What's Worth Watching: Bates Motel's Creepy Return

Ileane Rudolph
James Dittiger/A&E Network

Bates Motel Season 3

Bates Motel,"A Death in the Family" (March 9, 9/8c, A&E)

Unless you've been living all your life in a cave, there's no spoiling the eventual ends of Norman Bates and his ever-loving mother Norma. But there's enough twists, blind alleys, deeply creepy characters and sublime performances in this Psycho prequel to make the journey to that inevitable murderous finale superbly entertaining. Bates Motel's third season doesn't disappoint as Norman (Freddie Highmore) grows up and the power dynamic with his mom Norma (Vera Farmiga) starts to shift. Like Norman, albeit a bit less crazy, his older half-brother Dylan (Max Theriot) tries to be a good man as he struggles with parent issues; in his case his enigmatic father/uncle Caleb (Kenny Johnson). Add a sexually perverse power broker, beautiful young women in peril (Revolution's Tracy Spiridokis among them), a wild-haired pot grower, a therapist with an angle—and best of all—the operatically enfuriating yet somehow sympathetic momster Norma, and her progeny Norman, struggling against his warped nature. It's a stew we really want to savor until the inevitable last drop.