Television Review – Bates Motel: “Trust Me”

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I’m having a hard time with the recent outpouring of horror television shows. It’s awesome to have stuff to watch serially, but it’s difficult to keep up with reviewing them while also getting movies watched! As you can see from the latest series of posts I’ve been doing, horror television has been taking up a ton of my time and I haven’t had a chance to see many movies. Hopefully I can catch up and divide my time better.

Anyway, on to Bates Motel. When we last left Norma and Norman and the ostracized but insanely cool Dylan, everyone was a little bit worried about being found out thanks to Norman’s seriously stupid move to keep Keith’s belt after they murdered and dumped his body. The show has been doling out suspicion piecemeal; first the cops are onto Norma, then they’re sniffing around her house, and now finally they have some serious leverage to arrest her. This plot is starting to move forward very quickly, and that’s a good thing because separating Norman from his mother will ultimately highlight their relationship more, perhaps even straining it.

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Norman gets out of Deputy Zack’s house okay thanks to some help from Dylan. The guy might be a troublemaker, but he sure is looking out for Norman’s safety. “Trust Me” gives us some time with Dylan and Norman; they sit out on the porch of the motel at night, sharing a swig of whiskey while Norman explains what happened the night Keith disappeared. Dylan is now in on the loop, and he’s ready to help out with the deception. His character has always been somewhat likable even when Norma claims he’s a halfwit, but in this episode he becomes one of the best-characterized people in the show.

Norman also spends some time with Zack himself, after an encounter with him in a dimly lit alley where things get a little tense and Zack offers to take Norman on a fishing trip, whether he really wants to or not. There’s a huge amount of tension between the two; Zack is also becoming a staple of the show, and Mike Vogel shows off his surly side with a glaring look at Dylan as he drives away.

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I love the suspense of these encounters; everyone has something to hide in this town, and even if Norman is a little crazy and he imagined the whole scene of a sex slave in Zack’s basement, the deputy is seriously up to something. Bates Motel needs these character-driven scenarios to establish the weird small town vibe it has going on. Otherwise, the show might veer into territory where it tries too hard to be scary. That’s not necessary; we have all the drama we need right now with Norma in police custody and working hard to create a semblance of innocence, and another crazy murder might just complicate things too much.

The end of “Trust Me” gets me super excited for what’s to come for clan Bates; will there be a trial? How long will it keep Norma in with the law before something big goes down? And what will Norman and his new pal/brother Dylan do about it? These questions will probably be the entire arc of this first season, which is more than okay with me as long as the show continues to hammer down the weird vibe it’s got going on lately.

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