Bates Motel (2013–2017)
6 user 13 critic

First You Dream, Then You Die 

Six months after the death of her husband, Norma Bates and her youngest son Norman relocate to White Pine Bay, Oregon where she has bought a small motel in a foreclosure sale. The place is ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Norma Louise Bates
... Norman Bates
... Dylan Massett (voice)
... Emma Decody
... Bradley Martin
... Keith Summers
... Sheriff Alex Romero
... Sam Bates
... Miss Watson
... Deputy Zack Shelby
... Richard Sylmore
Emmalyn Estrada ... Hayden
Jenna Romanin ... Jenna
... Kennedy
... Lissa


Six months after the death of her husband, Norma Bates and her youngest son Norman relocate to White Pine Bay, Oregon where she has bought a small motel in a foreclosure sale. The place is run down but she hopes to make a go of it despite threats from the former owner Keith Summers and news that the town may build a bypass around the town. Norman makes a good impression on some of the girls at school. His mother isn't keen on him being out much but when he sneaks out at night to be with them, Summers attacks his mother. There are things going on in the town that they're not yet aware of however. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

18 March 2013 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 3.04 million viewers, making it the most watched episode of Season 1. See more »


While Norma is washing the dishes at the kitchen sink she does not have shoes on. When she is being attacked at the kitchen table she has shoes on. See more »


Bradley Martin: Them dumb bitches leave you here by yourself?
Norman Bates: No, it's fine. There's a lot to look at.
Bradley Martin: Is that a line? You're different, aren't you?
Norman Bates: I don't know. Maybe. I think people who are different don't know they're different because they have nothing to compare it to.
Bradley Martin: Yeah, you're different.
Norman Bates: What's so different about me?
Bradley Martin: You're like... a beautiful, deep, still lake in the middle of a concrete world.
Norman Bates: I am? That's kinda weird.
Bradley Martin: You're kinda weird. Weird good.
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References Jane Eyre (1943) See more »


Beast of Burden
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
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User Reviews

Before either dreaming or dying, you should actually think of a decent plot.
13 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

Bates Motel offers a good deal of things to be grumbled about: setting the backstory to Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho in contemporary surroundings would be one. Embroidering the 1960 film noir's rather complete story in the first place, apparently for no other purpose than NBCUniversal holding the rights for it, another. Those I could reconcile myself to, but the programme falling prey to one of the most prevalent faults in present-day television is what disappointed and irked me, considering that however hostile you may be to the whole idea of this production, the Psycho 'universe' holds a potential for engrossing television.

This metaphorical blow to the face of viewers asking for more than just diversion I'm referring to is, of course, Bates Motel passing up the prospect of a pilot that properly establishes characters and situations in favour of one that hurls action and violence and surprises at its audience, regardless of that being most incongruous at such an early stage, in a desperate attempt to secure financially adequate ratings. There is justification for the existence of a standard storytelling formula involving a gradual build-up to a climax and, whereas someone as Alfred Hitchcock can use a non- observance of that practice - murdering his film's presumed lead early on - for a virtuoso plot twist, a less Hitchcockian director such as Tucker Gates or three less Hitchcockian writers such as Anthony Cipriano, Carlton Cuse, and Kerry Ehrin might not be able to.

Why am I saying 'might not'? They were not. The rape/murder scene taking place at about the halfway point of "First You Dream, Then You Die" is unfitting and unnecessary on various levels and poorly executed to boot. It did commence appealingly, but as soon as Keith Summers, the former proprietor of what now trades under the name of Bates Motel, stops by for a late visit that turns out not be for coffee and cake, the entire sequence goes down the tube. Honestly, if the writers decided to equip this man with a moustache to bring out a resemblance between him and Hitler, it would be compatible with the rest of his character in every respect, since he is depicted as quite the incarnation of evil. - Isn't it peculiar that I've never come to meet such a person in real life, yet I stumble across them all the time when watching sub-par films or television?

Be that as it may, this amalgamation of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Anders Behring Breivik then begins to abuse Norma, something that Gates and the writing squad were, for whatever reason, keen to show on screen, and the audience is put through to what feels as long as a minute of staged rape that is ultimately put an end to through a slightly tardy deus ex machina in the form of Norman. Adolf Bin Breivik is laid out, mother and son proceed to handcuff him (instead of using the manacles to bind him to the table, which would prevent any further bother), and Norma forgets to be angry at her son for having sneaked out of the house beforehand, even though he could have deus ex machinaed much more timely had he stayed. *mutters insults at the idiocy of everything that has occurred up until now*

As Norman simply leaves for a moment - making himself a sandwich or something, I have no clue Adolf Bin Breivik gets back up, which causes Norma to knife him to death, which in turn leaves the Bates family with two or three fairly urgent items on their to-do list. The approach that is arrived at is not to make the incident public (although Rape/Murder Motel would have been a more thrilling title for this programme, if you ask me) and the outcome is probably the first brick in Norman becoming a little mad sometimes later in his life.

There's more to "First You Dream, Then You Die" than this one sequence, but it clearly represents the general problems of Bates Motel. Intriguing moments – the foreshadowing in lines such as »As long as we're together, nothing bad can really happen.« for example, together with Norma and Norman's odd relationship or Norman's discovery and the final scene somehow related to it – can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and despite Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga acting very well, the pedestrian writing impedes the develop-meant of any connection to them.

Twelve cabins, nine notations: • Teenage girls, do not offer a boy you've only just met a ride, he could be a serial – oh, wait… • Selfies within the first ten minutes– Hitchcock would have been proud. • »I thought I was going to study, but they took me to a party.« – Extraterrestrials having abducted you would be a more credible excuse than that, Norman. Seriously, this young man needs to get his s h i t together. • Parents of adolescents ought to show their progeny this episode, as it teaches them a lesson on what will happen if they secretly leave their homes. Their mothers will be raped. • "The air in Arizona" – From now on, Deputy Zack Shelby will only be known as 'Bad Pun Cop' in my reviews. • Why are the policemen switching on the blue lights when driving away from the motel? And, perhaps more importantly, why did they even go there? If there were indications to the disappearance of Mr Summers, I assume they'd ask some questions. • Don't cadavers have a certain distinguishable odour to them? And wouldn't a Sheriff smell one that is lying right next to him? • It seemed to me as if Norman was not vomiting but spitting out a mouthful of orange juice. Well, that is the least of Bates Motel's flaws, I guess. • Is it normal for oxygen tanks to look like decorated metal umbrellas?

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