From “Psycho” to “Bates Motel”: The Evolution of an Iconic Murderer

Bates Motel

“Oh, I’m beginning to understand this now. It’s all about the journey, isn’t it?” – Rupert Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Restless”

In the “Becoming” episodes of Buffy, we see how Liam, a drunken womanizer becomes notorious vampire Angelus and eventually a hero seeking redemption named Angel. In Arrow’s flashbacks to the island of Lian Yu, we witness the events that shape billionaire playboy Oliver Queen into a capable vigilante seeking justice for his city. In X-Men: First Class, we follow the friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr as the two transform into the mighty Professor X and Magneto, respectively. There’s something to be said about origin stories and the journey that shapes our favorite characters into the dynamic forces they are. Prequels like the currently airing Hannibal and the upcoming Better Call Saul grant us insight into iconic characters and their rich histories. So where do we begin with the most popular case of mommy issues in cinematic history?

How about in his teen years through a little series known as Bates Motel? The character of Norman Bates began in Robert Bloch’s Psycho and was partially influenced by Wisconsin murderer and bodysnatcher Ed Gein (who also inspired the creation of other horror icons like Buffalo Bill and Leatherface). Norman was popularized by the legendary performance of Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 hit Psycho, a film which turned the tables by killing off the protagonist halfway through the story. Character development and various plotlines take an interesting turn in Bates Motel because we know how it all ended fifty years ago – a deceased Norma, a game-changing shower scene, and a deranged motel owner with a penchant for stuffing birds and cross-dressing.

Spoilers for Bates Motel ahead.

At the same time, creators Carlton Cuse of Lost fame and Kerry Ehrin, a writer on Friday Night Lights, did not necessarily feel limited by their predecessor. In an interview with Collider, Cuse states that Hitchcock inspired the two showrunners “but the key is that we were inspired. One of the first things that we both latched onto was that we didn’t want to do an homage and we didn’t want to feel bound by the particular facts of what had come before us, and that was really liberating. The world did not need another Gus Van Sant version of redoing Psycho. That just allowed us to take these characters and this relationship and spin out our own story, which was really fun.”

Norman BatesCuse and Ehrin have certainly taken creative liberties in their adaptation of Norman Bates’ story, setting the narrative in present day White Pine Bay, Oregon instead of 1960’s Fairvale, California. Psycho purists and those keen to cry “retcon” might be jarred by the image of a teenage Norman Bates wearing iPod earbuds, but these developments only take a few seconds to process. Bates Motel eases us into its modern setting by retaining the old-timey aesthetic of its predecessor – Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) drives a vintage Mercedes Benz and has the dress sense of a 60’s era housewife. The modern Norman (Freddie Highmore) shares the same “Mother-dresses-me” wardrobe as his Hitchcock counterpart and can frequently be found watching black and white films. The surface inconsistencies that do appear between the two narratives aren’t important – like many adaptations and prequels, Bates Motel seeks to carve out its own identity and find its own voice, much like how Norman attempts to do despite the smothering grasp of his mother. If we are to view Psycho as a glimpse into the future of Bates Motel, the vital objective for the writers is and always will be honoring the emotional and psychological journey of Norman Bates. What transforms an ordinary teen with a dark past into a split-personality killer who accepts that “we all go a little mad sometimes”? With two seasons complete, here are the ways the series sets up the pieces:

Mommy Dearest

Norman and Norma Bates

Although Norma Bates is revealed to be deceased in the events of Psycho, there is little doubt about her influence on Norman when we see him don his mother’s clothing and adopt her personality. Without Norma, Norman would certainly not be the way he is in Psycho. Through Vera Farmiga’s stunning performance, motherly love is rendered compassionate, overprotective, obsessive, neurotic, and just a tad sexual all at once. In Bates Motel, we find a woman determined to do anything for her son, whether it’s covering up the details of his murder victims or signing him up for a musical. As of the Season 2 finale and Norman’s revelation that he did in fact kill Ms. Watson, Norma seems intent on repressing these events and having her son ignore them until they go away. “Eat your pot roast, honey,” she says to a traumatized Norman. From what we know about horror, suspense, and basic storytelling, leaving your secrets buried deep in your subconscious never works out.

