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Bates Motel Wiki

"First You Dream, Then You Die" is the series premiere of Bates Motel. It aired on March 18, 2013.


Norman and his mother Norma buy a run down motel and house following the death of his father. Norman fights with his mother and deals with high school parties, while his mother deals with a nosy sheriff and being stalked by the menacing former owner of the property.


Norman discovers his fathers body

As the movie 'His Girl Friday' plays on a TV, Norman Bates wakes up in his bedroom. He searches the house for his mother, but instead finds his father dead on the floor of the garage. Norman runs through the house, screaming for his mother, and finally finds her. She follows Norman into the garage, where she finds him crying over her husband's body.

Six months later, Norma buys a run down motel and the house behind it. Norman hates the idea of moving to White Pine Bay, but nevertheless, Norma happily presents the motel and house to Norman. She says moving here is their chance to start over, and he agrees to try. Afterwards, Norman carries luggage from the car into the house, and sees his mother in her robe through her bedroom window—he lingers.

Norman meets bradley and her friends

Before school the next day, Bradley Martin and several of her highly inquisitive friends meet Norman. Kennedy offers them all a ride to school in her car, in which Bradley sits in Norman's lap and tells him to call her with any questions he has about White Pine Bay High School. After language arts class, the teacher Blaire talks to Norman about his education and suggests he tries out for the track team.

Meanwhile, Norma receives a call from her other son Dylan Massett, who acts offended he was never told she moved. Norma hangs up on Dylan when she finds out the call was just to ask for money.

Norman comes home late, having tried out for the track team like his teacher suggested, but Norma says she needs him to be helping around the motel after school. She allows him to anyway, not wanting to be the mother who tells her kid he/she can't participate in something, yet saying she'll do the work by herself the way she always does and leaves Norman by himself.

Keith visits

Keith Summers visits the Bates the next day, saying Norma and Norman are too inexperienced with motels to be capable of running the motel by themselves, which his ancestors built and he's clearly still attached to. Norma says she and Norman own it now and tells him to get off her property. Before he does, Keith claims it has dirty secrets.

Bradley and her friends come over that night, inviting Norman to go to the library with them. Norma answers for him, saying he can't go; afterwards, Norman argues with his mother over her answering for him. Angry, he sneaks out and catches up with Bradley and her friends. She's amused that he actually believed they were going to go study, and the group goes to a party instead. There, Norman and Bradley flirt, but are interrupted by her boyfriend Richard Sylmore.

Norma kills keith

Back at the house, Keith breaks in, and Norma arms herself with a knife. Even with a weapon, Norma is overpowered. Keith bends her over the table, handcuffs her to it and rapes her. Norman returns home, knocks Keith over the head and frees his mother. As he recovers, Keith accuses Norma of enjoying the assault; infuriated, Norma charges at Keith and stabs him until he's dead. Norma says they can't let this kind of news go public, so she explains to Norman how they'll cover it up.

Sheriff and deputy at the motel

They wipe down the kitchen, carry the wrapped up body into one of the motel rooms and hide it in the bathtub. Part of the rug was stained with blood in the process, so they're forced to pull up the rugs from several of the rooms, under one of which Norman finds a strange sketchbook. The sheriff Alex Romero and his deputy Zack Shelby arrive at the motel, and Norma and her son act like everything's fine. Not convinced, the sheriff asks if he can take a look inside one of the rooms, then if he can use the bathroom, in the tub of which is the dead body. Even after Norma tries telling him the toilet's not functional, he uses it anyway, saying you just have to jiggle the chain. He never notices the body behind the shower curtain, and the two policeman leave.

Norman is sleep deprived and a mess the next day, vomiting in front of the school. He is approached by Emma Decody, who explains she has cystic fibrosis so she knows how to help.

Dumping keiths body

That night, Norma and Norman dispose of Keith's body, taking it out on a boat with them. As they row away from the docks, Norma tells her son she found out the town is going to build a new bypass on the far side of town, which is going to ruin their business. When she concludes she's done nothing for her son, Norman explains she's everything to him. Finally deep enough into the lake, the two dump the weighted body into the water.

The next day, Norma happily watches as the "Seafairer Motel" sign in front of the motel is taken down and the "Bates Motel" sign is put up. She excitedly shows it to Norman, and is pleased to report that the bypass is no longer going to be built.

In a dark room, a young woman is chained to the floor, and someone walks in and injects her.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Also Starring[]



  • This episode was watched by 3.04[1] million viewers, making it the most watched episode of Season 1.
  • Although credited, Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett) only appears physically in a deleted scene.
  • In the opening scene when Norman awakens on his bed a scene from the 1940 American screwball comedy film His Girl Friday is playing on the television. In the scene, the character Bruce Baldwin discusses his own domineering matriarch to Walter Burns, a parallel to the relationship between Norma and Norman.
  • Before Norman finds his father's body there is a shot of photos of birds on the wall. This is a reference to Psycho as pictures of birds adorn the walls of the motel.
  • While getting a box out of the car Norman sees Norma at the window dressed only in her lingerie and gown. This is another reference to the movie where he becomes a peeping tom.
  • The piece of music that Norman listens to on his MP3 player while waiting at the bus stop is Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 Op 5 'Eroica'. In Psycho, Norman has this record on his record player.
    • In the 2016 historical drama miniseries Close to the Enemy, Freddie Highmore's (Norman) character Victor Ferguson listens to another Beethoven piece, the 4th movement of the fifth Symphony.
  • Norman is referred to by Bradley as a "deep, still lake," a line which the writers meant as a treat for fans of Psycho, because Norman dumps the bodies of his victims in a swamp near the motel.
  • Keith Summer's presence is similar to that of Marion Crane in Psycho. He is an antagonist but like Marion in the film he does not stay around for long.
  • The butcher knife that Norma uses to kill Keith Summers is the same kind that Norman will use in his future killings in Psycho.
  • When disposing Keith Summers' body, Norma and Norman wrap it up in a sheet, load it in the trunk of the car and get rid of it in the water. This is similar to how he gets rid of Marion Crane's body in Psycho.
  • Norma telling Romero that the toilet in the motel bathroom does not work is another Psycho reference. In the movie, Marion tears up her letter and flushes it down the toilet. The film was the first to depict a flushing toilet onscreen.

