If you haven't been watching Bates Motel -- A&E's wildly addictive prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's iconic thriller Psycho --we think you might be insane. But don't worry, you still have plenty of time to jump aboard the crazy train!
Season 3, which premieres Monday night, March 9 at 9 p.m., is the perfect opportunity for new fans to get to know the twisted drama, and for loyal fans to witness the full awakening of Norman's (Freddie Highmore) terrifying inner-demons.
ETonline had an exclusive chat with showrunner Kerry Ehrin to get the inside scoop on what's ahead for television's most dysfunctional mother-son duo, and why season 3 is the perfect time for new fans to check into Bates Motel.
Before fans tune into Monday's season 3 premiere, what is the one thing you want audiences to know?
Kerry Ehrin: Our goal has been to hone into the meatier part of the storytelling. We all knew when we started the project what the shape was that came with the mythology, so I think this season we're closer to the more urgent part of the storytelling. But at the same time, still keeping the characters real and compelling and honest as human beings. We're just telling the best stories that we can within that framework and I think we're really excited about the outcome.
Tonight's season 3 premiere almost felt like a re-introduction to these characters that we've come to know. Do you think this is a season that new fans can jump into?
KE: Yes, I do and I love that you're framing it that way. I think that's absolutely accurate. I think this is the time to get on the train because it's going to some really exciting places.
For all the new fans out there, what are the basic plot-points that they need to know, in order to keep up if they are first-time watchers in season 3?
KE: Well, there are a lot of plot elements that are in the first two seasons, but I think the important part of going into the third season is realizing that Norman is beginning to have an awareness that there is a dark part in him that he does not understand, and that he is not fully in control of. He's incredibly close with his mother, and they almost have a co-dependent, dysfunctional romance you could call it. It isn't based on anything physical, but it's based on a very great need that they have for each other emotionally in their lives. This [closeness] has kept Norma from being able to clearly see who her son is, and I think this season is about when the Earth starts moving under them. Things are shaking up, things are shaking down, the truth is starting to emerge, and it's fascinating to watch it unwind.
For the first two seasons Norma (Vera Farmiga) has been frustratingly out-of-the-loop when it comes to her son. Will she still be in denial in season 3?
KE: Norma is definitely becoming more aware and I think she has in many ways become stronger from everything she's had to endure and overcome for the last two seasons, and really for her whole life. I think she's in a place now where she can no longer hide from the truth. Vera has described it in the past where Norma has a vault inside of her where she just stuffs things that she doesn't want to think about or look at. The imagery I think for this season is that stuff is starting to seep out of the vault. She can't keep it down any more.
Freddy has perfected the chillingly creepy smile. Is he just as terrifying on set as he is on screen?
KE: Freddy, I have to say, is one of the dearest people alive so at this point it's almost funny when I see him do the evil face. He definitely taps into something. I don't know from where it comes because you certainly do not see it in his everyday life, but I think that's why he's such an amazing talent. He just has an ability to tap into these places in him that you just would never imagine this nice kid has in him.
ETonline has the pleasure of sharing an exclusive first look at season 3, and it shows that Norman's best friend, Emma (Olivia Cooke),looking terrified in his house. What can you tease about this frightening scene?
KE: Emma is finding out something that is breaking her heart.
What is the one thing you are most excited for Bates Motel fans to see this season?
KE: There's just some amazing episodes this season. I feel like the storytelling just keeps getting better and better and I feel like the whole production this year everyone is so on their A-game. There's a huge storyline that pays off in the middle of the season that is hugely emotional for Norma and for Dylan (Max Theiriot) as well and I think that's a real turning point in the story telling.
Season three of Bates Motel premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on A&E.
To help get you even more prepared for tonight's all-new episode of Bates Motel, take a look at this haunting sneak peek promo below!