face, even so I still kept falling back to thinking we were in a blast from the past.  I guess it’s just Norm’s wardrobe.  There was a little bit of creepiness to the show with a hint of incest and codependency.  The most intriguing parts for me were the notebook full of dark drawings and the mystery gal that’s handcuffed somewhere…the motel?  The house?  We’ll have to wait and see.  I’ll definitely be watching next Monday night on A & E and writing about it on Tuesday of course.  Let me know what you thought of the show and thanks for reading!

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