Review: ‘Bates Motel’ worth watching

By Angela Hernandez


“Bates Motel” is a new A&E television series based on Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” and follows Norman (Freddie Highmore) and Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) before events from the noted film take place.

The timeline the series is set in was confusing because at first viewers may think the series should be taking place in the ‘50s, but the main characters own iPhones. Also classic cars are occasionally seen in the pilot, and sometimes characters can be seen wearing clothes that resemble the style of the ‘50s.

The mother-son duos are trying to start a new life after the rather suspicious death of Mr. Bates, by purchasing an old motel in a new town. The previous owner of the motel warns the Bates family about the seedy past of their new home. In an abandoned motel room, Norman finds a journal depicting women being watched without their knowledge and being violated. This gives off the feeling the motel does have a past, but does it contribute to the heinous crimes that are to take place there?

Early on in the show – which airs at 9 p.m. Mondays — the audience can see the Oedipal relationship Norma and Norman build. The two are already close; they did cover up a murder together in the first episode. They are also close in a weird off-putting way, which should only progress as more episodes air. Norma has mood swings, is controlling and impulsive.

Farmiga steals the show as her character can go from stabbing a man to death after being attacked, to weeping on her son’s shoulder about their state of well-being. Although at times she may seem slightly off her rocker, the audience’s view of her may change after a controversial and very intense rape scene.

Norman is a shy and quiet 17-year-old who shows no odd behavior other than blackouts. He is desperately trying to fit in, but his mother continues to hinder his social progress. In this first episode the audience may get a feeling Norman was destined to grow up to be a normal person, rather than the killer he will be later in life.

Highmore’s performance as Norman is OK. He plays an outcast teenage boy well, but only time can tell if he can carry the weight of such an iconic role. At times it seems as though his character will slowly build, while Farmiga’s character will steamroll right over everyone else.

The pilot episode was suspenseful. It only gave the audience a small peek into the lives of Norma and Norman, yet it lays important groundwork that will lead up to events in the future. Hitchcock fans may appreciate the slow-rising tension, while others might feel the episode dragged on. It will be interesting to see how the story develops, and to gain answers to questions the premiere episode brought up. Hopefully the series does Hitchcock’s film justice, and brings a refreshing take on a classic.

The show is definitely worth watching, no matter if you have seen “Pyscho” because no reference is made to it in the first episode. While the show is not as terrifying as “American Horror Story,” it does have a very creepy and ominous tone to it. The show is interesting and worth checking out.


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Angela Hernandez

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