Bates Motel Season 2 Interview: Max Thieriot and Kenny Johnson Talk Family Matters, Norman and More

Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 5 The Escape Artist (6)

Bates Motel dropped a huge bombshell on the Bates’ family in episode three of season two when it was revealed that Norma’s brother Caleb is also Dylan’s father. Two episodes later, the ramifications of Norma’s reveal are rocking Dylan, Norman, Caleb and Norma herself to their core. With all of the characters in a state of flux, TV Equals joined a conference call with the two actors at the center of it all, Max Thieriot (Dylan) and Kenny Johnson (Caleb). The guys discussed the twisted Bates’ family dynamics, what’s ahead in season two and much more. Check out the highlights below.

What’s Ahead for Dylan

Dylan is reeling from the news that he is a product of his uncle raping his mother, so much so that Thierot said Dylan is still in a state of semi-denial. “I think even still up to this point, he doesn’t want to believe that this is true, but deep down I think he knows — besides the resemblance and all the similarities and the traits — that this makes sense. And as much as it doesn’t, it does,” Thierot elaborated.

In many ways, having Norma reveal the truth will put Dylan’s life into perspective for him. It will make sense to him now why he has always felt like an outsider in his own family. As Thierot put it, Dylan thinks “maybe he was born out of hatred.” This is going to be a season of change for Dylan as he tries to move on from what is the “defining moment” in his life. Part of that moving on could lead to Dylan putting himself in danger. The drug war in the town are reaching a boiling point and Dylan is not in the best state of mind to be right in the middle of such a dangerous situation.

“It’s definitely a concern as to how he approaches situations now and if he goes in guns blazing trying to take on the world,” Thierot teased. “He’s already battled with having not a lot to live for throughout his life, and so this is another one of those things thrown in. And I think besides that, it’s always been a concern in his business, especially with the war that’s started going on between these two families. And as he’s climbing the ranks of his business, the higher you get on the totem pole, the more your head’s worth.”

Johnson and Thierot Talk Norman

While the horror behind Dylan’s parentage most closely affects Norma, Dylan and Caleb, it has also had a huge effect on Norman’s behavior as fans saw in “Check-Out.” Johnson had the opportunity to work alongside Freddie Highmore as Norman fully channeled Norma during a heated confrontation in Caleb’s hotel room. “He was able to filter that whole thing – which it really kind of stung me,” Johnson said. “And at the beginning, Caleb is looking at him like, what the hell is this kid talking about? And the more he got into information, the more I realized that he was filtering Norma through him, which was really intense and wild and a really tricky scene, I think, to play. But he did it beautifully, and Freddie’s one of those guys that commits a thousand percent in what he does.”

Meanwhile Thierot discussed the evolution of his onscreen brother and where Norman is heading after such a severe transition into Norma. Thierot noted there is “a constant battle of high school Norman and psycho Norman,” and he also emphasized how Norman’s constant edginess adds a sense of unease to scenes. “Freddie plays Norman on edge a lot of the time and he gets easily frustrated with other characters throughout the show, like Cody when he raises the tire iron or something at her. And he is constantly yelling and gets heated and it’s interesting because you never really know when he’s going to snap. But we do get to see him snap, so it’s this constant – is he going to lose it right here or what’s he going to do?”

Johnson on Playing Caleb

Taking on a role like Caleb is no easy task, but Johnson jumped at the chance to be on a show that he revealed he loved before he even joined the cast. “I love challenging roles, roles that maybe aren’t pretty when you look at it,” Johnson explained. “Obviously, the guy’s had sex with his sister, he’s got a son through her — that’s not a pretty picture, but then it brings up so much human exploration to who people really are, where they come from, and what if you really were in this situation.”

As to whether or not Caleb is redeemable on any level, Johnson is unsure. He certainly believes his character came to town looking for redemption (and loved bonding with Dylan, who he saw as a connection to his family), but in light of what he learned, forgiveness is almost certainly an impossibility.

“I would say – it’s funny how we view our childhoods and how people remember it. And some people take on these sides that something was so horrific and horrible and this other person was so bad to them, and the other person viewed it as something different. And again, I’ve got my own history between Francis and Ray — which are our parents — and ourselves growing up in Akron, Ohio, and then she’s got hers. And I’ve been away for twenty-four years and you think the past can go away, but sometimes it just sits there and haunts you until you face it.”

As for whether we will see Caleb again after his confrontation with Norman in the hotel, the actors tried to play coy, but the answer was a definite yes. However, this being Bates Motel, how likely is it that Caleb will be able to check out alive twice…

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A new episode of Bates Motel airs tonight, Monday, March 31st at 10pm on A&E.

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