Bates Motel: The Cast Teases What’s in Store for Dylan, Romero, Emma and Caleb

by Clarissa / March 9, 2015

While Norma and Norman’s relationship is the center of Bates Motel, there’s no denying that four other characters — Romero, Emma, Dylan and Caleb — all play important parts in this show. And, in fact, each of them will be returning in the upcoming third season and their relationships with each other — and with Norma and Norman — will all be crucial to the ongoing storyline. Dylan and Romero’s budding business partnership, Emma’s inclusion in the Bates family and Caleb’s desire to get to know his son will all be explored in upcoming episodes.

During a visit to the Bates Motel set in Vancouver, we spoke with Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett), Olivia Cooke (Emma Decody), Nestor Carbonell (Sheriff Alex Romero), Kenny Johnson (Caleb Calhoun) and Kerry Ehrin (Executive Producer) about what’s in store for their various characters in season 3.

Will Dylan Fill the Void at the Top of the Drug Void? With the two rival families who ran White Pine Bay’s drug business now broken down, Thieroit said “I think obviously we left off in kind of a really interesting situation because it’s a big question in the town [who will step up to fill the void?]. I think Dylan kind of has a similar battle and is kind of questioning whether he wants to be a part of this world and how involved really he wants to be with everything.”

Dylan and Norman’s Relationship in Season 3. “It seems like Dylan is becoming kind of the de facto parent of Norman in a way,” Ehrin hinted. “He can be removed enough from [Norma and Norman’s] relationship to look at it a little more objectively and to try to do the right thing by them. He really wants them to be OK.” Highmore added that “maybe there’s a sense of Dylan also looking after not only Norman, but Norma.” But, the network warns, this will lead to be a bit of jealously. As Norma begins to rely on Dylan in a way she never expected, Norman will become jealous of his mother and brother’s budding relationship.

We’ll Learn More about Romero This Season. “It was really fun for the writers, because we got to find out who Romero is a little bit more,” Ehrin said. “Part of the fun of writing him in the first two [seasons] was that we never had to know who he was. He was just, like, this great enigma that would show up and do weird things, you know. And we never really had to really understand it, but as he becomes more connected to this family, then you have to think of him as a real [person]. [You’re asking yourselves] what is he? Where did he come from? How did he get this way? Why is he so guarded? What happened to him? So we do get to find out some of that this year, and that’s great.”

Romero’s Desire to be Part of a Family. “I think the dynamic between [Dylan and Romero], it sort of came to be kind of a working relationship, or hopefully a working relationship at the end of Season 2,” Carbonell said. “Part of it was due to the reality that these two families that essentially ran the economy of the town took each other out, and Dylan was left standing. But I think Romero sees in him all of these incredible possibilities and he’s also strangely drawn in some way to the whole Bates family, you know, has been drawn, obviously, to Norma, he sees a female counterpart in her. She’s equally stubborn as he is, equally as guarded, but also resolute in her ways. I think in Norman he sees possibility of a surrogate son who obviously needs some attention and I think in Dylan he sees this, he sees perhaps a younger version of himself, you know this guy who’s trying to do the right thing, you know with the cards he’s been dealt. And so, I think he’s strangely drawn to all of them. And it’s maybe the family he wished he’d kind of had. And I think for me, the show is about this dysfunctional family trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got. “

Emma and the Bates Family. “Emma in general is really pulled much more intimately into the Bates family this year,” Ehrin said. “I think a lot of last season was about them having all these secrets and her always being outside of it and this is very much the answer to that. You know, she really made a statement that she wanted to be part of the family — because she always gave her whole heart to them and I think she didn’t feel like it was reciprocated — so she definitely is drawn into family very deeply this year. Her and Norman will always be close. What the nature of their relationship is, what the packaging of it is called is, that changes, but their relationship is always pretty pure and consistent.” Cooke added that “this season she’s still at the motel and, yes, [Emma] and Norman get closer in a way that Emma is quite excited about, but is then kind of perturbed by his actions and maybe his lack of actions.”

Caleb’s Role in Season 3. “Caleb has always been a really fascinating character to us because we don’t know anything about him, and we only know about him through Norma,” Ehrin said. “And, in the world of ‘Psycho’, hearing about a character through someone else is sort of traditional, because in the movie, all we hear about Norma is through Norman. So, [we’re lead to believe that] ‘oh, she’s this horrible person, she’s a shrew’, you know? And the show gets this great opportunity to kind of show her as a real human being. So, Caleb is sort of a similar opportunity in that all we know about him we know through Norma who, we certainly believe, but there’s different versions of the truth. There’s different versions of relationships and what actually happened in them and how people felt. So, this year we’re really excited about his storylines. But, it’s just been such a gift to be able to write this story and this relationship of this man who, again, has no family and found out last year that he had a son. And this whole season you don’t really know, is he good, is he bad, is he violent, is he horrible? And also deeply, ultimately, he and Norma just have this very loaded relationship that’s very volatile, and that’s obviously is going to affect a lot of things.” Johnson added that “he’s coming back to find some connection to a family at this point in his life, but he gets this bombshell [of having a son] dropped on him. It’s going to be [about] how do you handle that? You can’t.  I mean, I feel like as a human being, how could you actually walk away and forget that? So, he comes back to find some answers out for himself.”

Is There Any Hope for Norma and Caleb to Work Out Their Issues? According to Ehrin, yes. “I think that’s what’s beautiful about the story, is there is always hope. You look at that situation, and you’re [thinking] “how the hell could that ever work out?” But they’re human beings and, I think, they were brother and sister once upon a time, so you hope, but they’re both pretty complicated.”

Bradley Will Return. When we last saw the teenage girl, she was headed out of town after killing a man and taking her revenge for the death of her father. “It’s a very interesting dilemma of a person who can’t be visible in their own past because she is wanted,” Ehrin said about Bradley’s past last season. “She’s not supposed to be there. She’s gotten herself into sort of an awful, sad situation that she’s kind of just learned to live with. And she just wants to come back to see her home, in a way. But she can’t. She can’t interact with it, so it’s very isolating. Then, of course, because Norman was this one person who she always connected with – again, that’s someone’s projecting what they think he is – but Norman always saw her as very innocent. And I think that was very meaningful to her.”

We’ll See a Few New Faces. A small number of small characters will be introduced in season 3 of Bates Motel, according to Ehrin. “There’s new layers of corruption and decadence in the town that are pretty interesting and racy. There’s a new face of evil who has two sides to him. But, pretty much, the cast is not hugely different. It’s very much about these people [that we already know].”

Check out some photos from the set below. Bates Motel returns for its third season on Monday, March 9th at 9:00 pm ET/PT on A&E.

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Clarissa is Managing Editor at ScreenFad and former Managing Editor of TVOvermind. A lover of genre shows (like Supernatural and Arrow) and quality dramas (like The Good Wife and Homeland), Clarissa provides on set and event coverage as well as news, spoilers and reviews for all things TV and movies. Follow her at @clarissa373 or email her at clarissa @