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September 17, 2014

Monk: Mr. Monk Takes a Punch

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 9th 2008 10:05AM
Mr Monk takes a punch(S07E04) Okay, this episode was a definite reach, especially the convoluted way they came up with a climax to feature Monk doing all the things necessary to pass a fitness exam. Perhaps it was an homage to the Olympics, a twisted connection thanks to the NBC Universal. I don't know, but it took a leap of faith to buy it all.

For starters, there was no star murderer. It was an interesting case for a change, especially since the killer was a professional hit man. The planting of the bomb in the heavy bag was clever, although wouldn't a real pro make sure that the target would be hit? The set up was so random. And if you don't care about killing, why not leave a bomb big enough to destroy the gym and everyone in it? Just wondering...




So we get Monk in a boxing ring. Hmm... Was this episode inspired by the Rocky movies? You have to wonder, because boxing is hardly a "now" sport. This was more like a 1930's boxing movie, which is what Rocky was basically re-creating. Very anachronistic. This was especially true in the scene when Monk confronted Ray with the evidence that he took a dive, it seemed to come out of left field. There was no build up to it... Adrian said he was quitting before the commercial, then he's on the case.

The show did have familiar stars, like James Lesure who played Mike on Las Vegas, as the boxer (turns out that he's an amateur boxer). Great character actor Robert Loggia seemed to be doing the Burgess Meredith role from Rocky, you know, crusty old Mickey? (I guess we should be glad there was no Burt Young character).

The strands of this episode were all over the place -- Ray taking a dive for Flynn's daughter's operations, stolen art, Marino the mob boss, the hired gun man with the high powered rifle, Monk's ineptitude at physical activity -- which prompted a quick wrap up (at warp speed) once Disher and Stottlemeyer shot the assailant (and wasn't that a shock; normally nobody is shot by the cops on Monk). Randy looked devastated, even though Leland said they'd acted in self-defense.

Overall, not a great episode, but at least Monk's still on the San Francisco P.D. consultant list. Hopefully, "the beast" will get more interesting cases to come.

Other points of interest

-- Great catch by Stottlemeyer, noticing that the thread from the heavy bag had been licked and had to have DNA on it.

-- What? Adrian Monk doesn't know anything about the web. Really? How could he tell Julie what to look up and how to find it on the Internet Worldwide Web if he's never used it. This seemed off to me. Monk has OCD, but he's not out of touch with the 21st century.

-- When Monk goes to the bomb site in the track suit, moaning that he's going to quit because he can't pass the fitness test, Flynn growls, "He looks like a big, sad plum."

-- For a change, Randy was very funny. His undressing to prove that he wasn't wearing a wire made me laugh out loud.

-- I never thought I'd see Tony Shalhoub mimicking Barbra Streisand, but his gags at ringside were just like hers in The Main Event, i.e. getting tangled in the ropes trying to climb into the ring, then straightening the boxer's socks when he's supposed to get back to the fight.
Did you believe that Monk doesn't know about surfing the web?
Yes, he's out of touch71 (47.3%)
No, absolutely not41 (27.3%)
I guess it's possible38 (25.3%)

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Erika

I just didn't believe that Monk was that out of shape - he's chased down suspects before. And you're right - the mystery was too easy to figure out...after the scene in the recording studio, you knew the entire outcome.

August 11 2008 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

To me, the episode was spoiled because the mystery was too easy. We already know everything in the show has something to do with either Monk's character or this week's mystery. The dubbing scene obviously had nothing to do with Monk, so it was about the plot. When they said "This has to be on the air by September 1" while showing the big freeze-frame of the boxer sitting in front of a wall of art, while the owner freaked out about it being filmed, it was pretty obvious who commissioned the hit. The thing later about "it has to be done by the end of the month" was just hammering it in.

