|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a big fan of Monk, but this pair of episodes did not achieve the
level of quality of most that I have seen.
The assumption that you can swap one barrel for another in order to incriminate someone is flawed.
Monk's gun wasn't fired and anyone checking the gun would have found gunpowder residue ONLY on the barrel, thus proving that the gun hadn't been fired. A gun owned by Monk would have been perfectly clean, of course.
The shell from the shot would show a firing pin indentation that would not match a shell from Monk's gun since there was no suggestion that his gun had been fired by the person that set him up.
Monk knew he didn't fire the gun and he knew that the shot originated behind him, so he would have asked that the area be tested for gunpowder residue. Although this alone wouldn't have exonerated him, it might have led to an inspection of his clothes and perhaps the bad cop's clothes, etc. for gunpowder. Having no sign of gunpowder on his person might have been enough to exonerate him.
Monk would have known all of this, of course, so he would have had his pals from SFO Police look into these matters right away and they would have been brought up at the trial.
There were a lot of other flaws, but these were the most bothersome to me since they set up the entire storyline.
I don't expect Sherlock Holmes-like level of command of detail in TV mystery screenplays, but this one was far below what we have come to expect from Monk.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I came to season 6 of Monk a few days after the Oxford English
Dictionary entered the word "meh" into the latest revision. How
appropriate then because sadly a word meaning indifference is one that
I will find quite useful when considering this latest season of Monk. I
am, of course, being a bit harsh but from the get-go it is apparent
that season 6 is an improvement on season 5, where the writers
regularly went badly off formula to try and generate stories and in the
end it just made it feel false and far from the reasons I enjoyed Monk
in the first place. Season 6 takes a different tack and instead of
breaks in formula generating stories, we have events happening in the
lives of people Monk knows as the main motivator for plots down the
season. In itself this represents the same sort of "problems" the
writers have in regards generating more stories with the same character
and somehow keeping the series moving forward in a way that prevents
viewers getting bored, but it is different because this method doesn't
involving changing the very heart of the character/series in the way
season 5 did so badly.
So this mostly takes away my problems with season 5 by ensuring that the reason I watch the show (I find Monk amusing and engaging) remains fairly steady this time. However this is not all that I am looking for it to achieve and simply "not making the same mistakes again" was not the only box I was looking for season 6 to tick. Sadly the results on this front are mixed and, while better than season 5, 6 doesn't manage to get itself on strong ground with any consistency. The first episode is spot on and it gave me hope, with Monk being Monk, a good story and plenty of comic awkwardness. Sadly this is followed up by an episode that sounds great but is actually poor the one with Snoop Dog. Is there any comedy cliché more painful to watch than the "white people awkwardly trying to 'be' hip-hop"? No, I do not think so and this is all the episode had to offer. The two big guest stars out of the way the season moves forward with the reliance on the narrative device of Monk knowing the people and it mostly allows for solid enough stories although none without their flaws.
You see, I always liked Monk as being something light I could dip in and out of, so I don't really see the need for him to have a connection to each case to allow the case to exist. He works for the police and can drop in and out on their instruction without an explanation of connection. The writers though seem to have forgotten that Monk works like this and perhaps success in the ratings has made them think they need to "do something" with the character. When they do this though it generally doesn't work because the show doesn't manage to engage when it turns serious and the impact is only felt in the absence of fun not the layering that they clearly have in mind. It is not awful though and I did enjoy most of the episodes, with only one or two that I considered poor. The conclusion is a lazy bit of writing though and the rubbish prosthetics on Dale Biederbeck (and the fact he is no longer being played by Alan Arkin or Tim Curry but rather Porter) suggest a cheaper standard that could be applied to the writing.
The cast continue to do their thing though, trusting the writers regardless. Shalhoub as an actor certainly has the ability to do more than his comic quirks but, (a) I don't really want him to and (b) the material doesn't allow him to do it. Instead he has to make jumps into more developmental type material which is sporadic rather than grown and that is not easy to do while delivering a character rather than a sketch show. The impossibly thin Howard is good alongside him though, adding comedy without getting in the way not sure about the slightly greater use of Clarke's Julie though. Levine and Gray-Stanford are freed of some of the errors of last season (building plots around them remember Randy suddenly getting a farm?) and are better for it, giving good comic support (whether it makes sense or not!).The various guests are all OK and provide some interest.
So depending on what measure you are using then season 6 of Monk will come across different ways. If you are comparing it with season 5 then it is a massive improvement in terms of narrative and fun, but looking at it coldly it must be said that season 6 still has its problems. The writers struggle to develop the stories and characters while also keeping true to the simply formula and fun that has won it fans from the start. They generally do OK but only one or two episodes are really good. Of course it is a good thing that there are equally few that are "bad" but what this leaves is far too many of them that tended to mostly draw the reaction of "meh".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stottlemeyer has helped Monk fake his death. Now Monk must go into
hiding until they can find a way to clear his name of the charges that
have been laid against him. So Monk disguises himself as a car wash
employee in Nevada.
This episode has several highly emotional moments, including Natalie realizing that Monk is alive, and when she finds Monk at the car wash. And it also represents improvement for Monk, as he knows he has to get over a lot of phobias just to maintain his cover. And this part also is suspenseful, especially as we see the gang try to foil an assassination plot on the governor (though I always wondered something during the episode: if Monk had figured that someone was going to kill the governor, he should have gone to the FBI, even though technically he was a wanted man, and he could have easily cut a deal).
Of course, sometimes, I always thought that if Monk were going into hiding, he'd want to be as far out of California as he could, possibly hiding in the Midwest or the Northeast. And it also would have made more sense that Natalie and Randy would also be aware that Monk was alive.
The captain has killed Monk, or has he? Monk is actually hiding out in Nevada, working at a car wash while the captain puts together a case against the renegade sheriff (Scott Glenn) from the previous episode. Meanwhile, Natalie is preparing Monk's funeral. As with the previous episode, which was the first of a two-parter, this lacks the humor and creativity of a typical Monk episode. It is riddled with movie clichés, in fact. But it does have a highly charged moment or two when Natalie discovers that her boss is very much alive. I would not bother to see it just for that, but if you are a MONK compactest, nothing is going to stop you, anyhow. All in all, a very weak finale to the sixth season.
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