While it can be considered a prequel to the Psycho film franchise, Bates Motel has truly ended up carving out its own unique identity over the course of its four season run. In addition to transplanting the story from Fairvale, California to White Pine Bay, Oregon, Bates Motel has also introduced countless interesting original characters into the mix, each with their own goals and motivations. While the unhealthily close relationship between future serial killer Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) has certainly remained the overarching focus of the series, viewers are just as likely to be drawn in by the trials and tribulations endured by Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) or Norman's brother Dylan (Max Thieriot).
The above differences aside though, it never stopped being clear that the Bates family journey was leading to one inevitable event: the murder of Norma Bates by her son. The exact circumstances and motivations involved may have changed, but there was no way Norma was going to survive this series. With Bates Motel now headed into its fifth and final season, that trigger has finally been pulled; Norma met her untimely demise near the end of season 4. Of course - as any viewer of Psycho can attest - the death of Norma is by no means the end of her story, or her son's.
To continue the growing level of hype for Bates Motel's final batch of episodes, A&E has released a quartet of new posters for season 5, which debuted over on IGN. Likely to send a creepy chill down the spine of many, the posters shine a spotlight on the unbreakable bond between Norman and Norma, a bond indeed so strong that not even the grave can separate them. Check all four out in the gallery below.
[vn_gallery name="Bates Motel Season 5 Posters" id="884682"]
In an interesting twist on the Psycho formula, Norman appears to be keeping his mother on ice, enabling her to be much better preserved than the long-since desiccated skeleton found by Lila Crane at the end of Hitchcock's original classic. Of course, to Norman, she's still alive and well, as he can't bear to part with her. And as any student of pop culture history knows, "Mother" is sure to make an appearance once wayward traveler Marion Crane (now played by pop star Rihanna) eventually checks in to her final residence.
One new wrinkle not present in the film franchise's continuity is that this time out, the murdered Norma has a surviving husband, that being Romero. While he was last seen being arrested by the DEA for perjury in the season 4 finale, actor Carbonell has not left the series, and is fact expected to direct an episode in season 5. Thus, one presumes Romero's involvement in the Bates family storyline is far from over, which could very well spell trouble for Norman, as the now former Sheriff is already intent on proving the young man's guilt.
Bates Motel season 5 premieres February 20 on A&E.