[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE LATEST BATES MOTEL!!!!]
Tonight’s Bates Motel had a whopper of a twist in the final moments: Dylan’s father is…his mother’s brother! Yep, according to Norma (Vera Farmiga), her bro Caleb (Kenny Johnson) is Dylan’s dad. This will likely not end well so we talked to Motel EP Carlton Cuse about this major development.
EW: Tonight’s big reveal was that Caleb is the father of Dylan. Did you all plan that from the start of the series?
CARLTON CUSE: Like most good creative ideas they evolve and they grow richer over time. Back when I first discussed the show with A&E I mentioned with them that I would love to add a brother character number one because I thought it would be great to have a window of normalcy to look out at Norma and Norman through the perspective of this other guy. Also, it just felt like this dynamic of this other brother kind of creating triangulation in the family dynamic would be super great. Kerry Ehrin and I put flesh and bone on the Dylan character and I think as we started writing him and developing him and actually watching him and seeing how hurt and damaged he was being this sort of third wheel in this family, it felt like a natural progression to try and explain that and deepen our understanding of how that happened. Then, honestly, it was Vera who sent us the idea and thought What if we do this. Kerry and Vera and I all talked about it. It just was one of those things that “Oh this completely makes sense.” It was all kind of sitting on the table and then it all kind of fell into place.
So where will this storyline go?
I think it has incredibly powerful consequences for Dylan. It’s just such a horrible revelation for his self-worth. It really sort of spins him into a dark place in concert with the fact that he’s unwittingly found himself right in the middle of this crazy drug family. I think those two things spiral on top of each other. That’s what we’re following for the rest of the season: the downward spiral of Dylan. I’ve talked before about how the thematic of this season is, Who am I? Now that Dylan gets this really horrible answer to this question, now he’s dealing with the consequences of it. It’s really an opportunity for Max Thieriot to shine. It goes to some pretty twisty places over the course of the season. The event kind of catalyzes his event for the rest of the season.
Will we meet Norma’s parents?
We’ve had conversations about other family members but this is kind of as far as its goes. You can’t take too many Bates relatives at one time.
Kenny Johnson is sorta perfect because he looks like Max.
I think he looks remarkably like him. If you took Max Thieriot and just led a hard and dissolute life for 20 years, he would look just like Kenny Johnson. It was sort of the brilliance of April Webster, our fantastic casting director, who found Kenny. I knew Kenny because he was on The Shield and The Shield was done by Shawn Ryan. I gave Shawn Ryan his first job on Nash Bridges and Shawn and I are friends. Shawn had extolled how amazing Kenny was and how fantastic he was an actor. We just jumped at the opportunity for him to join our show.
We’re also meeting Michael Vartan’s character. He seems so nice. Is that even possible on Bates Motel?
Well, that’s really the question: Is Norma capable of having a relationship with a nice, normal person? I think this is a problem for a lot of people in life in general. There’s definitely a lot of people who kind of just don’t choose well when it comes to relationships because they’re sort of drawn to qualities that don’t tend to go with people who turn out to be nice guys or gals. I think Norma in some way is being handed the life she wants on a silver plate and will it work out.
This was probably the most shocking episode so far. Are there more twists to come?
Yeah, there are some other surprises coming up this season. I think that’s kind of the fun of the show. This is not like a small nuanced cable drama where one thing happens. The story telling is intentionally pretty full-throttle. There’s a bunch of other stuff that happens.