Wow. I have to say this is the first episode I really disliked, and I've put up with a lot from the show. There's episodes that have been pretty low but I thought were pretty good. I suspect this will be the reverse.
For one thing, Ted Levine isn't in it. After his tour de force in "Captain's Wife," I suppose he wanted a week off (and he isn't in next week's previews either...), and I couldn't see him really bringing much to this episode. He's been absent from other episodes, but maybe it was so noticeable here just because he featuerd so heavily in the last episode. (Interestingly, writer David Breckman did the Stottlemeyer-less "Asylum" last year too, but he's also done episodes that feature Stottlemeyer heavily, but he had co-writers on those).
That means we have Jason Gray-Stanford taking up the slack, and it seems they could have done a little more with the "Disher goes to Monk for help" subplot. But...nothing. Instead he gets drunk on duty, which seems like an absurdly huge overreaction to what's going on. Stottlemeyer beating up a suspect because his wife was nearly killed - okay, warranted overreaction. Disher getting drunk because his mother gets married and he thinks she's too ugly to get married...ummm, not so much.
The main villain - well, we found out who "da killer" is in the pre-credits teaser, so no surprise there. The mystery isn't how he did the killings, so having a guy with some smarts isn't required. But even so, Nestor Carbonell (Suddenly Susan, The Tick) was a bit too thuggish and displayed none of the wit, charm, or humor he had in those series and other stuff I've seen him in.
Other then Disher's mom, the supporting cast was pretty forgettable (although the therapist had one good line about cave-ins and such). The last scene in the closet was almost a parody, with the third couple getting together and Disher's mom finding "true romance".
That leaves...Monk and Sharona. I liked the subplot with the ring, but I thought the main plot was kinda...ehh. For one thing, why did it have to be a secret that Monk has OCD? Are we really supposed to believe that they thought that could keep it a secret? If it's not a secret, then seems they have a tailor made explanation for Monk's uncomfortableness with kissing and touching.
There were also a few bits were I thought Shalhoub went overboard - his frantic posing in the cave with the camera flashes seemed way over the top. His "huffing" in the closet was another. And the cave-in bit seemed liked so much padding to fill out a skimpy story that wasn't filling out the full 42 minutes. I'm just not buying that Adrian would either forget the cell phone (hasn't Sharona ever used it in his presence?) or would hang up like that. This seemed to cross the line into sheer stupidity for the character.
Bitty Schram didn't really do anything bad, but the script doesn't do her any favors, either.
Overall, I didn't think the episode was a total loss - Shalhoub and Schram are too professional and know the characters well enough that they can overcome a weak script. But this one had a few too many cliches and padded scenes to consider it high caliber.