I must say that there are a number of episodes in season 7 that were a little bit on the not-completely satisfying side to me (namely "Mr. Monk's Other Brother" and "Mr. Monk Takes a Punch"). This is a nice little turnaround on that.
Monk is a person who still has nightmares about his past, namely about Roderick Brody, the bully who beat him up every day in middle school by giving him "swirlies" (where the person puts the victim's head in the toilet bowl then flushes the toilet, which is probably very unpleasant and painful).
So you can guess that he is a bit nervous when Natalie mentions that Roderick would like them to take a case. Monk would rather decline, but Natalie and Dr. Bell encourage him to face up and forget his past incidents with Roderick. When Roderick mentions that the case is a matrimonial and personal matter (namely, he thinks his wife is cheating on him), Monk takes the case because he is too eager to exact revenge on Roderick for the swirlies.
The episode itself does demonstrate the typical Monk episode, which is 50% comedy and 50% investigation, or vice-versa, and I find that there are several favorite moments of mine in the series that are in this episode:
1. Having a flashback to seventh grade, Monk accidentally takes a hot tray out of the oven with his left hand (which does not have an oven mitt on it) instead of his protected right hand. 2. Monk tries (without success) to bribe a bartender to get information, using a $1 dollar bill. He then adds a dime in, but that doesn't work.
3. Natalie tricks a bar patron into taking a photo of "Marilyn" and her lover by using the pretext of wanting the patron to take a photo of her and Monk. They duck to the sides when the flash goes off.
4. Monk is in a park, wanting to do a cartwheel, but he can't seem to be able to have enough will to do it. Of course, his personality is splitting between a mode of "relieved to have gotten revenge on Roderick" and a "sympathy for Roderick" mode. He tries to get Natalie to do one ("cartwheel by proxy"), but finally stops trying to do a cartwheel when he spots a police officer's gun and realizes that Marilyn's story about where Roderick was last night has a few holes in it.
5. Trying to tell two twins apart, Randy tries to get the one they've saved from drowning (who is coughing up water) to say "aunt," and Stottlemeyer tells him they could simply arrest the sister who is not drowning.
All in all, a nice episode and a decent one in the series. In contrast to the past two episodes, this one features a lot more of Natalie, and significantly less of Stottlemeyer and Disher.