The producers over at A&E are not fucking around with the final season of BATES MOTEL and this rollercoaster of a series is on full force already with these first two episodes.  The show was always an if and when the events of PSYCHO are going to take place and if we were ever going to witness the death of Norma Bates.  Well, season four killed off our favorite mother and now we are taken a full ride into an alternate version of events where Norma still exists, but only in the mind of her son.

Norman makes it known to the currently incarcerated Alex Romero that he’s survived Alex’s hitman and will not go down without a fight.  Alex, however, is hell bent on revenge and won’t let prison bars keep him from coming back to White Pine Bay.  He gets himself into a prison fight which conveniently provides him with the opportunity to transfer out.

Norman lies to Norma about his whereabouts when he agrees to a double date with Madeline Loomis. While Madeline is the one he wants, she’s already married and is trying to hook him up with her web designer friend.  My theory on who Madeline’s husband is was spot on from the premiere as it turns out he is not only Sam Loomis (gasp!), but a guest of the Bates Motel under the alias David Davidson who likes to spend a few hours with a woman who is not Madeline.  This creates some great tension between the two men when they realize who the other is, insinuating some potential drama that will escalate as the season goes on.  Norman keeps Sam’s secret to himself, but will clearly use this to this advantage to help woo Madeline.

Caleb, Norman’s uncle and Dylan’s dad, heads back to White Pine Bay only to the news that his sister passed by supposedly due to suicide.  Of course, Caleb knows better as he’s been aware of Norman’s instability.  After an encounter with Chick at a bar, Caleb heads to the motel to confront Norman and instead stumbles onto Norma’s frozen body.  He gets knocked down by Norman dressed as her, but we get the ultimate treat when it turns out that Chick has been watching the whole thing and gets to conversate with Norman as Mother.

Speaking of Mother, Vera Farmiga really gets to have some fun as a dead woman who can’t go anywhere.  She picks up smoking and attempts to learn French to help make the days pass as Norman leaves her alone for several hours at a time.  The lines blur as Norman’s reality isn’t always clear which makes BATES MOTEL that much more fun to watch.  One great scene features Norman as Mother, walking into a bar and sharing a conversation with a bartender about the stress of her day.  The scene is edited to feature both Farmiga and Freddie Highmore as Mother, creating a unique sequence that I hope has plenty more in store for the season. Seeing Mother in public keeps us on the edge as these are the few moments when Norman in unaware of what he is doing and maybe those around him aren’t as well.

Chick has known since season four that Norman hasn’t been exactly normal since Norma’s death, but carries an open mind.  Chick has clearly experienced his own demons (what is that notebook he keeps writing in?) and looks like he is willing to literally sit down with Mother during next week’s episode which will for sure be another great episode.  Dylan and Emma only got a couple moments of screen time tonight, but I’m anxious to see when they’ll finally find out about what’s been going on back home.  They both really need more to do and hope they don’t sit on the sidelines for too much of the final season.

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