That's more like it! After a couple of rather weak episodes, we're somewhat back on track. "Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse" may not be an absolute classic, but it is pretty good, thanks primarily to the most creative mystery thus far this season (which isn't saying much, but still...). Unfortunately, the one thing keeping this episode from true greatness are its attempts at full-fledged drama. While I normally enjoy this show's more dramatic turns, in this episode they just felt like a curious misfire.
An elderly jogger is struck in the head and killed by an errant baseball. A golfer gets struck by lightning whilst out on the course. And a man drops dead of a heart attack. What do they have in common? All three individuals appear to have received voodoo dolls predicting their respective deaths several days beforehand. It's certainly an intriguing setup, with an adequate creepiness factor, and it's all a terrific excuse to introduce Meat Loaf in an amusing guest turn as occultist Reverend Jorgensen.
When Natalie receives a doll of her own, the misspelling of her name in the address turns out to be an important clue. But didn't we see something terribly similar to that in "Mr. Monk and the Election", where a unique misspelling of Natalie's last name also led us to the killer? Hurrah for recycled material! The truth behind the dolls is clever enough, though. It's all terribly mundane, contrasting the outlandishness of the voodoo angle - there's an initial disappointment in the solution, but the more I think about it, the more fitting it really is.
Natalie-centric episodes are rarely fantastic (despite the best efforts of Traylor Howard), and I can't say that bringing her to the forefront didn't bring this one down, too. It's believable enough that she'd be the illogical one, easily sucked into believing that voodoo really was at work here, but it's considerably harder for me to buy into the Mitch angle. It feels less like an interesting insight into her character, and more like a half-hearted attempt at reminding the audience, hey, she's sympathetic because she has a dead spouse too! I've never been able to find Mitch's death interesting in the same way Trudy's is, and this doesn't help it any.
Still, this episode was enjoyable enough. I appreciate the effort put forth to finally give us an interesting case in what has thus far been a fairly bland season in that department. We're down to a single-digit stockpile of episodes remaining - with just nine to go, I'm left wondering when the major storylines will pick up again. In the meantime, though, "Voodoo Curse" was an amusing enough distraction.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. It was a nice twist. The only thing that really bothered me was the reference to Cardiocerebral resuscitation as a rescue effort. Angeline stated that she was an ER nurse, when in reality she is a Paramedic. There is a big difference. Either way, she would be well aware of the use of CardioPULMONARY resuscitation (CPR) which involves the heart and lungs. There is no such thing as cardiocerebral resuscitation, which would involve the heart and brain if it did exist. Mistakes like this take away from the integrity of the story line.
This was a first for Monk, and it was interesting to see the conflict between Natalie's belief in the Supernatural and Monk's insistence on true, hard evidence. Meat Loaf (who guest starred in the previous season of House as well, with excellent results) plays a voodoo Reverend who is somewhat of a hoax, suspected for a series of murders by the use of voodoo magic. He has two good scenes in the episode, the one where he tries to exorcise Natalie's curse and the car-chase at the end. Him and Monk are hilarious in the car chase.
Voodoo dolls are sent to three persons indicating their dying of unusual deaths (struck by lightning, hit by a baseball and so on), and a few days later they actually die of such deaths. During the course of Monk's investigation of the case Natalie is sent such a doll too, and she completely freaks out. The scene where she gets scared by the window and jumps up the couch was very funny. We find out that a voodoo priestess had warned her of her husband's death, and she ignored the warning. Her husband's plane was shot down the next day, and since then Voodoo is something real and scary for her. In the end logic prevails however, as it is bound to be when the good Mr.Monk is involved. It turns out the niece of one of the victims wanted to kill her uncle for his inheritance, and the other victims were just a cover up. She worked as a paramedic, so she planted the dolls at the scene of death after arriving there and picking up the bodies. Having mailed a set of boxes to herself some days ago, the postmarks seemed correct so everyone assumed the packages were sent beforehand.
A very good episode with Meat Loaf as a guest start, playing a role that really fits him..
Enjoyed this episode very much. Meat Loaf had a good but limited role that really kept you guessing. The beginning was very good too, although sad that the lady got hit by the ball, obviously the kid's first homerun, over the fence. The story line was one that had you guessing although you always suspect the relative, in this case, the Uncle's niece.
Well done, good ending, super!
Look forward to the coming episodes and final conclusion. We will all miss THE MONK, Randy, Natalie and the good Capt.
Well, Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse has definitely been one of the better episodes of the season. It has good humor, good mystery, and a good amount of suspense-perfect for Halloween. Natalie-centered episodes haven't always stood out much, but in this one, Traylor really shined. It was comforting to see Monk caring for Natalie instead of vice versa. The mystery, like I said before, was pretty great; I didn't know who didn't till the end, in fact. Meat Loaf also proved that he isn't a half-bad actor, and scenes involving his interactions with Monk were splendid and well-written. All in All, fantastic episode-hopefully the next several episodes of the season will live up to the hype.
As a big Monk fan, I have seen every single episode in the series and this season has had its good episodes and rather dissapointing episodes, "Mr. Monk and the UFO" for example. This episode really stood out as being different and Voodo or magic was really never brought into the Monk series other than Mr. Monk and the magician, which made this episode stand out. It starts off with a lady being accidently killed by a home run hit by a little league baseball player and the investigators find out there was a voodo doll at the old ladies house with a baseball similarly attached to its head, and it was mailed 3 days before the event. As the episode progresses, Monk tries figuring out how these dolls are tied to the murderer and if it really is voodo or if there is someone who is secretly setting this situations up. Monk is really funny in this and Natalie really freaks out becuase she had bad history with a voodo doctor in the past. In the end, the murderer wasn't really who we all suspected and it really was suspensful how the dolls were signs of how the people would die. Hopefully the final season of Monk can have more quality and mysterious episodes like this.