Season 2 Episode 2

Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jun 27, 2003 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
240 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Monk is sent to Mexico to investigate the strange case of a young man who drowned… in mid-air during a parachute drop. Monk is more concerned that he can't get his favorite spring water, and distracted by the fact someone is trying to kill him.

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  • Tedious, very... tedious.

    "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico" is basically the first fish-out-of-water story. I liked it that Monk flat out tells the cop 'I'm not a drug dealer'. Nothing beats consuming suspicion like brutal, honest truth. This episode also shows how intensely Monk fights and resists boring police searches and drinking water in a foreign country. In short, Monk shows that he doesn't want to compromise his own standards, and would sooner brave the storm than be different.

    The bit on Stottlemeyer momentarily thinking Monk had died was a nice, touching speech saying "I love that man", but of course, this was shattered once he heard Monk was alive then says fumingly "I hate that man!". The jerk who spills the Sierra Springs water all over Sharona is annoying, and once Monk becomes parched with thirst, the story gets more and more tedious by the minute. Possibly the most clever thing was placing a bomb behind a wall painting. That's pretty clever.

    Overall, not the best, but admittedly unique.moreless
  • Subtle reversals throughout...

    The interesting thing about this episode is that it reverses and mirrors many of the standard episodes, showing things into sharp highlight.

    The first important thing when watching this episode is to observe how the writers handle Monk's OCD properly and in an entertaining manner. In this case we're not forced to or watch characters suffer through Monk's obsession - "...Airplane" and "...Theater" are two examples here). Instead the writers reverse things as we see how Monk's OCD causes _him_ to suffer. This is something they should do more often - it makes Monk a far more sympathetic rather then occasionally tiresome character with Tony Shalhoub resorting to schtick. The writers and Shalhoub have great fun with this - again and again they dangle deliverance before Monk and then snatch it away from him ("reversal of fortune," as it were). One gets the impression Monk almost doesn't care whether the murderer kills him or not - he's dying anyway. Ironically, it's played like his desire to leave the country is what drives him to figure out who is trying to kill him, rather then any desire to save his own (suffering) life. His line from the premiere, "I am in Hell," is never more appropriate then here and kudos to Tony Shalhoub for conveying how Monk is suffering.

    The episode also reverses expectations since we soon find out that who the murderer's target is isn't who we're initially lead to believe but rather Monk himself. It's particularly ironic since as noted above, Monk doesn't really care.

    This episode does an odd reversal on Sharona as she reverts briefly to her former "wild" life. It's a little unclear why she cuts loose - this can't be the first time she's had a chance to drink and party ("...Vacation"). It does seem a bit odd to see her abandoning Monk to party and get drunk - she is his (occasionally) paid nurse, right? Still, this lets her see the kind of person she used to be and her "skills" do let her find a clue or two. Note how the writers reverse things again - it's Sharona who almost gets them killed in the hotel room since she's the one who straightens the picture rather then Monk when the murderer and the audience expect Monk to do so.

    The most amusing thing about this episode to me is the Alameda/Plato equivalents to Stottlemeyer/Disher. It's actually a clever little ploy, particularly since a) it's pretty subtlety done, and b) the writers don't make the characters reverse things. Plato is much more suave then Disher (and Sharona seems mildly interested in him). Stottlemeyer isn't quite as...obsessed with a particular solutionas Alameda is. Alameda seems much more forthright in eventually stating his respect for Monk, who we see occasionally backsliding due to his more complex relationship. Although Stottlemeyer's reaction to the news of Monk's death neatly demonstrates the seesaw nature of his feelings toward his friend and the guy who eventually solves crimes for him. The catch is that while Stottlemeyer and Disher aren't on screen a lot, you feel like they are since Alameda & Plato are around in their place and are kind of mirror images of them in some ways.

    On other matters, this is another episode that gives us a focus on "minor" characters. The hotel owner is a laugh - both trying to cover up the flaws of his cheap hotel ("Don't eat the mints!") while proudly boasting of his three-way light (which neatly becomes a clue for Monk to avoid death). The border guard forced to deal with Monk and the murderer also have some nice moments.

    The murder mystery is actually pretty interesting - particularly the subtle clue over measurement conversions which does give the audience a fair chance at trying to figure out the killer. The only inconsistent element is that the murderer, for all his cleverness, seems curiously incompetent when it comes to trying to kill Monk himself. Both times he's foiled by a reversal - a "mirror image" of Monk rather then Monk himself, and Monk not adjusting the picture and so being in a position to spot the bomb before Sharona gets them both killed.

    Overall, this is about the most subtle episode they've done in the series - deliberately or not, this episode is about reversals of all sorts and you can catch them throughout.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of the show monk he and his parter go to mexico to figure out what really happen to a boy that supposivle drowed in mid air when he hit the ground after a flite gone bad and he learns that there was another stranger case along time ago and his stuff is stolen and is even tried be ran over but both attempts fail and they learn it was the corner that was after monk and cause the murders to happen this was a good ep and it was very interesting i thought and that is why i gave it a 9moreless
  • So many laugh out loud moments.

    Oh what to say about this episode except it is hilarious. I mean from start to finish just hilarious. We start the episode with Monk following the mailman to make sure that his mail gets to it's destination. Then the captain telling Discher to follow that mailman and the look on Discher's face is priceless. I think that's just a foreshawdowing into the obsurdity to come in subsequent episodes. My favorite part had to be when the police tell Sharona that Mr. Monk is dead and then he walks through the door and says "That officer out there just told me I'm dead, am I dead?" to which Sharona replies "No" and Monk says "I didn't think so". That is a prime example of the subtle and non over the top humor. I mean Monk is funny mostly because he's not trying to be funny.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Why would Mexican officials notify Stottlemeyer about Monk's death before Sharona even identified the body?

    • When Monk and Sharona are at the restaurant a waiter walks by with a tray of food and drinks. In the background there is a man with a red shirt. After all the shots of people drinking water the same waiter with the same tray is shown, but flipped over. The man in the red shirt is in the background again.

    • When Monk is in the hotel room, he has a brown folder that reads "Departmento de Policía." It's a spelling mistake: in Spanish it reads "Departamento."

    • Assuming Monk spent about $1 per bottle of water, he spent in the neighborhood of $5,000 + tax for his water supply. Sharona has a pretty good reason to be upset next time Monk is late with her paycheck (which he frequently is).

    • Monk figured out that the killer had been to the U.S. before because he referred to the amount of water in the dead boy's lungs in terms of pints rather than liters. However, the doctor had been in Mexico for a couple of years and would not be using American equipment to do his work. He would be using metric equipment to measure the water and would have had to convert the measurement from metric liters to English pints, a useless act at best. So, he probably never would have made this mistake.

    • When Monk realizes someone has been in his room, he states that when they left, the painting was tilted the other way. There's no way Monk would have noticed such a thing and not have fixed it.

  • QUOTES (27)

  • NOTES (2)

    • Not coincidentally, Plato, the last name of Captain Alameda's lieutenant, means "dish." Contributor lostinms notes the following parallels between Disher/Plato and Stottlemeyer/Alameda: In the scene where everyone believes Monk to be dead, Disher and Plato are wearing identical shirts and ties and Stottlemeyer is dressed like Alameda. And Plato resembles Disher in having an interest in Sharona though he expresses it differently.

    • Captain Alameda's complaint to Lt. Plato about just telling him the news parallels a similar conversation between Stottlemeyer and Disher in "Red-Headed Stranger" and "Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame."