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Bates Motel: Season 2, Ep 01

Gone But Not Forgotten

After such a strong opening episode a few days back for season 2 of Hannibal, the other show based on a famous horror that also began last year, I suppose hoping for a 2-for-2 was expecting too much. It's not that I didn't enjoy this episode, because I did, it's just that with it being the season pilot and finishing so well last year, I hoped it could maintain the momentum it had built up.

I was hoping over the course of season one, we'd be offered some kind of logical reason for Norman appearing to be stuck in a time-warp, where bow-ties and addressing Norma as "mother" would be satisfactorily explained, but, this was not to be. I remember Norman's big brother Dylan telling him it was weird but that was about it. We also have Norman taking lessons in an old Mercedes which is obviously an attempt at holding on to as much of the 1960's Norman Bates' identity as possible. It has mostly worked just fine but I'd still like some clarification as to why Norman insists on this odd behaviour.

Bates Motel
Created by Anthony Cipriano
Cast Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot
Episode Release Date 3 March 2014
Ed's Grade: B-

The season 2 finale saw Norman at his teacher's house after he takes a beating from Bradley's ex-boyfriend, and the teacher takes him home to fix the cuts on his face. Norman begins to feel uncomfortable when the teacher gets close to him and when he sees her changing through her opened bedroom door, Norman imagines his mother is there, telling him the teacher is trying to seduce him which is wrong, and he knows what he has to do. After making his way to the teacher's bedroom, Norman suddenly blacks-out and finds himself running home in the rain. We learn the following morning the teacher has been murdered. At the funeral Norman begins to sob loudly and uncontrollably which is noticed by everyone there, and makes the audience even more convinced he's guilty of the murder, but, did he kill her? We also see a drunk Bradley throwing herself off a bridge in a failed suicide attempt.

We jump 4-months forward where Norma has a new hairdo and her business is flourishing, but this is the quiet before the storm. Norma soon discovers the bypass that had been previously delayed has found the funding it needs and is breaking ground in a matter of days. Norma tries to talk at a council meeting where she finds that no one is interested. Norma even mentions the pot-growing business that sustains the small town but even that isn't enough.

We barely see Emma Decody but Bradley is released from the local loony bin where her mother picks her up but she starts to look for answers about her father's death. She questions Dylan's boss who tells her stop asking questions. Bradley also finds her father's gun, which she starts carrying. Norman still has a crush on her and he goes to see her after she gets home, and tells Bradley she should never feel alone as he'll always be there for her. It's not long before she's asking for his help and the kind of help she finds herself needing is ideal for our young wannabe serial killer.

Dylan isn't in this episode much with Emma in it even less, yet those two could have been utilized more, but perhaps as the season progresses we'll see just that. Bates Motel is bordering on becoming a teen drama which will disappoint anyone hoping to see a show about an infamous psycho growing up, but may please the Vampire Diaries crowd. If it does head down that path I for one won't be watching the show anymore, which would be a pity as it has so much potential, however, it's only the first episode of the season. Only time will tell.

TV Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer

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