|Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore as Norma and Norman Bates in BATES MOTEL.|
|Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) either dresses like a mom or a tramp.|
Norman has started channeling his mother’s voice
In the past seasons of the TV show, Norman (Freddie Highmore) has experienced fantasies of his mother scolding him, usually when he was about to have sex. In the movie “Psycho” Norman does as well, but he also imitates his mother’s voice talking to him. Now, that’s happened on “Bates Motel” as well. This season, Norman truly found his voice, er, her voice. And he’s been caught doing it by everyone from his sensitive brother Dylan (Max Thieriot) to his wayward uncle Caleb (Kenny Johnson).
|Norman played the mother role this season. He even wore her housecoat while making breakfast.|
Norman is starting to dress like his mom too
Vera Farmiga’s Norman Bates is a walking contradiction. Sometimes she’s the conservatively dressed mother hen, lording her maternal instincts over everyone from her brood to the Sheriff (an often flummoxed Nestor Carbonell). And other times, she dresses to seduce. This season she ran away in a snit and dressed like a floozy, hoping to bed a stranger. Norman was so upset with her exit, he lost his marbles and started channeling her whole cloth, right down to wearing her housecoat.
Mrs. Bates is starting to sit at the bedroom window
The show has sometimes been hesitant to rely on visuals that clearly come from the movie, but this season a number of shots echoed the film blatantly. Norman observed his mother watching him from her upstairs bedroom window. That is a direct lift from the film, and it added even more chills to the show, as we know that Norman will eventually prop his mother’s corpse in a chair by the window to continue the illusion that she’s alive.
The show frequently employed overhead shots
“Bates Motel” has also started to employ the overhead POV shots to make everything in the hotel more macabre, from shots of the ominous staircase to Norman’s time in the tub. Unusual camera angles like that added to the oddity of the Bates world in the movie, and they did so in the TV series as well.
Good girls are starting to disturb Norman’s libido
Did Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) trigger her own death by mildly flirting with Norman in the movie? Yes, as any stirring of his sex drive triggers his Mother’s jealous mindset. That’s been happening all season long this year, first with the prostitute Annika (Tracy Spiridakos) openly propositioning Norman. He didn't kill her, but he easily could have. And sadly, in the season finale, the forlorn Bradley (Nikola Peltz) made a fatal mistake when she tried to pull Norma away from his home. How will Norman/Norma react when he realizes his old flame Emma (Olivia Cooke) is falling hard for Dylan? The likely outcome is not a pleasant prospect.
|Is Emma (Olivia Cole) doomed as a good girl in Norman's world?|
The show's tracking shots looked like Hitchcock's
The Master of Suspenseloved tracking shots, especially those going up or down stairs, and this season “Bate Motel” added more and more of them to its visual vocabulary. Such shots add urgency and tension to the storytelling as the camera moves us closer into the action. And getting up close and personal with this cast of characters is very frightening indeed.
Norman’s obsession with taxidermy has become prevalent
The show established Norman’s strange hobby in season one, but it’s even more of a recurring visual motif now. It shows he’s becoming more and more comfortable with death. And it's a place he has a sense of control as he seldom does anywhere else in his world. How much longer until he starts preserving some human subjects?