Norman Bates is a fictional character who we know to be a psychotic killer who talks to his dead mother, but we never knew much about his life growing up…until now.
The cleverly crafted (contemporary prequel) A&E TV show stars Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates (the mother) and Freddie Highmore as the young teenage version of the infamous Norman Bates. I can’t imagine this show being the same without these two essential actors. Highmore, who is British, does well hiding his accent, while at the same time giving us just enough of a whiff that he isn’t American. This whiff I speak of actually enhances his characters on screen perception. I for one, find the tone in which he says “mother” to be quite disturbing. As for Farmiga, she is talented without question and I praise her performance in “The Conjuring”, a 2013 horror film. Take these two away from the show and it’s hard to imagine someone else replacing them. This in itself is an excellent quality for a new show to have.
Always hiding something and lying to someone, the Bates didn’t exactly kick off their move to a new town very well at all. To be fair, the murder that takes place right off the bat, is pretty understandable if you ask me. But it was necessary because this is the starting point of a plot that is full of mystery and suspense as we watch the Bates family spin their web of lies just a little wider in each succeeding episode.
It doesn’t stop there though because that just isn’t enough to keep us interested in the 21st century. We have high demands in entertainment and “Bates Motel” doesn’t disappoint. There is always an awkward tension between Norman and his mother. He clearly loves her in a more intimate way than a son should love his mom. It’s creepy and makes for a better understanding of his obsession with her that we see in the “Psycho” movies.
Norman’s older brother, Dylan, gets involved with the towns real source of survival, finding himself mixed up with some bad people, but a great pay rate. So, while Dylan is doing his “job”, and Norma is unintentionally turning people against her, Norman is at school, where he is developing a new obsession with Bradley, a girl his own age. The shows relationships get somewhat messy at this point because Norman is already sort of in love with his mom, now he loves Bradley too, but he has another girl (Emma) who likes him, and just to see how far they could go with it, Norman’s attractive teacher, Miss Watson, is strangely attracted to Norman! Talk about a show with no dull moments!
As a final thought, I just have to add that Norma Bates has a kick ass Mercedes which I believe to be a 1970’s model SEL.
I recommend “Bates Motel” to fans of the original “Psycho” and to those who just want something interesting to watch.
Abstract Rating: 90% Thanks for reading!