August 11 2008 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

To me, the episode was spoiled because the mystery was too easy. We already know everything in the show has something to do with either Monk's character or this week's mystery. The dubbing scene obviously had nothing to do with Monk, so it was about the plot. When they said "This has to be on the air by September 1" while showing the big freeze-frame of the boxer sitting in front of a wall of art, while the owner freaked out about it being filmed, it was pretty obvious who commissioned the hit. The thing later about "it has to be done by the end of the month" was just hammering it in.

When the audience isn't supposed to know who did it, but it's that obvious 20 minutes into the show, it can be a long hour.

August 11 2008 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul

I thought it was the best episode in ages. Maybe I'm a shlub who buys into everything they're selling, but it worked for me. I appreciated the more complex storylines that were bobbing and weaving throughout the episode. Much better than usual. And while I knew it was B.O. who hired the hitman right from the deodorant ad (who didn't?) I still like the way it was all tied together. Nothing's ever mentioned as an accident on shows like this.

Monk never once said anything that implied he knew nothing about the internet. He just didn't know the proper lingo for describing its parts. He clearly knew enough about the net to get Julie to look stuff up for him, and as was mentioned, last season an episode was dedicated to him getting computer-savvy (or the Monk equivalent).

I liked how the fitness test that he had to take became relevant -- it showed there's a reason why a consultant SHOULD have to be in shape, and that it wasn't just some stupid thing they made him do in the episode just for the sake of conflict.

I thought the fact they shot the hitman, and were clearly shaken up about it (not often done in happy-go-lucky TV shows that happen to have bad guys shot at the end) was a nice touch.

"The planting of the bomb in the heavy bag was clever, although wouldn't a real pro make sure that the target would be hit? The set up was so random. And if you don't care about killing, why not leave a bomb big enough to destroy the gym and everyone in it? Just wondering..."

A real hitman isn't a terrorist -- they are hired and paid to kill a specific person, not whoever happens to be around. He chose a bomb that would only kill Ray because he didn't feel the need for collateral damage. This showed, quite cleverly, that it wasn't a mob hit as revenge for throwing the fight (because then the trainer would also be a target), but that there was some other reason why only Ray needed to be killed. And the hitman was certain his man would go down because he likely studied his routine for weeks and knew that he was the first guy to hit the punching bag would be Ray -- who'd have expected a drunk gym worker would be around that early and hit it if the routine was followed cleanly leading up?

I know "Monk" is usually enjoyable because it's "easy" entertainment -- it's funny, pleasant, and you can usually turn your brain off a bit and still enjoy it. But I'm not opposed to episodes that make you have to use yours a little bit, which this one was (even with the cheesy ring entrance and leap up to the escalator).

August 11 2008 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alison

Awwww, come on. You're not supposed to "buy" anything on Monk, are you? It's a solid series with incredible actors. While I didn't particularly enjoy this one, I thought the acting was terrific!!

August 10 2008 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

I didn't really like this episode unless it was taken completely out of context with the rest of the series. As for Monk and the Internet, I think his use of the weird lingo may be similar to his use of the term "Sex Affair." Just a Monk-ism.

August 09 2008 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robin

Monk learned about the internet last season. Julie even helped him.

August 09 2008 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PJ

MR MONK TAKES A PUNCH was dreadful. The worst so far this season, and I thought MR MONK BUYS A HOUSE was pretty bad. What is happening to MONK????

August 09 2008 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Cook is my Idol!

Eh, I wasn't impressed. I think the last few episodes (with the exception of the two-part fugitive episodes) have been weak. I think it's time to start wrapping it up.

OT- and I'm saying this strictly as a huge Wings fan- I want to see an episode where Monk goes undercover as a cabdriver ;)

August 09 2008 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chipe

Wonderful review, congrats. I agree with all of it. Interestingly, all of the dozen or more of the comments on the "Monk" USA message board --except two, including mine-- raved about the episode! Monk was made into a caricature with his feeble unfunny exercise routines. .... .... .... And I am a huge "Monk" fan. I thought two (Genius and Lotto) of the three episodes so far this season were excellent, despite flaws here and there.

August 09 2008 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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