Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Things I liked about "Bates Motel" Season 3

  • Norma's mugging of the camera - extended reaction times/frozen expressions (usually after one of Norman's revelations/confessions).
  • Norman's facial expressions are getting creepier (Highmore is metamorphosing into Tony Perkins episode by episode).
  • It ALWAYS rains in White Pine Bay - adds to its gothic charm 
  • The nutty/evil hippy/psycho (Dylan's dad's neighbour in Episode 2)
  • It's much better (and funnier) than Season 2 (e.g. the wifi password at the motel is MOTHER)
  • The moody Bernard Herrmann-inspired musical score (particularly effective during Norman's interview with the sheriff in Episode 3).
  • Emma in her VW/ganja-mobile to the strains of The Specials' "A Message to you, Rudy".
  • Norman in another creepy bathroom scene (towards the end of Episode 3).
  • The family dynamics are deeper in this season (e.g. Norman's resentment/jealousy of Dylan in Episode 4).
  • The script writers have beefed up Olivia Cooke's character, Emma. She  is sexier and gutsier in Season 3. It's funny that both Cooke and Highmore are English.
  • Episode 5 was the strongest ep since early in Season 1. Norman sniffing mom's dress, Norma's rant about White Pine Bay about 2/3 into the episode. More please.
  • Norman being mom making French toast for Dylan in Episode 6 (the best eps so far seem to be written by series co-creator, Kerry Ehrin)
  • A tender scene with Dylan and Emma: "Sorry I got phlegm on the floor."
  • Episode 7: Norman's chat with the psychologist in the basement. Probably not a great idea to conclude the session by strangling the therapist.
  • The way Norman (Freddie Highmore) breathes heavier as he gets more unhinged.
  • The view from Dylan's shack, across the water to mist-shrouded mountains - reminiscent of New Zealand's "Top of the Lake".
  • The season finale was disappointing except for the inspired final few minutes: Bradley's murder, "Mother, what have you done!", the slowly submerging car (a nod to "Psycho" where Norman pushes Marion Crane's car into the swamp).

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

"Bates Motel" Season 3, Episode 1, "A death in the family", review

After the disappointing, all-over-the-shop second season, I vowed not to watch another season of "Bates Motel". The producers (also wrote the first episode of Season 3) have stated they wanted more focus on "Psycho" and less on the town's business this time around.
I was pleasantly surprised, although Dylan is still a sad sack (perhaps because it never stops raining in Oregon, well, British Columbia actually).
Norma's weird reaction to hearing of her mum's death; a Stephen King-like cafeteria scene; Norman's first shower scene and the intriguing final scene with Norman nonchalantly getting out of the escort's Porsche.
The two leads make this show a cut above the usual cable-fodder. Highmore's creepy, quizzical smile is worth 43 minutes of your time.
I think the producers may have given the show a much needed shot in the arm.