It seems like just yesterday. A&Etv announced an addition to the “Psycho” story. People (yes, including me) railed at this seeming intrusion that Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano were going to give us. Was it a prequel? An addition? A sequel? How could they dare to touch upon our beloved Anthony Perkins as the innocently troubled Norman Bates? How dare they touch upon, of all film makers, Alfred Hitchcock?? Indeed. How dare they…..
Well, they dared, and won big. They gave us Norman Bates as we had never seen him..hardly even thought about. They gave us Norman before, during and after “Psycho.” This was daring and had to have not only the right writers, but the perfect cast. Freddy Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Norman, Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) as Mother aka Norma Bates, Nestor Carbonell (Lost) as Sheriff Alex Romero, and Max Thieriot (My Soul to Take) as Dylan Masset. Throw in Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anacrchy) as Chick and Kenny Johnson (Sons of Anarachy) as Caleb Calhoun, Olivia Cooke as Emma Decody and **BOOM** perfect casting. We got Norman and Mother, along with a Sheriff, and Norman’s half-brother Dylan. As well as Caleb, Dylan’s father/uncle (I always called him Uncle Father), an enigmatic dope farmer/wannabe crime writer Chick, and sweet Emma, whose father taught Norman the wonderful art of taxidermy. We got the best cast fans could want.
When it came to writing, well, season one was a tease. Sometimes, as most good series have, the story went off the rails a bit, but they always found their way back. The writing hardly ever disappointed. The directing was also spot on. Dark humor permeated the entire series. We were on Norman’s Wild Ride, and we didn’t want to get off.
When it came to acting, bringing the writing and directing together, we couldn’t have asked for better. Freddy Highmore embraced Norman, making us cry with him (poor Juno), making us want to shake him out of anger. Vera gave us a world-wise, sometimes weary Norma. She was beautiful through the end. She gave everything to Norman, knowing he was troubled. She gave up her happiness for his. When she tried for happiness with Romero, well, we all know how that ended. Speaking of Sheriff Alex Romero, let’s visit Nestor Carbonell’s gift he gave us each week. Romero grew more complicated as the writers unfolded the layers of White Pine Bay. Nestor brought out Romero’s desire to be a good guy, while also trying to control the bad guy. His story led to brief happiness, then…well…you know. We were presented with new characters in the Bates’ world. Emma Decody was one of the first people to befriend the troubled Norman. So sweet, even though she hauled around an oxygen tank due to cystic fibrosis. She knew Norman was ill…just not exactly how ill. Dylan, Norman’s half-brother (also his cousin), came on the scene. At first, it seemed as if they didn’t know what to do with Dylan. Even when floating around, Max Thieriot gave Dylan, and us, pure life. That sweet smile and those blue eyes….oh…yes, Dylan got a major arc when Uncle Father showed up. Kenny Johnson gave us Caleb Calhoun, Norma’s brother, who also…well..the result was Dylan. Caleb wanted to make things, if not right, at least better. He needed the family as much as they needed him…though the family didn’t know just yet they needed him. In one of the rambling dope farmer storylines, we were introduced to Chick, played by the oh-so-tall and handsome Ryan Hurst. Chick kinda came and went, but when he was brought back into our sight, he played the hell out of Chick. Now everything was in place…the writing, the directing, the acting. Leading us to…..
The fans, who talked about the show, creating more fans. They flocked to conventions to get a glimpse of Bates Motel. To meet the awesome cast. On show nights, well, Katie bar the door…..the live tweeting was always off the charts. I think that helped win people over….the cast (those on Twitter), would interact with fans, both sides always grateful for the other. Every season finale night, we would be left wondering…”When is Norman going to crack?” What the hell did Norma just do???” “Awwww……now we have to wait a year to find out….” Then King Midas…er…I mean Carlton Cuse and his partner in crime, Kerry Ehrin made the call every fan dreads. The show would be ending in its 5th and final season. At the end of season four, everyone began the mourning. When season five started, we choked and soaked everything up, knowing soon it would be gone. Each episode was devoured…yet, when the end came, we thought we were prepared. We weren’t. Tears were shed and thank yous were mumbled.
Bates Motel touched us, even as we descended, with Norman, into madness. We felt the pain of Mother having to continually look after her precious baby boy. We cheered as Dylan and Emma found love and created their family. We bled when Romero did. When Chick showed up, there was uncomfortable laughter. We reveled in the guest stars: Rihanna, Isabelle McNally, Michael Eklund, Damon Gupton, Kevin Rahm, Mike Vogel (though he was a regular, sort of, for seven episodes).
Five seasons worth of blood, sweat and tears, from the fans and the cast, as fans, we were given an (almost) perfect show. We couldn’t have asked for a more complete vision of Robert Bloch’s “Psycho.” Thank you, to A&Etv, to Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, and Anthony Cipriano. To the entire cast. You took us to “Psycho” and beyond. “Bates Motel” has a prime suite in our hearts.