My thoughts so far on “Bates Motel”

March 20, 2013

I was finally able to catch the first episode of BATES MOTEL, and I’d have to say that it’s better than what I expected.  There are only a couple things that bug me about the backstory that they changed.

The show starts off with Norman finding his dead father.  Now in the original movie, Norman states he was 5 years old when his father died, not a teenager.  Norman also states that his mother bought their new house and it was her new lover that convinced her into building the motel.  In the show Norma buys the house and motel together in a foreclosure.

Another small nitpicking thing is that the office to the motel is positioned different, but it’s no big deal. The exterior of the house looks spot on to what it did in the original movie.  The interior however is slightly different.  Norman’s room is supposed to be up the stairs and to the right while his mother’s room is on the left.  Remember when “Mother” kills Det. Arbogast in that overhead shot?  “Mother” comes out of her room to the left of the upstairs.  In the new show, that would now be Norman’s room.

Something that surprised me, is that we learn Norman has an older brother, Dylan.  I don’t like them introducing the fact that Norma has two kids.  To me, Norman was an only child and he was everything to his Mother.  He was supposed to be the only thing she had left after her husband died.  The episode shows that Norma and Dylan have a distant relationship.  We don’t know why they don’t get along, but I’m sure we’ll find out in future episodes.  I could of done without the Dylan character, but here’s hoping they make it work and perhaps it’ll come out brilliant.

However, the show does have a lot of elements that have peaked my interest.  We learn that Norman is pretty smart.  He scores high on his tests although his grades suffer from him and his mother constantly moving.  We see him trying to fit in at school and it seems that the girls in his class like the new kid.

The scene that really won me over was after some drunk guy showed up at the house.  Who is he?  His family owned the house and motel before it was foreclosed on.  His family built that house in 1912 and the motel in the 50’s.  To him, that place still belongs to his family and they have no right to be there.  Norma threatens the man and he stumbles off.

That night, Norman and Mother get into an argument when she won’t let him go “study” with some girls that invited him to hang out.  Fed up, he decides to sneak out his window and join up with the girls who are waiting for him.  Well, Norman finds out that “study” and “library” were code for going to a party.

While Norman is gone, the drunk guy breaks into the house and attacks Norma.  She screams for Norman to help her, but he’s not there.  The intruder duct tapes her mouth shut, handcuffs her to the kitchen table and begins to have his way with her.  Norman then shows up and knocks the guy out with an iron.  Norman gets the key and frees Norma who then stabs the guy to death.

This scene is important because Norman is taught a twisted lesson in a way.  When his mother needed him the most where was he?  He wasn’t there.  She needs him and he’ll never stray from her again.  The rest of the episode deals with them covering up the murder.  So almost from the get go, Norman has had to cover up for the crimes of “Mother”.

But there’s something about what the drunk guy said that makes me wonder.  He said that Norma doesn’t know how this town works… What did he mean by that?

Norma also finds out while in town that there’s a meeting to discuss the building of a new highway.  You know, the one that eventually drives all the motel’s business away because it’s on the other side of town.  The show ends with Norma saying that she’s basically going to figure something out to stop them from building the highway.  I’d personally like to see Norman’s mother fight the the building of the highway.  The show could get some good mileage out of it.

If it wasn’t for the curveball they threw us with Dylan, I’d give this show a higher rating.  However, I’ll give it 7 out of 10 just because it delivered more than what I expected it to.

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