Review: Monk - Mr. Monk and the Badge
by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 21st 2009 12:35AM
(S08E14) File this one under be careful what you wish for ... I feel like Rod Serling writing that, but there was a bit of a Twilight Zone feel to this episode of Monk. It was Monk in an alternate universe, only it looked like the same place we'd been to before. Same with Natalie. More on how things were the same, but different, after the jump.
Once Leland presented Monk with the badge, reinstating him to active duty, the universe shifted. You could tell because as soon as Monk was back on the job he looked different. He was wearing a tie. Ties and the badge.
Being back on the force was nothing like Monk expected. The desk was the same, but the time wasn't. Monk had no idea what to do with a PC and the very notion of being stuck behind a desk was antithetical to Adrian. He can't do that thing with his hands if he's stuck in a chair. But even when he was allowed to hit the streets, it was still all wrong.
The more he was told to stop being Monk, the more he needed to be Monk. He couldn't keep from solving the crime, even after being told to "button it." It was strange to see Monk cut off from Natalie, Randy and Leland. Working with the other cops -- detectives that didn't care for his idiosyncratic style -- Monk was forced to conform.
To his credit, he tried. He went to the cop bar (drinking ginger ale). He stopped picking up the shell casings at the firing range (he could come back later). He tried not to cross the thin blue line when it looked like Demarco was involved with the window washer (but he still questioned the widow). Monk couldn't turn off that quirk in his brain that solves crimes.
With Dr. Bell, Adrian was able to say what he'd been thinking: "It's my dream job and it's making me miserable." Quoting Oscar Wilde, Dr. Bell responded, "When the Gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers."
The resolution on the window washer trolley was especially good because it showed that when push came to shove, Monk was able to handle the rigors of the job. They weren't wrong to put him back in service. He solved the case, confronted the suspect and defended himself when Mikael tried to kill him. He not only defended himself, he was resourceful enough to stab the guy with the only thing he had at hand, his badge.
Adrian rewarded himself for a job well done by giving up the badge. He was sans tie at the end, and ready to return to his miserable old self. That miserable guy was as happy as the post-Trudy Monk could ever be. And Natalie wanted back too, even if she had to take a pay cut!
Other points of interest:
-- It was unclear why Natalie gave up the great job with Paxson. Sure, she missed Monk, but that was a great job. Maybe Natalie needs to be needed as much as Monk needs to be miserable?
-- Brooke Adams -- Mrs. Tony Shalhoub -- was back as yet another character to cross paths with Monk. This time she was a goofy cat lady, until Mr. Lawrence turned out not to be a kitty the way Mr. Barton was.
Monk: "I thought it was a surprise."
Natalie: "What were you expecting?"
Monk: "I thought it might be Joey Heatherton."
Disher: "I don't see him."
Stottlemeyer: "He's here somewhere. He's separated the fruit salad."
[Check episodes of Monk on SlashControl.]