publicity still of Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore for Bates Motel

Bates Motel is back and it has officially gone full Psycho. The first two episodes of season four kick off a hell of a premier to let you know that all pretenses are over. As we saw at the end of season three, Norman has giving into the mother persona to the point that he has already killed people he cares about deeply. His blackouts are getting more extreme and more frequent, making them harder and harder to hide. Knowing what he’s done over the past three seasons, Norma has become more and more aggressively protective. She’ll do anything to keep him safe.

In the past, she’s done everything she could to keep him out of psychiatric facilities, but that’s beginning to change. She is beginning to see the consequences of her actions.Norma has always, always been afraid for Norman. She’s been afraid for his safety, she—above all—has been afraid of the idea that some set of circumstances could come along at some point that would separate them. But now, finally, she is afraid of Norman. And that, I think, will bring about major changes to the show. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m surprised that we got to this point this quickly, but it definitely feels earned.

Bates MotelEverything in the previous season had been working to set this up. Norman Bates is almost officially the Norman Bates we know from Psycho. His transformation is so complete that I’m actually wondering if the big climax to the Norman/Norma relationship will be coming sooner than initially thought. It’s been hinted in the past that Norma does not necessarily need to be alive to be on the show. I’ve always thought that the show would either end with Norman setting up his mother’s corpse so that we see the silhouette through the upstairs window, or that it would end with Marion Crane pulling up to the hotel. But now I’m wondering if it might take the Hannibal route and go for a full retelling of the classic story—Red Dragon in their case, Psycho in ours—through the final season.

Either way, it makes sense that seasons four and five are being filmed back-to-back and that five is officially the end, because that’s one thing I think these two episodes make very clear: They are setting us up for an ending. People can’t afford to be as secretive as they have been in the past. They can’t hide things from each other because they know each other too well. Norman’s mask of sanity has all but completely fallen off, and other characters are starting to realize just how dangerous he actually is.

Vera Farmiga as Norma BatesMeanwhile, the supporting characters—Dylan, Emma and even Romero—are about as hopeful as we’ve ever seen them. Romero has sort of given into his relationship with Norma. He’s not complaining, telling her he can’t help her and then going out of his way like he did in the past. Like I said, most of these pretenses have been cast aside, and I think they both know at this point that he’s going to do whatever she asks him to do, which is proven here by a pretty extreme set of circumstances. Yet, at the same time, circumstances that are completely in keeping with Norma’s character.

Dylan and Emma are doing really well, which is refreshing to see. Their relationship was unexpected last season, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. But the pairing makes perfect sense. Already, Emma seems to have much more of a place and a storyline than she had last season.

I’m definitely excited to see where this is going. This season is off to a great start and I can’t wait to see where and how it develops considering how much has already happened in such a short amount of time. Bates Motel will return to A&E March 7th at 9PM.

WICKED RATING: 8/10

  • Alexandra

    Very exciting! I can’t wait to see season 4! Is there much screen time of Norma and Romero in the first episode? I’m thinking Norma is going to spend pretty much all of her time in episode 1 looking for Norman. I’ve been counting down the days since the finale to see what happens to between Romero and norma since he killed for her. I hope he tells her or she finds out some how! 🙂