After last week’s ‘The Vault’ steered ‘Bates Motel’ to decently satisfying result, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ takes the wheel and puts the series on course for high-creative success.
The following review contains minimal spoilers. You’ll be safe from ruin to take a look before you watch ‘There’s No Place Like Home’.
What’s important to note in episodic television is the weight of threads in any given episode. There should always be an A story line, a B story line, and while I would never recommend it, maybe a C or D. I mentioned in my review of The Vault how I wished there were more focus on Norman, and wouldn’t you know, the TV Gods granted me that wish with There’s No Place Like Home.
Mother, I’m Coming Home- Norman Bates.
It’s true, I did enjoy last week’s The Vault, but it’s evenly weighted story lines resulted to an hour of entertainment that wasn’t as successful as it could have been. The episode juggled story lines, and arguably tickled my ADD in doing so, but this baby is called Bates Motel for a reason. It should focus on Norman. Mr. Bates’s journey, albeit sadistic, should be the main story going. In There’s No Place Like Home, he is.
While the episode again has four threads going at once (Norma’s blossoming marriage to Sheriff Romero, Romero’s continued situation with Rebecca, Dylan looking for Emma’s mother (which is, in spirit, still tied to Norman…you know why) and Norman trying desperately to break free of the confines of Pineview), its 45 minute running time is almost entirely dedicated to Norman and the idea of his dark tendencies.
It’s this that makes Home’s script, written by Philip Buiser , all the more successful. 80 percent is about Norman’s attempt to get himself released from Pineview Mental Hospital. Like I said before, even Dylan’s involvement in the episode-his searching for the whereabouts of Emma’s mother-constantly makes us think of Norman and why he should never be released from Pineview.
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It’s so freaking satisfying, as fan of the series that began with Alfred Hitchcock’s immoral 1960 picture Psycho, to see the series focus on Norman so much. I ate it up in spades Fright Fans.
Directed by Nestor Carbonell, who also plays Sheriff Romero, There’s No Place Like Home gives the audience some visual treats such as the shot in the episode’s opening (a ceiling shot intelligently passing space going from Norman’s Pineview bed to Norma’s bed currently occupied by a smiting Norma and Romero,) and the shot at the end ( …not spoiling that baby guys). Bates Motel’s newest episode isn’t amazingly directed, but Carbonell’s direction still offers some great amenities.
As for There’s No Place Like Home’s acting, Freddie Highmore simply stuns; and through his brilliant work, honors the late Anthony Perkins in the highest way possible.
Three scenes spring to mind when I think of Highmore and his truly amazing acting in There’s No Place Like Home.
One, when he’s having a meal with Jillian and informs him that he can convince people of things with, what is essentially, sociopath like tendencies disguised as charm and sincerity (and says Jillian is incapable of doing so). Two, when he begs Dr. Edwards to let him leave Pineview by telling him with outpatient therapy, and being closer to his mother, he will still make progress. And three, when he pleads with Norma (Vera Farmiga doing some fine acting in her own right, as always) to let him come home while confronting her about her newly minted marriage to Romero. These three scenes are brilliant portfolio work for Highmore and a reason I’ll probably watch There’s No Place Like Home again.
So does Norman get to return home to help the family business, and to take care of some personal business as well? Does Dr. Edwards have sympathy for Norman and grant him his release? Does Dylan find out about the grisly end that befell Emma’s mother? You’ll have to watch the episode; I’d never spoil a good time for my readers.
Carbonell’s There’s No Place Like Home is a huge step up from last week’s The Vault. It’s not only one of the best episodes of Season 4, it’s one of the best episodes of the entire Bates Motel series. Hell, I’ll venture to say it’s one of the best episodes on television this week anywhere. So stop the reading, and check out this bad boy asap, as I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied. If not, there’s a complimentary room at Bates’ Motel waiting for you. Just make sure you sleep with one eye open.
THE GRADE: A
Check out a preview of Bates Motel’s upcoming episode, Unfaithful, courtesy of A&E:
Keeping up with A&E’s Bates Motel? Excited to see where the series goes after Monday’s There’s No Place Like Home? Tune in to Bates Motel at 9/8c Mondays, Only on A&E. Don’t forget to sound off below with your comments, opinions and insights so we can keep this Bates conversation going.