Sympathetic Psycho In Bates Motel
*This review contains spoilers for season one and two of Bates Motel.
Bates Motel was an unexpected addition to my Netflix watch list. I lean toward family-friendly entertainment, but Bates Motel falls far from that criteria. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I only tried the show because I love Freddie Highmore from The Good Doctor. This show is very different from that one. The house gives a creepy vibe but not enough to indicate a murderous family drama about the origins of a serial killer.
This modern-day prequel to the movie Psycho upended my prediction that it would be a paranormal show. Not the romance-geared type like Vampire Dairies, but a creepier tale like Hemlock Grove. Needless to say, the murder in episode one surprised me. So did the incestuous exchanges between Norman and his mom. Still, I continued watching.
Freddie Highmore brought dimension to the role of Norman Bates, a soon-to-be serial killer who is portrayed as sweet and loyal. Norman’s struggle to navigate relationships and keep his mother’s secret made him sympathetic and masked his killer potential.
Norman’s psyche is examined in season two, and the promise of exploration propelled me forward. How does one become a serial killer? Is it possible to be evil and innocent at the same time? Capable of fierce and unrelenting love? Loyalty? A desire to do right by others?
Norman provides a convincing example that the answer is yes. It’s bone-chilling to consider a serial killer may not be psycho; they could be the ones you love most. What measures would you take to protecting them from consequences? Would it be fair to imprison someone whose crimes take place when they aren’t in control of their actions or thoughts?
If these questions keep you up at night, Bates Motel is the show for you.