Just finished season one just a few minutes before typing this. Decided to call this ‘thoughts’ instead of a review because I really just want to go on about the show and the things I love about it in detail rather than give it an objective look-over as I tend to do.
Spoilers lie below:
Darkness… this darkness is wonderful. I can’t think of many other shows, books, anime of manga that capture that tension on the surface that ‘something is really, really fucking wrong here’. Going off the source material that’s probably a really damn good sign for Bates Motel. I feel drunk in the uneasiness that this show leaves me, and I LOVE it for that. I want more, and I want it now.
Norman is a fantastic character. I cannot believe that kid from the Willy Wonka remake grew up to be such a damn good actor. Highmore’s performance is really deeply rooted in reality and I can’t help but praise him and the writers for making Norman such a beautifully realized character. What I really love about him is how sympathetic he still manages to be. Norman will grow up into a notorious serial killer, but he’s completely unaware of his actions and is incredibly disturbed. Great care was taken to make the viewer understand that this is what living with mental illness is like. Being a serial killer doesn’t make you some charming sociopath who can smile and live a real life, it makes you a deeply flawed person who ended up this way through the culmination of many, many factors until their mind just snaps irreperably. I feel for Norman a lot, but what I also applaud Highmore for is despite this he can still make the character absolutely terrifying when the need be. Those moments where Norman fades out of himself and his devils consume him- it’s like the actor is playing an entirely different character. 10/10 performance holy shit. The twist where his first kill was his dad was great, they led up into it perfectly and I was convinced that his mother killed him for the insurance money.
His mother, Norma was just as much of a joy for me to watch. She’s as good as Highmore in her portrayed of this deeply, deeply, DEEPLY complex character… In all honesty I can respect the portrayal so much because my very own mother has a rather severe case of bipolar disorder. Living with her I see a lot of the same things and behaviours that the character Norma exhibits, though thankfully without the horrific possessive love for her son that all too often seems like it’s going to teeter into incestuous territories. Some might be turned off by this, but I should mention… that’s the fucking point. I love this show for just how unsettled it makes me. I can’t get the adrenaline from getting uneasy out of my system. I really appreciate everything they pull off with Norma and how clear it is that she’s ruining her son’s life and denying him the proper help he needs among many other things.
The surprise hit to me was the Sheriff. Holy SHIT I love this guy after the finale of season one where he tricks the sex trafficker into thinking he’ll work for him just so he’ll lower his guard for the split second it’d take to shoot the bastard to death. Fucking love this guy. He’s unsettling, he’s a hardass and just watching him is almost creepy from how off-putting his perfomance is but just knowing that this guy is good and he fights for justice is incredible. I totally didn’t think he would end up to be an actually good person. I had thought that he might be the one in charge of the big weed trade in the town, but… damn, this was good. Watching him dump the trafficker’s body into the lake made him such a badass, I just love how he’s totally out to do the right thing while disregarding all of the rules. Absolutely great character.
I loved Norman’s brother, Dillion about 90% of the time. I don’t like his new thing going on with Bradley, but that’s probably because I just don’t like Bradley very much. I’m getting a very small reminiscence of Smallville’s Lana Lang from her and I hope Bradley is killed or something before she ever devolves into something like that. She’s an ok character but I find her actor a bit flat for her own good. Lastly while on the subject of side characters, I figured I’d just say I feel Emma is way too pretty looking for her condition and supposed character archetype. She strikes me more as the kind of person who’d be really popular despite her quirks and O2 tank, but maybe that’s just because she apparently has glowing supermodel skin. Seriously, would it have been too much for them to slap some fake acne onto the actress? I do enjoy the character of Emma though.
Absolutely amazing show, going to start Season Two right now. I worked this morning and I got a lot of art done today so I’m taking the night off… stop judging me.