Freddie Highmore as Norman
“Bates Motel” Season 5 finds Norman (Highmore) leading a double life almost two years after the death of his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga). Cate Cameron/A&E

Norman is putting on a brave face when “Bates Motel” returns for its fifth and final season next month.

According to Deadline, Season 5 finds Norman (Freddie Highmore) leading a double life almost two years after Norma’s (Vera Farmiga) death. In public, Norman behaves as a joyful and well-adjusted member of the White Pine Bay community. But the orphan struggles at home as his violent blackouts become more frequent, and “Mother” (Farmiga) threatens to take him over completely.

While Norman is having difficulty living by himself, Dylan (Max Thieriot) and Emma (Olivia Cooke) are living a quiet life in Seattle. The two, however, eventually find themselves drawn back into Norman’s orbit. “[They] really did try to do the healthy thing and detach,” executive producer Kerry Ehrin told Yahoo TV. “One of the things that make ‘Bates Motel’ so relatable is that the family element is very real and grounded. It’s very hard in dysfunctional families to just walk away. So [for Dylan], it’s very much about dealing with things [he] finds out and being pulled back in.”

Romero (Nestor Carbonell), meanwhile, hungers for a chance to destroy Norman to avenge the death of his wife Norma. “He has a great arc,” Ehrin said of what’s next for Romero in Season 5. “Last season, we had the toughest guy in the world take his shell off and then get sucker punched when he lost Norma. He’s going to have a very extreme reaction to this, and what he feels he needs to do about it.”

While Season 5 features emotionally heavy storylines, Ehrin said that the final installment “is, in a way, the funniest, [with] the most dark comedy.” She added, “I would say it still somehow manages to be weirdly life affirming.”

“Bates Motel” Season 5 premieres on Monday, Feb. 20 at 10 p.m. EST on A&E.