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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: ‘Bates Motel’ new season has vancancy for psychos


    Promotional still for Bates Motel, to be released on March 18, 2016.

    American drama-thriller mini-series “Bates Motel” returned this Monday for the start of its fourth season on A&E. The series, which serves as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film “Psycho,” revolves around the life of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his journey toward becoming one of Hollywood’s most beloved antagonists. The new season will showcase Norman’s continuing plunge into madness as his slips further into his mental illness.

    The season premiere “A Danger to Himself and Others,” picked up right where season three ended. After unknowingly killing his former crush Bradley Martin (Nicola Peltz) during a psychotic episode, Norman finds himself stumbling through the woods of White Pine Bay where he experiences another blackout.

    This time however, Norman’s hallucination causes him to engage in an imaginary conversation with his mother Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) whom he believes is fully responsible for the death of Bradley. After confronting a local farmer on his property, Norman ends up in a psychiatric unit where he begins to question the whereabouts of his mother.

    At this point it becomes clear that creators Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano are propelling the storyline in a direction that is representative of the film “Psycho.”

    Unlike the first three seasons, which showcased a young, sensitive teenager who slowly became aware of his psychological issues, season four has already shown a glimpse of Norman’s complete transformation into his psychotic self. The bond between Norman and his mother pushes him closer to insanity.

    “Norman’s now gotten to a place where he’s losing his ability to control his own personalities and sense of reality,” Cuse said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “The normalcy of his life is slipping away from him.”

    Even after reuniting with her deranged son, Norma has finally accepted the reality of her situation. For three full seasons, Norma lived in complete denial of her son’s issues until she finally came to understand the severity of the situation, which ultimately motivated her to seek help from a prestigious mental institute. Faced with a long waiting list and no health insurance for her son, Norma turns to Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) for help.

    On the other side of the spectrum, Norman’s half-bother Dylan Massett (Max Thieriot) travels to Portland, Oregon, to see his friend and Norman’s ex-girlfriend Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke), who begins her lung transparent surgery.

    A central figure that finds herself drawn to the Bates family and their chaotic affairs, Emma ends up connecting with the audience on an emotional level due to her circumstances. While her situation does not exactly relate to Norman’s mental instability, it does serve as a nice distraction to the main conflict presented in this premiere. The emergence of her long-lost mother, Audrey (Karina Logue), adds drama and tension to an already dysfunctional situation. Desperate to send a message to her daughter, Audrey seeks Norman’s help when he has, once again, fallen victim to his alter ego. The ending is both shocking, but predicable at the same time.

    In the end, “A Danger to Himself and Others” presented a clear image of Norman Bates’ developing transformation into his infamous character from the film “Psycho.”

    Follow Ernesto Fierro on Twitter.

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