Bates Motel Episode 101
“First You Dream, Then You Die”
Story By: Kerry Ehrin, Anthony Cipriano, and Carlton Cuse
Teleplay By: Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano
Directed By: Tucker Gates
Original Airdate: 18 March 2013
In This Episode...
We open on Norman Bates watching an old movie on TV. He suddenly stands, stumbles down the hall, calling for mom as he goes. He comes to the garage, and discovers dad dead in a pool of his own blood. Mother comes from the shower and comforts her son.
Six months later and Norma has relocated herself and Norman in an effort to “start over.” Norma picked up a motel and a house at a foreclosure auction and surprises Norman with it. He is doubtful but wants to please his mother.
Norman starts his new school. His first encounter with his classmates comes at the bus stop, when a quartet of pretty girls start chatting with him. A fifth girl rolls up in a brand new convertible and they all pile in. Bradley, the leader of this clique, is very flirty with Norman. These are the girls who would normally be the “mean girls” - but they are being really nice. At school, Norman meets with his counselor Miss Watson, who encourages him to get involved in sports or clubs as a way to set down roots. He tries out for track team.
Norma spends her day cleaning up around their new house and making dinner for her and Norman. A phone call darkens her day: it is Dylan, her older, estranged son who is mad that his mom didn’t even tell him she moved. He wants money; she hangs up on him. Dinner is waiting for Norman when he gets home - too bad he is home late. Norman wants his mother to sign his track team permission slip; Norma expected Norman to come home after school and help with the motel - after all, she is doing this for him, but she doesn’t want to be the mother who tells her son that he can’t be on the track team
The next day, Norman is on the porch beating the dust out of a rug when the Bates get an unwelcome visitor: Keith, the former owner. The property had been in his family for over 100 years and he was mad that it belonged to another. Norma will not be intimidated, and threatens to call the police if he comes there again - or she will shoot him. After dinner, Bradley and her clique come by to invite Norman to go study at the library. Norma won’t let him, so like any normal 17-year-old, he sneaks out. Poor gullible Norman - they go to a party.
As Norma cleans up from dinner, she hears a noise. Keith has returned, and he breaks into the house. Norma calls for Norman, but he is not home. She arms herself with a knife, but Keith swats it away. He tapes her mouth shut, bends her over the kitchen table, handcuffs her, and rapes her. “Everything in this house is mine.” Mid thrust, Norman finally shows up and bashes Keith over the head. Norma handcuffs Keith and kicks the knife far out of his reach. She sends Norman for the emergency kit to tape up her badly bleeding hand. Keith wakes up and moves towards Norma, who holds the knife as protection. “You liked it,” he sneers. Provoked, Norma stabs him brutally. Norman comes in to see his mother atop of the dead, bleeding drunk on the floor.
Norman’s first, natural response, is to call 911 - after all, it was clearly self-defense. Norma refuses, not wanting the place to be labeled the “rape/murder motel.” Instead she decides they will move the body into one of the motel room bathtubs, at least until morning, when she can figure out what to do with the body. The two drag him down to the motel, leaving a bloody mess in their wake. A massive bloodstain forms on the carpet, so Norma decides it is time to do a little renovating, even though it is after midnight. As Norman starts tearing up the carpet, he discovers a small, worn notebook. Inside, it looks like someone is making their own manga. Pages of Japanese writing opposes anime sketches of men doing horrible things to young women. Norman is fascinated, but bright lights signal a car approaching the motel, and he hides the notebook.
Sheriff Romero and Deputy Shelby have stopped by to check on things. They didn’t realize the motel had been purchased already. Norma is pleasant and thanks the men for checking up on them, but Romero is suspicious of so much work at 2am. (Personally, I don’t think it is weird - if I bought a motel I am sure I would work until all hours of the night renovating.) He meets Norman, and asks to use the bathroom. Norma tries to stop him by telling him it is broken, but Romero isn’t dissuaded. He pees mere inches from Keith’s sagging body (good thing he hasn’t started to rot yet) and he and Shelby leave without incident.
The next day at school, Norman looks traumatized. At lunch he spots a smudge of blood on the toe of his shoe, and runs out of the cafeteria to vomit. This is where he meets Emma, a friendly - if odd - girl with cystic fibrosis, who offers him a mint. That night, Norman assists mother in getting Keith out of the motel. They weigh him down and take him out on a rowboat. Norma feels guilty because she discovered that the town is convening to redirect the highway away from the motel, meaning that traffic will be sparse. She vows to Norman that she won’t let that happen. They dump Keith overboard.
Dig It or Bury It?
I like it - this is a promising start. The acting is great, the atmosphere is creepy, and because everyone knows the story of Norman Bates and his mother, not a lot of backstory or setup that is needed. We can get right to the story.
Norma is a piece of work. When introduces Norman to their new digs, she presents them by pulling up out front, then arranging herself prettily on the hood of the car before the “ta-da” moment. When showing him the house, Norman thinks his room is up in the attic, but Norma has put him in the room right next to hers. As Norman protests her handling of the Keith situation, she sighs, “I’m sorry this dirtbag raped me.” Then when the two of them are out in the boat, dumping the body, it practically turns into a date. Norma is a terrible mother, and Norman is too good for her. Norman, for his part, says that he doesn’t ever want to live in a world without her. She is everything to him. He quotes Jane Eyre - “It’s like there is a cord between our hearts” - tells her they belong to each other.
Coming up this season: Norman gets ill; he shares the manga journal with Emma; Norma sleeps with Deputy Shelby; the sheriff starts asking questions about Keith; and a lot of people die. I am hooked. I sense this show is going to go really dark, really fast.