Guest Review: Bates Motel - "First You Dream, Then You Die"

By: Jay Kennedy

Last Monday, the first episode of A&E’s new show Bates Motel aired.  Sound familiar?  It ought to if you’re on this website! The show’s whole premise is taken from the book and legendary Hitchcock film, Psycho.  The story picks up with a very young Norman Bates (he’s not a Psycho yet) waking up to a startling scene. 


Father Bates has keeled over, presumably from a heart attack, and Norman calls for his dear ol’ mother to come help. Turns out the old man is dead and it’s time to start over in a new town. And you guessed it, Normie’s Ma buys an old motel on the side of the freeway.

Now up to this point, if you’ve ever seen the show Smallville - that’s the one about Superman before he was Superman - you’re feeling something quite familiar.  You realize although you know where this is going to lead you - ultimately to that shower scene off in the distance future - you’re really interested in knowing what the hell happened to this family to get them from A to B!

Norman Bates is played by Freddie Highmore, a fantastic young actor from films like August Rush, The Art of Getting By and hey, look at that! He was Charlie from the Johnny Depp Wonka movie! But we’ll look past that role because you feel for Norman in this story!  Vera Farmiga, who you’ll remember from Orphan, Running Scared or the Clooney flick Up In The Air, plays Norma Bates and she’s incredible as the single, overprotective, and a little too tightly-wound mother figure in Norman’s life.

 The story goes on and we meet some people in Norman’s school that are welcoming him like nobody’s business. If you thought he was traumatized by classmates, guess again! They love Norman! Well, the ladies do anyway. However, his Mom is getting a little too much attention too from a filthy drunk whose land the Bates just purchased after it went to the bank for foreclosure.  And he aims to get it back, yo!

The tension is available in this first episode and rockets through a terrifying rape scene, which we can only assume is a first of many murders in this show. And we even get to meet the town lawman, which brings in an edge-of-your-seat panic scene where you’re holding your breath.

As for a bloody mess, even though it’s a network tv series, we do get to see a lot of red slopped all over the house and the motel.  And there’s no doubt in my mind Bates Motel is going to be a gruesome series. 

The final scene in the first episode of Bates Motel is something I’m not giving away, but it made damn sure that I’d come back for the second! Let’s just say it had very strong, scary overtones and gave a cryptic, disturbing idea of things to come at the Bates Motel.  If you’re a fan of all things creepy (and I can only think that you are), you’re going to want to dim the lights and start enjoying what I did with the first episode of Bates Motel!

Bates Motel airs Monday nights at 10/9c on A&E

**all images courtesy of**

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Jay Kennedy is the author of WUT UP MOVIES ( and is a lover of all things film!  Basically he’s just another fan like you!  Along with writing reviews he loves to rhyme off Top 10 lists and his favorite slasher flick is still Halloween!

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