NOTE: The following article contains spoilers from the season premiere of Bates Motel. Continue reading at your own risk.
Tonight, Bates Motel welcomed a new tenant: Annika Johnson (Revolution’s Tracy Spiridakos), a free-spirited young woman who’s not exactly the type of guest Norma and Norman are used to accommodating.
“Annika’s a very different person to show up on their steps,” Spiridakos said with a laugh, speaking with EW about her character’s introduction in tonight’s premiere. “For somebody like Norman, you need somebody who maybe has been through a troubled past and is traveling around and being very free. It’s an interesting dynamic to watch.”
But despite her colorful entrance and not-so-casual flirting, Spiridakos insists her character isn’t out to intentionally make things difficult for Bates‘ mother-son duo—even though the fact that her actions seem to indicate as much.
“She’s always had to fend for herself,” Spiridakos explained. “And her relationship with her family is not good, so she’s been on her own for a long time, which we find out in the car when she’s talking to Norman about it. She’s been through so much in her life that she’s very hard on the outside in so many ways, and very emotionally detached from her past. And she’s just very matter of fact—that was my life and this is what’s happened, and now I’m trying to do what I can to benefit from the circumstances that I’m in, to make a better life for myself.”
Of course, as we’ve already seen, that good will won’t stop Norman from taking an interest in Annika…even if it means straining his relationship with his best friend turned girlfriend, Emma.
“They do have a bit of a moment,” Spiridakos said, specifically referencing the scene near the end of the premiere, in which Annika interrupts Norman and Emma’s study date to ask for directions to work. “And you definitely see that there’s something there for her. But the relationship is different: the way that Annika sees Norman is as a sweet kid. She’s older than him, and the way that relationship grows is more out of that kind of way.”
As Bates‘ new blood, expect Annika to keep a few secrets. Just don’t expect Spiridakos to spill them all. “You’ll see her around,” the actress teased. “You’ll see her character has some important information for things that come forward that we’ll see in the future.”
Oh, and as for getting some insight into those “fancy parties” where she works? “Norma does a little investigating and gets a glimpse into her world and sees what Annika’s all about,” Spiridakos confirmed. “So yes, you will see some of that.”
Bates Motel airs Monday at 9 p.m. ET on A&E.