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TV Review - Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 1

Bates Motel
Don't tell mother but Steve Taylor-Bryant has checked back in to the gruesome motel for another season...

Consistency. That is what US shows tend to get right. The Mentalist, The West Wing, The Wire etc etc all consistently good. Shows that tend to lose their lose audience do so in the second season, especially if the first has been a knockout. Bates Motel season 1 was consistently good, despite the expectations. It was difficult to review the first season without using comparisons to the Psycho book or the Hitchcock film and, despite this, Bates Motel regularly hit 7 or 8 out of 10. Season 2 is going to be harder for the writing team as the expectation has now gone, it is a show in its own right and now must grow, show the consistency of season 1 but become what it needs to be away from the looming Hitchcock shadow. Will it do that? Let's check in and see.

After the murder of Miss Watson, we have Norman pining at the graveside and admitting to Norma he was there on the night of the death. He has photographed a stranger at the grave and after reporting this to Sherriff Romero actually makes himself a suspect. Construction is due to begin on the by-pass that threatens the Motel's business.

The core story arcs that kick off season 2 are sure to run and run, and the fact that we all think Norman murdered Miss Watson means he didn’t. He has started killing women this early into the show then he is nearly ready for his regeneration into Anthony Perkins and I do not expect the writers to give us the complete Psycho for a while yet.

Freddie Highmore has a hell of a job on his hands. He is playing a character that has been around for years and we all know what the endgame is. Yet this young man continues to play Norman with an innocence, a sweet shyness that brings a new take on a character we know to be a murdering nutjob and Vera Farmiga as Norma is controlling, irrational, sexually deviant, narcissistic....I'm running out of descriptive words now. Oscar nominated for Up In The Air with George Clooney and superb in The Conjuring, Farmiga just excels as the Mother from hell and long may she reign.

There is, of course, moody horror but alongside that feeling we have a level of humour that stops the show becoming a parody and really allows it to shine. It is Twin Peaks: The Next Level, almost soap opera, not quite drama, but thrilling in so many different ways. If the rest of the season is as strong as the premiere then I will be one happy chappy.

9/10

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Image from IMDb

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