The series constantly hints at their relationship reaching squicky incestuous levels, notably in their mutual jealousy of the other’s romantic pursuits. Norma views her son’s initial crush, popular girl Bradley Martin, as a threat while visibly expressing her disapproval of Season 2’s Cody Brennan. Norman also takes a disliking to the men his mother dates, like Deputy Zach Shelby (justifiably so, considering his penchant for sex slaves) and former lawyer, George Heldens. By the time of the film, Norman will have murdered his mother and her lover for attempting to replace him. For now, the series is content to have Norman mask his contempt for his mother’s romantic interests with a polite smile. In the meantime, the writers are unafraid to tackle their sexual tension – they have a creepy but sweet dance together, they gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, and by the Season 2 finale, they’ve even locked lips. Norma seemingly kisses her son out of motherly affection and concern but the mouth-to-mouth contact lingers a tad too long.

As for the assumption of his mother’s personality, Bates Motel has slowly dropped hints about Norman’s attachment to his mother and his investment in her life, as evident when she confides in him that her brother Caleb sexually abused her. Although she is keen on shielding her son from the dangers of the world, she is also willing to confide in him as a mutual partner. This culminates in one of the show’s most chilling moments in the aptly-named episode, “Check-Out.” When Norman confronts Caleb in a motel room, his eyes go dark and his voice changes as he slips into his “mother” persona, reprimanding his uncle for “raping me, your younger sister.” By the episode “Box,” the writers drop a big anvil about Norma taking over Norman’s personality. Trapped in a box, he hallucinates about Norma telling him, “I’m always with you. Everybody’s mother lives inside them. If you’re ever worried about something, just hear my voice saying it’s gonna be okay.” In the finale, “The Immutable Truth,” their unbreakable bond is solidified. “I will die if you leave. I will, I’ll die, Norman,” says Norma, “We’re like the same person.” Once we reach the suspenseful polygraph test scene, Norman is able to dissociate himself from the crime of killing Blaire Watson as the mother persona in his mind assures him that it was she who did it. Meanwhile, the series slips in more subtle bits of foreshadowing about the Norma-Norman merger. In “Presumed Innocent,” someone in the Bates household is making eggs in a flowery apron – we assume this is Norma, only for the camera to pan up and reveal Norman at the stovetop.

Norman and Norma

At the same time, Bates Motel adds nuance and conflict to Norma and Norman’s relationship to sustain its lengthened television run. Like the titular character of Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, the characters are doomed to a fate we know is coming. (One could also draw an obvious parallel between the mother-son duos in both stories.) This, however, does not diminish our investment in their journeys. Norma tries in vain to shield her son from the truth behind his black-outs, withholding valuable information from him. At the same time, Norman begins to recognize his mother’s manipulative behavior, saying at one point, “Oh, I see. The anger didn’t work. Now the tears.” While theirs is an oddly intimate relationship, it is certainly not a match made in bliss. The trials and tribulations Norman and Norma face make for the show’s most fascinating material.

The Other Son

Dylan and Norman

The revelation that Norman has a half-brother named Dylan Massett might appear to be a superfluous addition to the Norma-Norman dynamic. However, it’s exactly this reason that makes Dylan’s existence on the show so compelling. Dylan is unable to breach or understand the extremely close ties between Norman and Norma. He’s an outsider despite being Norma’s first son – a product of her brother raping her. He’s also a threat to their so-called picture perfect relationship. Through the conflict he brings, we can better understand how protective Norman is of his mother, as when Norman attacks Dylan for referring to Norma as a whore.

