Bates Motel Finale: Cast, Showrunner Dissect That Psycho Cliffhanger

Bates Motel Finale

If you have yet to watch Monday’s Season 3 finale of Bates Motel, stop the car and turn around because spoilers await. Everyone else, you are permitted to enter the post mortem zone… 

It’s official: Bates Motel has gone completely Psycho.

In Monday’s Season 3 finale, Norman Bates — in full-tilt Norma mode — brutally murdered fellow lost soul Bradley before Marion Crane-ing her at sea in a car coffin.

Below, showrunner Kerry Ehrin and castmembers Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thierot and Nestor Carbonell answer burning questions about that killer cliffhanger, as well as Dylan and Emma’s big moment, Alex’s fatal transgression and what lies ahead in Season 4 (hint: Highmore in heels).

TVLINE | So, is Normal full-on Psycho now?
EHRIN | Yes, in the sense that anyone who has that [mental] disorder goes in and out of it. But he’s as deep into it as we’ve seen him.

TVLINE | Safe to say Season 4 will feature a lot more cross-dressing?
EHRIN | Yes.

TVLINE | Why did you decide to let the audience see “Norma”/Vera killing Bradley as opposed to Norman-as-Norma/Freddie killing Bradley?
EHRIN | We had a long discussion about that in the writers’ room. Someone pitched, “What if it’s Vera [killing Bradley]?” And I thought about it for a minute, because [co-creator] Carlton [Cuse] and I are very careful about [not] pushing into camp too far. But once we really thought about it, it got more exciting and interesting and fun. Also, it’s what’s really happening in his brain. And the goal of the show, at this point, is to get on the train with Norman so that you feel for him.

TVLINE | The camp challenge is going to intensify in Season 4…
EHRIN | It is. But challenges are what make it fun. I try to remind myself, “How would this look if it was really, really happening?” And then I try and stay in that place… Also, I can’t wait to dress Freddie up. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Bradley’s burial at sea — intentional Psycho parallel?
EHRIN | Yes. It seemed completely appropriate at that time to honor the original with that. It was beautifully shot by [director] Tucker Bates.

TVLINE | When Norma was scoping out that psychiatric spa, she quickly realized that there was no way she could afford to send Norman there. And yet, when she went home, she tried to sell Norman on it. Why would she do so, knowing it was cost-prohibitive?
EHRIN | Because she’s Norma. [Laughs] She’ll figure it out. She wants to take care of him and do the right thing. And she needed to be honest with him [in that moment] and be like, “Here’s where I was. Here’s what I was doing. And here’s why I was doing it.” In a way, that emotional need almost [trumps] the actual physical realities of money.

TVLINE | Max, I never saw Dylan happier than after his first kiss with Emma. What was it like to, you know, smile for the first time on the show?
THIEROT | [Laughs] It was nice, because he has longed to be loved by his family. [That connection] is something that has been missing [in his life]. He had Jodi Morgan [last season], but that was just a sexual thing. [Laughs]. For him to finally have this happiness is a huge relief to him.

TVLINE | Kerry, are you committed to the Dylan-Emma relationship?
EHRIN | We feel that they are a real match, emotionally. How that plays out, I can’t say.

TVLINE | Nestor, Alex murdering Bob Paris upped the stakes considerably. It showed that he’s willing to kill for Norma.
CARBONELL | This is a different line to cross, even for him. Bob wasn’t a moral person, but Alex had deep roots with him. It was not an easy kill. It also wasn’t about anything other then [protecting] Norman from being incrarcerated. And to pare it down even more, it’s strictly about [his] love [for Norma].

TVLINE | It seemed like perhaps he was on the fence about pulling the trigger until Bob played the father card.
| It’s true…. [Alex is] absolutely turning into what he feared most, which is his father.

TVLINE | Getting back to the episode’s final scene, it felt like that intimate Norman/”Norma” moment was building to a kiss. Was that ever considered?
EHRIN | No. It’s definitely [on our minds] how to do it and when and why, but we weren’t planning it there.

TVLINE |  Vera and Freddie, any weirdness knowing there’s more of that coming?
FARMIGA | [Laughs, nervously] I don’t think so. I’d like to say… no? [Laughs] I also know that Freddie likes to push the envelope in this arena.
HIGHMORE | [Laughs] Like the kiss at the end of Season 2. I’m sure they will continue to get closer. I don’t know why, but those scenes always make me giggle. It’s fun. It’s not weird.
FARMIGA | The way we attack those scenes is with sheer earnestness. It’s funny what comes across [to viewers] and the judgement that’s put on it. In those moments, it’s just sheer affection between a mother and son. That’s how I’m playing it.

