Bates Motel

Season 1 Episode 1

First You Dream, Then You Die

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Mar 18, 2013 on A&E
out of 10
User Rating
118 votes

By Users Episode Review

Featured Article


Episode Summary

Norman and his mother Norma buy a run down motel and house following the death of his father. This prequel to the Psycho films is set in modern times so the teenage Norman fights with his mother, deals with high school parties, flirty girls and teen drama while his mother deals with stalking by the menacing former owner of the property and a nosy sheriff.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Before either dreaming or dying, you should actually think of a decent plot.

    Bates Motel offers a good deal of things to be grumbled about: setting the backstory to Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho in contemporary surroundings would be one. Embroidering the 1960 film noir's rather complete story in the first place, apparently for no other purpose than NBCUniversal holding the rights for it, another. Those I could reconcile myself to, but the programme (or at least this episode, should the subsequent ones unexpectedly yield a qualitative upswing) falling prey to one of the most prevalent faults in present-day television is what disappointed and irked me, considering that however hostile you may be to the whole idea of this production, the Psycho 'universe' holds a potential for engrossing television.

    This metaphorical blow to the face of viewers asking for more than just diversion I'm referring to is, of course, Bates Motel passing up the prospect of a pilot that properly establishes characters and situations in favour of one that hurls action and violence and surprises at its audience, regardless of that being most incongruous at such an early stage, in a desperate attempt to secure financially adequate ratings. There is justification for the existence of a standard storytelling formula involving a gradual build-up to a climax and, whereas someone as Alfred Hitchcock can use a non-observance of that practice - murdering his film's presumed lead early on - for a virtuoso plot twist, a less Hitchcockian director such as Tucker Gates or three less Hitchcockian writers such as Anthony Cipriano, Carlton Cuse, and Kerry Ehrin might not be able to.

    Why am I saying 'might not'? They were not. The rape/murder scene taking place at about the halfway point of "First You Dream, Then You Die" is unfitting and unnecessary on various levels and poorly executed to boot. It did commence appealingly, but as soon as Keith Summers, the former proprietor of what now trades under the name of Bates Motel, stops by for a late visit that turns out not be for coffee and cake, the entire sequence goes down the tube. Honestly, if the writers decided to equip this man with a moustache to bring out a resemblance between him and Hitler, it would be compatible with the rest of his character in every respect, since he is depicted as quite the incarnation of evil. - Isn't it peculiar that I've never come to meet such a person in real life, yet I stumble across them all the time when watching sub-par films or television?

    Be that as it may, this amalgamation of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Anders Behring Breivik then begins to abuse Norma, something that Gates and the writing squad were, for whatever reason, keen to show on screen, and the audience is put through to what feels as long as a minute of staged rape that is ultimately put an end to through a slightly tardy deus ex machina in the form of Norman. Adolf Bin Breivik is laid out, mother and son proceed to handcuff him (instead of using the manacles to bind him to the table, which would prevent any further bother), and Norma forgets to be angry at her son for having sneaked out of the house beforehand, even though he could have deus ex machinaed much more timely had he stayed. *mutters insults at the idiocy of everything that has occurred up until now*

    As Norman simply leaves for a moment - making himself a sandwich or something, I have no clue Adolf Bin Breivik gets back up, which causes Norma to knife him to death, which in turn leaves the Bates family with two or three fairly urgent items on their to-do list. The approach that is arrived at is not to make the incident public (although Rape/Murder Motel would have been a more thrilling title for this programme, if you ask me) and the outcome is probably the first brick in Norman becoming a little mad sometimes later in his life.

    There's more to "First You Dream, Then You Die" than this one sequence, but it clearly represents the general problems of Bates Motel. Intriguing moments (some foreshadowing, together with Norma and Norman's odd relationship or Norman's discovery and the final scene somehow related to it) can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and despite Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga acting very well, the pedestrian writing impedes the development of any connection to them.

    Twelve cabins, eight notations:

    - Teenage girls, do not offer a boy you've only just met a ride, he could be a serial oh, wait

    - Selfies within the first ten minutes Hitchcock would have been proud.

    - Parents of adolescents ought to show their progeny this episode, as it teaches them a lesson on what will happen if they secretly leave their homes. Their mothers will be raped.

    - Why are the policemen switching on the blue lights when driving away from the motel? And, perhaps more importantly, why did they even go there? If there were indications to the disappearance of Mr Summers, I assume they'd ask some questions.

    - Don't cadavers have a certain distinguishable odour to them? And wouldn't a Sheriff smell one that is lying right next to him?

    - It seemed to me as if Norman was not vomiting but spitting out a mouthful of orange juice. Well, that is the least of Bates Motel's flaws, I guess.

    - Is it normal for oxygen tanks to look like decorated metal umbrellas?

    - I doubt that families can be more dysfunctional than discarding the neighbour you murdered in a lake at night.moreless
  • yikes

    Now this was downright implausible. That Richard Alpert cop has got to be one of the most bumbling authority figures on record. And some of this just seems ham-fisted, like the girls picking Norman out as a friend, or his dialogue with Meet Cute, or his use of the words lake of blood. Freddie Highmore does a good job imitating Anthony Perkins, and Vera Farmiga seems good. But I don't know. Maybe this show will pick up.moreless
  • Holy Sh*t

    Wow this is a good show. I haven't seen the movie and haven't read the book, but the plot of this show really got me interested. Iv done the mistake of reading books on which TV shows are based on and have been left dissatisfied. I'm just gonna watch the show and let the story unfold. For every who has't read the book or seen the movie. This is a must watch.

    Stating the obvious here but Vera Farmiga is amazing, I watched the show only because she was in it and Im glad I did because now I can turn in every week to watch yet another amazing drama.moreless
  • They Captured The Weird Relationship

    They made sure we knew how truly bizarre the mother and son relationship, but the pilot was not exactly full of excitement. We need to learn what the long-running story will be for this show, why am I tuning in every week? The pilot did not let us know that.

    It is weird, but I don't know if it is sustainable.
  • First You Dream, Then You Die

    First You Dream, Then You Die was an intriguing start to Bates Motel and the pilot episode shows this series has great potential. The actors were amazing, the story was very well written and the location wsd eerily beautiful. I liked seeing Norma and Norman's relationship being explored. There are many mysteries and I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
W. Earl Brown

W. Earl Brown

Keith Summers

Guest Star

David Cubitt

David Cubitt

Sam Bates

Guest Star

Richard Harmon

Richard Harmon

Richard Sylmore

Guest Star

Nestor Carbonell

Nestor Carbonell

Sheriff Alex Romero

Recurring Role

Keegan Connor Tracy

Keegan Connor Tracy

Miss Watson

Recurring Role

Mike Vogel

Mike Vogel

Deputy Zack Shelby

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions