Bates Motel showrunners earlier said that they will pay homage to the 1960 movie, Psycho, but will also deviate in some ways. It became clear in recent episode that the deviation is the iconic shower murder scene of Marion Crane (Rihanna).
In the film version, Norman Bates hacked Marion to death while she is taking a shower. But in season 6 Marion episode, Rihanna’s character left the motel unscratched.
Viewers were surprised when Marion did not die in the series. Instead, her lover Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols) was the one who met Norman Bates’s (Freddie Highmore) knife.
The Bates Motel executive producers clarified that they did not throw shade on Psycho when they departed from the Marion story arc in the movie. EP Kerry Ehrin explained that they introduced a twist on the shower scene to integrate the story they want to tell to the audience, particularly about Norman’s father. She told TV Line:
“The idea of the person in the shower being Sam and being a type of a metaphor for Norman’s own father who was violent and who had really started all of Norman’s problems seemed so fitting to the story we were telling.”
Co-exec producer Carlton Cuse added they also want to portray Rihanna’s character as a survivor. He said:
“We did not want to just do what the movie did. And we didn’t feel like Marion would come across as a particularly empowered character if she was murdered in the shower. We wanted her to be a fundamentally stronger, more decisive character.”
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In Psycho movie, Norman murdered Marion while under the control of “Mother” his alternate personality. Apparently, when Norman felt attracted to Marion, “Mother” became jealous and killed her.
In the TV series, Norman killed Sam as he is, not under the “Mother” personality. The showrunners were asked why Norma (Vera Farmiga) did not manifest in the gruesome scene when Norman killed Sam.
Ehrin said the scene symbolizes Norman is conscious of all the violence he committed and he finally understanding what is going on inside him. Cuse also teased that Norman’s conscious awareness will be the main catalyst that leads into how the series will end.