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"Mother" is the split personality of Norman Bates who takes the appearance of his real life mother Norma Bates. She commits murders when Norman blacks out and switches over to her, and works to control and manipulate him. Although just a thought-form and second personality, she is the true main antagonist of Bates Motel.
She is portrayed by both Vera Farmiga (Norma's actress) and Freddie Highmore (Norman's actor).
Norman's first known black out and murder occurred when he murdered his abusive father Sam Bates whilst he was attacking his mother Norma. This caused Norma to cover up the death to look like an accident, and the pair of them moved away to White Pine Bay, Oregon where they bought a motel to run.
After Norma got raped by the former motel owner Keith Summers Norman witnessed her stabbing him to death with a knife. The pair covered up the murder, although Norman kept the belt. Norma's love interest Sheriff Zack Shelby took the belt and kept it in order to prevent it being discovered by the authorities. When Norman learned that Shelby had the belt, "Mother" appeared to him in a hallucination in his bedroom telling him to retrieve the belt.
Near the end of the season Norman got picked up by the side of the road by his teacher Miss Watson after he left the school prom. Norman was brought to Miss Watson's house where he saw her undress in the next room. Mother appeared to Norman again and began to degrade Miss Watson as she was trying to seduce Norman. Norman switched over to the Mother personality, and unknowingly murdered Miss Watson.
After Norman overheard Norma talking about her terrible childhood experiences and how she was raped by her brother Caleb this began to manifest with his split personality. When Norman went to confront Caleb at a motel he was residing at, Norman switched over and began asking Caleb why he 'raped' him, causing confusion to Caleb. Norman then pulled out a knife and attempted to kill Caleb, but was overpowered and beaten to the ground. Caleb then departed.
When Norman was suspected of killing Miss Watson, he underwent a polygraph test. When question if he killed Miss Waton, Mother appeared to Norman in a hallucination and said that she was the killer and not him. Norman said he didn't kill Miss Waton, which fooled the test and cleared him.
Near the end of the season Norman planned to run away with a girl named Bradley Martin. However when in the car with her, Mother appeared to him again. Norman made Bradley pull over the car, and again blacked out and switched over to Mother, who forced Bradley out the car. Mother chased Bradley into a woodland and smashed the girl's head off a rock and killed her. Reverting back to Norman, he was shocked at what Mother had done. He then concealed the crime by putting Bradley's body in the trunk of her car and dumping it in the lake.
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- In the original 1960 film Psycho the creation of Norman's split personality was different. Ten years prior to the events of the film he murdered both his mother and her partner out of jealousy, but consumed with guilt exhumed her corpse and kept it in the Bates house, and then created a second personality. This was retconned in Bates Motel, in which Mother was formed prior to Norman killing Norma.