I was pleasantly surprised by how much i liked this ep. Most of the reviewers here seemed to not like it too much but I found that it was one of the better ones in a long time. Nathalie's character was enjoyable again - i don't know why but she was getting on my nerves last season and some how it seemed fresh between them again. Monk meeting up with this former child star of a tv show which was his fantasy surrogate family growing up was very cute and worked with Monk's character really well and there was an excellent dream sequence. Randy wasn't over the top this time either thankfully and the Captain too was downplayed more than last season to good effect. I think good comedy needs a little restraint especially dramedy and they were lacking that last season but it's there again, resulting in i think a much better tone that promises well for the season.