Dylan brings with him a drug storyline that oftentimes feels irrelevant, despite the creators’ best efforts to expand the universe of the town, a la Twin Peaks. At his best, however, he serves as a foil to Norman. Dylan is not without his own mommy issues caused by Norma, but they stem from neglect rather than overprotection. In spite of these issues, Dylan seems to be the more well-adjusted of the two brothers – he’s levelheaded, loyal, and presents Norman with an escape from Norma in Season 1, asking his brother to move in with him. Dylan loves and protects Norman in a different way than Norma does and it’s much less psychologically damaging. In a conversation that marks the temporary return of sanity to Norman’s universe, Dylan says, “Can I give you some advice? You gotta cut that shit out. ‘Mother?’ It’s just weird…What she’s doing to you, it’s not healthy. She’s smothering you. There’s a whole world out there. You need some perspective.” Dramatic irony runs high throughout Bates Motel since we know the destination of Norman’s turbulent journey. Regardless, Dylan serves as an example of the independent man Norman could be if not for Norma. Although Dylan is not perfect by any means, reluctantly becoming the head of a drug empire by the Season 2 finale, he adds an alternative perspective to Norma’s suffocating views. Furthermore, he brings further complexity to the character of Norman Bates. Norman has listened to Dylan, considered his words, and still chosen his mother at the end of the day.

Nature Versus Nurture

Bates Family Fun

Although the extent of Norman’s dissociative identity disorder requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief, the show does a strong job laying out the events that could potentially create a psycho. The “nature vs. nurture” debate enters gray areas in the series, as Norman begins the series somewhat broken, having blacked out and murdered his father. Whereas Psycho was intent to place the blame on the mother, Vera Farmiga’s portrayal generates a great amount of sympathy. She’s not the utterly domineering mean woman the film makes her out to be – at least not yet. Norma certainly has an unhealthy grasp on her son but she also recognizes the warning signs of a killer and tries (albeit unsuccessfully) to prevent them, much like the protagonist of We Need to Talk About Kevin. In a way, the show is about Norma’s journey as well.

Having killed before, Norman is not completely a product of his environment, White Pine Bay. However, one cannot deny the influence of the town on a burgeoning teenager who is already mentally ill. Norman is surrounded by death and corruption in a place where drug cartels and sex trades run rampant. He’s seen his mother kill her would-be rapist (and subsequently helped hide the body), killed his teacher, killed an abusive father by pushing him down a flight of stairs, and been kidnapped and trapped in a box by drug lords. This is only the tip of the Freudian iceberg. Although television characters have a surprisingly high tolerance for traumatic events, Bates Motel revels in the aftermath and the psychological consequences.

It’s no coincidence that Norman ends up finding some level of comfort in death. This is strongly evident in his budding taxidermy hobby, an interest we learn is encouraged by White Pine Bay resident Will Decody. After the stray dog Norman finds gets struck by a vehicle, he’s devastated and turns to the morbid task of stuffing its body in order to cope. The show phenomenally integrates this aspect of Norman’s character into the plot, having Norma express concern towards her son about his unconventional recreational activities. (Her alternative? A mother-son musical.) Meanwhile, Norman defies Norma by moving his stuffed birds into the living room. By the time we reach the events of Psycho,these same owls and sparrows will turn worn and dusty. As the series progresses, certain psychological developments will likewise become permanent fixtures.

Freddie Highmore’s Performance

Bates Motel

Without Freddie Highmore, there could also be no Norman Bates – at least not the one of Bates Motel. In earlier episodes, the English actor had some trouble perfecting his American accent. By the second season, in the midst of such high stakes, both Highmore and Farmiga have stepped up their acting game. Highmore channels several aspects Anthony Perkins’s performance, taking on his neat mannerisms, stiffness, and unsettling stare. Like Perkins’s rendition, Highmore’s Norman has the kindness and sincerity of someone you want to root for – if you could just get past the murdering. Most of the time, he is harmless, albeit a tad standoffish. We can find a similar phenomenon in the titular character of NBC’s Hannibal, another serial killer prequel. While we’re aware that Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter is a killer, showrunner Bryan Fuller establishes the character early on as empathetic, charming, affectionate and intelligent – you want him to have you for dinner (so long as his invitation isn’t a play on words).

In an interview with The Independent, Highmore states, “There was never any attempt to mimic Anthony Perkins’s performance but you take things from his quirks and traits and try and use them.” As for Perkins’s iconic stare at the end of Psycho, the actor comments, “Lots of people have mentioned that stare to me… I guess you come up with ideas and practice. There’s a danger of doing too much too soon though. It’s tempting when you have a story about Norman and his mother to have him dressing up in her clothes in the first episode, but it’s more delicious to see that take place subtly and over time.” Truly both the creators and writers are committed to the journey – it’s not immediate but it certainly is moving forward. After all of Norman’s ordeals, the haunting final shot of “The Immutable Truth” feels earned.

