Bates Motel (2013) / Drama-Thriller
Season 1: Episode 4: Trust Me

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga, Max Theriot, Mike Vogel, Nicola Peltz, Nestor Carbonell
Director: Johan Renck

Teleplay: Kerry Ehrin

1.4 - "Trust Me"

Bates Motel Freddie Highmore"Trust Me" is the fourth and, in my opinion, best episode thus far, though not necessarily by leaps and bounds above the previous three, which have been mediocre fare at best.  Though it still has some flaws in terms of its farfetched character motivations, things stay relatively low-key as compared to the more sensationalized teasers we've been given thus far, and the characters get more time to breathe.

Though the story threads are still evident, the bulk of "Trust Me' revolves around the events that transpired in the first episode, involving a rape and a murder that has, thus far, been covered up.  Norman (Highmore) has, at least according to mother Norma (Farmiga), a hallucination whereby he is told by her that he needs to take care of the evidence that is being held by Deputy Shelby (Vogel) in his home.  Well, more specifically, he needs to take care of Shelby, whom Norman suspects has been keeping a young Asian woman locked up in his basement, similar to the drawings Norman has been obsessing with in the homemade manga in his possession. 

Meanwhile, the Deputy, who is having an affair with Norma, tries to bond with Norman, while Norman's half-brother Dylan (Theriot) appears to be doing the same, though it remains to be seen if both are just using Norman to their advantage.  Norman tries to tell Norma about what he knows, but she's preoccupied with trying to stay out of trouble with the authorities, as well as unsure that Norman isn't just making more things up out of either jealousy or his overactive imagination.

The other story thread that recurs is Norman's burgeoning romance with school hottie, Bradley (Peltz), who appears to be persistently ill from a yet unnamed affliction that has her out of commission periodically, to the point where her family is keeping all visitors away. 

"Trust Me" is the first episode that I can truly say has me eagerly anticipating the next, as there is a bit of a cliffhanger ending to this one that certainly seems to box in our protagonists in ways that will be difficult to get out of.  Of course, when you're dealing with psychopaths like the Bates family, one always has a feeling that they won't be cornered for long. 

Teleplay scribe Kerry Ehrin (Mr. Wrong, Inspector Gadget) does a nice job in this one by treading the line of duplicity for all of the show's characters in a way that doesn't quite tip one way or another, such that there can be several things going on that can play out in just as many different outcomes.  Johan Renck (Downloading Nancy) directs this one well, and the scoring by the veteran Chris Bacon (Source Code, Gnomeo & Juliet) punctuates many of the more subtle scenes nicely. 

If the latter six episodes can build on the escalating momentum that is heating up in this one, this could be a season to remember for fans of twisted dramatic thrillers.  Fittingly, one of the key moments in this episode is one that has Shelby take Norman out fishing.  No fish are caught, but they didn't come away empty.  I'm certainly reeled in now.

For other episode reviews, check the Bates Motel page.

Qwipster's episode rating:

2013 Vince Leo