Eerie, Enthralling “Bates Motel” Excites Viewers

A&Es Bates Motel delivers to viewers

A&E’s ‘Bates Motel’ delivers to viewers

Emily Massarelli

A&E's 'Bates Motel' delivers to viewers

A&E’s ‘Bates Motel’ delivers to viewers

Many people know the controversial T.V. show “American Horror Story” for its unique plot line and fear factor that sets it apart from others; however, there is a new series that may just give the popular program a run for its money. It takes a show equally as edgy and suspenseful to live up to the standards that “American Horror Story” has set for the new age of horror television, and “Bates Motel” does exactly that.

A prequel to the acclaimed Alfred Hitchcock thriller classic Psycho, “Bates Motel” tells the story of teenager Norman Bates and his loving mother Norma as they reinvent themselves in a new town in their new home: and old, broken down motel.  The first hint of unsettling creepiness arises when it is revealed that Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother (Vera Farmiga) have a relationship that is a little too close for comfort. Their relationship with one another borders on incestuous, and it soon becomes apparent that this loving mother and son duo may not be as innocent as they appear. As Norma and Norman’s relationship progresses, it reveals Norman’s oedipal urges characterized by a strong, sexual attraction to his mother.

Despite viewers’ discomfort, fans of the series cannot help but feel sympathy for this struggling single mother and her shy son. Norman’s social awkwardness and loss of his father leaves the viewer rooting for him; however, as his true psychotic and unstable personality is revealed, it is difficult for one to remain sympathetic. Because it is known that this show will eventually lead up to the creepy and somewhat disturbing plot line of Psycho, it is nearly impossible to not be in suspense, as viewers familiar with the film are constantly waiting for Norman or his mother to snap. Norma’s determination to recreate her family’s life is unrelenting. She will do anything— even potentially commit murder — to create a picture perfect life for her precious son, Norman. Unbeknownst to his mother, however, Norman is far from perfect. It appears that Norman’s only  friend is his mother, and he often ostracizes himself; that is, until he meets Bradley (Nicola Peltz). Norman clearly has feelings for Bradley, and he defies his loyalty to his mother when he attends a party with this new friend. Norman’s awkward personality makes this romance more interesting, especially because viewers are aware of his unpredictable dark-side that lurks just beneath the surface.

Set in the 1960’s, “Bates Motel” contains a certain retro aspect that captivates viewers— an element that most modern T.V. shows are unable to provide. The seemingly picturesque town of White Pine Bay is practically made for the Bates family, as it holds just as many secrets as they do. On the surface, it seems like a quaint town filled with artisans, woodworkers, and many family-owned small businesses. But something doesn’t click: the town is filled with million dollar homes and wealthy families, leading many to wonder where all of the money comes from. Eventually, a shady marijuana drug ring emerges, and the townspeople of White Pine Bay show that they have a strong, revengeful side. For these citizens, business means business. Norma soon realizes that she has picked the wrong town to try her hand at raising a normal family in.

With an eerie, old motel and a psychotic, determined mother, it is obvious that this show will be filled with countless moments of  suspense and terror. Although it is a bit predictable at times, “Bates Motel”  claims a fear factor and edginess of its own that rivals “American Horror Story.” For so many expectant fans of Psycho, a whole new element of interest is added to the horror genre as they await the terror and abundant murder they know “Bates Motel” will deliver.