Highmore’s performance fantastically conveys Norman’s instability, even in understated moments. After a concerned Emma Decody informs Norma about her son’s blackouts, Norman’s reaction to her apology is the perfect mix of passive-aggressive and unsettling. With a deadpan smile, he says, “Yeah, I mean I can’t ever trust you again. But I’m not mad.” The dread behind knowing Norman could snap at any moment is one of the show’s highlights and Highmore captures the shaky verge between sanity and insanity to a tee. As a result, kitchen fights and staircase confrontations between Norman and Norma are intensely enthralling and each utterance of the word “Mother” renders shudders. Since Bates Motel focuses on Norman’s teenage years, Highmore injects his performance with the added instability of adolescence. Norman slamming the door and rolling his eyes at his mother might be typical rebellious teen fare until we factor in his increasing body count.

Yet Norman remains sympathetic. The discovery that he has killed Miss Watson is a world-shattering realization to Norman, exacerbated by the fact that he’s been locked up in a tiny box for days. “There’s something wrong with me. I’m bad,” he cries to his mother in “The Immutable Truth.” The list of reparations Norman plans to make before his suicide is heartbreaking and Highmore succeeds in portraying Norman as a kid truly attempting to make amends. In the polygraph test, he’s wracked with guilt for his crimes. With each answer he makes in the affirmative, his upper lip curls into a sneer mixed with anger, sadness, and fear. Having to play someone with dissociative identity disorder, the actor is adept at conveying a wide spectrum of emotions.

Bates Motel

Before the premiere of Bates Motel, many viewers questioned its necessity. Under the colossal shadow of Hitchcock’s Psycho, the series seemed to be handicapped by what Harold Bloom calls the anxiety of influence – a fear that the artistic predecessor will limit its successor. However, now with two seasons under its belt, the show’s purpose is exceedingly clear. Where its predecessor enticed viewers with what happened, Bates Motel manages to create suspense and thrills with the how. We go on roller coasters for the ups and downs and groan when the ride is over. We seek out fanfiction to expand the histories of our favorite characters long after a series ends. Some are quick to rush to the end but for others, the journey has always been inherently alluring. The journey that created the iconic Norman Bates is no exception.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Posted on by
Contributing writer for The Artifice.

Want to write about TV or other art forms?

Create writer account

53 Comments

  1. Hate to spoil the show for people who haven’t seen it, but I’d love to discuss the polygraph test. Before the polygraph test, Norman knows that he killed Miss Watson – however, he was able to pass it by convincing himself that his mother was the one who killed her. Does that mean he’s convinced himself that his mother was physically there? Has he adopted a Gollum-like persona where he has dual personalities, however instead of one of the personalities being fictional, one is Norman and one is his mother. Is he aware that he has these personalities at the end of the episode? I would think that he would adopt his mother as a second identity when she dies, not while still living. It’s going to be interesting to see how he deals with this while his mother is still living.

    So many questions! But I guess that’s what the writers wanted in the end.

  2. Bates Motel is a profound show. On the one hand it’s got great acting, storytelling, and very interesting characters and setting, but on the other hand, this is a show about a train wreck that’s happening super, super slowly. You know it’s going to get there and there’s nothing they can show you to change it. This makes me unwilling to invest much in anything the Bates’ do.

    Norman, as sad and screwed up as his life is, and will become, when he goes into ‘crazy Norman’ mode, I’m just not on his side… and that’s kind of a problem for me. Same thing with Norma, she’s lived a tragic life, and yet when she goes into ‘petty bitchy crazy’ mode, I just hate her. Even Emma for me, can be a bit too nosy at times, not really aware of her position as just an employee.

    Dylan is perhaps the one good character in the family that has some semblance of common sense and a normal moral gauge. Sure, he does some bad things, but he’s aware of what he’s doing.

    (Except, y’know, when he walked onto the road and shot at the car and didn’t have any kind of exit strategy at all, in last week’s episode.)

