It’s time to start saying goodbye to the innocent Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) that was worth saving because he is slowly reaching the point of no return in the Season 4 premiere of “Bates Motel,” titled, “A Danger to Himself and Others.”
His alter ego, “Mother,” has taken hold, bringing the series closer to Hitchcock’s film that introduced the deranged Bates to the world.
Norman’s confusion between what’s real and what’s not makes him a huge problem for his mother, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga). Ultimately his state of mental health finally gets the attention that it deserves when Norman is detained at the county’s mental facility.
Let’s be clear, it shouldn’t be one person held at fault for Norman’s outcome. His problem is just as much systemic as it is genetic. Nestor Carbonell, who portrays Sheriff Romero, talked with Zap2it about the complexities of today’s mental health system and how they will be explored in Season 4.
“You know what’s great about the season is that we explore mental health and it doesn’t sound so cinematic, but really the way that it’s been written explores treatment and I think it needed to be addressed at some point,” Carbonell states.
For the first time, Norma seems to seriously question whether or not she has always been a good mother to Norman and Dylan (Max Thieriot). Farmiga suggests that Norma’s fear of abandonment aided in her blindness to Norman’s needs.
“I think what’s really going to separate this season from the rest is that they’ve really been interconnected so I think what we’re going to see is autonomy this year and separation and a disconnectedness and it reaches that boiling point in episode two,” Farmiga reveals.
According to Highmore, this is the moment that “Psycho” fans have been waiting for. The 24-year-old actor says that he rewatches the classic film between seasons as his own personal ritual before filming.
“I think it is great as an actor to have that sense of impending doom because you can play against it and that’s what the writing is so clever at doing as well,” Highmore says. “You can set Norman up to be the nicest guy possible because in the back of people’s minds, as they watch, is the sense of ‘we know what is really going to happen.'”
Would Norman’s separation from his mother help or hinder his condition? Seeing Norman institutionalized is uncharted territory and the outcome may be especially chilling to watch.
“Bates Motel” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.