Bates Motel Season 2 Interview: Vera Farmiga and Executive Producer Kerry Ehrin Tease New Visitors, Relationships and More

Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 1 Gone But Not Forgotten (7)

Tonight, Monday, March 3rd at 9/8c, fans of A&E’s fascinating Bates Motel can check back in for season two. The Psycho-inspired series earned star Vera Farmiga an Emmy nod in 2013 for her portrayal of Norman Bates’ complex mother Norma. TV Equals recently joined in a conference call with Farmiga and Bates Motel executive producer Kerry Ehrin to discuss what lies ahead for Norma as she juggles new family members, new loves and the increasingly unsettling changes in Norman.

Norma’s Brother Comes Knocking

This year’s most surprising visitor will be Norma’s long estranged brother Caleb (Kenny Johnson). As viewers know, Norma was forced into an incestuous relationship with her brother when they were younger, and has tried her best to sweep the psychological ramifications aside. However, when Caleb returns expect Norma’s balanced facade begin to crumble.

Farmiga explained it with a clever vault analogy, noting that Norma has put her memories and emotions about Caleb into a vault and left them unexamined. Whereas when he arrives in the flesh, he is very much outside of the vault. “It’s like how do you handle that?” Farmiga mused. “So obviously it’s super complicated because of Norman, and Norman’s great protectiveness of his mother and his tendencies that even he doesn’t know.”

Sounds like Uncle Caleb might have to look out for his nephew, doesn’t it?

Will Norma Find Love?

Maybe. Michael Vartan of Alias fame has been cast as George, a potential love interest for Norma, but it won’t be easy for Norma to connect with him or anyone else. Expect her protective/dependent relationship with Norman to be an obstacle, as well as her overall feelings of distrust toward men in general.

“This is a woman who’s been abused by her father, abused by her brother, discarded by demanding men, unneeded by her older son,” Farmiga said. “She clings to the one man that has been her protector, her confidant, her consolation, the light in her life. And it is Norman. And she’s totally too involved. And she’s unable to cut the cord.”

However, Ehrin chimed in that Norma does possess a longing for normalcy, so she will continue to seek romantic connections even if she does not entirely understand her desires. “She has hopes that she will meet someone and she will fall in love,” Ehrin said. “That she will, you know, have a wonderful life. And there is a very interesting person that shows up this season.”

On Norma and Norman’s Biggest Challenge in Season Two

Surprisingly, Norma and Norman’s most trying challenge will be not sabotaging their own happiness. Norma equates happiness with success, which is the one thing she will have this season as she becomes a more influential part of the community. “This season is a lot of fun because while last season was sort of about all of these things that got in the way of Norma and Norman. And achieving what they came to White Pine Bay for, achieving this dream– the season is very much about putting them in a position where they might actually get it,” Ehrin explained. “They might actually get what they want and the things that start to screw it up are more inside them.”

To that end, the series will be drawing on Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite trope: psychological deconstruction. Which in the cases of Norma and Norman cannot be a good thing.

Norma and Dylan

Norma and Norman’s relationship is dysfunctional, but at least there is an undercurrent of love. Norma’s relationship with her older son Dylan is complicated by distrust and a feeling, for Dylan at least, of being outside of the family. Farmiga gushed that she loves the dynamic between Norma and Dylan and according to her and Ehrin, there are exciting developments ahead for mother and son.

“He does have a longing for a family that he’s never had and he never has been inside of,” Ehrin teased. “And he very much is dealing with that this year. And him and Norma have a fascinating relationship this year. So many different orientations to it. It’s really amazing.”

Farmiga on Norma

Her character may be overprotective, prone to outbursts and more than a little damaged, but Farmiga loves not only playing Norma, but Norma herself. “I admire her tenacious love for her child,” Farmiga said. “She goes to extreme lengths to give her child the life that she imagines for him. And that is really valiant to me.”

As Farmiga sees it, Norma is a woman who is always “in the trenches of maternity.” Is it any wonder she goesa little mad sometimes?

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