Well, everyone, this is it. The final Monk episode. The time when Trudy's killer is revealed. How did it turn out?
Honestly, like many other fans who have been speculating online, I was really hoping that the solving of the case would involve some big, elaborate scheme or twist. I was expecting some sort of plot involving chemical warfare. I thought maybe Dale the Whale was lurking in the shadows somewhere. At one point, I even thought perhaps Natalie was Trudy's daughter. And as the pieces began to fall into place, I kept asking myself, "Really? Is that it?" But Monk said it all in his final words to the judge: "You did...all this...for a job?!?" (At least I thought that's what he said.) And it was a good point. It was ridiculous just how much the Judge did to cover his tracks, and he knew it.
Once the second half of the episode kicked in, with Molly, the end of the Randy storyline, and Monk's resolving to "help other Trudys," I realized that this show wasn't really about the Trudy case - it was about these characters that we've come to know and love. It was a reminder that we began with an unsolvable case that haunted our main character but grew into something more that helped him along in those 12 tough years and into a new journey that he's beginning now: relationships. The last thirty minutes were all about relationships and friendships: Randy and Sharona, Monk and Molly, and the Captain and his wife. I'm so glad Natalie and Steve were barely mentioned - and that we did get to see Monk and Natalie on their way to a new crime scene during the ending montage. And the last line about leaving the stove on - what a wonderful callback to the pilot!
So come on, everyone - I know the case may have been a bit predictable, but I'd rather spend more time seeing these wonderful characters grow and move on. :) Feel free to disagree if you'd like, but I thought it was beautiful to watch. We've come a long way with everyone since the pilot.