Bates Motel 1.06 Review

bates-motel-season-1-photos-pictures-016Manipulation is the subtle, yet dominating, force on Bates Motel. It’s been there since the first episode and shines all the way until the show’s parent film, Psycho. Norma has been manipulating Norman probably since he was born. He sees his mother as the best thing that he could have in his life.

After a night of gun battles, and ultimately Zack’s death, Norman ends up in a trace-like state. He will have no memory of what happened and will be at the mercy of his mother’s story to guide him through it. It had happened before, when Norman’s father, Sam, was killed. Sam and Norma were fighting and it escalated to violence. Norman took a blender and fatally hit his father over the head. But he doesn’t remember any of it.

Once finding out that Zack is dead, and Dylan is okay, there’s a beautiful moment of what once was between Norma and her eldest son. While hugging, Dylan tells her that she’s safe, essentially protecting her. We get a glimpse of how Dylan might have been just like his younger half-brother: obsessed with his mother and under her powerful manipulative spells. Throughout the episode he finds this need to protect his mother. Up until now he has been against everything that Norma has done, but being with his family again might be uprooting his previous relationship. In addition, while Norman is sitting in the car, still under his trance, it’s like he isn’t there for a second. In the past, Dylan was Norman, until he was probably able to break free.

Both times that Norman went into this trace-like state was when his mother was fighting with someone and it turned violent. Norman’s way of dealing with abuse might be to disassociate his mind from the situation, drawing lines between his personality on Bates Motel and on Psycho. Essentially, this was the state Norman was in at the end of the film. Because of the narrative that this show is based on, Norma will eventually die. When this happens, Norman might stay in this state permanently.

Finally, before Zack returns from chasing after the girl, Norma has a private moment where she looks as if she is going to give up. Leaning against the motel, she looks depressed and lifeless. When her sons return, and tell her that Norman will probably be living with Dylan instead of her, she says that she wouldn’t care if Zack came up and killed her right there. Now, since Zack is dead, that won’t happen, but this might be a potential foreshadow.

I thought tonight’s episode picked up the pace that was dropped in the midst of these crazy plot stories. We might only be in the sixth episode of the season, but the story was losing momentum as we were finding out about present day. The show has set up amazing story lines (Dylan’s past and Norman’s obsessions), but they were put to the side as the murder/rape, and its aftermath, was dealt with.

We also need to learn about Norma’s past. She has hinted at losing everything. And if she had, indeed, lost everything, it would explain her obsessive love for her son and her need to control him. This series sets up moments that exemplify exactly what is going through Norma’s head. She’s losing control, something that is held very close to her. Without control, she will break apart. Norma might be the obvious driving character of the show, but it is building up to the moment when Norman Bates becomes the infamous Psycho killer.

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