Bates Motel Season 1 Review “A Boy and His Dog”

Bates Motel returned tonight with another solid episode in “A Boy and His Dog”, as the proceedings really start ramping up for the season finale. I can’t believe we’re already only two weeks away from seeing this great new series take it’s leave from our Monday nights, but at least things seem to be escalating in a satisfying manner!

After the heartbreaking death of Norman’s stray dog friend last week, he does what any other creepy soon-to-be-killer would do and decides to get it stuffed! So he takes the poor mutt to Emma’s dad, Will Decody, and decides to learn the art of taxidermy. Now I don’t mean to insult or demean the fine art of taxidermy, although I do personally find the whole idea a bit creepy, but you have to admit the visual of somebody affectionately petting a stuffed animal on the chin is one of the creepiest things we’ve seen on this show!

On top of losing a loving pet, Norman’s love life definitely hit the rocks tonight as Emma lets loose about Bradley sleeping with him at school. Although I do feel a bit bad for Norman, I’m glad that things aren’t all sunshine and roses in the female arena. Ever since episode one he’s had the attention of two beautiful and smart young women, and I never really felt like he earned these affections. They just…happened. I do take issue with how Bradley has been written, though. She’s acting like she never thought of Norman in a “More than friends” way, which is just baloney. Even though you could possibly argue that she just slept with him because her emotions were messed up after her dad dying, she still seemed genuinely romantically interested in him since episode one. I don’t really mind, though, since I’ve been Team Emma since episode one, and her scene with Norman in her dad’s office was so sweet and heartwarming.

Even though Norman’s story tonight had somewhat of a happy ending with a nice little hug from Emma, Norma’s storyline were basically all bad news. We started out with the realization that the bypass that we found out about in the pilot is really being built after all, and this leads her to Sheriff Romero, who she hoped would help her out due to the fact that they share a few secrets together. Boy, was she wrong!

Sheriff Romero really came into his own tonight as one of Norma’s main antagonists on the show, as he shared an incredible scene with Norma in his office. Romero has been written in a very minimalist style with very little dialogue, but Nestor Carbonell is doing a great job with the character. Most people will recognize Carbonell as Richard Alpert from LOST, and that character was also played in a very enigmatic and minimalistic style. They’re definitely playing him to his strengths!

We also got quite a bit more character development for Dylan’s new partner Remo, as well as the interesting little nugget that there’s a “big boss” overlooking this drug empire. This leads me in to my big question of the episode. Are we supposed to assume that Jake Abernathy, the creepy dude in room number 9, IS the big boss? Or are the drug-dealing and sex trade operations different from one another? It’s possible that they’re making it look like Jake is the boss, when in reality it’s somebody else altogether. Maybe it’s someone we don’t even know!

Either way, Jake Abernathy is one of the creepiest characters I’ve seen on TV in a long while. I don’t know Jere Burns much outside of a few minor roles and his short stint on Breaking Bad, but he’s certainly doing his darnedest to be the creepiest dude on the planet! In what was otherwise a rather uneventful episode, it appears that Abernathy was able to get Zach Shelby’s body into Norma’s bedroom! In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy: That escalated quickly!

While tonight’s episode was pretty good, it’s tough not to think that the stakes are quite a bit lower than they were earlier in the season. Just a few episodes we had Norma arrested for murder, while Norman and Emma were investigating a drug-dealing/sex trading ring. Now, however, most of that is behind us while we deal with just one creepy guy in a motel room. I’m hoping that Abernathy proves a worthy opponent for Norma and the Bates boys, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the last two episodes!

Random Thoughts:

– I wasn’t reviewing this show last week, so I couldn’t share my feelings on this, but I genuinely get much more depressed when a dog dies in a TV show than I do with a human.

– Couldn’t Norma have been a little less obvious that she was following Mr. Abernathy’s car? She looked like she was driving about 30 feet behind him!

– I keep thinking in my gut that Emma’s dad can’t be trusted, but now I’m realizing that it’s probably just because Ian Hart played Professor Quirrel in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.