Episode Reviews (5)
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The New Adventures of Former Former Detective Monk
I think we all had our preconceived notions about how this series would end, with Monk back at his job on the police force and everything just like the good ol' days. Of course, this sort of unrealistic dream scenario is something I've argued against before, but it seemed the most likely route anyhow. But this was definitely interesting. It's no surprise that our beloved Adrian Monk finally gets his badge back, but instead of playing to the expected and, frankly, boring, "Mr. Monk and the Badge" takes a surprisingly deep, thoughtful look at the reality of rejoining the force after spending so long as a mere consultant. Then again, I suppose I shouldn't have expected less from the writing superduo of Hy Conrad and Tom Scharpling.
Adrian was denied reinstatement a couple weeks back in the abysmal "Mr. Monk Goes Camping", but now the committee has apparently had a change of heart. (More of that awkward handling of story arcs I've mentioned previously.) Now reduced to an unexciting life of manning the tip line (a scene that was the definite low point of an otherwise great episode - I know Monk is computer illiterate but this just seemed ridiculous) and responding to the ridiculous calls of Edith Carriani (scenes which I was considerably fonder of), Monk takes an interest in the case of the Pickaxe Killer, or Gold Rush Killer if you're Randy. However, it soon becomes apparent that the inner workings of the department clash with his now-established style of work and maybe, just maybe, he was happier before. Meanwhile, Natalie finds working for a "normal" boss unbearable in a side-story that doesn't really get fleshed out enough for me to even comment on.
As some astute viewers may have noticed, tonight's mystery is ripped straight out of "Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu", a novel that also dealt with Monk returning to the force, albeit in a different, far more contrived way. I have to knock off a point for unoriginality, but it still gets the job done - simple but unintrusive, mostly serving as a catalyst to explore Monk's interaction with the department in the face of particularly unpleasant truths. In fact, Monk's fellow cops are a more effectual opponent (for lack of a better word) for him than the actual murderer du jour. Accusing a cop of being dirty just ain't gonna fly when you're on the force, y'know.
Police consultant is apparently a pretty cushy gig. Monk gets only the choicest cut cases, being spared your lesser things like responding to calls about homicidal cats. It's all the thrill of solving crimes with none of the more tedious legwork. The main thread of this episode - Monk not being the same man he was 12 years ago and the resultant disappointment with what had, for so many years, been his dream job, his ultimate goal - is handled beautifully. It's not because he's just a buffoon as the writers often like to paint him anymore. He's remarkably functional despite his quirks, and you really get the feeling that those little bits of progress they've thrown into each of the (mostly subpar) episodes this season are genuinely paying off. Rather, it's just because times have changed and so has, ironically, the infamously change-fearing Adrian Monk. It's an important distinction, and one that Conrad and Scharpling do a splendid job of getting across.
Hastily returning to the status quo has never felt so good. This season has been dropping the ball somewhat consistently, so I didn't come in with particularly high expectations. And I came out rather pleasantly surprised. Like "Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man", which was previously this season's best effort, it's not a particularly funny episode (though the scenes with Edith were, again, chuckle-worthy) but makes up for it with some really nice subtle emotional moments. Plus, it's nice to watch an episode that feels like it has actual significance on the story of the series as a whole. Next week is another episode of great significance, the two-parter finale "Mr. Monk and the End", which will either be epically awesome, or a massive disappointment. I think it goes without saying that I'm hoping for the former.moreless
Shameless rip-off of Monk book; I repeat, shameLESS
Despite the story of this episode being based off of Lee Goldberg's third Monk book, "Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu" I believe the writers handled the unresolved story arc of Monk's reinstatement amazingly. It was clear that Monk was not the same man he was twelve years ago, and I'm glad Mr. Monk and the Badge pointed that out. The climactic scene on the building made me feel like they were being symbolic; showing how far Monk has gotten from the first season. The episode was also sprinkled with good humor, always bringing a smile to my face. Overall, great episode; can't wait for the big finale!moreless
Monk is reinstated.
In a move that should have been saved for the series finale Monk was reinstated to the police force, yet in predictable fashion, he ended up reverting back to his position as a freelancer.
The episode was exciting when the final scene came around and we had Tony Shalhoub in an actual action sequence. Very well-done and Monk surprisingly held his own in a somewhat believable manner.
But the show is just not humorous in the way it once was and these past few episodes are more about nostalgia than comedy. That's the case for most shows, but I just wish they tried a little harder.moreless
this one continued in the fine form that has been the standard for this season, and brought a nice bit of closure to one of the most important ongoing arcs of the series - Mr. Monk's efforts to get reinstated. I love (spoilers follow) the way that he realized that he had been so busy pining for the life that he had lost that he had not realized that in fact his current life is pretty good and makes him happy. I loved the Oscar Wilde quote Dr. Bell used when Monk revealed his epiphany as to being unhappy as a cop now and realizing he had been truly happy being a private consultant -- "When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." I love that Monk demonstrates the fruits of a lot of personal growth, by the way that he handles things quite well, from kicking in the cat lady's apartment door like a real cop, to getting the better of the window washer in a man-to-man life or death struggle. ah monk, you've come a long way & i'm gonna miss you.moreless
Monk comes full circle.
With 3 episodes left, there was bound to be an episode that focused on Monk's career as a detective. Having been a long time fan of the show, i was intrigued about how they would handle this. I think they made the right call. Monk is truly not the same man he was 12 years ago and having observed him throughout the years, it was hard to imagine him working in a restricted environment. He tried to fit in, but it couldn't happen. And i liked that he abandoned the dream on his own terms(Dr Bell also helped by providing some much required clarity). Now he is probably back as a private investigator with his loyal assistant at his side and getting ready to solve his most difficult case. I can't wait for the last 2 episodes!moreless