Episode Guide[]

After finding his father dead, seemingly the victim of a freak accident, 17-year-old Norman Bates and his mother, Norma, move to the sleepy town of White Pine Bay to start over. Norma buys a motel, and they get ready to start their new life.

Norman meets his schoolmates, including White Pine Bay's "it girl" Bradley Martin, and the quirky Emma Decody, who has Cystic Fibrosis. One of Norman's teachers, the young and strikingly beautiful Miss Watson, takes an interest in him and encourages him to try out for the track team, which immediately puts her on Norma's bad side.

Keith Summers, former owner of the motel, first threatens, then brutally attacks Norma in her kitchen. Norman, having snuck out, somewhat unknowingly, to a party, returns nearly too late to save his mother. He knocks Summers unconscious, but the man comes to, insults Norma again, and ends up dead by her hand.

Norma, fearing that her actions have cursed the motel before it even opens, decides not to inform the police, despite her son's protestations. She and Norman begin feverishly ridding the motel of any trace of the murder. As they pull up carpet, Sheriff Romero and Deputy Shelby stop by to investigate the unusual late-night activity. Norma politely tries to turn them away, but Romero insists on taking a look around. After Romero takes the longest pee of Norma and Norman's lives (next to the bath tub containing Summers' body), the officers leave, and mother and son return to their grisly task. They row a boat out into the bay, and shove Summers' body into the water, assuming that will be the last they see of him.

Norman doesn't tell his mother about the book he found under the carpet in one of the rooms. It is filled with drawings, done by hand, and short sentences in what looks like Chinese. The images are disturbing, depicting a young woman tied up and abused. Norma interrupts his reading to show him the new sign. The old motel sign has been taken away, in its place is the brand new sign for the Bates Motel.

Production Notes[]

The moment when Norma takes out years of pent up rage on Keith Summers by stabbing him over and over is an intense one, and Vera Farmiga's performance is even more amazing when you hear what she was actually looking at during the scene! Bates Motel Property Master Terry Weaver explains how they got the shot.

101 Episode Guide 1

Vera Farmiga prepares for the stabbing scene.

"The desired effect of blood spatter on Norma's face escalating with every stab at Keith was achieved by taking a bucket, stuffing in a sponge and filling it with our movie blood. Yes, there were about a dozen samples presented at our camera tests before shooting commenced on the series to see which movie blood looked the best on film."

A great deal of time was spent making sure that the body Norma and Norman have to move from their house to the motel, and ultimately into the bay, was realistic, without being impossible to carry. Weaver says:

"For the dumping of Keith Summers' body in the ocean, it was quite a production in and of itself to create a realistic, cinematic-friendly body. We had to design a prop body that had enough weight for the actors to handle, but not too much so they couldn't lift it. It had to sink in a believable fashion, and Carlton and Tucker wanted it to not sink immediately, but bob a little at the surface, then go down.

101 Episode Guide 2

Fake Keith Summers

"Ultimately we came up with a body made almost entirely of poultry fencing or 'chicken wire.' It worked as we had hoped, and it also had to be light enough to retrieve easily and drain quickly for resets. Anyway, the best part was doing our sink tests in the ocean. The first tests were done off a train trestle. The next ones were done off piers in public parks. Just picture two guys carrying a 'body' wrapped in blankets, duct tape and chains headed to the waterfront from the parking lot, then dumping it in the drink. Many onlookers were picking their jaws up off the ground. The best part was when we were on tech survey and a small fleet of kayakers gawked as we dumped poor Keith's body in, over and over."

You may be wondering what the orange stuff that Norman threw up in the cafeteria was made of. Was it mac and cheese? Some kind of pudding? Wonder on, dear viewers. According to Weaver, it's a "prop secret."


Song Title Performer(s) Note
Symphony No. 3 Op 55. "Eroica" Ludwig van Beethoven Beginning of the episode: Norman is at the bus stop listening to music through headphones
Wham Bam Clooney Bradley invites Norman into the convertible for a ride to school
Beasts of Burden The Rolling Stones Norman & his mother are in the living room
Rival Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Norman enters the party
The Tourist Radiohead Norman talks to Bradley in the kitchen



Promotional Pictures[]

Episode Stills[]

Behind The Scenes[]


Season 1
#101 "First You Dream, Then You Die" #106 "The Truth"
#102 "Nice Town You Picked, Norma..." #107 "The Man in Number 9"
#103 "What's Wrong With Norman" #108 "A Boy and His Dog"
#104 "Trust Me" #109 "Underwater"
#105 "Ocean View" #110 "Midnight"