“Mother oh God Mother, blood!”
The scream uttered by Norman Bates in the horror movie Psycho. Bates Motel came to television in 2013 as a prequel to the 1960’s horror flick from Alfred Hitchcock. The purpose of the series is to show the viewers everything that took place previously that led to the woman killing psycho we know today.
Set in present day, we bear witness to how Norman Bates truly came to be. Actor Freddie Highmore does a brilliant job playing this very complex character. With temper tantrums, blackouts, and even a murderous appetite, Norman Bates switches into the personality of his mother Norma Bates to carry out such abominable acts.
The question that lingers in the mind of the viewer is, how did this sweet natured boy turn into the killer he is in the Psycho movie? The answer: his mother. Bates Motel shows the loving, supportive but unhealthy mother-son relationship between its key characters. Though White Pine Bay has its own secrets to reveal, the secrets behind closed doors of the Bates home are by far more intriguing.
Covering up the murder of his father, claiming suicide, Norma Bates does what any loving mother would do for their child. Protect them. Failing to report his blackouts to a physician, Norma fails to see the danger her beloved son poses. Through constant denial about his abilities to do wrong to the police, doctors, and even his half-brother Dylan, Norma tries to believe her self-made lie that Norman will be alright as long as she is able to protect him. After all, what loving mother would give up her child to the proper authorities for something he or she has no control over?
At the end of season two of Bates Motel, Norman shockingly surprised viewers by passing the polygraph test Sheriff Romero had him take in hopes of finding out if he had really killed his high school teacher Miss Watson. Psychologically suppressing his guilt to pass the polygraph, had shown how crafty and mentally ill this young man really is.
The new fourth season starts with Norman waking up in a field talking to the psychological phantasm of his mother. Norman falls under the misguided thought of protecting his mother to assuage the guilt of the horrible act of killing Bradley Martin at the end of season three. A confrontation between mother and son in season two came to a very intense point when Norman asked his mother the mind-boggling question of his existence. What really happens when he has his blackouts? Being the protective mother she has always tried to be to her son, Norma lies to Norman telling him that nothing happens during his blackouts.
It is still uncertain as to whether Norman had created this personality of his mother intentionally to deal with the things he’s being protected from said mother. Throughout the show, we see Norma trying to protect her son from the horrible truth. That when he has his blackouts he kills, and Norman trying to protect his mother from the horrible things he thinks she does, which is also killing. The alter ego of his mother that Norman psychologically transforms into is a very protective person. A person or mother in this case who will do anything it takes to protect herself and her son from the horrors of the world. This has been seen on several occasions, with the killing of Miss Watson and Bradley Martin, as mother saw them unfit for her son. Then most recently when Norman was in a therapy session in the currently running season with Dr. Edwards, begging him not to let her precious Norman remember the abuse she endured from his alcoholic father. Telling him that if he doesn’t let up she would have to take matters into her own hands.
Bates Motel gave viewers false hope that when pushed to her limit, a desperate Norma with the aid of Sheriff Romero, gets Norman admitted into psychiatric care. This, however, did not last long and as of two weeks ago viewers saw the release of Norman from the mental clinic he was admitted into.
So what lies ahead for the viewers of this nail-biting fourth series? Will the Oedipus-like close relationship between mother and son be strong enough to survive the future events they would both inevitably face? This can only be answered by the continued viewing of the show.
After all, mother knows best, and more importantly, she wouldn’t even harm a fly…