The Bates Motel season one recap

By Ariel Campos,
What's happened so far...

Monday is the last episode of the season for A&E's hit psycho-thriller Bates Motel, so in case you've been in some creeptastic motel with no cable or wi-fi, or if you just don't like insanely good television, I'm going to update you on what's happened so far!

First, the characters:

Norman Bates

Norman Bates, who we all know and well, don't love, from the Hitchcock film Psycho that this show is based off of, is played here by Freddie Highmore, who is all grown up in the most awkward way and we love it.

Norman wears sweater vests and lives with his parents until one day his father dies in the basement, except we all know it wasn't an accident but more on that later. So Norman's mother decides to make a new start in a new town, and buys a motel.

Norman is a good student and has a talent for creative writing. He likes old television and is generally quiet and awkward. Sometimes, in moments of high tension, he blacks out and gets pretty violent, but he never remembers afterward.

Dylan: You came at me with knife.
Norman: You're joking, right?


Guys name their sons after themselves, so why can't women, right? Norma is a piece of work. She's played by Vera Farmiga, who - I'm going to call it right now - will win all the awards for this part. She nails the crazy victim so well, and her subtle sexual manipulation for Norman has been placed at the perfect level. She is super over protective of him, and totally has him wrapped around her finger.

Norma is trying hard to get the motel off the ground... but she lies the second she feels the least bit stuck in a corner, which gets her and Norman in even more trouble.


Dylan is Norma's stepson and Norman's half-brother. It's clear from the get-go that Dylan and Norma don't get along, and since Norman's a momma's boy, Norman doesn't like Dylan either. Dylan's just been fired from his job, though, so with no money and no place to stay, he shows up to live with them.

Dylan is really the only one who seems to see Norma for who she really is – crazy. He also has his theories about how his father died...

Emma DeCody

Emma goes to school with Norman. She saves him some embarrassment when Norman gets sick in the cafeteria, something that she experiences first hand regularly. Emma has Cystic Fibrosis, so she's forced to walk around with an oxygen tank and tubes in her nostrils.

Emma and Norman get into some trouble together, and she like-likes him, and basically, if anything happens to her the writers will have a very violent me to deal with.


Bradley is your token popular high school chick. She's gorgeous and has a sweet way about her. Her and her friends meet Norman the first day of school at the bus stop, and show up at his house that night to take him to a party.

Norman crushes on Bradley, and is there for her when her father tragically dies. But she's the popular girl, and Norman is awkward as frick, so he gets pretty upset when she leads him on and then drops him.

The Events

Norman's father dies in an accident in the basement. Whether it is, in fact, an accident, is up for questioning.

Creepy McJerkman, Keith Summers, shows up at the motel after they buy it and goes on about how it used to be his motel and we don't like him. Then later on he breaks into the house and sexually violates Norma. Norman, having snuck out to party with Bradley and the Popular Gang, arrives back at the house to knock him out. After he wakes up, Norma stabs and kills him.

When hiding the body, Norman finds a notebook hidden under the carpet. It's more like a really extensive graphic novel by this girl who had been flung into sex trafficking and was locked in the motel. He hides it from everyone but Emma.

After getting rid of Creepy McJerkman, an attractive 20-something and Richard Alpert from LOST show up. (I mean they have a reason, they're cops, but whatever). They're looking for McJerkman, but Norma lies her way out of it cause that's what she do best.

Norman and Emma follow clues in the notebook to the forest. Unfortunately they find something different – marijuana fields. Super protected marijuana fields. Turns out the main commodity of this town is weed. In the midst of being shot at, Norman and Emma find their evidence that the sex ring their reading about in the notebook is real.

Dylan decides to get a job, and no where in town pays better than the weed manufacturers. And it's a pretty sweet gig, too! Except for that there are a lot of guns involved, his partner gets murdered in front of him, and there's no way out. But other than that, pretty laid back.

Norman takes up taxidermy because he needed another reason to be socially awkward. Actually, this really works to emphasize Norman's relationship with death. I mean we all know he kind of keeps his mother in tact(ish) in the film, so this after-the-fact foreshadowing really makes sense.

Meanwhile, Norma is sleeping with hot-cop in order to make sure she's not found out for McJerkman's murder. But, through a series of snooping on Norman and Emma's part that was too intense for me to relive here, we discover that hot-cop is in on the sex slave ring. The kids convince Norma, but before there is much anyone can do about it (not that Norma was going to because she's a manipulative liar with her priorities out of wack), hot-cop shows up and there's a shoot out between him and Dylan. Norman goes into violent mode and pretty much just blacks out. Someone is shot, and after an intense few moments, we discover Dylan, though injured, is alive and safe.

After the events of that crazy night, LOST-cop arrives. Norma tells him everything, and he, for some crazy reason, decides to come up with a story that ties everything together, and paints the Bate's as completely innocent. They're off the hook.

The latest episode

Dylan and his new partner go to pick up some stoners to work for them, and they stay in the motel. Norma is happy about it, until she finds out that their total stoners. Emma makes a friend of one of them.

Aside from them, Norma has only had one guest. His name is Jake Abernathy, and he is possibly the most creepy dude on TV right now. And there's a cannibal on NBC, so that's saying something. Abernathy had an agreement with the management before Norma took over – he'd pay, in cash, for a whole row of rooms once every two months, no questions asked. Norma get suspicious, so she follows him around one night to the ship yard. He confronts her, Norma kicks him out, and after that point, essentially war is on. Abernathy goes full-on creeper mode. He sends her flowers to freak her out, and leaves hot-cops rotting corpse in her bed.

Bradley asks Dylan if he will take her to go see her dad's old office. Once there, she discovers a note that indicates her father was cheating on her mother.

Norman has problems with his teacher, who at every given second looks like she's about to kiss him. No wonder this kid's messed up. She recommends he enters his short story into a literary magazine, but he decides against it because he doesn't think his mother will like it. The teacher also recommends Norman go see a therapist after he almost hits her while trying to leave school. The therapist thinks Norma is the one needing therapy, and obviously she isn't having any of that, so they wont be back to his office any time soon.

Season finale

My predictions? Well, there's the school dance this episode. I think Norman is going to see Bradley with her boyfriend and get jealous. Violently jealous. Dylan is going to get in trouble at work, which isn't good when that could mean your killed. And Norma might get too carried away with her campaign against the highway taking attention from her motel.

If you haven't seen any, or need to catch up on the episodes before tomorrow night – do! There is a lot I couldn't cover here, and details are so important! And let me know what you think will happen in the future of the show!

Photos courtesy of Tumblr.com



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