After last week’s thrilling episode, ‘Bates Motel’ couldn’t possibly keep up the pace, could it? Well, as it turns out, as Episode 7 wraps up some storylines, it unveils a number of new ones.
As ‘The Man in Number 9’ gets underway, Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) arrives at the motel and confirms that Deputy Shelby indeed died from the gunshot wounds he suffered at the hands of Dylan. However, instead of being suspicious of their story, Romero concocts a new “official” story that he was the one who shot Shelby. Romero also says they’ll blame the death of Keith Summers on Shelby – which begs the question: Was the sheriff involved in the sex trafficking ring with the deputy, and is he now using Shelby’s death to cover his own tracks?
With the Shelby part of the storyline now (possibly) wrapped up, it’s time for a new mystery to arrive at the motel, and it does when Norma notices a stranger trying to get into Room 9. When she approaches the man, he claims that he had an arrangement with Keith, the former owner, to stay in that room the first week of every other month. Later, Dylan goes to Room 9 to get credit card information and we learn that the stranger goes by the name of Mr. Abernathy (Jere Burns from ‘Justified’). He also insists on paying in cash. Before the episode wraps up, he’ll tell Norma that he’d like to rent all of the rooms at the motel during the first week of every other month. She’s happy to have the business, so she agrees.
Meanwhile, Norman has found a stray dog hanging out around the motel. At first, the dog is very defensive, but Norman is able to gain its trust by feeding it. We also find out that Norman’s girlfriend Bradley is alive and well (ruining my theory that she was actually dead), although she remains distant from Norman. The episode also has a scene where Bradley meets Norman and Dylan in town, and there seem to be knowing glances between Bradley and Norman’s half-brother. Do they know each other already? Or maybe they’d like to know each other? Either way, it’s probably not going to make Norman happy.
Norman’s other friend, Emma, comes to visit him at the motel, but Norma says Norman can’t see her right now. Emma seems very upset, so Norma asks Emma to join her for some shopping in town. Emma uses the opportunity to tell Norma all about Bradley, and even points out the girl to Norma when they spot her at an exercise class. Norma recognizes Bradley as the girl who came to see Norman shortly after they moved into the motel.
Norman finally goes to Bradley’s house to find out why she isn’t talking to him. Bradley confesses that their evening together was a one-time thing, and she doesn’t have any romantic feelings for him. Upset, Norman storms off, but Bradley goes after him and manages to calm him down. Upon returning to the motel, Norman watches in horror as the dog he has befriended is hit and killed by a car. Picking up the lifeless body, he insists to Norma that they take it to Emma’s father, since he knows “how to fix dead things.” Are we seeing the genesis of Norman Bates’ interest in taxidermy?
This is another strong entry in this outstanding series, which only has three more episodes to go this season. Don’t worry, the network has announced that ‘Bates Motel’ will come back for ten more in 2014!