After the much surprising success of “Bates Motel’s” first season it was pretty clear that this show could be destined for great things, (that is if the writing could hold it all together). I was very impressed with the series first season and actually shocked it turned out to be pretty good. Many movies that end up getting converted to shows don’t turn out so well, (does anyone remember the “Crash” TV show?). So, approaching its second season I was filled with optimism as it premiered. “Bates Motel” still doesn’t quite reach the levels that we want it to and the mobster subplots do get a bit hit and miss. Still, this is still quite a good second season for the series. It does have its flaws but provides plenty of sensational moments for fans of the show to be had. Much like it’s first, the second season leaves viewers much to come back to and explore.
(Some Spoilers for Season 1)
In the aftermath of Mrs. Watson’s death, Norman’s innocence is called into question as his psyche continues to become increasingly more unstable. Norma meanwhile deals with her dark past returning back into her life while Dylan gets mixed up in an ever increasing drug war that could tear apart White Pine Bay.
In some ways the last two episodes of the first season felt a little “after the fact”. The main storyline feels just about wrapped up by episode 7 and the last two are more the characters dealing with its aftermath. But, at the same time it’s an easy feeling to shake off with a really good set of episodes. One involving the cliff hanger to send us into the second season with Mrs. Watson’s death. Our characters linger on this for a while over who killed her? Was it Norman? (Who was with her at around the time of her death.) He can’t recall happens and thus sets the stage for the rest of season which leaves viewers with burning questions after each episode.
Through all of this we see Norman descend more and more into darkness with his blackout condition that becomes ever more frequent. His friends try to help him cope with it, but Norman doesn’t even seem to remember what happens in the blackouts. Freddie Highmore continues to impress in this title role and continues to pick up on the nuances of the character that Anthony Perkins help formulate.
The storyline involving Norma also is incredibly involving. This season gives Vera Farmiga more to do as she not only has to be the over bearing mother to Norman and deal with all his psychological issues, but also deal with the question of Dylan’s parentage. Dylan might have finally met his father but if Norma is to be believed, she could have been the victim of rape incest with her brother. This creates a new level of tension between her and Dylan even though she deeply cares about Dylan.
Dylan though gets wrapped up even more in the ever increasingly hit and miss mobster storyline. The drug warfare starts after the nearly suicidal Bradley takes revenge for the death of her father by slaying the main crime boss, making it open season for anyone to take his place (which naturally leads to some sort of disagreement). This highlights the show’s most tiresome subplots. While there are many great moments in some of these sequences, (especially in the two part finale) but in other episodes it just drags on. We wish we were watching something more interesting than just the half baked crime plot. It feels like the writers couldn’t come up with anything better so they threw this in because people like crime stories? In any case it’s never a huge burden but it is very hit and miss.
Everything that worked in season one once again works here, in this very well done second season. . The psychosis of Norman continues to be the best aspect of the show and make for some riveting television. Unfortunately everything that didn’t work in the first season, doesn’t really work here either. Regardless, I’m more than excited to see where season three heads after the ending to this one. How long will it take before we reach “Psycho”?