After 4 seasons and 40 episodes, A&E's Bates Motel is preparing to finish up world-building and get downright Psycho. With Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) now...indisposed, the door is open for budding serial killer Norman (Freddie Highmore) to become more and more like the charming hotel owner that Anthony Perkins brought in life in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic. Norman is now on his own - mostly - and for the first time 100 percent responsible for the chaos that tends to happen around him, whether he always realizes it or not.
While less a straight prequel to Psycho than an alternate universe variation on the events that might have shaped Norman into the murderer he became, in many ways, Bates Motel has ended up being the successor to Hitchcock's film that fans had always wanted. While the three Psycho sequels - all of which Perkins returned for - have their fans, no one has ever really argued that they lived up to the original, becoming more like sleazy slasher movies than the taut suspense masterpiece Hitchcock created. Plus, the less said about Gus Van Sant's woefully misguided 1998 remake, the better.
As the anticipation for Bates Motel's upcoming fifth and final season continues to build, A&E - via EW - has released a brand new trailer for the season (watch it above), along with the first official images of pop star Rihanna as legendary Psycho character Marion Crane. In the film, Marion has just stolen a large sum of money from her boss, and stops off at the titular motel while on her way to meet up with boyfriend Sam Loomis, only to meet her demise in the shower. The TV version of Marion will have a different backstory, but will catch the eye of Norman nonetheless.
Bates show runner Kerry Ehrin offered the following insights into this new take on Marion:
"We’re taking threads of that story and definitely using them so it’s recognizable, it’s just where we go with it is very different. It’s tough to be in a situation where you’re in love with a guy, and for whatever reason, he keeps stalling. You still have all this hot sex with him, and he’s saying he loves you, but he’s stalling. The internal story of that, for a woman, is a really interesting one. We never really got to see that. In Psycho, you just see the outside of that more. It was trying to do a story about a contemporary woman with some edge, with some expectations, who isn’t perfect, who isn’t always perfectly sweet, who is in that situation, but we’re rooting for her to get what she wants.”
"Norman is in an incredibly intense and interesting place that we’ve built him to when that sequence of episodes starts. It’s this collision of Bates Motel storytelling and then Marion Crane showing up into that. He’s in a very fragile and lonely place, and Marion Crane is a charismatic woman, she’s super present when she’s with him and she’s very attractive — all those things are exactly what he needs right at this moment."
Outside of Rihanna's Marion, the above trailer also grants fans their first look at a visibly older looking Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell), who ended season four by being carted off by the DEA for his role in helping former White Pine Bay head criminal Bob Paris maintain his grip on the town.
Season five begins about 18 months after those events, and Romero - who presumably has been in prison ever since - is sporting shockingly gray hair and lots of stubble, although his determination to get revenge on Norman for what happened to his now former wife Norma is clearly unabated. One wonders how he'll manage to get out of his current predicament and take the law into his own hands. However he manages to do it, Norman better watch out, as Romero has repeatedly shown himself as a man it's best not to trifle with.
Bates Motel season 5 premieres Monday, February 20.