“Bates Motel” made a splash when it premiered its modern day reimagining of “Psycho” on A&E earlier in the year. The first season ended with a cliffhanger showing with Freddie Highmore’s Norman Bates seemingly committing a murder, and fans shouldn’t expect for it to take long for the facts surrounding Miss Watson’s death to be revealed.
“At that moment with Miss Watson it’s not immediately obvious which conclusion to draw. This show is infinitely more exciting for that, especially when your main characters are so ambiguous, you find yourself almost rooting for Norman despite the fact you know he’s going to become this infamous serial killer,” Highmore tells Zap2it while promoting the Sept. 17 release of the “Bates Motel” Season 1 Blu-ray. “That conflict is what makes the show fun — for me, anyway.”
Nestor Carbonell, who plays Sheriff Romero on the show, similarly suggests audiences remain skeptical about the murder. “Assuming it was Norman. You never know,” he says of the implied murder. “One of the great things about this show is, even with cliffhangers, they’re pretty much dealt with head-on, so the payoff is always going to be there. We definitely tackle that pretty quickly in Season 2 and the ramifications of what happened with the teacher at the end of Season 1. Not that it’s all wrapped up in a neat bow, but it’s definitely being dealt with for sure.”
It’s unclear how Romero’s relationship with the Bates’ will change — if at all — going into Season 2. In Season 1, he was hot on Norma’s trail after the death of his friend Keith Summers, but the pair reached an uneasy truce by the season’s end. Whether Romero ends up being suspicious of Norman in regards to Miss Watson’s death or not, his relationship with Norma will likely remain strained.
“I think he’s always going to butt heads with Norma to a certain extent because they’re both control freaks,” Carbonell says. “They go about it in different ways, but they’re both trying to control the situation. I don’t think he’s used to getting anybody to say no to him or really to go against him as much as she does.”
Highmore teases that Season 2 will continue to show Norman trying to navigate his life amid his blackouts. This will lead Norman on a “journey of greater self-awareness,” Highmore says, so it’s unclear how that will alter Norman as a sympathetic character on the show.
“Norman doesn’t remember certain events that have happened, but does recognize or start to doubt what has happened during those moments that he doesn’t remember,” Highmore says. “As opposed to kind of being oblivious to this other side of him, he perhaps gains a greater self-awareness of the inner workings of his mind.”
Season 2 will introduce a slew of new characters, including Norma’s brother Caleb, a socialite named Christina and Michael O’Neill as the vengeful father of Miss Watson. Highmore says that the introduction of Caleb will lead to the audience getting to understand more of where the Bates family comes from, while Carbonell teases that the show will now deal more with the underbelly of Fairvale, Calif. and its drug trade.
“We’re introduced to a whole new set of characters, really interesting characters, and obviously how Norma, Norman and Dylan have to navigate these new waters as they become more and more embroiled in how the town works and how they’re going to have to navigate their own business,” Carbonell says.
One of the big questions about a prequel show like “Bates Motel” is whether it will inevitably end where “Psycho” begins. While neither Highmore nor Carbonell know the answer to that, Highmore thinks it will likely be the case.
“There will be a sense of unsatisfaction if you don’t quite get there,” he says.
Carbonell is okay with the showrunners bending the story a bit, though.
“I wouldn’t mind if it didn’t; if it was some really great twist in how they end it that doesn’t necessarily have to match the ending of the film because it’s not a strict prequel in any sense,” he says. “It’s obviously modern day, so it’s really a true reimagining of the world. I wouldn’t be at all bummed out if it ended differently. It might also mean that we all get to live a little longer. I just wanted to make it to the end.”
“Bates Motel” Season 2 is slated to return in 2014.