Considering “Bates Motel” is a TV series whose premise is that it’s a prequel to “Psycho,” it might be a bit surprising that the goal of Season 2 is to have viewers come to love Norma and Norman Bates. But apparently that’s exactly what should happen by the time the A&E drama wraps up its second season.
“I think you’re really going to fall in love with the characters this season, which kind of was the goal,” co-creator Carlton Cuse tells Zap2it at the Season 2 premiere. “Sometimes if you’re watching a story that’s ostensibly about a serial killer and his mother, you might feel distanced from those characters. Our goal this season was really to make you feel a lot of empathy for them and really understand exactly what makes both of them tick and that they are very complicated creatures. They defy simple labels.”
Part of achieving that goal is having Norma Bates get a chance at happiness. She will get a love interest this season, and it’s already been revealed in the Season 2 premiere that the Bates Motel is doing pretty well financially — for now.
“Her goal is to be a kind of grand hotelier and to be successful and to achieve happiness, which she’s never known the meaning of that,” Vera Farmiga says. “Part of that means success and a successful business, and there’s a stigma in the town already which we found out last year already when she was giving out brochures that no one really wanted to take the brochures. It’s because she’s made a large impression in a short amount of time within White Pine Bay. Part of it is repairing that and part of it is just having meaningful relationships. She’s only got Norman.”
As Norma grows closer to her new man, her employee Emma tries to grow closer to Norma. That isn’t exactly what the Bates’ are looking for, though.
“We see [Emma] try and weave her way into the Bates family with resistance, of course, from Norma and Norman, and that causes Emma some pain because all she wants to do is have this mother figure and be a part of what she perceives is a normal family,” Olivia Cooke tells Zap2it. “I think it would be too close to comfort for having someone as innocent as Emma get into their mess.”
A wrench is thrown in the Bates’ family life anyway when Norma’s estranged brother Caleb strolls into town.
“Just having a new family show up into the relationship kind of throws a curve ball at everybody, and you wonder why has this guy not been here? Why has he not been here? What’s going on?” Max Thieriot says. “It’s exciting just to meet a new family member because these are the only people we’ve known.”
Cuse promises all those elements will make for a very exciting season.
“What’s kind of fun about ‘Bates’ is it’s this kind of cocktail of pulp storytelling with also really nuanced character scenes, and that’s kind of the combination that [EP] Kerry Ehrin and I try to write when we write the show,” he says. “This town is a crazy drug-filled gnarly place with all sorts of larger than life characters, but at the same time there’s this really affecting mother/son story at the heart of this drama, and I like that combination as a storyteller.”
“Bates Motel” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.