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Bates Motel: Season Two

Review by CJ

Director:
Tucker Gates, Lodge Kerrigan, John David Coles, Christopher Nelson, Ed Bianchi, Roxann Dawson

Writer:
Robert Bloch (based on characters by), Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, Anthony Cipriano, Alexandra Cunningham, Liz Tigelaar, Nikki Toscano

Starring:
Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nestor Carbonell

Other notable appearances:
Michael Vartan, Rebecca Creskoff, Nicola Peltz, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Michael Eklund, Brendan Fletcher, Kenny Johnson, Michael O’Neill, Kathleen Robertson, Ian Tracey

Running time:
41-44 minutes

Number of episodes:
10

 

After the murders of Norman Bates’s (Highmore) teacher, the former owner of the newly renamed Bates Motel, and a town sheriff, Norman and his family try to get their lives back on the road to normality. Or at the very least away from psychopathy.

Season two of Bates Motel is a deeper exploration into the degrading psyche of Norman Bates, his equally unstable mother Norma and the twisted, manipulative relationship between the two. Season two has a few major plot threads that all end up twisted and tied up together. It’s an interesting tapestry to watch.

Once again, Vera Farmiga’s performance as Norma Bates is fascinating. Farmiga does a wonderful job of portraying the highs and lows of Norma Bates’s personality. The minutest of changes to her face allow the viewer to see the quiet indignation, the brewing storms and the transitions from cracks to chasms in her sanity. Farmiga goes from one extreme to another and then another without perceivable effort.

The relationships between Norman, his half-brother Dylan and their mother Norma continue to be enthralling in their volatility … until they’re not and they become a repetitive and vicious cycle. Norman gets mad at Norma who gets mad at Dylan until Norman needs help from them both or vice versa in almost all variations. While conflict and drama are necessary parts of dramatic television, season two of Bates Motel has the cycles running so fast that the viewer has to be careful not to get motion sick.

Dylan and Sheriff Romero have remained my two favourite characters into season two of Bates Motel. Romero’s development throughout season two has kept the essence of the character while also showing new depths of humour, humanity and a dark side at which was previously only hinted. Dylan’s character development is almost non-existent because his purpose is to be the anchor in a family of advanced mental instability. That’s not to say that Dylan doesn’t progress in his life and career, but just that as a character he is relatively predictable, even in his unpredictability.

Season two of Bates Motel continues to build on the contemporary prequel story for which season one laid the groundwork. Though it does start getting quite repetitive in terms of character relationships, new ground is broken that explains why this is the case. The characters also end up getting themselves in deeper and darker places than they have previously visited.

Rating:

“I would never say someone dying is convenient.”
“Well then you’d be lying. Or ignorant. There are many times, Norma, when death in convenient.”

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1 Comment on Bates Motel: Season Two

  1. I always thought this show was a little weird — I haven’t watched it, but now reading your review I might dip into it!

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