TVLINE | I loved the use of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” at the end.
EHRIN | That idea came out of post-[production] from our editing assistant Ryan. It’s a special song to me because it was in an episode of Moonlighting, which was my first job. And it was in one of my episodes. It’s such a romantic song. And I loved how it tied into the romance and the happiness of the situation. Norman can be happy with his Fake Norma. THAT’S Psycho.

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  1. Sam says:

    So there is a season 4? Has it been renewed? Great show and great episode.

  2. Jerry says:

    that ending,,,,,WOW

    • matt cavallo says:

      Yeah I’m pissed they killed Bradley, even if it’s based on an original. I loved that girl :(

  3. Karen Riley says:

    Hitchcock would be proud!!!

  4. Bwhit says:

    Wow, Norman is gone and the psycho has arrived. I thought it was good that they showed Norma trying to get him help but just couldn’t afford it. At the core she tries to be a good mom in her own way but fails 99% of the time (like telling your disturbed son it’s okay to have feelings for his mom). Dylan survived another season and I am so freaking happy about it! He and Emma are the bright spot in the show and hopefully that continues. Good finale tonight.

    • Dude says:

      Emma will def die before Dylan does…

    • Lauren says:

      I was on the verge of tears when Dylan went down into the basement because I was sure he was going to die. I’m so glad they didn’t. I know Norma has to die, but I hope they at least give Dylan and Emma a happy ending.
      God this show is so so good I can’t even handle it.

  5. Sherry Ann Osborne says:

    I love this show and how the actors play out the scenes. Its the one show I especially set aside time to look at and I cant wait for the upcoming season.

  6. Ever since the series began I was certain that Emma would be Norman’s-as-Norma’s first victim, so I’m surprised she wasn’t.

  7. Warren W. Spencer says:

    Having first seen my all-time favorite movie, Psycho, in NYC at the too tender age of fourteen, it’s been fascinating to see its many reincarnations between then and now. As the most recent of these, I hope FX’s Bates Motel dares to focus ever more on Norma(n) without running too far afield of the secondary characters other than as they relate to the original story line. With just the right finesse and tweaking of psychological, macabre, suspenseful, camp aspects and past and present real-life parallels, the behind-the-scenes production team have the daring wherewithal to have the stellar Farmiga/Highmore remembered for another disturbingly important classic. Looking forward to next season, I wish the potential of the sometimes meandering set-up of the earlier seasons at last lives up to expectations.

  8. Anne Crawford says:

    Farmiga & Highmore diffinately should win awards for their acting. Finale WOW!! Can’t wait for Season 4

  9. abz says:

    I still haven’t gotten around to watching Psycho yet. I’ve been meaning to ever since I started this show last year, but never got around to it, but damn that scene was crazy. Seeing Norma(n) kill Bradley was insane. Never cared for Bradley though (boring character, bad actress). Vera needs to be nominated and needs to win an Emmy. Highmore deserves recognition too. He really has been great this year. Can’t wait for next season.

    • Julia says:

      It is definitely worth a watch and this is the perfect time in the series to do so! Psycho is a fantastic movie.

  10. Frank says:

    MORE PLEASE!… A&E.. You simply CANNOT cancel this show. It’s the coolest thing on right now.

  11. Love, love love this show! The finale was awesome!

  12. Joyce Oker says:

    I have been watching the show since the first season and I love it and can’t wait for season 4 to get here already

  13. et al. says:

    Nothing about this show should have worked. A classic horror prequel set in modern day? It’s ridiculous. But somehow, it has emerged as one of the best shows on television. Everything about tonight was phenomenal. I’d also like to strongly suggest giving performer of the week to the entire cast.

    • Angela says:

      Exactly! It’s not easy to pull off prequels as it is, but yeah, with something like this, where everyone knows the story, that’s even tougher. But this show is doing so brilliantly at making it work. Even though we know these people’s fates, they still make us root for a better outcome for them anyway, and they make us sympathize with and care about what happens to them, and work new characters into the classic story so seamlessly. And they still manage to make the creepier moments as tense as ever. As someone else said, Hitchcock would be proud :).
      I’d be all for the entire cast getting a “Performer of the Week” nod, yeah! They’ve certainly earned it.

  14. Adam says:

    Really amazing work. I honestly never had that much interest in Psycho, but had heard all about it since it was classic. Then I got completely sucked into this show because it was done by people whose work I admired before (Cuse, Carbonell, Gates, Dawson) and I just keep getting sucked in more. Farmiga and Highmore are amazing! I really do hope to see a season 4–let us know asap!

  15. Angela says:

    I loved that song choice at the end, too. Creepily perfect. Also loved the ‘Psycho’ parallel (and haaaaaa, it was directed by a person whose last name is Bates :D? That’s just too perfect).
    I had a feeling Romero was going to shoot Bob, but they played the tension of that scene so well, and I still gasped when he did shoot him (and felt an odd sense of relief that this guy would no longer be a thorn in his side!). I hope he does stop short of turning into his dad altogether, though…I just want him and Norma to run off and be happy together. I know that’s not gonna happen, but damnit, I can dream!
    Sweet moment between Dylan and Emma :). I wanted to hug her when she was going on about her fears and concerns over the transplant, especially since her reasons were logical ones. But I’m glad Dylan was able to encourage her to do this. So much darkness and dysfunction, it’s good having this relationship that’s relatively normal and light by comparison :).
    And as for Norman switching fully into Norma mode, yeah, I like how that turned out. I can see where they would’ve been concerned about that, ’cause it could’ve come off awkward, but it worked, both as a way to show Norman fully engaged in this other personality, and it was weirdly cathartic to see “Norma” beat the crap out of somebody, ’cause you know the real Norma is likely itching to do that on a daily basis! LOL.
    I love Vera and Freddie’s reaction to their more intimate scenes :D. They may not find it weird, but they sure as hell do a good job at making US feel weird watching it! I’m glad they have fun playing up that stuff, though-their twisted relationship is what makes this show work, and they play it so perfectly. I can’t even begin to imagine where they’ll go with the cross-dressing next season, but that should be highly entertaining :p.
    Great season, great interview, great finale. Aaaaaagh, I can’t wait for season 4. Please, A&E, give us that renewal news as quickly as possible!

  16. Jenny says:

    Great interview and season finale. I look forward to how everything will play out next season.

  17. Nikki says:

    I love this show!!!!! I’ ve been watching since season 1, and I love ALL the characters. The only thing I hate is it takes a year between seasons longer than any other show…….please don’t make us wait so long for season 4!!!

  18. Raymond says:

    I Was Actually really Hoping that Bradley Would’ve Lasted Too The Next Season..but WOW! What a GREAT Ending for the Season..Great Actors,Great StoryTelling,Great Writing! Everything is on POINT!!! THANK U Bates Motel…& Please Be Renewed! Or ill Go Psycho (;<

  19. Ian says:

    Poor Bradley.

    And not feeling Dylan and Bradley. I feel like Im being told I have to like them.

  20. wdharvey11 says:

    Norma(n) is going to have to kill his mother in order for this to be a true “prequel”…next season is going to be INTENSE!

  21. Jenna says:

    Thanks. Loved the episode and the interview!
    Totally getting creeped out by the show now. Which I guess is a good thing. Lol. Kudos to the cast and the writers. Looking forward to next season.

  22. Doug says:

    First,Bates Motel is really good.Great acting and writing.Vera Farmiga is brilliant!

    I thought Dylan was a goner when he went down to the basement.It was surprise to see Bradley return but not a surprise to see her die by Norman/Norma.

    Since Psycho is set maybe 10-15 years later in character age time,it gives the writers lots of options.

    If true,two more seasons should produce lots of creepy stuff and wrap up the series.Will Norma bite the dust in the series?Maybe not.Hoping Emma resolves her series health issues.Dylan and Emma are a cute couple.

  23. Matt C. says:

    Watching Norman-as-Norma smash Bradley’s head against that rock was so crazy.

    Why hasn’t A&E officially announced season 4? For the last two seasons, they renewed the show just a few episodes into whatever season they were on. This year, nothing. The producers and cast all seem confident about it, but it’d still be nice to get official word from the network.

    • n8frogg says:

      The network (A&E) and the producers have a “unofficial” deal that it will be 5 seasons. They just haven’t gotten around to it. Even if A&E does cancel it someone else will pick it up. But don’t worry that won’t happen. I think the cable networks do all their announcements next week some time.

  24. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    That was a good finale Norman is OFFICALLY Psycho! How he killed Bradley….poor girl she shouldn’t came back to die like that. As Dylan and Emma hahaha I like those 2 together! She better take her ass to the hospital so she can get well!

  25. Sharon says:

    I don’t bother watching much tv really. But I LOVE this show!!!! I will not miss an episode. It is a quality show. I’ve grown attached to every single character and Nestor Carbonell is my dream guy. I can’t wait for he and Norma to finally kiss. But the waiting is intense also :)

  26. Nina Torres says:

    I am a huge fan of Bates Motel!!!! I hope season 4 will bring more a psycho start and feeling……
    Love the show

  27. Great season and finale! Absolutely love the acting and the writing. Can’t wait until next season to see what happens between Norma and Alex. So sad to see Norman going over the deep end but know that has to happen. I just want to hug him and make it all better, when he’s not killing someone he is so sweet and lovable. Great acting by Highmore to help us see the good in the psycho :)

  28. BESt show next to Lost. I am picky about what I watch. I love the depth of this show. Kerry Ehrin is a genius. I love Nestor, Vera, Freddie, Max, Olivia, Kenny, and ALL the rest. Just keeps getting better. I’m addicted!

  29. Norman says:


  30. The Bates is such an awesome show, I love the actor that plays Norman and the actress that plays Norma ; as a matter of fact I love all the characters.

  31. Just some feedback for the show’s producers/directors/writers/editors/staff/crew:

    I think season 1 & 3 were awesome! The last episode in season 3 was the best episode yet.

    I love the romance between Dylemma. I think that keeps the show’s spark. I am more interested in their storyline than anything.

    I love when Norman was dressed up in his mom’s robe. I was sad that Bradlee was killed off, only because I kind of wanted Norman’s romance for her to bloom, but that wouldn’t have tied in with the movie Psycho.

    Please please please do not kill off Emma or Dylan!! As you can see in the comments no one wants to see them go, and we all think they should have a happy ending.

    Also, I think it’d be cool to introduce a girl that Norman falls in love with but does not kill, but he has to choose between her and the mom and kills the mom as suicide since he thinks she’s her.

  32. Dawn miller says:

    i love the show(bates motel)it’s the best show on tv,the story has been great and excited about seeing what’s to come hopefully some love between Norma and Alex 😻

  33. Christina says:

    This has been the smartest most enjoyable series I have watched great job and thank you. We all love poor Norman

  34. Jeff says:

    What a great cast and what a great series. Tony Perkins would have loved this series if you were still alive today

  35. sharon zimmerman says:


  36. Shannon says:

    I have watched Bates Motel since season one’s first episode!!!! The show has earned it’s fan base. When I started watching, my friends and family were not watching. Sad but true. It took no encouragement from me to have anyone else check it out. Not even one whole season in and everyone’s binge watching and texting back and forth about this or that. It was so cool to watch friends and family alike discover this remarkable series and appreciate it for themselves. That’s when you realize everybody’s talking positively about this show. The season three finale was superb as the entire show has been. The writer’s have their fingers directly on the pulse of this series. They have proven a modern day prequel can and does work. Bate’s motel not only complements the classic “Psycho” but adds dimension that has gone far and above the original or remade version of the movie. This ensemble cast, Farmiga, Highmore, Theriot, Carbonell, Cooke and more, work with each other like a well-greased wheel. Bates is an exciting, unpredictable, in-depth TV drama that allows us a unique, fresh look at the best and the worst of human behaviors!! Can’t wait for season 4!!

  37. mia says:

    Love love love this show!!!! Cant wait for season 4!!!!! :))))

  38. tanya says:

    Love this show like crazy

  39. Denise VanWoerkom says:

    I absolutely adore this show! The writing, acting, everything is superb! Thank you for renewing this show!

  40. carolyn says:

    I really like this show. it keeps you on your toes never know what it going to happen next, I record it if I cant be home to watch it, and when I am, the phones get turned off…. thanks for making my evening fun…

  41. Sayre says:

    They misused Bradley’s character, and they shouldn’t have killed her off. I understand why they did, and I know Norman will be unforgivably mad at his mom for killing his first true love, in a way, but they could have done way better with Nicola Peltz’s arc as a character, and I’m angry about it, and sad she’s gone.

  42. ladyginjersey says:

    Season four and five renewed :)

  43. This is my favorite show. I never want it to end!!!

  44. jj says:

    What date and time will bates motel be back on?

  45. angela wright says:

    Great season I watched it from the beginning to the end can’t wait for season 4 to come out real interesting to see how Norman Bates becomes to be and how his mother plays a big part in trying to protect him
    At the same time shes worried and scared for him. Dylan is also great character and I’d like to see him and Miea get together but who knows how normal react when hr finds out.

  46. Kyle says:

    Bradley was a key character and her being killed just an episode after her return puts a big dent in the show for me, she was one of my favorites, and it upsets me to see her go

  47. Hooray for complex characters, and any vehicle that shows how great Vera Farmiga is.

  48. Donna says:

    I fell in love with bates motel from day one and look forward to season 4,There is a season 4&5 correct