Review: Bates Motel 2.02 – “Shadow of a Doubt”

Episode two starts right where the season premiere left off. Bradley (Nicola Peltz) pleading with Norman (Freddie Highmore) to help her. Ugh, just get Bradley out of the show already. Meanwhile, Dylan (Max Theriot) and his drug buddy, Remo (Ian Tracey), arrive at Will’s place to  be greeted by Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell). Will’s been murdered! Dun, dun, dun… Opening Credits!

Can I just comment on the creepy opening credits? A slow, close-up shot of the “Bates Motel” neon sign with eerie music playing. Where is this creepiness in the rest of the show?! Where? I want more creepiness. The show is becoming more melodramatic, comedic, and quirky instead of creepy – and I’m watching for the creepy!

****SPOILERS BELOW****

It is time for Norma’s (Vera Farmiga) trip to the OBGYN. She takes the opportunity to ask her OBGYN doctor if blackouts are normal (referring to Norman’s blackouts following both Sam Bates death and Miss Watson’s recent murder). Her doctor suggests it might be a mental problem. Good on ya, ten points for you, OBGYN Doctor!

Speaking of mental problems, Norma suddenly decides she wants to do a musical at the local community theater with Norman. Why? Because it’s fun and they like musicals. Okay? Bates Motel, what are you doing here? Norman is against the idea. More on that later we have to get back to Bradley’s struggle. Bradley’s mother calls looking for her “missing” daughter and Norman lies to her. After he lies, he smiles slightly. Does he find joy in lying?

Meanwhile, back to the stimulating drug trade storyline, a new guy, Zane (Michael Eklund), comes in and says he is the new Will. Remo calls him “crazy” behind his back. He seems crazy, indeed. As for the Miss Watson murder case, the Sheriff might have a break. They arrive at the home a young man, who proceeds to flush a huge bag of weed down the toilet before trying to escape out of his window. Sheriff Romero tackles him to the ground. Who is this guy? Sheriff Romero later questions the guy in jail, telling him they found his semen in Miss Watson. The guy shrugs it off, basically saying Miss Watson was a big hoe and she slept around with tons of men because of ‘daddy issues.’ Wow, what a great schoolteacher.

Norma almost runs into Bradley, who has been hiding in the basement, but luckily, Norman arrives home and the two go into a strange, awkward rendition of “Mr. Sandman” on the piano. Apparently Norman enjoys this so much, he agrees to try out for the musical with his mother.

Meanwhile, crazy Zane meets with Dylan and Remo. A man named Johnny B, who is from the rival drug gang, the Ford family, is tied up in his truck. Zane thinks the Ford family is responsible for Will’s death and he is going to send them a message. So he shoots and kills the man. Oh, crazy Zane.

Later on, Norma discovers the necklace of Miss Watson in Norman’s room. She puts the necklace back without a word. She and Norman then go to the community theater, where Norman freaks out because it is taking too long and he has to go help a now brunette Bradley make it to a bus stop. He storms out of the theater, Norma angrily in tow.

Outside, Norma has a full-on breakdown as she struggles to question Norman about Miss Watson’s necklace. She keeps saying “I’m so scared… I’m so scared…” And I can’t help but think about Jesse Spano from  “Saved by the Bell” muttering those same words after she became addicted to caffeine pills.

Norman hugs his mother and tries to reassure her with a lie about the necklace. He agrees to go back inside with her where she performs a very emotional “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret. Her pitch/voice isn’t great, but, oh boy, she has the dramatics! Norman tells Dylan the truth about Bradley and asks him to help her. Dylan drives Bradley out to a diner and tells her to write a suicide note. He wants to make sure Zane doesn’t go looking for her. Bradley leaves a note for Norman that says “You are the best person I have ever known.” Okay, Bradley. And you are the worst person I have ever had the pleasure of watching on a TV show. Maybe not the worst, but certainly annoying. What is with this “Smallville” type music playing? I can’t help but groan. But yay, Bradley is gone!

In other news, Sheriff Romero officially arrests Kyle and charges him with the murder of Miss Watson. He seems like a pretty terrible person, so it’s for the best. Emma (where have you been!?) shares the news of his arrest with Norma and Norman, both of whom take a moment to digest it. Norma is thrilled. Norman might be off the hook…?

We cut to a gas station where an unrecognizable white man is asking about the Bates Motel, specifically Norma Bates. He is, of course, her brother. The same one she said used to rape and beat her. I smell trouble. And with that, we end the episode!

Well, I can’t lie, I’m not that impressed with where the season is going. While I’m glad Bradley is gone, I don’t really want to watch a show about a town embroiled in a secret drug trade full of idiots, or see Norman and Norma perform in a musical theatre show. I want more creepy, I want more psycho! What do you guys think? Comment below with thoughts, questions, concerns, a song? This episode was very musical. Hopefully Norma’s brother adds a new creepy dynamic to a show that seems unsure where it is going.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck