When we last visited BATES MOTEL at the end of Season 1, it ended with the brutal murder of Ms. Watson (Keegan Connor Tracy). Season 2 picks up right afterwards as Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) find out about her death, and their subsequent fears about who may ultimately be responsible. Norma has that uneasy feeling that her son may somehow be involved and yet wants to believe him incapable of that kind of violence – again. It was one thing for Norman to have killed his own father in a fugue state, but what could have compelled Norman to kill one of his favorite teachers? It seems unfathomable.
Fortunately, as the mystery surrounding Ms. Watson’s death unfolds, more than one suspect emerges when it is discovered that Ms. Watson had a private life that may have exposed her to greater danger than one would think for a mere high school teacher.
Then in Dylan’s (Max Thieriot) seemingly unconnected world of the underground marijuana industry in White Pine Bay, there is a power shift afoot that makes things a lot more uncertain and risky for him as well. Two new vying power brokers make a play for control of the weed industry and Dylan seems caught-up in the crosshairs.
As if murder, rampant crime and a rising drug industry were not enough to preoccupy the entire Bates family, a few other surprises arrive on their doorstep. There are new love interests for everyone. In fact, love is in the air.
Season 2 maybe about the heightened danger swirling all around, but it also about the need for human connection and the craving to be a part of a family. While people seem to sense that something is not entirely right with Norma and Norman, they cannot help but be drawn into their world; for there is an innate seductiveness about them that draws them in. For example, Emma and Sheriff Romero know all to well that it is wiser to keep the Bates at arms’ length, but the illusion of normalcy and love that Norma and Norman exude brings them closer. Like leaning in to feel the heat of a flame – it feels warm and inviting, until you get to close and get burned. Even Dylan seems in denial about the oddity of his own family.
So caught up in the Bates’ irresistible lure for Season 2 are newcomers: Caleb Calhoun (Norma’s estranged brother, portrayed by Kenny Johnson), George Heldens (Norma’s new love interest, portrayed by Michael Vartan), Cody Brennan (Norman’s new wild-child friend, portrayed by Paloma Kwiatowski), and Jodi Wilson (a business woman with an agenda, portrayed by Kathleen Robertson).
At last week’s premiere event, the cast took a few minutes to preview what Season 2 holds for their characters:
Unable to resist talking about the blossoming romances of Season 2, star Vera Farmiga responded to the question of whether she thought Norma was ready for love by saying that she thought Norma had never been loved the right way before and deserves it. She thinks that Norma’s craving for love is coming out in weird ways with Norman as he is everything to her — he is her confidante and her protector. So Norma is aching to fine love in another man. Then as to watch catches Norma’s eye with the new man who enters her life in Season 2, George Hendens, Vera said that George is everything Norma wants and everything she thinks will make her happy. Plus, Vera added: Michael Vartan is so good that she wants Norma to spend more time with him.
To which Michael Vartan laughingly said that Norma gives George a run for his money. His character George is introduced in episode 3, where he and Norma are introduced at a party. George then spends the rest of the season trying to seduce Norma. Interestingly, in response to the question of whether George senses something a little off with Norma and Norman, Michael admitted that George is clueless in the beginning, but as time goes on he senses that Norma and Norman have unique and peculiar relationship. As for what will fans love about George, Michael said that George may be the only genuinely nice guy in the entire BATES MOTEL universe.
Then looking at the potential new romance for Dylan, Max Thieriot admitted that Dylan’s love life is heating up and that there is a mysterious blonde woman with whom Dylan strikes up an interesting relationship, but which may be forbidden. So be on the look out for her a couple episodes into Season 2.
Co-star Kathleen Robertson is portraying newcomer Jodi Morgan in Season 2, and she is a drug lord who kind of runs the entire town. Kathleen described Jodi as complicated, beautiful and damaged woman. She also teased that Jodi’s relationship with Dylan is messy and inappropriate fun. Despite being an unconventional business woman, Kathleen loves the fact that Jodi is essentially trying to be a good person amidst the chaos and tries to do the right thing.
The theme of Season 2 was best described by co-star Nestor Carbonell who said it was the downward turn of Norman Bates and beginnings of his psychosis nestled amongst all these characters’ searching for family — every one of them is searching for some familial center for their lives. They are each a little bit lost and that pushes them to gravitate towards each other. Nestor also mentioned that in Episode 5 that there is a big twist where everyone’s lives begin to collide. As for what Sheriff Romero thinks of Norman, Nestor revealed that Romero is a naturally suspicious guy and he sees something in Norman that is not quite right. Yet Romero has affection for both Norman and Norma, and he sees the two trouble souls on this island in this town who are so ostracized that he feels a level of compassion for them.
Also joining BATES MOTEL in the second season is Kenny Johnson, who portrays Norma’s estranged brother Caleb. After the revelation of the horrible things that Caleb did to Norman in their childhood, it is curious that Kenny would want to portray such a dark character. Yet Kenny laughingly admitted that he thought the show’s characters were so awesome and layered that he was immediately drawn to them. He loves that there is no boundaries and are so complex. As to what will Caleb think of his nephew Norman, Kenny said that Caleb mostly sees Norman as a kid and has no judgments of him. Yet there is a point where Caleb may have an inkling that not is all okay with Norman.
So Season 2 is all about which of the characters will really begin to see the inner Norman Bates and the threat he poses, or if their willingness to overlook his eccentricities will blind them to his true nature.
To see how all these characters’ quests for love and family ensnares them all, be sure to tune in for the Season 2 premiere of BATES MOTEL on Monday, March 3rd at 9:00 p.m. on A&E.