Sheriff Romero responds to Norma's 911 call and has a surprising proposal for her concerning the deaths of Keith Summers and Zack Shelby. Even with those recent events now behind them, Norma reacts badly to Dylan's decision to move into his own place. The hotel is not quite open yet but gets its first guest Jake Abernathy, who claims to have been a regular when Summers owned the place. He asks Norma if he can continue with the same deal he had with the previous owner - he will rent the entire place one week, pay cash in advance and require complete privacy. He assures her there's nothing illegal going on. Norma naively agrees. The equally naive Norman meanwhile is happy to see that Bradley has returned to school. His hopes of an ongoing relationship prove to be too much to ask for however.
Sheriff Alex Romero, alerted by a panic Norma, decides to leave the criminal secrets buried with Keith Sumers and the latest victim, his overzealous deputy Zack Shelby, so the Bates family seems of the hook. Dylan decides against moving out, seeing Norma's state of mind, and helps check out the mysterious, grimly aloof regular guest Jake Abernathy, who wants to keep renting the whole motel -otherwise deserted now it has a blood-haunted reputation- for a week on a monthly basis. Norman plans to move out alone in fury over maternal objections to taking in a stray dog, who meets a tragic end, and to his lustful affair with popular school fox Bradley Martin, who quickly tells the romantic knave he was just a one night stand, no relationship candidate.
- "Bates Motel" - "The Man in Number 9" - April 29, 2013
So, remember how last week ended with Dylan shooting Deputy Shelby on the front steps and Sheriff Romero showing up?
Well, in the tidiest tying up of a plotline ever, Norma tells Romero the whole story-- from Summers raping her and her killing him to sleeping with Shelby to discovering he was involved in sex trafficking-- and he decides the best course of action is to say that Shelby killed Summers, he caught on to Shelby, and he shot him. Norma and Norman are thrilled with this plan but Dylan, who got shot in the arm by Shelby, is hilariously annoyed that he saved their lives and isn't going to get any credit for it.
He is, however, going to get breakfast from Norma who says she is grateful until Dylan informs her that he's still moving out once his arm heals and then she reverts to pissed off mode. As he goes to take out the trash -- and we see painters spiffing up the motel-- he sees a man in a black town car. The man asks after Keith Summers. Dylan informs him Keith is dead and the man drives away.
Later, when Norma is working in the office the man returns and tries to open the door to room #9 with a key he already has. She goes out to him and ask what's up and he introduces himself as Jake Abernathy, traveling salesman. Apparently, he and Keith Summers had a standing arrangement whereby Abernathy rented a room for a week every other month. Norma, in her excitement to have a paying customer even though the motel isn't open yet, gives him the key without getting any of his info.
When Dylan returns and notes that he met Abernathy earlier and that he seems creepy he goes to get his information. Abernathy is very secretive, won't give a credit card, and peels several hundreds off a thick, crisp stack to cover everything, including any questions.
As Dylan passes Norma trying to scrub Shelby's blood from the steps--noting that the stone is porous and it won't work-- he tosses the money at her.
Meanwhile, Norman is having sexy sex dreams about Bradley, but as Emma suspected, it was just a hook-up to her, nothing special. We see this when Bradley returns to school and barely acknowledges Norman. She's also not returning his text messages. He's so devoted to the idea that they're together that when Emma shows up to hang out he has Norma send her away with the lame excuse that he's not feeling well.
When Norma sees how hurt Emma is by this, she invites her to go shopping for curtains for the motel with her in town. Emma spills that Norman is digging on Bradley and Norma grips the wheel a little tighter when she asks if they've had sex. Emma says she doesn't know. But she does know where Bradley is doing yoga right this minute and asks if Norma wants to see her. Norma does. They peer into the yoga studio and Norma recognizes Bradley as the girl who came to see Norman the day after they moved in. She is very upset.
This is adding insult to injury since earlier she went to a swanky restaurant in town with brochures for her motel, proposing the restaurant put them out and she'd reciprocate by suggesting the restaurant to guests. (Not that she has any. Even though they're about to open they have no reservations.) The woman refuses saying it's a small town and everybody knows about Shelby and the murder and the motel so no one is going to want to have anything to do with her tainted business. Ouch.
Norman has been feeding a stray dog and wants to keep it. Norma says they are too busy to deal with it plus she has bigger fish to fry. She sits Norman down and tries to have the responsible sex talk with him. But being Norma she's all creepy and weird about it, noting that she doesn't think a good girl would have sex with someone she barely knows as Bradley did with Norman and she notes that it's not like they've been on dates. Norman protests that he really likes her and that they haven't been on dates because her father died recently and she's been preoccupied. He storms off into the night.
While he's gone, Abernathy comes into the office and asks Norma if she and he can continue the arrangement he had with Summers. He would book the whole motel for an entire week every other month. Norma asks if he's doing anything illegal and he assures her he is not.
Norman goes to Bradley's house and embarrassingly confesses his feelings and wonders when she's going to break up with her boyfriend to be with him. She admits it was just a hook-up and a mistake at that. He storms off muttering to himself all the things Norma said about her not being a nice girl. She chases after him, apologizes, and hugs him.
He heads home, and just as he's about to reach the motel a man runs over the little stray dog he'd been feeding and he loses his mind. Norma comes running out to console him. Norman insists they take the dead dog to Emma's father because he can give it life, or at least stuff it. Norma recognizes that this is crazy but goes to get the car.