Review: Monk - Mr. Monk Goes Camping
by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 7th 2009 2:01PM
(S08E12) Well, after the past couple of shows -- especially Monk's reunion with Sharona -- I was imagining that the final season of Monk was sprinting to the finish line, delivering some final hours that would be up there with the best ever for the series.
Then Adrian went camping. This might be one of the weakest Monks of all time. The funniest thing was the title, which was where the inspiration began and -- sadly -- ended. Nothing worked. Monk and children? No. Monk in the woods? No. Monk and the grizzly bear? Do you even have to wonder? More after the jump.
I'm glad they're dealing with Monk's desire to be reinstated in the San Francisco P.D. before the series winds up. It's been his goal from the start, although I have to think by now that he's just as happy -- for Monk -- not being part of the force. As a consultant, he's allowed his idiosyncrasies and foibles. He's allowed Natalie as a sidekick. What would he get by being back -- a gun and badge? He doesn't need to be reinstated for any reason other than he's a completist and wants to be whole again. I just don't think it matters anymore.
The tribunal was weird. Monk's record should be enough to warrant serious consideration. Couldn't they give Adrian back his status with limitations if they're concerned about his fitness in the field? And, seriously, in Monk-world, how tough can the SFPD be if Randy Disher is an officer?
There was some good interaction with Randy and Monk, especially Disher's philosophy lesson. We now know why he's so sanguine about things. He's chosen to be happy. Leave it to Disher to chose a lifestyle based on a bumper sticker. The heck with books and learning.
Unlike "Mr. Monk and the Dog," there was nothing heartwarming about Monk and the kids. He didn't get them. He was schmoozing with the one kid to suck up to the boy's father and it was just smarmy. Monk's not a schmoozer and he does not related to kids. Then add the tropes of camping and you have an ill-conceived string of episodes. By the time the bear showed up, I had mentally tuned out.
The case -- yes, there was a case -- somehow trickled back into the camping plot. There was a trout and bear and twisted metal, but it didn't really add up to much more than one slightly funny moment when Monk calmed the grizzly by telling him/her a story. "Here's what happened..." See, that was it. The one funny in the show.
The rejection at the end and Monk's decision not to hear the truth was simply daft. By next week's show will reality set in? Presumably it will. I sure hope by then that Mr. Monk is back on track for a winning finish.
[Check episodes of Monk on SlashControl.]