(S08E16) The pressure of writing the last episode must be tremendous. Especially for a long-running show like Monk. The writers have to tie up loose ends, satisfy viewers' desire for the characters, and leave fans with a sense of closure. Closure, in fact, is the word Dr. Bell used with Adrian. Monk was looking for it and so were we.
But the ending is tough. There have been some shows that have stumbled badly at the end. Seinfeld, for instance, was a real stinker. But the memory of Newhart, which harkened back to The Bob Newhart Show may be the best-ever. Now, in the broader scheme of things, Seinfeld was a much better series than Newhart; in every way but the ending. Which brings us back to Monk. How did the writers navigate the Monk finale? Follow me after the jump and I'll tell you all about it.
Tony Shalhoub was interviewed about the end of Monk and it was interesting that as an actor, he waited till he filmed the end before learning Monk's fate. He said, "I think it's a good send-off. At the beginning of the season, the writers asked me if I wanted to know how everything [ended] and I said, if it was okay with them, I'd rather wait."
(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.
(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.
There were other differences in tonight's show. The murder of the taxi driver brought Stottlemeyer and Disher to the case, and Natalie and Adrian, but also a San Francisco Homicide task force -- i.e. two other detectives.
Have we ever seen these guys before? I don't remember them. They were there for one reason basically, to contradict Monk's assertion that the prime suspect -- Layla with a Z, a beautiful social worker -- is not the "guy." In the face of mounting evidence, Monk refused to believe she did it.
Unfortunately, this episode wasn't written by Levinson and Link. The clues to the mystery fell into place without any great surprise or twist. The wife was poisoned when she drank from a secret stash of oleander laced wine, which was never found. That was just Monk's supposition after swiping the flowers from the garden. That would be inadmissible evidence because he had no warrant to get them from Kloster's home. Then he actually tried to plant the evidence -- again, not very smart or Monk-like.
(S05E06) I think it's fairly easy to tell a person's high school or college experience by how excited (or not excited) they become when it comes time for a class reunion. I know my response to people asking if I was going to attend my ten year high school reunion was pretty much "hell no." My school experience was decent enough, but Adrian Monk's wasn't so great. In this episode he returns to Berkeley for his college reunion, after receiving an invitation addressed to "Captain Cool." We later find out he received that particular nickname not because he was popular, but because he defrosted the dorm refrigerator every weekend.
Before all that, of course, we get the obligatory Monk opening murder. A man, his face more or less obscured, pushes an old woman down a flight of stairs, and then breaks a beaded necklace to make it look as if she slipped and fell by accident. Disher and Stottlemeyer investigate, and Disher falls for the ruse, but Stottlemeyer points out that there are a lot of gaps Disher himself didn't notice. He turns it into a homicide investigation, which is good because otherwise the episode would only be five minutes long.
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