Say it ain't so! After four years of captivating storytelling, compelling performances, and countless chilling murders, the most infamous motel in the world appears to be closing its doors for good. But is Season 5 of Bates Motel really the end? Not only is it hard to let go of a show this great, but it also just feels like there's so much story left to tell. So is there any chance A&E could end up renewing the drama series for more episodes? Or is it really time for us all to turn in our keys and check out?
Sadly, this is indeed the end, and the upcoming season will be the last one, regardless of how fervently fans petition or beg or hashtag. Bates Motel officially entered its endgame when Norman murdered his beloved mother via carbon monoxide poisoning in the shocking and climactic penultimate episode of Season 4… and nothing can possibly pull the show back from that fateful precipice now that Norma is gone. And so A&E officially announced the show's end date back in July at the Bates Motel San Diego Comic-Con panel, and followed that up with confirmation via Twitter for those of us who couldn't be there in person to hear the sad news.
It makes sense that Season 5 is the end, since the entire show has served as a modern-day prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror classic Psycho… and we're finally about to enter into the events of that iconic film in the upcoming season. This summer, Rihanna was cast on Bates Motel as Marion Crane, who you may remember as the character played by Janet Leigh in the film who winds up on the wrong end of "Mother's" knife while taking a relaxing shower. If you've seen Psycho, then you know that (spoiler alert!) Norman Bates winds up apprehended and locked up in an insane asylum by the end. So once Bates Motel starts delving into the territory of that movie's plot, there's only so much left to do before Norman's reign of terror comes to an end.
But if you're still inconsolable at the idea of Bates Motel ending — and ending before Vera Farmiga ever won an Emmy for her performance as Norma, no less — then at least there's a tiny silver lining here. It's not like the show got cancelled by the network before its time; creators Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin have always had a plan for their story, and it never involved running in perpetuity like The Walking Dead or Grey's Anatomy.
"From the end of the first season, Carlton and I both had the exact same instinct of five seasons," Ehrin told Variety about the inevitable end of Bates Motel last July. She also assured the publication that they've had a specific endgame in mind since the very beginning: "Emotionally, yes, a very specific one. I will say it's beautiful."
By now, I'm sure we've all learned that shows that lean heavily on serialized storytelling do better when they commit to an ending: Lost stopped spinning its wheels once ABC agreed to an end date of six seasons, shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men went off the air at the height of their popularity, Game Of Thrones will finish after only two more years, and even Stranger Things is already contemplating its conclusion.
As much as it hurts to see any beloved show end, it hurts even more to see a serialized show taken off the air before it could complete its story. (We still miss you, Hannibal.) So while it will be hard to say goodbye to Norman and Norma after only 10 more episodes, it's good to know that the show is going out on its own terms, and will have told the complete story it set out to tell back in 2013.
The final bloodbath begins this Monday, Feb. 20, at 10:00 p.m. ET. Don't miss it.