Rihanna Had A Solid TV Debut
Let me preface this by saying I never watched an episode of “Bates Motel” in my life. But once I saw star girl was going to make an appearance, I made sure to tune in. And it was worth it.
Warning: while this isn’t a full in-depth recap, there are some spoilers ahead (not TOO much). So if you’re a diehard fan of the A&E show who hasn’t seen any of the episodes yet, proceed with caution.
Outside of lending her voice to Tip in Home, a brief cameo in This is the End, and being the star of her own videos (“BBHMM” for instance), Rihanna hasn’t took on a full on role since Battleship. And we all know how much of a mixed bag that was. When it was announced that she was going to reprise the role of Marion Crane in the shows fifth and final season, they were skeptics, obviously, as she hasn’t done much work and her first impression wasn’t the best. One wonders just how much depth she has for the silver screen with parts in Oceans 8 and Valerian around the corner. This two episode arc would be a litmus test.
For those not in the know, Bates Motel is a prequel of sorts to the 1960’s thriller Psycho, and the role of Marion Crane is a pivotal one… because she gets murdered in the infamous scene. Crane is first introduced in episode 5 (“Dreams Die First”), as this is when the parallels of the show and the film start to meet. From the time she popped up on screen, engaging in an extramarital tryst, Rihanna’s portrayal of Marion was convincing. Her disappointment was evident when she was turned down for a promotion, her face and eyes sinking to the ground when her boss broke the news. She was visibly nervous while on the lam with a trunk full of cash, and she was pulled over by an officer. “Did I do something wrong sir?” she asked, her voice in a hushed quiver.
But her best moments came in episode 6 (“Marion”) when the character’s story took full flight. This is when she checked into the, you guessed it, Bates Motel, and met the proprietor Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore). Their tête-à-têtes flowed naturally as she bounced the character’s oblivious nature off of Norman’s eerie personality. Each scene felt tense and the right amount of uncomfortable. Even though this beast of a Bajan accent is hard to contain, her delivery was on point, fitting the tone of the scene of which it called for. Her expressions were on point as well. After Crane discovered the truth about her lover, she laid bare a full range of emotion, going from a face full of tears to white hot rage, and looking every part of it as she took the wheel tool to his convertible. This was “Breakin’ Dishes” come to life.
Much like her critically acclaimed opus, the pop stars acting chops showed vast improvement.
The only hiccups in her performance were the scenes on the phone, as they came off a bit too robotic. But these scenes are usually filmed solo with someone feeding the actor the lines, and this shows that Rihanna works better trading dialogue with another actor in the room. Nevertheless, for a part she got because she mentioned that she liked the show in an interview, Rihanna did the role justice. She was impressive. She brought her own bit of flavour to the role, and I can’t wait to see what she brings come July.
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