Bates Motel: “Gone But Not Forgotten” Review

Max Thieriot, Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore star in A&E's 'Bates Motel.' Photo by Joseph Lederer Copyright 2014

After a pretty solid first season, I was more than excited to once again check-in to the Bates Motel and see what would happen next in lives of White Pine Bay’s residents. Luckily, the season two premiere re-invigorated the show, re-ignited the story, and even brought with it a new set of mysteries and intrigue. Now, let’s get inside the motel and recap the many events that occurred this episode:

The premiere opens with Norma and Norman learning of Ms. Watson’s death, the teacher Norman murdered in the season one finale. Of course, Norman does not remember killing her and her death hits him very hard. So much so that at the funeral he is busy hysterically crying over his fallen former mentor. Also struggling is Bradley, still dealing with the after-effects of her father’s death and the mysterious letters from “B.” he left behind. She’s pushed to the brink and ends up jumping into the river, and then we flash forward four months.This time jump brings with it a plethora of differences as well: business is booming at Bates Motel (yay, alliteration!), Norman is learning (and struggling) to drive, and Bradley has been locked in a mental hospital after her suicide attempt. Norman writes Bradley every day, but each letter is returned to sender and an Elvis Presley song plays in the background.

While out helping Norman learn to drive, Norma discovers that the planned bypass is once again coming to fruition, angering her and worrying her about the state of the motel once it is in place. Norma takes it upon herself to attend the town hall meeting in an attempted protest of the bypass. Even though her pleas fall on deaf ears, the scene is a standout from the premiere (and the series) and truly showcases just how talented and versatile an actress Vera Farmiga (Norma) is. It’s also hilarious, which is something White Pine Bay can always use a little more of.

Norman has been visiting Ms. Watson’s grave since her death and one day he discovers a mysterious man standing there. He takes it upon himself to snap photos of the man and, after being discovered, runs off to Sheriff Romero before the man can catch him. This isn’t exactly a smart move on Norman’s part, but the guy is insane so I guess we’ll let it slide. Sheriff Romero becomes suspicious of Norman after he brings the photos and begins questioning him about his involvement with his former teacher. Later, Sheriff Romero lets Norma know what her son has been up to, infuriating her. She confronts Norman about his obsession and Norman reveals that he was at Ms. Watson’s house the night she died and that she was trying to seduce him. He blames himself for not being there to protect her from the killer (ironic) and that is why he’s been so racked with guilt.

Bradley is allowed to leave the mental hospital and she goes right back to trying to find answers about her father. She visits Gill, her father’s former associate (and Dylan’s current boss) and he will not give her any answers. However, Dylan learns from Gill that the reason he hates Bradley’s dad so much is because he was sleeping with his girlfriend. And who is Gill’s girlfriend, you might ask? Why, none other than Blair Watson – Norman’s murdered teacher and the mysterious “B.” we’ve heard so much about. After learning this Bradley goes back to Gill’s house and murders him. The end of the episode finds Bradley enlisting Norman’s help in covering up her murder. The premiere sets up a bevy of new stories and questions and this is only the tip of the insanity iceberg in White Pine Bay.

Looks like I’ll be checking into Bates Motel for a long time to come.

Spencer Barrett
Stars are his kind of thing! Spencer Barrett joined the TV Source team as a staff writer in 2013. In 2018, he was promoted to Senior Writer, TV & Pop Culture, shaping our pop culture content. He loves all things horror, Archie Comics and Taylor Swift.

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