  3. Season 2 has been absolutely phenomenal and blows season 1 away completely.

  4. I really like the show. But I feel like it has strayed a little too much from what it should’ve been: a show about a developing psychotic boy. It almost seems like he became this psycho killer more because of the town he lived in than his mother’s borderline molesting.

  5. BlaLock
    0

    It’s not Hannibal but it’s definitely a good TV show. Vera Farmiga es amazing.

    • Una Whitfield
      1

      While I don’t dislike Bates Motel, I just cannot find myself getting into it. I don’t think it quite has the quality of Hannibal. Which leads me to not understand why Hannibal is on the cusp of cancellation but Bates Motel just flies right on by with renewal…

  6. Robyn McComb
    RobynzEggBlue
    0

    I agree that this show is an amazing feat of finding originality and making the plot interesting when viewers already what will happen. I had some trouble getting used to the modernism of the show, but I have come to accept it. Suspension of disbelief must be used in this show – which is one of its faults, but also one of its strengths. I say it is a strength because viewers are forced to notice inconsistencies and really think about it, leading to the show being more engaging. I must say I am a fan of this show and I am so sad that I missed the last few episodes of season 2! This article had a lot of spoilers but I appreciate the catch-up. I loved the analysis of this show, which helped me realize and understand a few things that I missed with my own viewing.

    • Robyn McComb
      RobynzEggBlue
      0

      Also, I agree that this show does not let Psycho limit it at all!

  7. great show, Vera Farmiga is the one who makes it worth watching though, so as long as she stays i do too as a viewer

  8. Sandee Doe
    0

    This show had its moments but I thought it was pretty mediocre overall. I think they should get a new actor to play Norman, Charlie is too much of a skinny weakling to even break a woman’s skin. They should skip to when Norman is in his 20s and have him do some straight up serial killin. That would be a good show, not this One Tree Hill high school drama BS.

  9. I enjoyed the show when it first started out but I’ve kinda given up on it now. I think I liked the idea of them showing a younger Norman, but now everyone has a side story and the show is all over the place.

    Also, that talk show they have after the show is such a horrible attempt at trying to be Talking Dead

  10. Eveland
    0

    Love Bates Motel. I think it stands pretty well as its own show. If it had nothing to do with Psycho and had a name other than Bates I still think this would have made for some solid television. A&E scored big with this one IMO.

  11. Milan Karr
    0

    Where is the option for “This show never should have started.” Seriously, I couldn’t get past the first episode. Psycho is a classic. This show is a disservice to the name Norman Bates.

    • I think it’s a great show for those who want the extra back story and just want good entertainment. I can see where you’re coming from. It’s like with Star Wars, we don’t care about how he came to be, we like to just imagine it ourselves but this show is great and if you don’t want to watch it, that’s fine just ignore it exists and appreciate Psycho for what it is.

  12. Derek Brady
    0

    Best guilty pleasure on TV right now.

  13. Valenti
    0

    I really like what theyre doing with season 2, theyre getting more into him blacking out and giving people who havent seen Psycho a taste of good old Norman Bates…

  14. the show is great, the people who dont like it must be old bitter farts

  15. Lenna Bisson
    0

    Love this show, it has a very “Six Feet Under” vibe going on, drama with dark comedy which works surprisingly well for this show. However I think it should only go for five or six seasons at the most.

    • Don’t ever compare this show to “Six Feet Under.” That’s blasphemy.

    • NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN. Six Feet Under is a work of art, Bates Motel is a decent scripted drama with mostly sub par acting.

  16. Amanda Cook
    1

    They should of made it a miniseries. It’s one of those shows I’m not gonna watch anymore till the entire series is on netflix, which is probably a better fit for a series like this.

    • I am surprisingly OK with the show, but I’m already feeling a little bit done with it. One more year, maybe two, and they can pack it up. In my opinion. But if they can find some good way to keep the story going, why not stay on the air?

    • Every show would be better if the creators knew exactly how the show would start, how it would end, how many seasons it would take to coherently tell the story, and everything in between. That’s one of the many things that made Breaking Bad so great.

