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BATES MOTEL
March 20, 2017  | By David Bianculli

A&E, 10:00 p.m. ET

 

Last week, Freddie Highmore’s Norman Bates, still grieving the death of mother Norma (Vera Farmiga), went on a quiet “date” with Madeleine (Isabelle McNally), who had invited him to her house, with her boorish husband out of town, for a home-cooked meal. She even wore some of Norma’s old clothes, which Norman had creepily given to her. But as Madeleine and Norman were preparing some cake batter together, Norman’s manifestation of Norma appeared to grab a nearby kitchen knife and slit Madeleine’s throat. From Norman’s point of view, his dead mother had killed his new girlfriend, a lookalike for his mother – but then he snapped out of it, and returned to reality, realizing that Madeleine was fine, and it was all a horrible vision. But what I wonder is: Was it? Norman is such an unreliable narrator of his own story, isn’t it possible that he, as Norma, did murder Madeleine, then prevented himself from acknowledging that reality? Tonight. we should learn the truth about that. And we’ll also have another compelling story line advancement, as Rihanna (pictured) shows up as Marion Crane, the role played by Janet Leigh in the original Psycho. Which, of course, you can and should watch tonight at 8 p.m. ET on TCM, as a very spooky appetizer to tonight’s Bates Motel main course.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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