Tuesday, April 23, 2013
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL - SEASON 1 EPISODE 6 - "The Truth"
I think I may have discovered how to endure the rest of Bates Motel's inaugural season: viewing it as a comedy that's completely aware of its own absurdity. For the majority of this episode's running time, I was outright guffawing. Right from the opening scene, when Norma breaks into a jaunty little sprint, I couldn't help but find it funny. Everyone's facial expressions, lines and delivery all just seemed to tickle my funnybone this week. At this point, it's a welcome change from the casual disinterest the last few episodes have left me with.
And things actually happen in this episode! Deputy No-One-Cares-About is dispatched of, and in a pretty enjoyable (but not in the least bit suspenseful) gunfight inside the Bates house. There is still some horrible writing stupidity going on (Deputy Sexfiend runs after the Asian girl Norma was holing up in the motel, and right after that, Dylan, Norman and Norma proceed to have a conversation about Norman living with Dylan! WHILE THERE'S A SEX MURDER GUY IN THEIR IMMEDIATE VICINITY) and we get more development on Dylan's life of crime storyline (oh joy...), but for the most part, this is one of the more fun episodes of the season so far. That's mostly due to the fact that this episode has some momentum to it, and things actually get resolved. Well, as much as Bates Motel can resolve things. Events are written (like the trashy soap opera the show is) so that they can be ends to plot-lines, but also could be left open in case of a lack of ideas in the writers' room. Keith Sommers' belt? Could be gone for good, or could come back. Deputy Dumbo? He's offed, and we may deal with one episode of fallout, but he could easily be swept under the rug. Or they could stretch out his death's investigation for at least two or three more episodes. Considering how many plot branches the show has, I'm hoping these are definitely getting lopped off.
The most shocking thing about the whole episode is easily the ending, which is actually good. It almost starts to course-correct the fact that this is a show based on Psycho, and hopefully the writers stay on that track. We get the motel's first guest next week, so maybe things will start to fall into a better groove. I'm sure we'll still have to deal with uninteresting sub-plots (Dylan's hoodlum hijinks and Norman's high-school drama), but if the main thrust of the story can stay with what's revealed in the ending, things may be looking a tad bit up for Bates Motel. I won't hold my breath, but I will cross(dress) my fingers.