Bates Motel

Season 1 Episode 2

Nice Town You Picked Norma

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Mar 25, 2013 on A&E
out of 10
User Rating
101 votes

By Users Episode Review


    Bates Motel "Nice Town You Picked Norma" Review: Burning Man

    This week, the Norms realized that White Pine Bay isn't quite what it seems, and Dylan arrived on the scene.

  • Episode Summary

    Dylan wastes no time causing trouble at home and all the while, the Bates family is inexorably drawn into the dark underbelly of White Pine Bay.

    Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    • CSI: White Pine Bay

      Combustion appears to be a motif of Bates Motel's second instalment: not only is the warehouse of Bradley's father put a match to in the opening minutes, which sparks (har, har) him being burned alive in his hot sports car (har, har) wearing a suit, which is remarkably high up on the list of the most bad-arse ways to commit suicide, only below overeating at a feast given in your honour (look it up, that genuinely happened), although I'm uncertain of the extent to which this will lift his inanimate mood, and I've just noticed that I've been maundering so much that I copulated up my entire sentence structure. Anyway, there's also Norma witnessing a burned body dangling about in the town centre in the final scene of the episode and the burning desire to switch off my television I felt several times during "Nice Town You Picked, Norma".

      Nevertheless, this is a perceptible improvement over the programme's extraordinarily chaotic pilot, especially so the first intimations that White Pine Bay is somewhat uncannier than it initially purported to be, the augmentation of the Bates family tree (I like how Dylan raises questions as well as Max Thieriot's performance, but how could the writers not take the chance of making his character a Frenchman by the name of Normand?), and most of the acting. The supporting cast may collectively not be anything more than all right, but Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga are two very good leads, particularly when they're on screen together (his brilliantly acted discomfort as his mother is changing in front of him gives me confidence that he could actually fill Anthony Perkins's proverbial size 13 shoes).

      In view of all these positive qualities, it is simply astonishing how Bates Motel has failed to be more than a mediocre television programme thus far, due to thoroughly ludicrous writing every so often. In "Nice Town You Picked, Norma", Freddie and Emma's expedition to the woods was the nadir. Sure, the guards of the marijuana field chasing the two wayfarers gave director Tucker Gates space to include some action, but what is warranting it from a storytelling slant? Bearing in mind that the plantation's about as hard to find as a two-year-old playing hide and seek for the first time and that there are people who take pleasure in hiking and might stumble across it, it seems to be a bit of an overreaction to pursue every single trespasser.

      And if you're willing to accept this premise insulting the intelligence of anyone with a primary school level of education, wouldn't two fit adult men knowing this location inside out be able to capture two adolescents, one of them even having a breathing disorder, who are there for the first time? Nah, says Kerry Ehrin, and Tucker Gates gives his thanks by using the much revered technique of shaky cam, which is, incidentally, exactly the type of obnoxiously sounding name something like shaky cam deserves. And how about that scene, in which Norman, on the spur of the moment, decides to batter his brother's head in? A 26-year-old Norman Bates doing that? Fine, if you must. But a 17-year-old Norman Bates doing that? That's just stupid.

      I shall give the writer/director duo at least some praise, however, for making Bates Motel a very enjoyable programme. And if the next few episodes contain a little more conversations in the style of Norma's inquisition of Emma and a little less shocking violence every quarter-hour, it could just become guilty pleasure without the 'guilty'.

      Twelve cabins, six notations:

      - I hadn't yet commented on the theme song (if one can even call it that) of this programme in my review for the pilot, believing it might change; however, it did not, and so we're left with these five seconds of bland unoriginality.

      - I'm as much of an expert on the workings of fire as on the budgetary stability of the Talas region in northern Kyrgyzstan, but Bradley's father surviving is impossible, right?

      - There are questions that would be considered conventional for mothers to ask the girl their son has invited home with him. 'What is your life expectancy?' is not one of them.

      - I'd say that the best moment of this programme's first two episodes was Norma telling Norman about her 'good-will mission' to meet up with Bad Pun Cop in town and him just grinning, as if to say, 'I'm sure that mission will be heard through the walls

      - Oh, the irony of Norman snapping when seeing that his Brother has saved Norma under the name 'The Whore' on his mobile phone, but then calling him a son of a bitch in their argument.

      - I'm quite glad that Emma discerned Norman's blatantly obvious lie about his injury. Otherwise, I'd probably have attempted to boo her away by flinging raw eggs at my flat screen and that would have been a nuisance to clean up.moreless
    • Did they kill anyone?

      I think this episode opened a few questions without answering much. Of course that is to be expected of the second episode. One question is, did they kill anyone in this episode? I think they are intentionally unclear about that. We also do not know what that other brother is up to; he seems to get hired to do something illegal. Also, what was that burning at the end?

      I like Norman's friend; the one with Cystic Fibrosis. She is cute. Can people with CF truly run that fast?

      Unfortunately there is very little of the teacher (Keegan Connor Tracy) in this episode. I hope we get more of her in the future. I suspect she will become a more significant character. I can usually guess who the killer is in legal dramas based just on what character is played by an experienced actor.moreless
    • Nice Town You Picked Norma

      Nice Town You Picked Norma was an awesome and very entertaining episode of Bates Motel. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character growth and development. It was great to see Norma's older son and how he interacted with his mother and brother. Some crazy stuff happened and the local police question Norma about a missing man. Norman rreally makes a new friend but finds himself in trouble. I liked how everything played out and look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
    Terry Chen

    Terry Chen

    Ethan Chang

    Guest Star

    Richard Harmon

    Richard Harmon

    Richard Sylmore

    Guest Star

    Emmalyn Estrada

    Emmalyn Estrada


    Guest Star

    Nestor Carbonell

    Nestor Carbonell

    Sheriff Alex Romero

    Recurring Role

    Vincent Gale

    Vincent Gale


    Recurring Role

    Keegan Connor Tracy

    Keegan Connor Tracy

    Miss Watson

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions