Post Mortems
Bates Motel

Bates Motel Boss Dissects Premiere Twists, Confirms [Spoiler] Theory

Norman Bates’ final descent into Psychosis has begun.

The fifth and final season of A&E’s Bates Motel got underway Monday night, and it was completely, utterly, gloriously nuts. It was also heartbreaking. And on at least one occasion, slightly mystifying.

Below, showrunner Kerry Ehrin tackles some of my burning questions about the premiere, while also teasing what craziness awaits in the remaining nine episodes.

TVLINE | The biggest shocker of the episode for me — Norman is a total slob!
KERRY EHRIN | [Laughs] Hilarious. He’s a boy that got left without his mom. And he’s not quite in his right mind; his brain is very cluttered, and [the messy house] is a metaphor for his confusion.

TVLINE | Does he know that Norma is dead? Or does he think her death was faked and she’s just hiding out in the house?
On the surface, he believes that she’s alive and that her death was faked. Obviously, the body is in the house, and he knows the body is in the house, so there’s a part of him that knows the truth. But he’s in denial because it’s so painful. But we deliberately wanted to keep it somewhat murky because insanity is murky. There are not rules to it.

BatesTVLINE | Frozen Norma — prosthetics or Vera Farmiga?
It is sometimes Vera, and it’s sometimes a prosthetic. Vera is an amazing actress, even dead. She plays the best dead person; I don’t know how she does it.

TVLINE | When we meet up with Dylan and Emma, they have a daughter, which suggests a fairly significant time jump. How much time has passed?
About 18 months.

TVLINE | Why give them a child?
We wanted Dylan to have actually succeeded in separating from [Norma and Norman], to have a marriage that’s good, to have a job that he likes, and to have a child. All Dylan’s ever wanted is a family that he belonged to, so it seemed like a beautiful way to [illustrate] that he succeeded 90 percent of the way. But there is 10 percent of him that is still attached to his family of origin, and still has guilt that he left them.

TVLINE | Remind me — how the heck did they never find out Norma had died?
When Dylan left at the end of last season, he changed his number. Also, there’s really no responsibility of anyone to call next of kin as long as one relative knows of the death, which was Norman. And Norman didn’t want to tell him.

TVLINE | How long do they remain blissfully unaware?
It definitely comes into play. I can’t tell you exactly when, but it’s a big part of the story.

TVLINE | In other words, they won’t find out in the final 15 minutes of the series finale.
[Laughs] No. It’s a big part of Dylan’s storyline. And Emma’s.

BatesTVLINE | Norman’s new friend in town, Madelyn Loomis, has a rather spoilery last name. Fair to say her husband Sam Loomis is having an affair with Rihanna?
[Laughs] I think that’s a good suspicion.

TVLINE | While Sam exists in the Psycho world, his wife, Madelyn, does not. Talk to me about the decision to create her.
I always looked at Marion Crane’s situation with Sam [in Psycho] and was like, “What is his issue? Why won’t he just marry her?” I always in the back of my head thought that there has to be some other woman involved. And this was just an opportunity to tell that story.

TVLINE | Side note: I want to move into Sam and Madelyn’s hardware store. It’s gorgeous.
That’s all [production designer] Mark Freeborn’s [handiwork]. I just adore everything he builds.

TVLINE | So the store doesn’t actually exist?
No. He completely designed it and made it, and I want to move in there, too. It’s luscious.

TVLINE | That store needs to exist somewhere.
I know, right? Let’s open it.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Angela says:

    LOL, I liked that store, too :D. It was very cute and quaint. I wanted one of those cookies Norman was eating, too :p.
    Ahhhhhhh, man, what a great start to the season. I love that even though Norma as we knew her is gone, this version of her still manages to have such a snappy, fiery rapport with Norman. I loved that entire scene with them arguing at the dinner table, and then them fighting by the car outside (and I actually flinched a little when she suddenly appeared behind the car as Norman was getting ready to drive off. Creepy visual). And then their discussion over what to do with Jim’s body-such dark, warped humor, I love it. The use of “At Last”, of all songs, made it all the more comical and absurd :D.
    Everything with Jim was quite shocking, though, and I’m already nervous about what’ll happen when Romero finds out he’s dead. That’s gonna get ugly fast. Also, on the note of Romero, that photo of him and Norma in his cell broke my heart. Oh :(.
    Great news about Dylan and Emma’s baby, and seeing Emma so healthy and happy at long last. I really hope they’ll manage to make it out of this craziness alive, but I’m preparing myself for the possible worst with at least one of them.
    And I like the reason for adding Madelyn in. I like her, too, and am already worrying over her fate. Spot on similarity to Norma there.
    The promo for what’s to come this season made me all the more excited. Excellent way to kick things off, and I cannot wait to see how this season continues to play out.

  2. Cheyenne says:

    I thought the reason Sam wouldn’t marry Marian was that he couldn’t afford to while he was still paying alimony to his former wife. Maybe I got that wrong.

    • J.B. says:

      You’re kinda right. Sam plays it off that his many money problems is the reason he can’t get married. He brings up his ex wife and the alimony he pays. He brings up his dead father’s debts. The lack of space at the shop he works at. It’s an odd back and forth during that opening scene because on the one hand Sam brings up all these excuses as to why he can’t marry her but at other times he seems to genuinely love Marion. Plus he ends up marrying Lila, Marion’s sister, in both the sequel novel and film. I’ve always wondered if Lila was like a surrogate/doppelganger for Marion.

  3. seo says:

    Awesome! Its really amazing piece of writing, I have
    got much clear idea about from this paragraph.

