In “Bates Motel” Season 2, episode 3, “Caleb,” viewers were treated to a pretty major shock when it was revealed that Norma’s brother Caleb is actually the father of her son Dylan. Max Thieriot’s Dylan continued to cope and process that discovery in episode 4, “Check-Out,” while Norman tried to take matters into his own hands.
“I think he just needs to get out and wrap his head around it at this point,” he says during a conference call with reporters. “He’s really taken a fall this time. It will be a trying experience for Dylan that will ultimately define his character.”
The revelation also makes Dylan’s relationship with Norma that much more complicated. He walked out on her at the end of Monday’s (March 24) episode, and likely won’t return for a while.
“This has been a big trial moment for Dylan, because obviously they’ve had so many speed bumps in their relationship, but this is going to be the biggest thing he has to cross,” Thieriot says. “Maybe this is why he’s always felt like an outsider. Maybe this is why he never really fit in and he always felt on the back burner to Norman.”
He adds, “It’s tough for Dylan because it seems like every time he starts to hit his stride … everything starts crumbling down again.”
As for Caleb, Kenny Johnson says his character had no idea the mess he was getting himself into when he headed to White Pine Bay.
“I think he wants to just reconnect with Norma. I think it’s important for him to face the demons from his past,” Johnson says. “You think the past can go away, but sometimes it just sits there and haunts you until you face it. … This is his chance to face it. So far it’s gone horrifically wrong. It’s throwing him into a little whirlwind in his head.”
There’s a striking resemblance in real life between Thieriot and Johnson, which helped inform their characters. Thieriot says it was surprising how easily Johnson joined their on-set family, and that helped on screen with Dylan realizing Caleb truly is his father.
“I think deep down he knows this makes sense. As much as it doesn’t, it does,” Thieriot says. “What’s awesome is as soon as Kenny showed up — we’re such a tight-knit family on the set — Kenny showed up and he fit right into the family. It all made perfect sense. When these scenes were being played and acted out, it all had such a nice flow to it.”
As for the scene between Caleb and Norman that viewers saw at the end of last night’s episode, Johnson admits filming that opposite Freddie Highmore was “pretty wild.” Thieriot says that at this point Norman is “starting to realize that he has some problems,” but that fans shouldn’t expect to see too much Norman-channeling-Norma.
“It’s always a constant battle of high school Norman and Psycho Norman, and those two people fighting inside of him. Psycho Norman also happens to have a lot of Norma in him,” Thieriot says. “You kind of never really know when he’s going to snap — but we do get to see him snap. It’s kind of a constant ‘is he going to lose it right here?'”
In terms of what’s coming up next, Thieriot and Johnson tease that the war between Sheriff Romero and Zane will continue to escalate. Norma is struggling with balancing her new social life and the effect Caleb has had on her family, and Dylan might approach situations with a more “guns blazing” attitude now. And though Caleb is gone, that might not be for good.
“You haven’t seen the last of Caleb,” Johnson promises. “I can’t tell you when, but you haven’t seen the last of Caleb.”
“Bates Motel” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.