(S08E13) Just three more episodes till the end of Monk, so it sort of feels like they're wrapping up some loose ends. Tonight, the focus was on Leland Francis Stottlemeyer, Monk's best friend, the guy who has been solidly behind Adrian through all the difficult years since Trudy's death, helping Monk to cope and remain gainfully employed as a police consultant.
Leland's always been a good guy, but not so lucky in love. As the title suggested, if Mr. Monk is the best man, that means that Leland was the groom. More about the nuptials after the jump.
(S08E10) "What year is this?" - Monk to Sharona
I'm not spoiling anything by telling you at the top that Bitty Schram was back as Sharona for this episode. Hell, the title of the show was "Mr. Monk and Sharona." Oftentimes when a former character returns to a long-established show, it doesn't live up to the expectations. You want it to be like it was, only better. Fortunately, Bitty Schram's guest turn was excellent. This might be the best Monk of this finale season.
(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.
Most of last night's episode focused on Disher, the bumbling young lieutenant whose outrageous theories usually afford no help whatsoever to the investigation. When he swears to his colleagues that he saw his dentist (Jon Favreau) murder a man while he was under anesthesia they refuse to believe him. Upset, he turns in his badge and tries to restart the garage band he had in the twelfth grade. He even manages to write seventeen songs in one night.
Last night's episode had some great laugh out loud moments. When the dentist and his assistant become linked to an armored car heist, they drug Monk (who, naturally, hates going to the dentist) and try to do their own rendition of the torture scene from Marathon Man. Before that, however, the sexy dental assistant arrives at Monk's home and tries to place a Kleenex soaked in chloroform on his face by telling him he has a smudge on his lip. Always a slave to his phobias, Monk tries to wipe away the smudge even after he realizes the Kleenex has chloroform on it.
The basic plot of last night's episode was Disher being absolutely correct and no one believing him. That plot has only been used about a million times on a million other shows, but as always, Monk remains a character-driven show and that's why it works and doesn't seem cliche. Given the title of the show, every episode must focus on Monk somehow, but it's always nice when the lives of the other characters are delved into more deeply, even if in the case of Disher we just find more layers of goofiness.
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