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November 28, 2014

Review: Monk -- Mr. Monk and the End (Part 1)

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 28th 2009 10:01AM
monk_leland_usa
(S08E15)
If you were thinking that the penultimate episode of Monk, the next to last show, would be a gag fest filled with sight gags and spit takes, you were wrong. I can't remember a more serious Monk episode in eight seasons. Also, for those of you who have wondered about Monk's mourning of Trudy, here was a show that would address the issue head on. For that and other matters of life or death, read on and remember, this is only part one of the two part finale so spoilers will be shared... after the jump.

Immediately setting the tone, the show took us back to 1997. Not only was Adrian blissfully happy in his marriage to Trudy, he was also on the job as Leland's partner. The chemistry he had with both characters was clear; he felt lucky to have Trudy's love. With Stottlemeyer on the job, he was confident and secure. Oh, yes, he was still Monk with that obsessive compulsive mind. On the crime scene, he instantly saw that 58 bottles were on the floor, like Rain Main with the toothpicks. The crime had not been a robbery.

However, Monk missed connecting Trudy questioning him about Wendy's disappearance at the birthing center. In the midst of breakfast -- she forgot the onions in the omelet -- and her giving him a special gift not to be opened till Christmas, Adrian failed to ask why she wanted to know, what was the connection to the birthing center. Why did she forget the onions?

The death of Dr. Nash at the same birthing center should have been a trigger, but Monk's emotions about Trudy have always clouded his solving her murder. When the judge realized that Monk was on the case -- and had fingered the hired killer John Kazarinski -- he decided not to wait for Adrian to piece it all together, he put out a hit on him. And if they didn't think we'd recognize Craig T. Nelson in the shadows as the judge/killer, they were nuts. It seemed obvious.

But that just made the why bigger? Why was there a hit on Trudy 12 years before? What did she know? Why hadn't she confided in Adrian or Leland? Why was it necessary for a judge to have her die in a car explosion?

The judge was a strange character based on the evidence. He was living in a very modest home, yet he was getting this major appointment to the state Supreme Court. That didn't add up. And if he is corrupt, is it not for wealth that he's involved with the John K.'s of the world.

That brings up the biggest why of all for me. Why not murder Monk quickly, why slow poison? If Nash was killed with a bullet, and Trudy with a bomb, and the train controller with a gun, why opt for poison with Monk? And how, exactly, did it get into his system? I'm guessing it wasn't food but perhaps the wipes? If so, how did the killer know that he used them all the time?

Once Dr. Shuler explained the diagnosis, Monk's imminent death brought out a lot of different reactions. Leland was fueled by desperation to find the killer and fix Monk. His chase in the train station underscore how much he wanted to save Monk. Natalie is just floored; her head on his shoulder after he took his pill -- separating it by color first -- said it all.

Finally, Monk opened Trudy's gift. "It's time." Natalie was in tears, but then they started to watch Trudy's video. "Something happened, years ago before we met..." she began. Oh my god, what's going on? Monk didn't know Trudy's past and her possible link to someone who'd want her dead?

This was a great cliffhanger because I'm dying to know how it's going to be resolved. I think it's very possible we're going to get a Carousel ending, where the couple are reunited in death. That could explain a lot and give Monk a happy ending. Especially since it doesn't look like they have an answer to the poison...

Other points of interest

-- Like last week, Monk on the job was signaled with the tie.

-- Who was the six-fingered man? Was that an allusion to The Fugitive and the one-armed man?

-- The scene in bed with the ethereal Trudy was beautifully done. Tony Shalhoub projected a softness that was likely Adrian at his most vulnerable, in bed with the woman he loved. What did she mean when she said, "it won't be long."

-- Adrian about Natalie's cooking: "I can usually eat her food."

-- Worst scene was Monk and the hospital. He's been in the hospital before and the dentist. He's faced sharps before. This was a dumb scene. Also, considering his phobias about germs, wouldn't he want doctors to make sure he's uninfected?

-- To get information, Leland's suspect says nobody uses a telephone book anymore to beat a confession. Leland agreed, then gave Randy his shattered laptop and explained that it had crashed.

-- Monk said goodbye to Trudy's grave, but no mention of Ambrose or his father or the other brother. Next week perhaps?

[Check out Monk on SlashControl.]

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Sue Juckes

Have watched Monk since the series started and loved him with or because of all his faults. However, the last episode blew all my conceptions of Mr. Monk out of the water. Apparently he's been pulling the wool over our eyes all these seasons. I.E., his hand on the blade of the knife in the last episode. Our Mr. Monk would NEVER have cuticles like that!!! Such a downer!!!

December 13 2009 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KMD

anyone else notice that in part 1 the judge says he's been called up to go to the State Supreme Court, but in part 2 they keep referring to him as a "federal judge"?? A federal circuit (the appellate jurisdiction in the federal court system) judge would not leave the prestigious federal court system to go to a state court position, even if it was the supreme court.

December 04 2009 at 11:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sasha

When Monk opens the gift and it's a tape from Trudy, it looks like a mini dv, which weren't available 12 years ago!

December 04 2009 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie

I think Monk deserves to be the next Perry Mason or Columbo....visit us every so often with a special movie mystery. The character is iconic. I can't imagine saying good bye forever at this point.

