Bates Motel S1E2: Nice Town You Picked, Norma… (2013)


Summary: Norma’s other son Dylan shows up at the motel to mooch off a living with her and Norman, doing so by subtly blackmailing Norma, implying he knows that Norma killed her husband.  Meanwhile, Norma tries to avoid suspicion for the disappearance of the man she murdered in the last episode by striking up a manipulative relationship with a deputy.  Meanwhile, Norman investigates a creepy journal he found in a motel room.

Thoughts: Whew; a lot of plots developing in this episode.  I’m worried it will be too many; I always hate the modern practice of shows that begin one subplot after another and then don’t finish them, hoping they’ll just fade away by being taken over by some other subplot or twist down the road.  It’s a lazy way to plot, and it makes things feel incomplete.

I also do not much care for the plotline of “character uncovers mysterious interesting things!” because it means the character is just exploring things with no real goal, making his decisions arbitrary and boring, making the story itself boring.  So I wasn’t all that captivated by Norman’s plotline in this episode.

Norma, on the other hand, had a much more interesting plot as she both tried to manipulate the deputy, while unsuccessfully trying to avoid being manipulated by Dylan.  She has clear goals which, though they are obviously wicked goals, make her decisions interesting.

Lastly, I enjoyed that the town itself is developing as having its own creepy secrets.  But, again, I hope the writers are (or were) careful with this, because secrets and mysteries are not interesting for their own sake, at least not for long.  The longer you tease a mystery, the less surprising you make the revelations.  Better to keep the focus on specific character goals, only subtly implying mysteries here and there.  That’s my opinion, at least.

This continues to be a fun show, and I enjoyed this episode better than the last; I’ll definitely look out for the next one.

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