Bates Motel (2013) / Drama-Thriller
Season 1: Episode 7: The Man in Number 9
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga, Max Theriot, Olivia Cooke, Jere Burns, Nestor Carbonell
Director: SJ Clarkson
Teleplay: Kerry Ehren
1.7 - "The Man in Number 9"
"Bates Motel" gets a semi-reset after the events of episode 6, where Deputy Shelby is killed while raging after he discovers that the Bates family has been meddling in his illicit affairs. Sheriff Romero (Carbonell) decides to keep things clean by coming up with a solution that works for all parties, though it's not as clean as they could be, as the murder on the motel site has tarnished its reputation before it could even open its doors. Though business does pick up a bit when Jake Abernathy (Burns, "Dear John"), a man who claims to have had an agreement with the motel's previous owner, the Summers', comes to stay for his usual week every two months in room number 9. He's a secretive sort, not wanting to be disturbed and coy about answers, but he does pay cash, and lots of it to earn his keep.
Meanwhile, Norman is getting a bit distraught that Bradley hasn't really been answering his texts or calls after their union. Dylan tells Norma that, despite them coming to certain understandings, he still plans to move out on his own, and Norman just might be coming with him. Norma is getting closer to the motel opening its doors, enlisting the help of Emma, though it is going to take a lot to get the rumoring town folk to forget the killing and rumored affair between Norma and Shelby. And lastly, Norman befriends a stray dog he finds on the grounds.
"The Man in Number 9" is a bit of a breather for the series, providing an epilogue for the story line involving the Asian sex slave trade (for now), while setting up for a new story arc involving the mysterious Mr. Abernathy, who seems quite keen to keep his affairs under wraps while he conducts whatever business he might have going on in the room he is quite particular to get. The affair between Norman and Bradley also appears to come to a certain conclusion, though when it comes to Norman's fragile psyche, nothing is ever quite certain in terms of how he will react.
All in all, "The Man in Number 9" is one of the better episodes thus far in the series, providing some interesting new character wrinkles, while Highmore gets to shine in making Norman both sympathetic and a bit scary; he's finally coming in to his own. Often times, the viewer is left to wonder whether Norman means to befriend or hurt his newfound friend of a dog, and the same basically goes with how he might deal with Bradley. it's interesting that there are characters who habitually lie, others have to live with the lies spun by others, while layer upon layer of artifice masks all of the events that are really going on. The town of White Pine Bay is full of enigmatic developments, and along these lines, the duplicitous motivations of the Bates' fits in with the nature of the town all too well. The writers have woven quite a tangled web, which is definitely solidifying the show into being one of the more provocative watches on television.
For fans of Psycho, it should also be noted that Norman's cinematic hobby of taxidermy appears to perhaps be coming into play some time in the near future.
For other episode reviews, check the Bates Motel page.
Qwipster's episode rating:
©2013 Vince Leo