Monday, November 30, 2009

What I’m Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 8, Episode 14 “Mr. Monk and the Badge” (B+)

This is one of those fitting tributes to Monk’s legacy, and a necessary stage through which he must pass before the character can be appropriately put to rest. The camping episode from two weeks ago seemed to address whether Monk would in fact ever be reinstated, and this second effort to get Monk reinstated takes a lot less work with Leland just announcing it at the beginning and proves just as unsatisfactory as Monk realizes that it just isn’t what he wants. It’s glaring how much Monk does stick out as a member of the regular force as compared with as a private consultant, and how disruptive to the general order of things he is. It would appear that his cases aren’t nearly as exciting and the bureaucracy of the chain of command gets in the way of Monk’s ability to solve cases, and therefore I wholeheartedly support his decision. The woman who kept calling to complain about her cat and the other hairy animal trying to kill her was a bit strange, but it was quite obviously one of those barely-connected plotlines that would eventually serve as a lens through which Monk could make a startling revelation about the case. The most touching part of the episode was the relationship between Monk and Natalie, with their heartfelt goodbye and failed attempts at chit-chat over the phone. The closing scene was perhaps the best, where Monk was relieved to see Natalie but still tried to cut her pay, and then quickly proceeded to wonder what the surprise, which was actually Natalie, was supposed to be. I’m sorry, Sharona fans, but I think Natalie is really here to stay. Monk, however, isn’t for long – part one of the series finale is next.

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