As checkout time approaches at A&Eâs Bates Motel (series finale, Monday, 10 ET/PT), the Norman Bates saga, born as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcockâs classic filmÂ Psycho, has charted its own course.
The series has featuredÂ the Psycho basics âÂ Norman (Freddie Highmore)Â as a disturbed killer who murders his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga),Â and the forbidding Victorian house looming over the motel âÂ but it separated from the film by addingÂ its own elements, giving Norman an extended family and bringing to life Mother (again, Farmiga), the imagined character who protects and vexes Norman.
BatesÂ swerved dramatically from PsychoÂ in the middle of its final season, with Marion Crane (Rihanna) arriving but escaping Norman’s wrath, which she didnât in the film, and Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols),Â the straying husband of Normanâs friend Madeleine (Isabelle McNally),Â filling in as victim in the iconic shower scene.
âIt was always our intention to have those episodes beÂ a collision betweenÂ PsychoÂ andÂ Bates Motel, to not just redoÂ PsychoÂ but ultimately serve the story we were telling, which was how Norman got the way he got. Having it meld with NormanÂ starting to understand his own pathology, how he became who he is and why he invented Mother,Â that it was burying this rage he had about his abusive childhood,” executive producer Kerry Ehrin says. “It was rage against his dad that SamÂ became a placeholder for.â
Normanâs fate is up in the air after last weekâs episode. He was facing murder charges culminating from the killings of Sam and two others. Half-brother Dylan (Max Thierot)Â hired a lawyer and stuck by Norman, creating friction with his wife, Emma (Olivia Cooke),Â whose mother Norman is accused of murdering.
All was upended at the end of the episode, when former Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell),Â enraged at Norman after the loss of wife Norma, stormed the jail and took him away at gunpoint.
âWhat was great about theÂ last four episodes is we were able to move past (Psycho), with the idea that anything can happen,â says Highmore, who is taking part with co-stars and producers in a half-hour commemorative special after the finale.. âItâs no longer tied to that source material.â
Norman, however mentally unbalanced, tries toÂ justify the killings in his own mind.
âWe were trying to walk this tightrope where we wanted to keep the audience sympathetic to…