Bates Motel S1E1: First You Dream, Then You Die (2013)


Summary: After his father dies rather mysteriously, a young man and his creepy mother move into an old motel with hopes of getting it running again.  A “prequel” series to the popular Hitchcock film Psycho.  Things don’t start out so well when the mother murders an intruder, then insists on covering it up.

Thoughts:  Been waiting for this series for a while, though I must confess that I have yet to see Psycho.  This premier episode didn’t blow me away, but it was sufficiently creepy to hold my interest throughout.  Vera Ann Farmiga does an especially good job as Norma Bates, holding a good balance between seeming normal enough and creepy and crazy enough to foreshadow her psychopathic murderous ways.  Freddie Highmore, though he still can’t quite do an American accent, does a sufficient job at being an awkward teenager slowly morphing into a creepy person himself.  While the gore was tame, I didn’t much care for the intensity or depiction of the violence.  But of course the shower scene of the original Psycho was perhaps “scandalous!” in its day, so I suppose it’s not surprising.  And American culture is just that degraded anyway.  Still, I hope the series will try to stay interesting through compelling stories more than anything else.

Some nitpicks: The motivations for the intruder and his murder seemed a bit forced.  It would’ve been interesting if he was more than just some bumbling neighbor intent on hurting them because he thinks the motel should be his.  It was a bit contrived.  Also, that cop did some of the loudest peeing I’ve ever heard on TV.  You’re not supposed to aim for the center of the bowl, you moron, you’ll get splash everywhere.  And how is it socially appropriate to even think it would be OK for you to be that loud when there are three people, including the female owner, standing right outside the door?

Overall, though, interesting show.  I’ll be interested to see the next one.

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