  17. The 2nd series has only just started in the UK so its difficult to comment on it just yet – I need to see where this series goes. Based on Normans age in this and the age he is in the film, there is scope to make many series but they also need to keep it interesting without becoming repetitive so I do think it has limitations but will see..

    • Shavon Rowland
      0

      In Psycho IV, Norman reveals he was 16 when he killed his mother, so they’re already past the age he should have killed her. Realistically, they probably shouldn’t wait for him to get too much older.

  18. Interesting article, the show was promising for season 1 but kind of fell out towards the finale.

  19. Quentin
    0

    The show is interesting but Normans really screwed up I mean damn I hate how he crys every episode I mostly like this show for Dylan his story with his weed business and Zane is way better than Normans story and he really has to stop saying mother it’s pissing me off was Norman like this in psycho? I can see the series ending with him in jail or a mental hospital I don’t know he’s around in psycho so I’m not sure

  20. This show is amazing. All the actors are fantastic. Can I please hear Vera Farmiga sing again?

  21. Jemarc Axinto

    I love the movie psycho and was admittedly among the skeptics about it bates motel but I believe you’ve convincedone me to give it a chance 😉

  22. I agree that the show does a swell job of showing the “hows” of Norman Bates instead of following in the footsteps of the original film. I also enjoy how they use suspense in the show, in how they hang Norman’s instability over the audience’s heads. It is much different from the type of suspense Hitchcock would dole out, but it is still a pleasant addition to the show – paying tribute to its work of origin.

  23. I just watched the first season on netflix and liked it but haven’t seen any of season 2

  24. Miss Dane
    0

    While not as nuanced or masterfully done as Hannibal imo, I still love the show. I love this weird renaissance of creepy TV serials we’re having right now, that are of at least reasonable quality. I can’t remember another time with so many genuinely disturbing shows with this level of quality as a TV viewer.

    I do think they need to tighten the story arcs a little more, add some more tension and less lulls between the storms if you will. Give me a greater feeling of dread and anticipation. Right now it’s much too calm when a big disturbing reveal isn’t happening.

    Next season should go full bore with Norman coming unglued imo. It has to happen at some point.

  25. This show started out so promising. First episode had murder and lies and drama… But al of season two has been like a season of Degrassi. I don’t care about teenagers losing their virginity. I just want to see Norman kill!

    • Sirena Hood
      0

      Agreed. Leave the teen drama stuff for the CW. And I’m also getting awfully sick of the marijuana/Dylan/90210 girl storyline – that better go someplace fast because it’s boring me. Give Dylan something more to do than walk around with that permanent dumbfounded expression on his face.

  26. I’d have preferred it be a miniseries with just one, perhaps slightly elongated season that takes us through Norman’s timeline and jumps around a bit, a la True Detective, that leads up to Norma’s death. If you like the campy as hell, over the top nods to Psycho, then good for you I guess, I just wish it had a more serious tone.

  27. The Bates Motel series has done something I had hoped was unnecessary: reminded a new generation that Psycho exists. As an instructor I was shocked to find that my students were unaware of Psycho as a film, but more, did not even recognize the iconic Psycho music or the shower scene, two things I had thought ubiquitous before assigning a Psycho-centrous essay for class. (One student was even upset that the ‘surprise ending’ of the series was ruined by a synopsis of the film).
    It is interesting to note that the series does mimic its cinema predecessors in one way: discontinuity. Though only Psycho was well-known, it was followed by sequels which contained contradictions within the world of the film- more striking as Anthony Perkins spoke the lines which contradicted his own, previous, lines. And so this series, like the films, adds in elements, facts, and people who do not fit in with the source material. Ironically, it is staying true to the original by ignoring its constraints.

  28. Helen Parshall

    You’ve successfully gotten me intrigued by the Bates Motel. I was suspicious of it because Psycho is such a classic, but you’ve gotten me fascinated by the ways they play with the source material. I will have to check it out!

  29. Norman Bates is such a complex character. As you mentioned, Norman is able to remain sympathetic and remorseful for killing Miss Watson. He senses there is something wrong with him that his mother isn’t telling him. He wants to be good. He doesn’t want to be a murder. This gives viewers mixed feelings about Norman. We become disgusted at his murdering tendencies, and yet we also feel sorry for him because we know it’s out of his control. Personally, I love this show. I’m excited to see what the next season has in store.

