Review: Monk -- Mr. Monk and the End (Part 1)
by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 28th 2009 10:01AM
(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.]