  4. LAwoman says:

    I love this show. I just hope that Dylan and Emma survive.

  5. Soyla says:

    Love this show! I applaud the writer of this show to come up with the twisted mind of norman keeps me hanging on thru all the past seasons . Just hate that this is the last season.

  6. g says:

    re: hotel customers … or lack there of
    how the F have Norma & Norman pay the bills with barely any customers ?
    just their food alone would be expensive – much less their property related costs, gas, etc
    all adds up

    and with all the crimes, murders/ accidental deaths etc that have occurred at the Bates Motel … would any locals EVER want to go there … much less refer any visitors there?
    the Bates Motel is the most unlucky business in the entire City, County & State

    • kp22kc says:

      If you look at one of the previews it shows an elaborate breakfast that Norma made, but in reality it is just toast that Norman made and never cleaned up. Bread and jelly doesn’t cost that much. In the movie Psycho it was just a sandwich and milk that Norman served Marion.

    • thomaskdean says:

      And that pond must be filling up pretty quickly.

  7. g says:

    thru-out the timeline of the show it always seems like they’ve BARELY ever have any customers or only a few here and there sporadically … as well that the customers they had were always involved in something re: the plot in some way … wouldn’t it at least make a little sense to have a few customers that were totally just “regular customers” … ie. extras?

    at the end of S4 wasn’t Norman & Emma just barely out of high school (which I think both of them did home schooling for their senior year) ? and thus they’d only be like 20 – 21 give or take ?

    at the end of the episode they showed Norman & Norma carrying the body to the car & lake .. obviously it was just Norman doing it alone, but would he really have been that strong physically to do it solo ? … much less when he (Norma) actually killed the guy to drag/ carry the dead dude UP to the house ?

    and when Norma flashes to the parking lot to stop Norman going to the meeting …. what customers was Norman worried about ? was there any cars there ?
    even “David Davidson” wasn’t there was he ?

    re: Dylan …. with Norma & Caleb (aka Lem from The Shield) being siblings … wouldn’t Dylan have come out just a little mentally or physically handicapped in some way?

    ironic that Dylan seems like a perfectly healthy and good looking dude …. and yet Norman is the nutcase?

    • Walkie says:

      Wow. You are digging way too deep. It’s a TV show. It’s not a documentary.

    • kp22kc says:

      A child born from 2 siblings isn’t necessarily gonna come out with problems. Now if that person had a child with a family member the problems would more than likely start to show. Plus we don’t know that Norma and Caleb had both the same parents. One could have been the product of the mailman or something so that would give them less blood in common.

    • tricia S says:

      I did notice when Norman went to get the room key for Dave Davidson that not all the keys were on the board. I also thought I noticed in one scene outside the hotel that there was another car in the parking lot.

  8. Marco Piazzo says:

    I’m sorry, but Kerry Ehrin, with this answer ‘I always looked at Marion Crane’s situation with Sam [in Psycho] and was like, “What is his issue? Why won’t he just marry her?” I always in the back of my head thought that there has to be some other woman involved. And this was just an opportunity to tell that story.’ sounds like she hasn’t seen the movie at all since the answer to her question KICKS OFF THE PLOT, as it’s to help Sam pay his debts that Marion decides on a whim to steal the money, which ends up with her driving to Bates Motel and… we know the rest.

  9. Eddie says:

    I’m curious why the dates mentioned in the episode (in the receipt as well as the ledger book) were set in the future: “October 2017”.

    • Walkie says:

      Why do you think that’s “in the future”? A TV show does not have to adhere to whatever month it is in the real world.

      • edricism says:

        Naturally it can be any date, since it’s all fiction. But still doesn’t stop me being curious why “October 2017”, in OUR future. Anyway, in the interview above it was said that they had time-jumped 18 months from the last season. So that’s probably it.

    • kp22kc says:

      If they are going by the dates in Psycho (although they probably aren’t,) it started in December. You can see Christmas decorations on the streets when Marion sees her boss.

  10. NormalBaits says:

    For a writer, director whoever… this has to be SO hard to keep track of all the twists. This is some of the most amazing writing. “I was coming, Mother.” I fell out of my chair because of the subtleness.

  11. Robin From East Tennessee says:

    I am just heart broken that Norma is dead, for sure! I LOVE THE SHOW..So sad it has to end….ALL of the ACTORS are AWESOME!!!!! Great work Kerry Ehrin!

  12. Kudos to Netflix for getting me hooked on this amazing show!

  13. Barb says:

    awesome and great creepy storytelling!! ..and humor in the middle of this freak-show ~ brilliant. Love the cast so much!

  14. Deb Mac says:

    Not for nothin’, but if you’ve seen the Psycho movies, you already know that Norman was never much of a house keeper. In the 3rd film, the kitchen looks exactly like it did in last night’s ep (after Norman) walked away from the “breakfast table”. At one point in that movie, he’s eating peanut butter from a jar and using the same spoon to fill a dead bird with stuffing. It’s pretty gross. Personally, when I saw that scene in the show last night, I thought it was a call-back to the movies. And I loved it.

  15. Traditionalist says:

    LOVE THE SHOW, and all the actors. Perfectly done. We know what happens with Norman…..all I ask is Dylan and Emma get out ok!

  16. Brian says:

    Such a great show.

  17. Nancy Dunn says:

    Omg! What a great way to start season! I am looking forward to season 5; just have one request…could you continue it for another 5 please?

  18. I’m not crazy with all the confidence they have suddenly given to Norman, it was never his way for him to be. I wish they wouldn’t be ending the show though, they could have taken it a long way.