  30. This is a very good show, it reminds me of a period piece like mid 80s only its just a small town, Norma is suspect pathological liar makes for an interesting show.

  31. Mikhail

    I find it interesting that the article doesn’t tackle the relationship between this show and the other “Psycho” films. Technically, there was already a Psycho prequel movie, as well as a TV show called “Bates Motel”. This series is only the latest attempt to revive the Psycho brand, fitting well into the schema of demystifying iconic villains. So, from the title, I was expecting more an overview of the other Psycho films, spin-offs, etc.

    On a side note, I would disagree with the notion that the show drops hints about Norma and Norman. The incest stuff about those two has been rather blatant from the very first episodes, especially when Norma dresses in front of her son, while claiming that it’s not weird.

  32. Great article. It gave me a little bit more to think about. I never thought of Norman’s brother possibly having a purpose, or the purpose of any of the other characters for that matter. However, regardless of the other characters, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the show. I’ll admit I groaned when I heard about it coming out, but was too curious to not watch the premiere. Luckily, the show is much better than I would have initially thought it could be. Now I catch this show every week.

  33. Denise M-G
    0

    I always flipped the channel when I would see Bates Motel. I decided to watch the show one time and have been watching every episode since. I thought it was a scary horror show and find that it is not at all. I like how Norman acts, same as Norma. They are very interesting to watch and very good actors. Dylan is quite good looking as is Emma. The content and context of the “real life issues” in the story line are very real and believable.

  34. Bates Motel is such a good show. The dynamic that sticks out to me (mostly because it’s constantly thrown in our faces) is that borderline incestuous relationship between Norman & Norma. Norma really does make Norman’s behavior worst, in every way possible. I find myself feeling bad for Norman because of this, murderer or not.

  35. Not many pilots of famous series drew me in at the start, and I needed to remain patient for at least 5 shows in order to get hooked. But surprisingly, Bates Motel turned out to be one of the few shows that got me hooked from the pilot! Very creepy at times, but all in all a great show that deserves more recognition.

  36. scole

    Bates Motel is such an important show as far as a good example of how well a prequel can be. I really think that it can show how well a show can be made and made well. I really think it’s something spectacular, and it comes on every year to the point where we’re expecting it, we are on the edge of our seats waiting for the next season because they come out yearly. It’s such a really great show, with well-created characters and storylines.

  37. At first, I was surprised and a bit puzzled by the show’s addition of a Bates family member via Dylan. Since the inception of the show, though, he’s become just as interesting as Norman in many ways. Perhaps he represents the person Norman could’ve been had he not been under the domineering pressure of his mother. He serves as both a dramatic foil and a loving companion to Norman and even intertwines in possible romantic relationships at times. It interests me to see where the show will take Dylan. Maybe he’ll end up in the bottom of a swamp as a retcon for his lack of being mentioned in the original film, or maybe the show will take him all the way and mold the character for their own.

  38. I love this show! It’s characters, twists and plot. I love shows that have me guessing how the character will react and what will happen next. I am fascinated with the whole spectrum of dissociate disorder. I can’t wait to watch Season 4!

  39. I started the first season but didn’t get as attached as I had hoped for. At the beginning it seemed like the show didn’t have its niche yet. Now that there’s 4 seasons, I image it has found who it is.

  40. Theresa Tc Christian
    0

    I just love the show. I look forward to it every Monday night. Now the season is over and I can’t wait for it to start back again.

  41. Great article! I really liked the section on Dylan. I’m very curious how much longer this show can go now that the big event happened at the end of this last season.

  42. This is one of the best shows on TV and I hate that it gets so much love from critics and yet so little from awards shows! The acting is insanely good (no pun intended) as is the writing. It’s going to be really interesting to see how they finish it next year.

  43. SarahKnauf

    What this show did wonderfully was make the death of Norma Bates so shocking despite audiences obviously knowing her ultimate fate. I’m very interested to see how much the final season and psycho overlap.

Leave a Reply