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November 28, 2014

Monk: Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized (season finale)

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 13th 2008 10:06AM
Monk with frog(S07E08) Monk should have wrapped the season with last week's episode, ending on a high point, because this show was in many ways a downer. The case, such as it was, was pretty flimsy. The clues were presented so early and rather ungracefully that unless you were really unfamiliar with the Monk formula, it was a cinch to guess who was really the "guy."

The real novelty was Monk's getting in touch with his inner child. That and Tim Bagley returning as Harold Krenshaw. It's always fun when Monk's nemesis shows up, but this was a reborn Harold. Thanks to his new shrink, Dr. Kleinman, Harold wasn't interested in competing with Monk. He just wanted to embrace the wonders of life.

I get that Harold pushes Monk's buttons and therefore seeing him happy upset Adrian. But there was a lack of continuity here, because for no discernible reason, Monk was dissatisfied with Dr. Bell. After the submarine show, Monk and Dr. Bell were completely in sync.

In tonight's show, Monk complains to Natalie that he's getting nowhere in his therapy. "I've been talking for eleven years. I want to get better." Wow! That was a revelation. Perhaps it's the result of his inability to make a lasting connection with Layla in "Mr. Monk Falls in Love"? If so, it would show some growth, albeit painful growth, on Monk's part.

So after one session with Dr. Kleinman, played in a too brief appearance by The West Wing's Richard Schiff, Monk is hypnotized to a happy place. Ding, ding, ding -- Monk becomes a little boy. The Adrian as a child bit was rather gimmicky, but Tony Shalhoub played it to the hilt. You got to figure that all actors really enjoy the chance to become six year olds. It's a tried and true plot device.

Monk as a boy is free and goofy and a frog-lover. He finds a frog while working the case -- sort of -- and names him Hoppy (nearly Happy). He gorges himself on pancakes. He withholds nothing when confronting suspects. It was great that even though he was a boy, he still had the keen observational skills to see that Aaron Larkin was having an affair with his assistant. Of course, the observation involved the woman having "cooties," but he still saw what nobody else did.

Not surprisingly, Monk becomes bored with the case -- he's only six and grown up police work is no fun. When Sally Larkin is questioned, his misbehaving leads to him throwing a tantrum and saying he hates them all, but not before he finds the gum on her shoe, the key to solving the crime.

Perhaps it was fitting that it was Monk himself that brought him back to reality. In the playground, Monk saw his reflection and realized the truth. He takes Hoppy back into pond at the Larkin estate, saying, "At least one of us can be free."

Freedom is something Monk cannot achieve because in the end, he's right back where he was. He can't embrace pancakes or the wonder of a mother bird feeding her chicks. He doesn't get it. Hypnosis wasn't the answer.

Other points of interest


-- Monk's vision of childhood isn't his own. It's the childhood he always wanted.

-- Playing a boy, Monk did some really gross things, including the fart noises, commenting about Natalie's body odor, and speaking out. My favorite line from little Adrian was, "She's a liar, Stottlemeyer."

-- When Dr. Kleinman tells Monk to leap, he says that a net will appear. Monk wonders who's "Annette?"

-- The moment I saw the headline in the tabloid that Sally Larkin was an actress, I knew she was "the guy."

-- Disher mints, Randy's do-it-yourself gum making kit. The whole idea of gum on the shoe being re-eaten was disgusting. Monk being the one to eat it makes it twice as gross.

-- The first black and white reenactment of how Aaron was killed in the cabin was really funny. We're used to Monk's "this is how he did it" moments to be completely factual and this was a goof on that.
How would you rate this summer season of Monk?
Four stars - excellent60 (32.6%)
Three stars -- very good79 (42.9%)
Two stars -- so-so37 (20.1%)
One star -- forgettable8 (4.3%)

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11 Comments

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cdawg

I knew it the wife had faked it in the cold open! I am so smart - S.M.R.T.!

Who's Annette! LMAO. And the first black and white was hilarious.

This Dina Meyer chick is hot. who is she?

September 15 2008 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cdawg's comment
Mr. Friesand

Dina Meyer was Allison Kerry in the SAW film franchise.

I assume that the assumption that Sally Larkin is "the guy" is based on the fact that she is an actress. As an actress, she knows how to stage a crime scene and fake an abduction - also, the fact that there are no signs of a struggle near the car are a dead giveaway.

May 21 2011 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PJ

The reviewer is right; this should have run last week. For a summer finale, it was pretty bad.

September 13 2008 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Burroughs

Well the nice thing about Monk is the variety and the shifting emphasis show to show. The emphasis here was clearly on comedy. I like that aspect of Monk even though the problem solving side of the show was diminished. I did chuckle. My favorite like was when he wanted some candy and he asked Natalie for some change or a hammer. The saddest thing about this episode is we won't see any new ones until January. It will be missed.

September 13 2008 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

*cough* Fall finale *cough*

September 13 2008 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to StillBash's comment
Toby OB

It's not Fall yet!

September 13 2008 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

*kicks Toby OB3 in the nuts*

Once the pain away it will be.

September 13 2008 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chrissthomas

Did anyone else think that they have been waiting to use the "gumshoe" reference for a while or was that just a coincidence?

September 13 2008 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gooby

I thought it was a satisfactory episode but somewhat mild for a season ender. It was great seeing Dina Meyer as the wife but I wish her role would have been a little bigger. But hell Richard Schiff had an even smaller role, so...

Solid Monk episode I thought.

September 13 2008 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gooby

I thought it was a satisfactory episode but somewhat mild for a season ender. It was great seeing Dina Meyer as the wife but I wish her role would have been a little bigger. But hell Richard Schiff had an even smaller role, so...

Solid Monk episode I thought.

September 13 2008 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JennieO

Great recap -- it made me remember the funnier moments in this ep, because I'm generally sick of how Monk is now just a cheap laugh instead of the sensitive genius he started out.

I agree, they should have let last week's episode be the finale.

September 13 2008 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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