EPISODE 2: Nice Town You Picked, Norma
CHECKING IN: Norman’s stepbrother (Max Theriot) imposes himself within the Bates home and stirs things up. At the same time; the small cozy town that Norman (Freddie Highmore) and Norma (Vera Farmiga) just moved into is starting to show its true and dark colors.
THE ROOM: Sorry I’m one day late on this review, I got the flu, am a mess. On with the show! And the hunch that I had via episode numero uno came true, we enter Twin Peaks territory with this second episode of BATES MOTEL and I’m all for it. With that; it is somewhat of a double edge sword. The main reason I’m watching this show is to see how Norman became the happy–go-stab-stab loon with mommy issues and a cozy split personality from the PSYCHO franchise. But now with all the drama that is going on, it would be easy for the show to slip and drop the ball. And that’s what this bad boy is starting to come off as, a risky juggling act. More has happened in two episodes to Norma and Norman than in a whole season of General Hospital (yes exagerating to make a point). If I really stop and think about, its silly how much has gone down in just two shows! It's like a bleak soap opera on speed or something! Hopefully the show won’t collapse under its own weight or lose its focus as it clocks forward. Time will tell.
This second episode did do a lot right though! More hints as to the incestuous things to come between Norma and her son were tossed out there (I loved how Norma was all good with Norman being with a girl... cause the girl is dying, yowzer). The town started showing its nasty side (Peeps burned alive, drug dealers with automatic machine guns, sex trade stuff in the air, it’s like a weekend at my Mom’s house!) Side characters began to take more room in terms of the narrative like Mike Vogel’s endearing cop character, Max Theriot’s rebellious son who is already up to no good (I get where the kid is coming from, I have a feeling he will wind up being a good guy and will sadly get whacked) or Norman’s new squeeze, the terminally ill Emma (Olivia Cooke), who seems to be all good with the macabre (this Norman Bates is like a Young Elvis, dames flock to him).
A note on the latter, my gut tells me Emma will be one of the main factors in pushing Norman to genuine nuthouse level, just a hunch based on absolutely nothing. Lets see if I'm right! Moreover the episode winked and forebode to the original PSYCHO. The art of taxidermy came up (Norman stuffs animals in Psycho for those who’ve never seen it… shame on you BTW) and Norman checking out porno drawings of a girl in a shower echoed what he did as a grown up in the famous PSYCHO shower scene.
Finally, the show's core theme exploded out the screen via this episode: nothing and nobody is what they seem. Everybody is wearing masks, and anything goes. So the nice cop may become a fruit cake down the road or the black sheep son may actually turn into a hero. Who knows! A good way to keep things interesting and me on my freaking toes. Yup, am in for the long haul with Bates Motel! Even though Episode 2 was mostly setting up its chess pieces for the lunacy to come and I do feel there is TOO MUCH going on TOO SOON, it was still a solid watch with sleek visuals, solid performances all around (Vera Farmiga is stealing the show for me, what a performance and damn she looks good) and jaw dropping scenery (gotta love British Columbia, Canada). Can’t wait for the next episode and if I go by this preview of it, it’s gonna be a doozy! Arrow out!
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Norma can't lie to cops for shit, much like Marion Crane in PSYCHO. I was cringing! Come on Norma, you're better than that!
Norma running away with money she got in a shady manner totally mirrors Marion Crane's disposition in the original PSYCHO.
RATING ON 10
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