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Deconstructing 'Bates Motel': EP Kerry Ehrin on Shelby's Troubled Path

Norma discovers the truth about him as she now must contend with the dirty deputy's dark secrets.

The Bates Motel 105 Episodic - H 2013
A&E
"Bates Motel"

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the "Ocean View" episode of A&E's Bates Motel.]

Zack Shelby (Mike Vogel) is putting Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) in a very uncomfortable situation.

During Monday's Bates Motel, Norman (Freddie Highmore) and Emma (Olivia Cooke) prove without a doubt that the deputy isn't all he's cracked up to be when they rescue the girl from the sketches and bring her face to face with Norma to ID the guy she's been sleeping with.

It puts Norma in a tricky position, considering the fact that Shelby not only claims to love her but also tampered with the evidence that tied her to Keith Summers' slaying.

Elsewhere, Dylan (Max Thieriot) winds up with blood on his hands after he runs over the guy who shot Ethan in the neck -- giving the elder Bates brother something in common with his dreaded mother.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with executive producer Kerry Ehrin to break down the episode in our weekly Deconstructing Bates Motel postmortem.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Now that Norma knows Shelby isn't all he's cracked up to be, how will she navigate that relationship considering he effectively had her murder case dropped?
Kerry Ehrin: That's tricky. She has to be extremely careful and make it seem, on the surface, like nothing has changed between them -- even though everything has changed. She has to try and recover Keith Summers' belt. So once she and Norman figure out a way to bring Shelby down, he can't then go after her. But as long as Shelby has that over her, she's screwed. So for the time being, she has to be very careful around him and pretend like nothing has changed for her emotionally -- which could be pretty tense.

THR: How might we see Norman and Emma butt heads with Norma with what to do with the girl?
Ehrin: Emma just wants to see justice done by this victim. She has no motivation beyond that. Norma and Norman obviously can't have that happen yet as Shelby still has leverage over them and could retaliate by turning Norma/Norman in for Keith's murder. It's gong to get interesting when Emma wants to take it to the cops and Norma and Norman can't do that but also can't tell her why they can't do that.

THR: What will Bradley and Norman's first encounter look like when she resurfaces? Might Emma be right that it was just a hook-up?
Ehrin: In the world of Norman Bates, is there such a thing as "just a hook-up"? Whatever that first encounter looks like, it's gong to be loaded.

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THR: Dylan hits Ethan's shooter with the truck. How will that weigh on him?
Ehrin: At the moment, he's still dealing with the violent and sudden murder of his partner, who was doing nothing but sitting in a truck at the time he was shot. Dylan is so enraged by that, especially coming on the heels of Ethan developing into a genuine friend of his -- and we sense Dylan may not have a lot of those in his life -- that Dylan is simply consumed with rage when he sees the guy on the street. He probably does feel bad about it later on, but in the moment he's just thinking, "That's the son-of-a-bitch that killed my friend."

THR: Will Dylan return to the pot fields considering he's seen firsthand the darker side of the business?
Ehrin: You have to remember that Dylan has nowhere else to go. He's got no job, so he's desperate in that sense. This world offers a financial opportunity he's never been in sniffing distance of. And, more importantly, he feels weirdly accepted by the people he works with in the weed business. So, yeah, he's going to go back. And God knows how that's going to land on his head.

THR: Should Ethan's shooter die, he now has something in common with Norma. How will that impact their relationship?
Ehrin: The funny thing is we know so little of Dylan's history, for all we know they already might have shared that. [EP] Carlton Cuse and I always sensed Dylan had lived a rough life. He could have easily landed in a violent confrontation more than once. We don't know for sure. But it is interesting that now both he and his mom have killed someone, albeit someone who had done something very wrong and violent in the first place. Maybe it speaks to a similarity in their spirits. Maybe they both have hair-trigger anger cultivated over years of not being seen or heard. Maybe Norma and Dylan are too similar, too needy for the same things to ever be really close; two magnets that repel each other.

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THR: Dylan strongly suggests Norman to leave Norma's nest. Is this something we'll see him consider?
Ehrin: Norman has to consider this for his own survival. He's not stupid. He sees the evidence that his mom might not be fully capable of being a decent parent. He gets it. And it would be a hard decision for any kid in that position, who on some level loved their parent. But how Norman is different is the intensity of this feeling; the very thought of leaving his mom is overwhelming to him. It's like an addiction; he literally cannot imagine the world without her -- like he would dissolve or something. But he has to consider and try to do it because on some level, he knows Dylan is absolutely right.

STORY: Deconstructing 'Bates Motel': EP Kerry Ehrin on Norman's Dark Secrets

THR: Norma stops punishing Norman the moment her case is effectively dropped. Will Norman be as forgiving?
Ehrin: I don't think that's at all conscious on her part. She's just so overjoyed when she gets the news -- and Norman is this other part of herself -- that she has to share the joy with him or, in a way, she can't experience it at all. I don't know that she has "stopped" punishing him. Perhaps she will stop for the moment. But she is not likely to forget that he basically told all their business to Dylan. That is a huge betrayal of trust, and Norma is hypersensitive in this area. This will definitely get entered in Norma's emotional computer and will play out accordingly depending on the situation. As for Norman, he is so blindly in love with his mother -- and I mean bonded to, not literally in love with -- that he is willing to forgive her anything at any time. All that matters to him on a deep level is her happiness and her approval. When mother's happy, everybody's happy.

What did you think of Bates Motel? How do you think Norma and Norman will handle the Shelby situation? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. Bates Motel airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on A&E. Come back to THR's The Live Feed after each episode for our weekly Deconstruction.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit