Monday, November 9, 2009

What I’m Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 8, Episode 12 “Mr. Monk Goes Camping” (B+)

The notion of Monk going camping seems like exactly the kind of thing the erstwhile detective shouldn’t do. It’s a setup that could result in familiar antics of Monk cleaning everything obsessively and being unable to function in the wilderness setting. Instead, his behavior, while unproductive, is absolutely entertaining, including spraying bug spray as a smokescreen in front of him, sleeping standing up, and screaming like a girl when the bear approaches. It’s fun to have Randy leading the charge in the middle of the woods and mentoring the kids in his own different way. His refusal to check his watch because he wanted to estimate the time by using the sun was both in character for the somewhat odd cop and someone who’s looking to educate kids on the value of appreciating nature. Monk’s reinstatement hearing starting out a bit slowly but came through as much more intriguing in the end. The stubbornness of the third decision-maker, played by Wade Williams (“Prison Break”), was an unfortunate hiccup for Monk, who spent the entire day in the courtroom to prepare for his hearing. Monk’s ability to win over the third guy by unexpectedly saving his life was a nice small victory for him, but the best surprise was saved for the decision hearing. The about-face of the other two was fantastic, and Monk’s inability to process the situation and actually hear their refusals to approve his reinstatement was amusing. Monk’s doing well enough as a consultant, so there’s really no need for him to be reinstated. I suppose it’s something the show had to touch on before the series clocks out for the last time in December, and this is a good way of sealing up that plotline.

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