Review

Review

TV Recap: 'Bates Motel' Episode 107 - 'The Man in Number 9'

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bates motelBates Motel Episode 107
“The Man in Number 9”
Written By: Kerry Ehrin
Directed By: SJ Clarkson
Original Airdate: 29 April 2013

In This Episode...

Sheriff Romero comes to the Bates house. He takes Dylan’s gun, looks at Shelby, all quietly, in a scene that is pure Hitchcock. “We better talk,” he says to Norma. So they do, and she lays out the truth behind the mayhem: everything from the rape to Keith’s death, to Jiao, to Shelby’s involvement. Romero takes this all in and concocts an “official” story. Shelby shot Keith over a business dispute, and Romero had his suspicions about Shelby, which came to a head during a confrontation at the Bates property.

With all that “unpleasantness” behind them, and no more secrets in her closet (well, at least regarding what has happened since they moved to town), Norma is bubbly and excited to give the motel some finishing touches before the grand opening. She even makes Dylan breakfast - until he tells her that he still plans on moving out as soon as his arm is healed. She then switches to intense passive-aggressive behavior, guilting Dylan into taking out the trash before she stomps out of the kitchen. While throwing out the trash, a man in an expensive Cadillac drives up, asking about the Seafarer Motel. Dylan explains it is under new ownership. The man seems displeased, and drives off.

Norma takes a stack of brochures to a local restaurant in the hopes of doing some cross-promotion. Despite the large rack of brochures in the lobby, the manager declines. She finally admits that she heard about the “trouble” there and says the Bates Motel has been tainted now. (Shouldn’t Norma try to advertise at out of town restaurants?) Norma returns to her office, defeated. While there, she notices a man trying to get into room number 9. She goes to investigate. This is the odd man Dylan spoke to earlier. He introduces himself as Jake Abernathy, and claims he had an arrangement to rent room #9 every other month. He has a key - naturally it doesn’t work, the locks have been changed. Norma is happy to honor the arrangement and brings him the correct key. Despite the fact that they don’t open for another week, she is happy to have at least one customer. Dylan sees the light on in #9, recognizes the car, and warns her that this is the strange man he saw before. Norma blows him off, but agrees that Dylan should register him now. Jake is hesitant, but he does, and he pays for the room in cash.

The next day, Emma comes over to see Norman. He doesn’t want to see her and tells Mother to tell Emma that he isn’t feeling well. Norma does so, but takes pity on the girl when she turns to hide her tears. Norma suggests Emma show her where the drapery store is, and the two will get lunch. In the car, Norma asks about Norman, and while Emma is hesitant to “rat out” her friend, she does mention Bradley - but has no idea if they are sleeping together. Emma seems to idolize Bradley, “but you can’t even hate her because she is so nice.” Norma thinks it is ridiculous that a teenager could have so much power. Emma points out Bradley at a yoga class, and Norma is strangely jealous.

That night while helping Mother with the dishes, he makes his case for having a dog. He found a sweet stray living under the house and over the last few days, he had been earning her trust with bits of food. He even named her: Juno. Norma is hesitant, but when Norman points out that “normal families have dogs,” she relents and agrees - but Juno is his responsibility. Then they sit down and talk about sex. Besides just being uncomfortable to talk to your mom about sex, Norma talks about how it causes physical and mental changes in a woman, literally. Norman really likes Bradley and assures Norma that she is a really nice girl. Norma rolls her eyes and mentions that she has hired Emma to work at the motel a few days a week. Norman is horrified and sees this as his mother’s attempt to force the two of them together. He storms out and goes to see Bradley.

Bradley won’t let Norman in the house. He had been giving her her space because of her dad, but he just needed to see her, needed confirmation that they were together, yadda yadda yadda. Bradley looks embarrassed and apologizes saying that “what happened, happened” and “I shouldn’t have done it with someone like you.” She isn’t going to dump her boyfriend, and she doesn’t have romantic feelings towards Norman. Stunned, Norman takes off. Bradley feels bad and races after him. He marches along, repeating to himself what his mother told him earlier that night. This is the first time we have seen the Norma/Norman duality within Norman. Bradley finally catches up with Norman and gives him a hug and another apology. This seems to snap Norman out of it, and he hurries home.

Jake visits Norma in the motel office, telling her he is much happier with the motel since she has taken over.  He wants to continue the agreement he had with Keith, and block out all the rooms in the motel for the first week of every other month for him and his co-workers, who are all involved in various “sales” positions. He will pay in cash at the beginning of the week, and she doesn’t even have to clean the rooms during the week. Norma is only too happy to oblige. 

Norman is across the street from the motel and he sees Juno. But a car is coming, so he urges her to stay. You all know where this is going. The driver feels terrible, Norman is heartbroken, and Norma tries to blow it off. Norman picks up Juno from the street, and Mother tells him to put her down, she is dead. Showing more passion than any other point in the show, Norman screams that he won’t leave her in the street. Norma’s compassionate side comes out, and she goes to bring the car around so they can take Juno to Emma’s dad, the taxidermist.

Dig It or Bury It?

I know I am a giant wuss, but did we really need to see Juno get hit by the car? That was way too traumatic. I have lived through that trauma before in real-life; seeing it on-screen, even though it was super-duper fake, was just painful.

Okay, back to the important parts of the episode. I am still not 100% sold on the idea that Norman and Bradley actually slept together. Maybe that is just stubbornness on my part. Bradley insinuates that “it was a mistake” but she didn’t specifically state what that mistake was. It could have merely been inviting him to the party in that first episode.

I am not sure why Norma didn’t draw a connection between Jake and Keith. She’s a smart woman. It seems incredibly obvious that he was involved in Keith’s shenanigans (even before we saw a preview for next week’s episode). Maybe it was pure denial; maybe she didn’t want to believe Dylan was right about something. I have to assume she is just trying to look on the bright side. Still it just doesn’t sit right.

R.I.P. Juno.

Mother Dearest

While Norma watches Bradley doing yoga, she has flashes in her head of Bradley seducing Norman. It is really, really creepy to watch a mother imagine this about her teenage son. This isn’t Law & Order: Special Victims Unit!

Prophecies?

Jake is looking for something... and he refuses to believe that Norma had nothing to do with the little side business Keith and Shelby were running.

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