Body Count: 2
One of the most prominent films in history is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. In fact, any movie done by Hitchcock was beyond its time, and unforgettable. Well, it is no question that “Psycho” has had its fair share of remakes and sequels, but if you weren’t already aware, A&E is premiering a prequel/retelling of the story in a show called “Bates Motel”. The first episode has an interesting title, that is…not “Pilot”, but I can’t remember if cable shows actually start with pilots or not. Now, without further ado, “First You Dream, Then You Die”.
This episode started off with the prologue, which was a young Norman Bates waking up to find his father murdered down the hall. He quickly got his mother, who didn’t seem surprised, which of course suggested she was the perp that killed him. Six months later, they are on a road trip, moving to a new town, and coincidentally, into the Bates Motel, it was initially called Seafairer Motel. Already, the show is moving so fast, I’m guessing to get to the point where they live at the motel. The sets, btw….are absolutely perfect. Now, the real set is still standing, so I am wondering if it was actually the original house and motel.
The episode then followed Norman on his first day at the new school, and apparently he’s the bee’s knees, because the girls were all over him. They surrounded him as he waited for his bus and insisted he ride with them to school, one of them gave him her number. At school, his female teacher asks him if he would like to join the track team. Already, you can sort of see where this is going. His mom gets a little upset that he was late, and that he would be late almost every night, including Saturday, and it was all because of a woman.
The next scene was interesting, it dealt with an angry, and apparently drunk, man who came by telling Norman and his mom that this was his house, and that his family built it long ago, he just wasn’t there because the bank forced him out. He then had to go when Norma threatened to call the police, but this scene tells me a couple things. First, it was written into the script, so it has to be important. Secondly, this isn’t going to be the last time we see him either, he may play an important role, and since I have no idea what the format is in the show, he could be killed later (again…I write this as live commentary).
Remember those girls I mentioned earlier? Well they showed up at the house asking if Norman could go out studying, an obvious lie, and I’m pretty sure Norma saw it, and told them her son and her had plans already. Well, what teenage boy wouldn’t get angry at his mom for doing that? Then again, she was being over-protective, as you would expect from Mrs. Bates. He escaped and met up with the girls, who then took him to a party, which isn’t all that exciting for him.
Back at the house, Norma gets a visit from angry drunk homeowner who decides a good idea would to rape Norman Bate’s mom. Well guess what happens? Norman knocks him out cold while in the act, and Norma killed him. Any idea of how? That’s right, with a big ol’ steak knife, what else?! Of course, Norman saw the whole thing and had to help his mom get rid of the thing. But with one cover up comes another, and another, and another.
While they were tearing up carpets (because of a blood stain), two cops ironically show up. Now, this scene is tense, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Norman is still running the place twenty years later, so you know they aren’t taken in, but it’s that unknown factor, and the fact that anything could happen…technically in a retelling. However, everything seems believable, and continually holds that feeling of tension that Hitchcock commonly had in his films, including “Psycho”. The cops end up using the restroom two inches from the body, hidden from view, and move on.
So, just like in the movies, the two put the wrapped up body into the truck of a car and sink it in a nearby lake. During their time out, it gets a bit creepy about how they belong with each other and all that, but…Norman Bates is in fact psycho and obsessed with his mom in the movies enough to keep her corpse around and dress in her clothes for a reason, this show just kind of goes through why, I think
I should mention while they were tearing up the carpet, Norman found a sketch book of a girl who was getting injected by some meds. Drawings, nothing significant, so I never thought much about it while watching, but the last ten seconds of the episode showed a random patient with an arm riddled with injection marks getting injected, kind of like the sketch book. That threw me off, I have no idea what that was, it felt off. Maybe I’m missing something.
Overall, I liked it. Even though we know what becomes of Norman, this show chronicles what happens with his mother. All we really know about her is the fact that she ultimately dies somehow, well…Norman ends up killing her in the original story, but this show could do it a little bit differently. I am definitely intrigued and look forward to the next episode!