Why everyone is talking about Rihanna on ‘Bates Motel’

Rihanna has never been one to adhere to tradition when it comes to her music or fashion. So it’s fitting that the pop singer’s two-episode arc on A&E’s “Bates Motel” would buck convention.

The horror-drama, now in its fifth and final season, has been billed as a contemporary prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic “Psycho.” Rihanna, an avowed fan of the show, played Marion Crane, the role made famous by Janet Leigh. Even if you’ve never seen “Psycho,” you probably know that Marion doesn’t fare well – in the film’s most iconic scene, Marion is brutally stabbed by Norman Bates in the shower.

But that isn’t what happened on Monday’s episode, despite the fact that Rihanna’s Marion did take a steamy shower shortly after checking into the Bates Motel. As in “Psycho” (and the novel that inspired it), Marion arrived at the hotel with a secret: She had stolen a lot of money. The show crafted a suspenseful moment that gave a nod to “Psycho”as Norman – disturbed and imagining his dead mother encouraging him to commit murder – leered at Marion through a hole in the wall of her room. The camera zoomed in on the translucent shower curtain, which Marion pulled back to reveal … nothing.

“Screw this s—-,” she said. Marion headed back to the motel office, where Norman informed her that her boyfriend, Sam Loomis, was actually married. Marion enacted her revenge – on Sam’s car – before speeding away. She went back to the motel, where she was consoled by Norman, who urged her to get out of town, ostensibly to protect herself from being arrested for her crime.

Ultimately, it was Sam who was stabbed while taking a shower at the motel, where he had hoped to find Marion. “Mother” urged Norman to kill Sam for treating women the way his father had treated her and Norman carried out her orders in unsparing detail.

“Fundamentally, it was not going to be possible to make Marion Crane an empowered woman of 2017 if she just died in the shower,” co-creator Carlton Cuse told Vulture. “Rihanna really embraced our idea of redefining the character. That was the moment in which she said I’m all-in.”

“Bates Motel” has four more episodes until the big finale. Rihanna’s star turn is over since Marion made her getaway, but if you want to see more Riri, you can always re-watch the video of her reacting in real time to her “Bates Motel” debut last week.

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