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“Bates Motel” season four set to premiere March 7

By Chris Skarnulis, Arts and Entertainment Editor

“Bates Motel,” a television series that serves as a prequel to the events that occurred in the highly popular and iconic thriller film “Psycho,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, will make its return to TV screens on March 7. “Bates Motel” eases away from the plot of “Psycho” and instead centers around a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his stunning, as well as youthful and alive mother Norma Bates (Vera Famiga) as they move and purchase a motel in White Pine Bay, Oregon. This is a “fresh start” from the disastrous life they left behind. It’s the evolution story of how Bates became the psychotic serial killer that he’s portrayed as in “Psycho.”

Bates Motel
A young Norman Bates evolves into a notorious serial killer in “Bates Motel.”

Season one opened with Norman Bates and Norma Bates as they move to Oregon in the midst of Norman’s father’s accidental death. Following the purchase of the Bates Motel, Norman and Norma Bates adjust to the vibrant town life that is White Pine Bay. As Norman adjusts to a new environment surrounded by new obstacles such as school and his personal demons, trouble begins and unfortunate events plague the Bates family. Norma is surprisingly raped by the former owner of the motel and Dylan, (Max Thieriot) Norman’s half-brother, shows up in need of a place to stay. Things get interesting when the Bates’ discover that the town’s commerce is made through the marijuana distribution business. As Dylan becomes more involved in the business, Norman’s mental stability and dependability on his mother begins to rise, leading to erratic behavior.

Season two picked up where season one left off, with the family becoming closer and more acquainted with one another. As Dylan moves up the ranks of the business, the attention of White Pine Bays’ Sheriff Deputy Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) is caught as the behavior of the business’ hierarchy becomes increasingly dangerous. In need of restoration of order for the survival of White Pine Bay, Dylan and Romero team up to combat the issues of rival gangs and mobsters to ensure peace. Meanwhile, Norman becomes friends with a fellow student, Cody Brennan (Paloma Kwiatkowski) while working on the town’s community theater play.

As Norman and Cody bond, Norma feels threatened by their friendship, and has several mental breakdowns. It doesn’t help either that Norma’s estranged brother; Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) appears out of the blue looking for hospitality. It’s revealed that Calhoun serial raped Norma at a young age, and has maintained no contact since.

Due to Dylan’s connections, Norman becomes a prime suspect in the murder of one of the drug leader’s mistresses, and events escalate from there.

Following a series of loose ends, that had yet to be resolved by the end of season two; season three portrays Norman as he becomes more unstable. He begins practicing unhealthy behaviors, such as sleeping in his mothers’ bedroom every night, refusing to go to public school and never leaving his house. He also begins having serious hallucinations where he acts as his mother, has moments of violence that spur him into someone he never thought he’d become with consistent daily blackouts. As Dylan bonds more closely with Calhoun, Dylan and Norma’s relationship deteriorates, leaving a family divided. Even more insane events transpire that involve Norman and his surrounding friends and fifamily. Death seems to plague the Bates family, and continued to do so by the finale.

Season four is expected to draw from the same format as the previous three seasons. With more killings and a crazier Norman Bates than ever before, this season is sure to be just as wild a ride as the previous have proven to be. Be sure to tune in to Bates Motel on A&E on March 7 at 9 p.m.