Freddie Highmore

What happens in a motel bathroom on the March 18 premiere of A&E's Bates Motel foreshadows the grisly fate that one day befalls the tragic fugitive Marion Crane. And though it will be a while before young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) dresses up in his mommy's clothes, there are other warning signs of the psycho within. Later in the season, "I taxidermy something!" teases Highmore, whose Norman is exposed to the process of stuffing in Episode 8.

Norman is introduced to taxidermy via his ill school chum, whose father performs the technique in the back of his oddity shop. "Norman finds himself really engaged by these objects, which, in a subconscious way, gets his wheels turning," says executive producer Carlton Cuse, who's hidden an Easter egg tied to his previous hit, Lost, in the first six episodes. "Later, there's an opportunity for this to [advance]."

Fans of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 movie classic know that Norman's mother, Norma (played by Vera Farmiga in the TV series), becomes her son's ultimate preserved masterpiece. "I can't even think about that because it's really miserable to envision how she ends up," Farmiga says. "I want to root for her along the way, and I promise it's going to be a wild ride getting there."

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!