[All images courtesy A&E Bates Motel Official website and Facebook page]
The fifth and final season of Bates Motel premieres Monday, February 20 on A&E. I can’t wait to see it, analyze episode for Horror4Me, and eventually add it to the four previous seasons on the DVD shelf.
What a change five years can make. If you’d told me I’d be writing the following before the March 2013 premiere of Bates Motel on A&E, how I would’ve laughed. As the show starts its final season, I admit how totally wrong I was about Bates Motel.
But first – check out a preview clip for Season Five.
Bates Motel is a twisty, dark, psychological horror series worthy of a place both in the Psycho family and the horror genre. It honors and incorporates themes and images from multiple “parents” (the real life story of Ed Gein, Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel, and the iconic 1960 film by Alfred Hitchcock) while creating an entirely original path to an ending we THINK we all know.
Every horror/Psycho fan knows where the Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) ends up; in a jail cell, bragging in Mother’s voice that they “wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Will our last image of Freddie Highmore’s Norman also fade into a shot of Marion Crane’s car being dragged out of a marshy swamp?
Prequels that succeed make the journey to an already known ending surprising and original. However many times I have watched the original movie, I could not have imagined the storylines created in Bates Motel for characters I thought I knew.
It’s delightful to see the many incorporations of material from Psycho. For example, check out the lovely blue dress Norma (Vera Farmiga) wears in this article’s featured image. Deliberate choice or happy coincidence, it reminded me of a line delivered by Sheriff Chambers’ wife Eliza in the original movie – “I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Periwinkle blue.”
Those subtle callbacks help anchor the new, original contributions of Bates Motel to the story of Norman Bates. Bates Motel gives viewers a Norma who loved not wisely but too well, a very human character turned into a monster by her son’s demons. While this is quite a change from the harpy from Hell who belittled and demeaned her son into madness, it also makes sense as we see the original movie’s “Mother” taking over Norman’s mind.
The fifth season brings in more classic characters, most notably Rihanna as the doomed Marion Crane. While this may seem like stunt casting, I’ll give the show and self-described “super fan” Rihanna the benefit of the doubt for now.
Marion’s sister (Isabelle McNally) and Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols) also have roles in this final season, posing another mystery for Psycho fans. In Bates Motel Lila seems to be renamed Madeline (a possible shout out to the doomed character in Hitchcock’s’ 1958 film Vertigo?). Madeline is married to Sam Loomis, as Lila was in 1983’s Psycho II. Is this character just a renamed Lila? Or is Bates Motel messing with my expectations again?
We’ll just have to tune in Monday February 20 at 10 pm ET/9C to find out.