Ah, yes. I was wondering when this season would end up disappointing me. I never even had high hopes for "Mr. Monk and the UFO", but in the end, its mind-boggling stupidity managed to fall below even my low expectations. This episode makes no sense from start to finish, and stands in sharp contrast to the brilliant episode directly preceding it. This episode wouldn't quite get my vote for the worst episode of the series - in a decision I don't entirely expect others to agree with, "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized" holds that distinction - but it's easily in my top five.
When Natalie's car breaks down in the desert, Monk spots a UFO in the sky. That's already a pretty good sign this episode isn't going to be good. Naturally, these sightings attract hordes of "Internet people" to investigate. The subplot where they (and Natalie, apparently) think Monk is an alien is just ridiculous, and not in a good way. Clearly, they were aiming for a goofy comedy episode here, but the fundamental problem is that it's just not funny.
Obviously, it's not a real flying saucer. It's all part of a rather confusing scheme to cover up a murder. So, that thing was supposed to be a tiny model UFO after all? Too bad that conflicts with its size as seen in every other scene in which it appears. Do they even make model UFOs that can fly that well? Our killer, by the way, is a failure at virtually everything. His entire plan relies on the body being discovered, so of course it isn't at first. He uses his model UFO to lure people to this sleepy town to form an impromptu search party, but, for whatever reason, he's flying it around in the middle of nowhere on his first attempt. It's sheer luck that Monk actually saw it. And when he discovers that Monk suspects murder, he attempts to take them out, but only manages to nick the sheriff's leg and blow their tires. This man compulsively makes mistakes that exist solely to pad this episode's running time. On top of that, he gets next to no screentime. Kyle Larkin, you are one of the worst Monk villains ever.
And any discussion of this episode would not be complete without mentioning the shameless Sleep Inn product placement. While they're stuck in this town, Monk and Natalie stay in an unusually clean (yes, the episode makes sure to point out its cleanliness) Sleep Inn, where the hotel chain's logo is always prominently displayed, perfectly straightened, facing directly into the camera. The episode doesn't bother to explain why there's a newly built Sleep Inn in this middle-of-nowhere town in the first place.
Looking back on the first two episodes of this season, "Mr. Monk's Favorite Show" proved that this show is still capable of delivering good comedy, and "Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man" proved that it can still deliver good drama as well. Continuing the theme, "Mr. Monk and the UFO" proves that, sadly, it's also still capable of delivering neither.
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