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Bates Motel - 2x01 - Review / Recap - Can second seasons damage shows?

Second seasons can either be a good thing and improve shows more than the first season already had or it can ruin them completely. When the news broke last year that Bates Motel had been renewed for a second season after just three or four episodes had aired, I was thrilled. However once the season one finale aired, I became a little sceptical. It would have made an excellent mini-series with that sort of ending.

As anyone who has seen Psycho (the movie in which this show is a prequel to), they would know that the only thing left to really do would be to kill Norma.

The good folk at A&E sent a screener of the season two premiere to the SpoilerTV team members roughly two months ago. Whilst watching, all of my fears that they were just planning of dragging out the series for ratings were demolished. The premiere was fantastic and opened up so many new doors for the rest of the season. There was barely a moment that I didn’t like – the key word being barely. I’ll come to that later.

The season kicked off the morning after Season one ended. Norma answers the ringing phone. It’s the school principal calling to let the parents know that Miss Watson had been found dead. He mentions that there will be no school on Monday due to a funeral service which members of the community are welcome to attend. Norma starts to get suspicious as she remembers that Norman mentioned that Miss Watson offered to give him a lift home from the dance, however Norman only remembers running home. Nothing prior to that.

The Bates family attend the funeral service. Norman is a complete mess. That afternoon, Norman stands at his window remembering Miss Watson. Norma wants her to forget about her, telling him that he didn’t really know her personal life. Norma leaves the room and it is revealed that Norman took a necklace that belonged to Miss Watson (Really Norman? The belt last season didn’t teach you anything?!?!).
It turns out over the weekend, Bradley became suicidal. She is seen drink driving and almost has a head on with a truck but pulls back into her own lane at the last second. Then she goes and jumps off a bridge.

4 Months Later.

The motel is full of customers. Emma is working, but Norman hasn’t showed his face. Norma finds him down in the basement working on his taxidermy. Norma finds it creepy and wants him to go to work. Once he helps with the customers, she promises to take him driving.
Bradley is released from the mental hospital that she has spent the past 4 months in. However she doesn’t look any better.
Dylan gives money to Norma as rent. Norma doesn’t accept it as she doesn’t like how he gets it (the weed industry).

Norma teaches Norman to drive. It’s quite a funny scene – until they end up at the cemetery where Miss Watson is buried. It turns out that Norman has a crazy obsession with her death. He visits the cemetery every day. On the way back from the cemetery, Norma stops at some road works to see what is happening. The bypass is still happening – and it’s starting on Monday. Norma is shocked as she thought she had more time to fight it. Norma goes home and does some research and discovers a town meeting is taking place the next day. She decides that it’d be a good idea to attend to try to protest against the bypass.

Bradley reaches out to Gill to find out what happened to her father. He indicates that he’ll tell her if she goes inside his house and the two have sex. She leaves. Back at her house, she goes through her father’s boxes and finds a gun. Still suicidal, she almost shoots herself in the head but is distracted by a knock on the door. It’s her mum bringing Norman in. Norman tells her that he is always there for her if she needs help.

The next morning, Norman visits the cemetery and finds a man visiting Miss Watson’s grave. He finds it suspicious and starts taking photos. The man chases Norman but he gets away.

Gill approaches Dylan and tells him to get rid of Bradley if she comes asking him questions. It then turns out that Jerry Martin (Bradley’s dad) was sleeping with Gill’s wife, Blair Watson. This makes Miss Watson the mysterious ‘B’ and explains why Gill hated Jerry.

Norman takes the photos of Sheriff Romero and explains that he thinks that the man in the photo has something to do with Miss Watson’s murder because he heard someone arguing with her on the phone before she was murdered. Romero asks Norman if he ever went to Miss Watson’s house to which he replies yes. Romero tells him that if he found some finger prints, he wouldn’t be able to track them back to Norman as he has never been finger printed.

Mean whilst at the meeting, Norma tries to fight but isn’t prepared. The council dismisses her so she calls them dicks.

Bradley visits Dylan. He tells her to stay away from Gill. He tells her that her dad was sleeping with Miss Watson. He tells her that Norman likes her and that he’ll never be with her as there are lines that you don’t cross. Bradley leaves.

Romero bumps into Norma and tells her about Norman’s visit. Norma tells him about Norman’s obsession. Romeo suggests that Norman should find something better to do. Norma goes home and has a go at Norman. Norman confesses that he was at Miss Watson’s house that night and that she tried to seduce him but he doesn’t remember what happened after.

Bradley goes back to Gill and agrees to go inside for sex. She starts to pleasure Gill. As Gill looks away, Bradley pulls out the gun and shoots him. Right after that she goes to Norman and begs for help.

End of episode.

PROS:

-Finally getting confirmation that Miss Watson was ‘B’.
-Bradley actually getting something to do rather than just being a love interest.
-Norma being, well, Norma.
-The cinematography during Miss Watson’s funeral.

CONS:

-The 4 month time jump. I hate time jumps in general due unless shows plan to go back and explore what happened during that period (Once Upon a Time, Lost).
-Not enough Emma.

Overall, I was very pleased with this season premiere. I can’t wait to finally find out what happens next week! Tell us what you thought in the comments. I'd like to hear everyone else's thoughts about my earlier point regarding second season's improving or ruining shows!

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