After a string of action-packed episodes, the eighth entry in ‘Bates Motel’ takes a more leisurely approach… that is, until its shocking and scream-worthy conclusion.
In the girls’ restroom at school, Emma overhears some of her classmates gossiping about Norman. The other girls wonder why Norman pesters Bradley so much and thinks that Bradley would never have anything to do with him. Emma reveals herself and tells the girls that Norman and Bradley have already had sex. When word starts getting around the school, Bradley confronts Norman and asks him why he would tell anyone. She also mentions that she already has a boyfriend. (Could it be she’s dating Norman’s half-brother, Dylan?) Norman storms out of school, but his English teacher Miss Watson tries to stop him. However, Norman pushes her away and refuses to go back inside.
Norman has taken his dead dog to Emma’s father (Ian Hart), and Mr. Decody proceeds to teach Norman all about taxidermy. Norma doesn’t like the fact that Norman is so interested in the subject, so she has a sit-down with Emma’s father. However, he seems to convince her that everyone needs a hobby, and this might actually be good for Norman.
Norma is also concerned about the highway bypass that the town is planning to build that will divert traffic away from the motel. She goes to see Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) in the hopes of getting him to help get her on the town council, but the Sheriff claims that he doesn’t owe Norma any favors. He warns her against trying to intimidate him.
The mystery man, Mr. Abernathy (Jere Burns), continues to stay in Room 9 at the motel. Norma decides to follow him one night, and he winds up on the docks, searching through a boat there.Abernathy spots Norma and confronts her, asking her where she’s hidden a certain item. Norma has no idea what he’s talking about (nor do the viewers!).
Meanwhile, Dylan and his co-worker Remo (Ian Tracey) have been ordered by their boss to go on a road trip to pick up some “trimmers” (the people who cut the marijuana leaves from the plants). They pick up a group of “hippies,” one of which immediately starts to annoy Remo with his guitar playing and comments. Dylan makes Remo stop the van. Dylan then pulls his gun on the hippie, and they leave him stranded on the side of the road.
Back at the motel, Norma gives Mr. Abernathy his money back (okay, she actually throws it at him!) and insists that he leave the motel. Abernathy tells Norma that he knows about her and Deputy Shelby (who was killed by Dylan in Episode 6), and warns her not to challenge him. Norma tells him that he has five minutes to leave.
Norma is pleased to see Abernathy pack up his car and leave the motel. Later, Dylan returns with the remaining hippies and tells Norma that they all need rooms in which to stay. Happy about the new customers, Norma offers to take Dylan out to dinner, and runs up to the house to quickly change. She flips on her bedroom’s lights to discover… the rotting corpse of Shelby in her bed!
Most of this week’s episode is slowly paced (but, as always, well-acted), so the climax is a real shocker. Just as the viewers are lured into thinking this is little more than a filler episode, the writers hit us over the head with a big reveal. With only two episodes remaining, it’s obvious that the war is on between Norma and Mr. Abernathy.