Contains mild spoilers for Season 1 Episode 1
Ever since I watched American Horror Story and loved it, I’ve been on a bit of a horror kick. So I thought I’d give another horror/thriller type of show a shot and the one I chose was Bates Motel. It has great reviews and I can’t seem to find a bad word about it so, hiding behind my pillow, I gave it a go. And, I liked it. I didn’t realise that this is in fact, in a way, a book-to-TV adaptation as the characters are based from those in Robert Bloch’s Psycho which went on to become Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. This show has been dubbed the prequel to the Psycho film – the story of Norman before the events of Psycho take place.
I also didn’t realise that the guy who plays the main character, Freddie Highmore, is actually the same guy who played Charlie in the newest adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So when Charlie’s family dies he moves with his mother, changes his name to Norman and he becomes a serial killer – or that is what I think happens in Psycho as I’ve neither read or watched the original works. And, Vera Farmiga (who plays Norman’s mother) has a sister who just so happens to be Taissa Farmiga from American Horror Story. AND, the guy who plays Murphy in The 100 (Richard Harmon) plays a jealous boyfriend in this! Life is just full of coincidences…I really like the weird, mysterious atmosphere that this episode gave off and I can already tell that this show is going to be very dark and twisted – and I am very much looking forward to it.
This show follows a 17-year old boy – Norman Bates – after the death of his father his mother, Norma, buys a motel in the picturesque coastal town of White Pine Bay, giving herself and Norman a chance to begin anew. Shy Norman is reluctant at first, but with the help of his mother – with whom he shares an intensely close relationship – the boy begins to open up to others and make new friends. Some locals, however, aren’t as friendly and welcoming to the Bates, who discover that because White Pine Bay isn’t as peaceful as it appears, they are forced to do whatever it takes to survive.
This episode didn’t intrigue from the exact moment that it starts, however I think that the opening scenes were needed to start off the show in the right way. The characters already creep me out, and I’ve only seen 1 episode, so I don’t even want to think about how I’m going to feel when I’ve seen all the episodes. Norman seems to be a really complex and intriguing character because he doesn’t really have one prominent trait. He just seems like an average 17 year old boy, which instantly gets my alarm bells ringing because obviously – he’s not going to be a average 17 year old boy, is he? I think that Freddie Highmore played Norman really, really well and it’s actually really nice to see him doing so well – he has progressed from a happy and magical kids film to a gritty and gripping thriller TV show.
I feel as though Norma is also a very complex character. I think she is a very contrasting character too – I mean, she scurries around wearing heels and flower-print dresses and then kills a man. I think she has a lot of ulterior motives for actions too, because I really don’t think she’s telling Norman the whole story – especially considering she moved house without telling her oldest son. And back to Norman’s dad, how they hell did he die? We just see him lying on the floor with Norman crying over his body, but how did he actually die? Did Norma finish him off? Did Norman’s older brother? Did Norman? Gah, I’ve too many questions…
This show has a very quirky, almost indie quality to it. It felt very understated and simply laid out, which made the whole thing feel a lot creepier. You know hardly anything about anything at all and you’re constantly kept guessing about how character’s are going to react and what is going to happen and how things are going to play out. It’s actually quite tiring.