“Bates Motel” captured the attention of viewers this season with storylines surrounding murder, town politics, drugs and love. But there's one thing that the sophomore season has really been focusing on: “What is wrong with Norman?”
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! Do NOT continue reading unless you watched episode 9 of “Bates Motel.”]
“Who am I, mother?” Norman asks in one of the Season 2 promo videos. “Who am I and what do I do?”
Norma appears to be the only one who knows the answers Norman is seeking, yet little clues throughout the season -- like the blackouts, flashbacks and murder -- have put some fans minds on overdrive. So, what is wrong with Norman? According to executive producer Kerry Ehrin, Norman suffers from dissociative identity disorder.
“It’s very much activated by stress,” Ehrin explained to Entertainment Weekly. “It comes out of children who are repeatedly traumatized, either sexually traumatized or live in a very violent environment. They’re basically repeatedly scared over and over and over again as children to the extent that they literally retreat into themselves and they pull out a different personality that they can put forward to go deal with whatever is scaring them to death.”
Fans will remember that Norman didn’t exactly have a wonderful home life when his father was alive (although he now seems to have blocked that out). In Season 1 viewers saw that Norman’s father was physically and verbally abusive to Norma. One day the abuse was so extreme that Norman retreated into himself, and in his blacked-out state killed his father. Norma covered up the death, and to this day Norman still doesn’t know the part he played in the death of his dad.
A flashback earlier in Season 2 exposed more of Norman’s troubled childhood. While hiding with Cody in a closet to avoid her drunk father, Norman remembered a similar situation when he was a toddler. Norma was forced to hide with him and pretended to play a quiet game until his father found them in a fit of rage.
The flashbacks were revealing, but the real jaw dropper about Norman occurred in episode 9, “The Box.” For those that missed the episode, Norman was locked in a box in the woods after getting kidnapped by Nick Ford. The fear of being locked in the box overnight with bugs leads him to have hallucination-like visions of his mother, who tells him that everything would be OK. But that’s not the first time he had a hallucination of Norma. The trauma of being locked in the box leads Norman to remember what happened the night of the school dance … the night Miss Watson died.
Norman had previously blocked it out, but Miss Watson did seduce him the night she took him to her home. The event must have been traumatizing to Norman, because he tried to forget about it by hallucinating a conversation with his mother. As Norman and Miss Watson had sex, Norman envisioned Norma telling him that he knows what he has to do. And that lead Norman to cut Miss Watson’s throat with a knife while he was on top of her.
According to Ehrin, the confinement stimulated the dissociative identity disorder, allowing the memories to “leak through.” And because of these memories, Norman will be a changed man going into the Season 2 finale of “Bates Motel.”
“It’s going to give him an awareness of himself,” Kerry Ehrin continued to EW. “He doesn’t know for a fact that this all happened, but he believes that it happened, and he’s never had that before. I mean Norman is basically a nice person. He’s basically a good kid who has this side of himself that he doesn’t know about. He senses it on some level that he’s not totally typical, but he’s never had anything like an actual memory of the violence that he was involved in, so it’s a huge thing for him.”
[Click HERE to check out the synopsis and promo video for episode 10, the season finale of “Bates Motel.”]
Watch the Season 2 finale of “Bates Motel” when it airs on A&E on May 5 at 10 p.m. EDT. What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments section or send a tweet to @AmandaTVScoop.