With storm clouds hovering somberly above me, floating by slowly to the east, I sat watching what would be the final two episodes of a staunch eight season run. Under the eves of my porch I sat puffing on my cigar and sipping a bottle of beer, an expensive import I had been saving for just the right occasion. As I thought about what I was going to write I knew for certain that I did not want the review of the last two episodes to sound like a eulogy, rather I wanted to write about the ending of a show that has consistently brought an hour of some of the best written shows produced in over 60 years of television.
Though like all television shows, it’s not for everyone, it has brought to life vivid characters that it’s fans have looked forward to seeing every week. It will be a hard task for any network to bring a show that has been as successful on so many levels as Monk has.
That success can be attributed to the producers ability to take great actors and talented writers and combine them together to bring about some of the highest quality television. This is a show that will be looked back on and remembered. Monk deserves to be referred to with the same reverence as M.A.S.H and Seinfeld, because it has done what only the highest caliber of television does successfully, taken characters that by all rights should irritate and disturb us, and stir in us this profound affection for them because of their faults. There are no better than normal protagonists here, these are people with faults and idiosyncrasies’ who manage to over come the roadblocks set in front of them and persevere.
The final two-parter of Monk was the shining example of what made the show so great. Though many were not happy with the abrupt conclusion to a twelve year mystery haunting Adriene Monk (Tony Shalhoub), in many ways it held true to the shows most wonderful attribute, the ability to bring a show every week that you could sit down and watch, yet not fret because you didn’t get to see the previous episode. Almost every show of Monk has managed to tell a compelling, emotion evoking story in just one hour.
The character of Monk with his uncanny ability to notice the simplest oddity, as Captain Leland states, it is his ability to see more and feel more than everyone around him that makes him more human than most people. It is his idiosyncrasies that make Monk the detective he is, his foibles are what has made this character so enjoyable to watch and his often aloof yet sincere nature that made him still lovable after eight years. Tony Shalhoub has managed to bring a character to life that someone watching season eight, can enjoy even if he never saw the pilot episode. We don’t need to know what caused Monk to become the way he is because what he is, is complex yet simple overall. The fact that Monk finds out who killed his beloved wife after 12 years doesn’t need to be dragged on over a whole series of episodes because in fact it’s always been about who and what the character is. It’s not just Monk either that makes this show great.
The supporting cast on this show are all excellent actors in their own right, whether it be Natalie (Traylor Howard), Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) or Lt. Randall Disher (Jason Grey-Stanford) all of them have done a great job of helping bring balance to a show that revolves around a neurotic savant ex-detective who manages to bring meaning to his life by giving the closure to others that he was never able to find, until these last two episodes.
In my opinion the final two episodes did some great things in that it did wrap up some major character subplots that have hung on over the past eight years. It brought closure to the great supporting cast that has managed to balance out the often bizarre character that Monk breaks down into. Seeing the remaining characters of Monk get their own sense of closure is another thing that made these last two episodes great. Even if you never watched an episode of Monk before these two, take the time and sit down and watch television as it should be done, bright and colorful, with just the right touch of melancholy. It is a sad day when we bid adieu to a friend, yet it is the joy of having known them that makes the memories bitter sweet.