Bates Motel
First You Dream, Then You Die

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 14 USERS: A+
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The Cord of Communion

Norma: "...God, you're too good for me. I'm the worst mother in the world."
Norman: "Mother..."
Norma: "Look at what we're doing, Norman. You deserve so much better. When you were born it was like God gave me a second chance. And all I ever wanted was for life to be beautiful for you. And look at it. Look at what your life has been. I mean, what good am I doing you?"

"You are everything. Everything to me. And I don't ever want to live in a world without you. You're my family. My whole family, my whole life, my whole self. You always have been."

You want this to be some cartoony kind of prequel thing about this cartoony memory you have of the Hitchcock movie, but the Hitchcock movie isn't a classic because of monsters: It's a classic because it's beautifully wrought, beautifully told and realistically terrifying. The monster at the end of this book, hell, maybe Janet Leigh's the first person he ever kills. You know what I'm saying? This isn't a story about wackadoo crazies or monsters, it's about a basically reasonable, if sort of unhealthy, family unit that trips and falls into some nightmares. Provided for them by a world that is fairly realistic, all things considered. (A dream of our world, at least.) (And if it fails, knock wood, it won't be because it failed at this prequel side of things: It'll be because it was too good at the other stuff and it scared off all the so-called "men," who will start using words like "mess" and "irrelevant" because they need things in their own language.)

I mean, it's not a situation of "don't think of an elephant" or the incest stuff or any of that: I wasn't being facetious when I mentioned Gilmore Girls and Grey Gardens and Mildred Pierce. You already know the difference between those stories and this one: Everybody's got a mother, but there's a difference between daughters and sons. Put a boy into one of those scenarios, one of those worlds where femininity reigns and you'll end up -- we're told, over and over -- with a Cornell Woolrich or several Tennessee Williams characters, or a monster like Norman Bates. (Go back far enough and you can see generations of American fathers terrified into violence that this'll turn his kid gay, for instance.)

But it's really just the same old tale: A mother who couldn't be alone and a boy who wasn't ready to learn the difference between being a husband and being a son, when it was time. That's not how monsters get made, just wimps. Mom-rapes and brutal murders and these horrible people in the town, and apparently pervy manga, are how monsters get made. That and whatever is already going on with Norman that we don't know about yet, but is just another burden Norma's carrying so he doesn't have to.

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Bates Motel

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