Freddie Highmore reflects on ‘Bates Motel’ series finale: ‘This is actually real, it’s all over’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

“It’s like the morning after something terrible has happened and you wake up and you think, ‘This is actually real, it’s all over,'” reflects Freddie Highmore about the series finale of “Bates Motel,” which aired Monday night on A&E. After five years playing serial killer Norman Bates to Vera Farmiga‘s Norma/Mother, Highmore talks with Gold Derby about the end of his journey and what he thinks of the Emmy Awards buzz surrounding Season 5. Watch our exclusive video with Freddie Highmore above.

Sign up for Gold Derby’s newsletter with experts’ latest predictions

“I think it won’t hit me until a few months down the line,” Highmore admits in our interview. “The end of Season 4 felt so climatic with Norma’s demise. And obviously now Norman has gone. But there’s a part of me that thinks, oh no, there’s still another season to come. We’ll just go back together and we’ll figure things out somehow, and we’ll pull through. I’m the ever optimist in Norman and Norma. The idea that, as he states in the finale, if you believe hard enough you can make it that way. I think I’m just trying to take that on myself.”

As for the show’s rabid fans, Highmore tells us that “people were on the journey with Norman until the very end.” He continues, “There seemed to be a sense that, even for those who potentially lost a little bit of sympathy or empathy for Norman at times in Season 4 when he seemed to become a little bit more manipulative and sly and coming, I think that by the end of the show people realized that he was trying to do what he thought was best for him and his mother. These terrible acts that he committed were also acts of love.”

‘Bates Motel’: Top 10 most shocking moments of all time — Cover your eyes!

At the 2017 Emmys, Highmore will contend for Best Drama Actor while Farmiga is trying her luck in the Best Drama Supporting Actress category due to her decreased screen time in Season 5. (See A&E’s complete Emmy category breakdown.) Should Highmore receive an Emmy nomination, he admits, “Of course it would be a lovely way to end things, to get that sort of recognition. It would be a lovely honor to receive. Fingers crossed!”

Also in our chat, Highmore reminisces about his first moments on set five years ago, his last scene shooting with Farmiga this year, the pressure on set they all felt in adapting the “Psycho” story in the sixth and seventh episodes, and what it was like working with Rihanna as Marion Crane. He reveals, “I think that was a really smart decision from Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse to ask her to be a part of it” and that he was excited for audiences to see “the modern take of Marion Crane.”

Predict the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 13

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.

More News from GoldDerby