If you caught the season-two finale of Bates Motel, you might still be recovering from that disturbing kiss between Norma (Vera Farmiga) and her teenage son Norman (Freddie Highmore), after she tries to convince him he didn’t commit yet another murder and just before he has to take a police polygraph test. Vulture caught up with Farmiga at A&E’s upfront last night to get her take on the kiss and the finale in general. “From my perspective, it’s pure desperation,” she told us. “Norma already has a skewed perspective of affection. And it’s the kiss that seals the deal. It’s a kiss of promise, ‘I will be by your side every step of the way.’ It’s this Athena/Minerva level of protection as a mother warrior. She had to plant something meaningful on this kid, and it happens in a kiss.”
Thanks to her intervention, Norman passes the test with flying colors — because of his blackouts, he can’t trust even his own recovered memories, but he does trust dear old Mom. “She’s going to tighten that choke hold she’s had on that leash of the umbilical cord,” Farmiga said. “I think she’s going to take even more control.” Standing in her way in season three could be “Uncle” Caleb, or, as Max Thieriot (who plays Norman’s half-brother, Dylan, Norma’s son from a different relationship) calls him, “Funcle Caleb.” What do you call your uncle who is also your father? What do you put on the Father’s Day card?
Whether the show’s endgame is going to lead us to Norman’s murder of Norma (following the set-up of Psycho), Farmiga said nothing is certain. “We have an incredible writer’s debt to Hitchcock,” she said. “We are borrowing the characterizations and those inevitable plot points. But I don’t see Norman going through a rehabilitation and becoming a counselor. Maybe we go to Montreal and start a doughnut shop? Probably not!” But if the writers need another twist, Thieriot has one handy. “I always joke and give Freddie [Highmore] crap. I tell him, I joke, ‘You’re going to die, and I’m going to take your name and persona, and I become Norman.’” Mother?