November 30 2009 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Q Man

OK, I started watching Monk the last three seasons. I will miss him dearly. I just wanted to share some thoughts. I have never "looked" for a comment page on any show and before Monk goes off i wanted to share in my humble opinion what I feel will happen.

A) I miss Sharona and believe Randy does want to move closer to her
B) The Judge that signed the arrest warrant in the beginning of Part 1 of the Finale is the killer, you can tell by various things in the episode and Monks wife probably
C) The doctors all looked at the food that may have been poisoned but no one thought of his wipes

You heard it here first.

November 29 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Q Man's comment
*MonkFan*

I think he poisoned the mouthwash not the wipes...how was he gonna do that in like 10 seconds? He could have easily injected the mouthwash.

December 02 2009 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HerDawn

SO glad I found this forum!

Randy's comment about missing this is because he's moving to Sharona. Probably going to marry her but definately moving there. Happy ending for him.

Leland just got married & Natalie is going to move in with her beau while her daughter goes to college - happy ending for all of them.

Monk, ah, he is going to live, of that I have no doubt. And he should, too, because once he solves Trudy's murder he will be able to move on and find a happiness again. As an anal retentive, obsessive compulsive, he will always be different but he will have filled a huge part of the hole inside himself in finding her killer.

Monk didn't resign from the police force because he was too "damaged" he did so because he preferred working independently as a consultant. I thought that was entirely clear. He complained about having to work on cases that didn't interest him whereas working independently he made enough money to live, obviously, and chose what he wanted. After working that way for so long he didn't like working within the confines of the police department.

re: the finale part 1 ~~~

It was a great show but 1 huge flaw is that they didn't address the part of the morning of Trudy's murder where she asked Monk to accompany her and he refused.

For years this has been mentioned and has been given as one of the main reasons, along with her death, that he has been unable to move forward.

Do the writers think the viewers have forgotten this or that we wouldn't want and expect it to be dealt with?

If he had to work that morning why would she have asked for him to accompany her?

Anyone else bothered by this?

November 29 2009 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

H: NOBODY likes needles. Not even when the needle is injecting heroin, morphine, cocaine, and all sorts of other pleasurable stuff (as opposed to, say, giving painful allergy shots or sucking out a pint of blood) does a person not dislike the needle. They're like red lights, long lines at the coffee shop, cavities, and speeding tickets. They are universally disliked, but few people truly 'fear' them. In other words, it's possible to dislike something without being afraid of it.

November 29 2009 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
H

I disagree that Monk's fear of needles is "dumb" just because he's dealt with them before. I used to get allergy shots twice a week during a time where I had to have some dental work done as well, but the first time I had my blood drawn, I was terrified. There's something about the "taking out" part of it that was worse. Plus, even though I've been stuck with needles literally hundreds of times in my life, I still hate them! Add in Monk's phobias and OCD and I'm not surprised he needed to be restrained.

I do agree that it seemed like a convenient opportunity to simultaneously grant cameo to the cast and crew.

November 28 2009 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to H's comment
bruce

not liking needles and having to be restrained by a dozen people to get a little blood test are two totally different things.

November 29 2009 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
H

Bruce,

A dislike of needles is very close to a fear of phobia of them. It's logical for someone who is afraid of something to resist it. The exaggeration of this would be the resistance of the source of fear despite the potential life-saving benefits from it.

I might only "dislike" needles, but I have almost gone into shock after being poked too many times in search of a vein. I have also taken out my own IV's because I could feel the needle moving around.

November 29 2009 at 12:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

I agree they won't have the balls to kill off Monk, fans would whine and "focus groups" would turn their dials down in the 'negative' direction.

But it would be a great way to end the show, as long as he gets to learn the truth about Trudy's murder before he dies, as well as getting some sort of closure (even if it's only seeing the killer arrested).

Monk will never be a police officer again - as we learned in the previous episode. He's too damaged, I guess. I was actually surprised that they went in that direction, Monk giving his badge back - the badge he's fought 12 years for - after the first time he was placed at risk on the job. Surely Monk didn't just realize that being a homicide detective can be a dangerous job.

Give him closure and let him die (though not a slow painful death). The show should end with monk in a coffin, with a peaceful smile on his face (like when he was burried alive in the coffin that time).

November 28 2009 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment
Joanna

I think the point of him leaving the force was that he had evolved? He was fighting for what he considered "sanity" by being a detective again. But he realized he was a detective already, without the badge, and that he was happy all along.

I hated Sharona but glad they gave her a send-off 2 weeks ago. I don't like him and Sharona together, but oh well. Leland got married, Natalie is moving in with her boyfriend, Randy & Sharona (ewww) - Monk needs to be happy to. I think he will die. If he still had the dog, maybe not.

November 29 2009 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nav

Hey, eventhough I dont want Monk to die, it would be, I dont know, beautiful in a way, because this way he will finally be happy, wont he? Also agree with the Disher thing with him going closer to Sharona.
Also I thought we all knew who the six fingered guy was, they explain that in last years finale.
BTW I totally knew in that christmas special that the present was gonna play a big part in Trudy's murder. Also I was suprised at the lack of reaction when in the videotape, Trudy said, 'if your watching this, it probably means im dead'...

Great episode...would have liked the solving of her murder in this season to be a gradual process though instead of a 2 parter.

Gonna miss Monk and Disher big time!!

November 28 2009 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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