I don't know about you guys, but I am beyond stoked for the return of 'Bates Motel' on A&E, which kicks off its 2nd Season on March 3rd. As a die-hard Psycho fanatic (hell, I made a documentary about the entire original franchise), the funnest part of the show for me has been seeing what direction they take this new version of the story. By setting it in modern day and changing a few key aspects from the original movie, they've already created a unique new mythology and universe for these characters to flourish in. And because of that, anything goes! We're in new territory from this point on.
So while I have no true insight into what the writers have planned for this new season, I thought it'd be fun to hypothetically toss out the names of a few characters we've gotten to know from the movie franchise that would be exciting to see make appearances on the show. I mean, if you look at something like say 'Smallville' (which when Bates Motel first aired was being referred to as a "Smallville meets Twin Peaks"), they always managed to weave in people and characters that were prominent in Superman's life as an adult into their prequel story. Perry White, Lois Lane, even several villains such as Zod, Doomsday & Brainiac for example. So why not do the same for 'Bates Motel?'
I'm fairly confident none of these will ever come to be, but wouldn't it be cool if these characters did show up? Without further adieu, here's 6 'Psycho' franchise characters we'd love to see on 'Bates Motel.'
Detective Arbogast (Played by Martin Balsam in 'Psycho')
In the original 'Psycho,' a private detective named Arbogast is hired by Marion Crane's sister Lila to try to track down her fugitive sister in an attempt to get her to return the money she stole from her boss so that they don't have to involve the authorities. The trail leads to the Bates Motel where Arbogast and Norman Bates have a confrontation which leads to the P.I. falling victim to mother's infamous chef knife, not to mention taking a huge tumble down those stairs. Ouch! One of the stand out moments from Alfred Hitchcock's film is the intense interrogation scene between Anthony Perkins and Martin Balsam. I often cite this particular scene as an example of acting at its absolute finest. And in his short time on screen, Arbogast proved to be a sharp, witty, intelligent, likable character, who very closely solved the puzzle of Marion's disappearance before his untimely demise. Considering that on 'Bates Motel,' the entire town is much more involved in the criminal activity that keeps it's economy thriving, wouldn't it be fun to see Arbogast strut into town and start digging into the secrets of White Town Bay? He could even be an outside private investigator that Sheriff Romero brings in when there's certain things that fall out of police (meaning "legal") jurisdiction. I say bring in Arbogast!
Emma Spool (Played by Claudia Bryar in 'Psycho II')
OK, stay with me here. In the movie timeline, when Norman Bates is released from an institution 22 years after being committed, a new series of murders starts taking place in and around the Bates Motel. Turns out that the culprit was Miss Emma Spool, the sweet old waitress over at Stahl's Diner where Norman worked briefly. Turns out Norma Bates maiden name was Spool and Emma is Norma Bates' sister! She claims to be Norman's biological mother, but it's revealed in 'Psycho III' that she was mentally ill and insanely jealous of her sister Norma and her husband. In the film mythology, she allegedly murdered Norman's biological father and was herself institutionalized. Granted, this flip-flopping of who Norman's mother really is gets a bit confusing, but I like the idea of another insanely jealous older woman fixating on Norman. We already saw Norman's father die in the first season (was it his biological father though? We have yet to meet Dylan's dad.) but that doesn't mean we can't meet Norma's long lost slightly off balance sister! Rumor has it, her abusive brother whom she mentioned in Season 1's final episode may appear in Season 2.
Chet Rudolph (Played by Thomas Schuster in 'Psycho IV: The Beginning')
As we learn at the end of 'Psycho,' Norman is in fact the one that killed his own mother by poisoning her and her lover's tea with strychnine. Riddled with guilt over what he'd done, he assumed a split personality, that of his jealous deceased mother. In 'Psycho IV: The Beginning,' we actually see this all play out. First Norma's extremely demanding and very questionable closeness with her son. And then she meets a bartender named Chet that she plans on moving into the house and making a co-owner of the Bates Motel. The relationship that his mother has with this man is the final straw that drives Norman Bates over the edge. It's inevitable that the show's endgame will be Norman killing his mother. So whenever they're ready to let that scenario play out, let's hope they stick with the movie continuity and let Chet be the catalyst!
Tracy Venable (Played by Roberta Maxwell in 'Psycho III')
In 'Psycho III,' Tracy Venable is the tenacious reporter who tries to get Norman Bates view on what it's like to face everyday life as a known convicted murderer, although in actuality, her motivations definitely seem more skewed towards sensationalism. After all, when we meet her, she's a slightly older reporter and probably trying to get that one last great story that she can parlay into a book deal. And so she stays on top of Bates and eventually uncovers the truth about Emma Spool, his mother and Norman himself. Much like Arbogast, it might be interesting to drop this persistent reporter in the middle of White Pine Bay. The town has a lot of darkness just underneath the surface and it'd be an interesting way to unlock some of those secrets through the eyes of an outside journalist.
Dr. Richmond (Played by Simon Oakland in 'Psycho,' Warren Frost in 'Psycho IV: The Beginning')
Dr. Richmond is a pivotal character in the 'Psycho' franchise in the sections we don't get to see, in between the movies. He's the doctor at the end of the original film that explains Norman's condition and how he ended up the way he is. In 'Psycho IV: The Beginning,' we meet him again when he's on a radio talk show where the topic is matricide and we learn that for years after his capture, he treated Norman Bates. Having a psychologist on the show might be a cool way for us to break down specifically what makes a lot of these characters tick. They flirted with the idea of a therapist, both for Norman and Norma in the first season, but what if Dr. Richmond was in town and consulted with Sheriff Romero on a regular basis over criminal cases? What if he spots something inherent in Norman upon first meeting him, ala Dr. Loomis did with Michael Myers in 'Halloween?' Lots of potential!
Marion Crane (Played by Janet Leigh in 'Psycho')
Last but certainly not least would be Norman Bates most famous victim, Marion Crane. Now, if the murder of Mother isn't in fact the endgame and instead something they're saving for the final season, well then when Marion Crane pulls up to the hotel is when the show should call it quits! Although, I think it'd be interesting if 'Bates Motel' eventually caught up with the story of 'Psycho' and continued on a new, different path from there. Even if we meet Marion in a completely different context like say as a teen runaway and potential love interest for Norman? The point being she's a very prominent character tied into who Norman Bates is in the cinematic interpretations, so why not bring her in as the lynchpin that pushes Norman towards his inevitable dark destiny?
What do you think? Could these characters work in the context of 'Bates Motel?' Is there anyone else you'd like to see? I mean, Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey) would be amazing but by the show's timeline, he probably hasn't even been born yet. Althought the guitar toting wanna be rock star would make for an interesting friend of Dylan's perhaps? Who would you like to see appear on 'Bates Motel?'