The second season of Bates Motel leaves no vacancies for viewers

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Neil Devas, Staff Writer

Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin’s Bates Motel had its season finale May 5, bringing its second season to a close.  The A&E drama serves as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror film, Psycho, which takes place at a small motel run by a nervous and youthful Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore).  The series depicts the life of young Norman and his mother Norma, prior to the events depicted in Hitchcock’s film.

The second season of Bates Motel was much more cohesive than the show’s pilot season, which seemed scattered, trying to balance Norman’s life with various other sub-plots.

New episodes shift focus from the drug and sex trafficking of the town that serves as the setting, allowing more emphasis on the relationships that Norman and Norma develop, as well as the development of their own increasingly unsteady relationship.

The previous season finale foreshadowed Norman’s frightening future.

Throughout the season, Norman experienced constant blackouts followed by periods of confusion.

In the second season, Norman learns the truth surrounding both his blackouts and the death of his father, opening up the series.

We see a teenage Norman Bates growing into the one from the Hitchcock classic.

The dark tone and eerie feel of the series has captivated audiences by giving new perspective on the twisted relationship within the Bates family.  Critics who are familiar with the genre-defining movie have commended Executive Producer Carlton Cuse for his ability to give viewers both a fresh and a nostalgic look at a character who is approaching his destiny.  Cuse has managed, especially in the second season, to depict how Norman is driven along the road of insanity.

Norma is played by Oscar nominee Vera Farmigan, who has largely contributed to the success of the show.  She plays Norman’s psychotic mother, and is ultimately the driving force for his failing sanity.

Online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have helped Bates Motel appeal to a much wider demographic. Netflix, which offers thousands of movie and TV titles (including numerous Hitchcock films), has the series available for instant streaming.

Through these services, A&E has sought to gain viewership from those who were fans of the movie.  The description of the series alone on Netflix and Hulu emphasizes A&E’s desire to provide those who know the movie with some background.

As mentioned on Hulu, “Fans will have access to Norman’s dark twisted backstory… an intimate look at how Norman Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years.”

The series does just that, as viewers learn the dark past of Norman Bates and go on a journey with him as he transforms into the infamous Psycho killer.