Good news fellow fans, if you haven’t heard already Bates Motel has been renewed for a third season. This isn’t much of a surprise as Bates continues to be a hit for A&E, a channel not so well known in the fictional series department. None the less Bates has continued to distill its own brand of oddball melodrama and psychological creepiness. Personally, “Plunge” was something of a season highlight for me. Nothing fanatical happens until the very end of the episode, which I won’t spoil here, but for the most part, the back end of this season is looking sensational.
“Plunge” finds our main characters in the Bates family all off on their own with people new and old. Dylan is recovering from his “car accident”, a “heroic” act that’s earned him the attention of newcomer Jodi Wilson (Kathleen Robertson), or Zane’s sister as she first reveals herself. As with most recoveries, Dylan spent quite a bit of time in bed…resting and what not as Jodi “takes care” of him. So far I like Jodi and think she will bring a good amount of legitimacy to this supposed drug empire. She’s smart, beautiful, and young – a deadly combination in this show. It seems as though she has big plans for Dylan, but we can’t know for sure if everything is the way she states outright. Only time will tell on this plot line, but the drug work on Dylan’s side looks as though it could eventually collide with Norma’s story.
Tonight, Norma got a real look at just how intense her new unwanted business partner, Nick Ford, actually is. You can tell by his stern expression and ambiguous threats that he means trouble in this town and, when you couple that with Romero’s warning to Norma, you can see that Mr. Ford will play an integral role in future events. Because the show relies on such small town politics, things happen quickly and within a small group of people. Norma is getting involved with more than one of these people as she petitions for the now empty council seat. I don’t believe that Norma is as naïve as she appears to others around her. She seems to know a thing or two about people and it’s hard for me to buy that she doesn’t get what’s happening to her. Once again, time is going to tell us exactly what all these people want from Norma. Everyone wants something, the question is what?
The most interesting and invested story this week definitely fell to Norman, who is beginning to tackle the demons within a bit more than usual. As much as I think Cody is a somewhat one dimensional character, I’m glad that the writers are giving her greater and greater back story. It’s still nothing we haven’t seen before in the abused teenager/alcoholic father paradigm, but the fact that she is showing actual affection and worry for Norman, I’m starting to come around to her. It also helps that actress Paloma Kwiatkowski is playing the role with a less outlandish edge than in earlier episodes. The scene by the lake, even though it relied on impeccable timing, ending up being one of the best scenes of the episode. The way Freddie Highmore is able to go from goodie two shoes Norman, to dark, angry and explosive Mr. Bates is outstanding. I don’t think it’s far off anymore to say he’s a worthy successor to Anthony Perkins’ nuanced performance in the original Psycho. Highmore had big shoes to fill, but episode after episode he brings all he has to the role, and comes out with brilliant effect.
Now that the show is guaranteed a third season, I am fully excited and hopeful for this show’s future. I don’t think I can stress how terrible a show this could have been, but the writing continues to get stronger and the performances are as good as ever. If Bates Motel keeps on this track it could potentially join a higher stratum of television.