THE REMOTE: Book a room at “Bates Motel”

THE REMOTE with Ryan Pait

Ryan Pait

It’s business as usual for A&E’s “Bates Motel.” And for “Bates Motel,” that means everything is weird and superbly creepy.

The show’s second season, which premiered Monday, seems to offer up more of the oddities that made the first season such an unexpected treat.

The premiere begins where the finale left off (Spoilers ahead). Local teacher Miss Watson (Keegan Connor Tracy) has been killed, sending ripples through the town of White Pine Bay.

The show shoots forward four months with a pleasant opening featuring HAIM’s cheery ditty “The Wire.” It feels totally out of place yet perfectly ironic for “Bates Motel.”

Business is booming at the titular institution, and Norma (Vera Farmiga) couldn’t be happier. Her only problem is her beloved son, Norman (Freddie Highmore).

Norman is particularly affected by Miss Watson’s death, even four months after the fact. He spends most of his time patrolling her grave or working on taxidermy.

Norman’s a weird kid anyway, but his actions begin to perplex even his mother. Norma urges him “to spend time with actual living organisms.”

Also haunting Norma is the possible construction of a bypass, which would kill the motel’s business prospects. She attends a town hall meeting to address the issue, and handles it in true Norma fashion. I won’t spoil the line, but Farmiga more than delivers.

Highmore and Farmiga are the crippled heart and twisted soul of “Bates Motel” — the two fit so well into their roles and have such powerful chemistry.

Highmore excellently captures the nervous energy that Anthony Perkins brought to the role of Norman in the original “Psycho,” the movie upon which “Bates Motel” is based.

And Farmiga, with her new chic updo, looks more the part of a Hitchcock blonde than ever.

Everything about their performances feels so in sync, yet fraught with tension. A simple driving lesson between the two seems to have multiple subtexts bubbling just under the surface.

With Norman and Norma, it’s often what’s unsaid that matters most.

Tension and craziness and chemistry aside, Highmore and Farmiga lend depth to what could be over-the-top characters.

The two are talented enough to make viewers care about the inevitable train wreck that their characters’ lives will eventually become.

Outside the Bates household, things are a hair less interesting. Norman and Norma are the accelerator for “Bates Motel,” so the show sometimes feels like it’s braking when it’s not focusing on them.

Norman’s pal Bradley (Nicola Peltz) attempts to commit suicide, torn up inside by the mystery of her father’s death. She then puts herself on a path to vengeance that she draws Norman into by the end of the premiere.

It’s a storyline with some promise, and one that will likely run parallel with the “Who killed Miss Watson?” mystery.

My only concern is that Peltz is a little too milquetoast for me to believe her as a femme fatale.

Reservations aside, I’ll still be checking in to “Bates Motel” all season.

If Norman and Norma’s driving lesson is any indication for what’s to come, it’ll be a wild ride.