Okay, so we've got a 24-ish multi-screen dual-frame "two murder solutions for the price of one" at the end. This is easily the most innovative and entertaining part of the episode, especially the wrap-up comment ("I wasn't listening to either one.")
Problem is, neither recap is telling us anything we don't already know. We've already seen the murder Monk is involved in, and we figured out the Disher mystery a half-hour ago. Kind of a case of making the revelation technique interesting to make up for the fact the revelations were pretty lame.
Meanwhile, on to the episode as a whole. For the first time in a while we see Monk in the pre-credits sequence because he's the "victim" - quickly witnessing a crime that sets up he'll be going into protective custody. And then it's him, Natalie, and Stottlemeyer off into the woods. Although Stottlemeyer's presence make for some good moments, it seems a bit odd (friendship for Monk notwithstanding) that he'd abandon both job and family to go with Adrian.
There are a few quiet moments here - Stottlemeyer reminescing on his hopes and dreams (does Ted Levine now have a contractual "moment" in every episode?), Monk sweeping Nature.
Then, in a take on Rear Window (and a bit of slapstick with Ted Levine and a bedpost), Monk witnesses a crime nearby - thankfully, there's only a minimum of disbelief (and even that seems a bit much - haven't they learned by know?) from his friends before they try to capture the killer. Then we're off on a hilarious drive through the rain involving the Prince of Darkness and a birthday cake.
Meanwhile Disher has his own subplot, although he seems to have lost his model girlfriend from the previous episode. We quickly get a "Twilight Zone" style episode which, unfortunately, is rather easy to deduce. Apparently mobster caught the Zone marathon on SciFi channel over New Year's.
It all comes together at the end with another of the show's relatively bloody scenes. This seems a bit unlikely - tey open fire on MOnk in broad daylight, with police nearby. But okay...it does give us the dual wrap-up mentioned above.
The supporting cast is pretty unforgettable, and Stottlemeyer gets some good screen time. Natalie is (mostly) harmless, and Disher is rescued from another round of buffonery only because he garners some sympathy because he's played as a patsy here.
With Monk there were a few overdone moments - Monk trying to drink from a stream without touching the ground. Generally they kept him pretty well under control, even if you have to wonder how Monk could ever possibly testify in a court given his mental uncertainty - remember when it took him an hour to describe a killer's ear in "...Takes Manhattan"? There's a few scenes where you can sympathize with him - if someone kept dangling their foot over the bunkbed and I was on the bottom, I'd tie it down too.
And for some reason the writers/producers seem intent on continuing to establish Monk as miserly - a character trait we've never significantly seen before and seems unwarranted for two episodes in a row here.
Overall, generally an entertaining episode. Hopefully they'll drop the Monk/miser angle, pump up the "mystery" a bit, and otherwise keep the show with the quality we see here.
More comedy than Drama. Mr. Monk is put into protective custody after he witnesses a murder. To protect Monk they send him to a cabin in the woods and with a fake name. While he is there, he stumbles upon ANOTHER murder!
This episode was really good. Even tough is more comedy than drama, those funny moments are really well done. Even the characters themselves don't take the things that happen in a very serious way, Calling Monk "The Prince of Darkness" since everywhere he goes murder follows him. The randy subplot was also good. Everthing summed up perfecly towards the end. Acting was superb on everyone's side. The summation, as everyone has noted, was a mocking of 24. Agent Grooms was great, the moment when their van got stuck somewhere in the woods and they get lost. The celebrating of the Captain's birthday in the middle of a storm. But guess what?! When they get out of the woods they end up where the police was investigating the second murder. Uh, three coincidences in one show. Silly but well done!
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