Bates Motel: Shadow of a Doubt


by Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

South Pacific. Yep, Bates Motel really went there and it was terrific. Typically the series thrives most when it focuses on the weird. “Shadow of a Doubt” had a good amount of weird, namely the South Pacific stuff, but it focused too much on the town’s drug industry.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The drug industry has been a side storyline for much of the series. With it being an open secret among the townsfolk, there has been little for the series to focus on. That all changed with the murder of Gill.

Gill was a big player in the system and his death created chaos among the industry and the townspeople. I loved what Blair’s father said regarding the investigation. A school teacher is found murdered and it gets swept under the rug, but once a marijuana manufacturer gets killed the whole town gets upset. Sure, the town functions because of the drug trade, but come on let’s treat all murders the same.

With all that said, the drug trade brings down the show. The more the series tries to focus on it, the more it becomes apparent why it stayed in the periphery of the series. It makes the show too normal and mundane. Nestor Carbonell is too good opposite Vera Farmiga for his character to get bogged down in this storyline.

Even after Blair’s death, more continues to be revealed about her. She slept around…a lot. Already three people have been exposed as her lover, but apparently she had been with two people 30 hours before her murder. Could she have had a side job? Romero even said she didn’t lead a simple life. The series continues to open the door for more possible suspects in her murder instead of Norman.

If any other series had a sing along portion of an episode, heads would roll, but not Bates Motel. Instead of it being thought of as completely ridiculous for two scenes of an episode devoted to the two leads singing, it was just another normal scene for the show.  Was it awkward at times? Sure, but Norma’s audition song was kind of beautiful and it was right where the series lives: the height of weirdness.

The strongest scene of the episode was Norma and Norman’s argument outside of the theater. No matter how tumultuous their fights get, it seems like nothing can break their bond. Even so, he had to enlist Dillon to help sneak Bradley out of the city.

Bradley’s goodbye was actually kind of sad. I came to like her character in the season premiere. Before that episode I could have cared less about her leaving, but there were layers developing and there’s nothing I like more than a character with layers. Her one sentence note to Norman was touching. They always had a really odd relationship, so it seemed fitting that her goodbye was a little odd too.

Norma’s brother arrived, (and cue the music)… dun dun dun.

What did you think of Bradley’s departure? Do you think Norma and Norman’s South Pacific adventure will pan out? Will the arrival of Norma’s estranged brother bring more chaos to the Bates family?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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