Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Bates Motel (2013)
Not what it says it is. Just another TV drama...
The supposed premise of the series is to develop a background explanation for the mental derailment of Norman Bates and so in my opinion this show has failed and cannot succeed. "Bates Motel" has nearly forgotten that Norman Bates is a "Psycho" that brutally murders the guests in his own motel. The character of Norma in the original was only portrayed through auditory flashbacks, despite that it was very apparent that she was abusive control freak who was very cruel and unfair to her son. In "Bates Motel" Norma is just a woman who's down on her luck with a kid who has a dissociative disorder and a mild case of conveniently random hallucinations.
There are indications that their feelings for each other are inappropriate but it's just not enough. For example at one point Norma was envious of a teen girl who Norman liked and had imagined them in flagrante delicto. There are some inappropriate interactions where Norma asks him to zip up her dress and sleep in the bed with her. But for the most part, Norma is pretty normal. There is some fore-shadowing of Norman's darker side but again, it isn't enough.
If "Bates Motel" was what it claimed to be, it would portray Norma and Norman for what they really were which were the dysfunctional results of an toxic relationship at the hands of an inescapable abuser, Norma. It would of succeeded in garnering the viewers interest in actual abusers, successfully forced the viewer to like the characters because the relationship and the characters behavior would of interested the viewer, and really explained why and how Norman became a psychotic. Norma should be a character that you hate to love and love to hate. Norman should incite empathy, pity, and disgust.
The initial story arc was actually pretty good. Without giving too much away, Norma and Norman team up to fend off a criminal and the police. For the purposes of the show, a traumatic experience could of contributed to Norman's mental break down, to his confidence in performing criminal acts, a bonding experience with his mother. It was also an opportunity to portray the better aspect of villainous characters. But because Norma and Norman are depicted completely wrong, as the actual heroes of the series it was all just fodder for a regular show.
"Bates Motel" is not really different or better than most network dramas. The scene changes are fast-paced and if you leave the room for two minutes you will miss an intrinsic plot-twist or set-up for the simple reason that the writers have packed the show too full of hooks and cliff-hangers. At the end of one episode Norma finds a very unwelcome and threatening man in her bed. As a hook that was almost insulting to the viewer. There is one big reveal about the past involving Norma and the father of her son Dillan that is very disturbed, but at the point it's exposed so much crazy stuff has already happened that it could be dismissed without blinking an eye.
I also think that this show would of been more interesting if it were set in the 60s. The modern day time setting just makes it seem more ordinary. In addition to that, I think that if Norman had remained a virgin it would of contributed to his psychosis because he may of felt deprived. But, just like any TV show Norman has girlfriends and sex to keep people interested and it ends up doing nothing for the show as a result.
I gave it six stars because it's basically just another TV show that is not too bad nor too good. I would of given it 7 if it had fleshed out Norma as an anti-hero and 8 if it didn't rely so much on dramatic twists. It's fine ...