Mr. Monk and the End - Series Finale! (OPEN SPOILERS)

So the Monk series finale starts tonight! I like how they’ve been tying up loose ends in this last season – making things right with Sharona (Bitty Schram), giving Monk back his badge (and having him giving it back). But tonight is the final loose end – Monk solving his wife’s murder which has been a running theme from Day 1 of the series. So what do Monk fans think? How will this final case shake out? From the promo there are brief glimpses of guest stars, including Craig T. Nelson and Ed Begley Jr. Since Craig T. Nelson has recently only appeared as a bad guy on TV (such as on CSI:NY), I’m taking a stab that he had a hand in the nefarious deed against Monk’s beloved Trudy. I’m actually hoping that Dale the Whale will make an appearance since he’s been on previous episodes when Trudy’s murder was involved. So what do other people think?

(Posted after very quickly scrolling down so as to not read the OP)

This is going to be hell, playing a game of avoid-the-spoilers for the next couple of months. See, since the Fall TV season began, our DVR has had a backlog of shows. My wife and I will usually watch one show each evening, but we record more than seven of them a week right now, so it builds up. Add football season into the mix, and it makes it even worse.

Now, we enjoy Monk, but consider it a “second-tier” show. It’s good, but we generally don’t watch it if there is something else on. So a week or two ago, when I noticed the DVR was getting full, I found that we had about seven episodes of Monk taking up space. My wife and I decided that we’d just burn them to DVD and watch them all in a few months, when there was nothing else on.

So now I realize we’ve screwed ourselves. We either have to have a day-long Monk-fest (which would lead to me jumping off a bridge – I really do like the show, but can only handle Monk in small doses), or I have to wait months to find out what happened to Trudy (plus avoid all spoilage). Eesh.

It looks like they are going to use the old “poisoned with radioactive chemical” plot device to add a sense of urgency. That’s hard to do well these days since its such a cliche. I am pretty excited though, and I don’t mind it being the end of the series since I missed a whole lot of shows, plenty of Monk still left for me:).

I skipped “Mr. Monk Takes the Stand” for a similar reason.

I’ve come this far so I’m sticking to the bitter end. And I do mean bitter. They should have ended it with the last batch. But I’m “invested” so I’m going to watch. Not looking forward to it at all.

This recent batch of shows has been awful. It’s like the writers have never seen an episode.

There are certain conventions in a weekly murder mystery show that one must learn to tolerate. I’ll buy that there’s a murder/ufo sighting in a remote area that Monk just happens to be visiting. But “Monk” semi-usually avoided the “Murder She Wrote” death-trap. I.e., every visiting friend of the lead dies or has a person close to them die. Now it’s gone even one worse. E.g., the one with the critic:

The murderer actually attended a play with Natalie’s daughter and Monk noticed details like the watch. Yeah right.

Then there was the one with Stottlemeyer’s wedding. Egad. And last week’s was just plain pathetic.

Really? I rather liked last week’s. It resolved the long-standing “Will Monk get his badge back?” question about as well as could be expected.

And hokiness aside, I loved Mr. Monk and the Critic. But, yeah, there’s been some pretty weak episodes this season.

One of the unseen voices in the promo sounded like Dale the Whale.

Dale In season 1, is played by Adam Arkin, in season 2 by Tim Curry, and in season 6 by Ray Porter, all of them wearing fat suits.

So, they got three actors to pick from. I liked Tim Curry in the role the best.

You know, people always talk about how they can take Ted LEvine as Sottlemeyer seriously, but I am always distracted by Melora Hardin as Trudy. She’ll always be Jan from the Office to me.

Ok, so is it supposed to be painfully obvious that

Craig T. Nelson is Trudy’s killer? Kinda disappointing that it’s not someone we’ve seen before.

I think who killed her is less interesting than why.

It pretty much has to be.

BTW, something Randy said

about how he didn’t plan to do the job forever and the mysterious mention of a trip to New York, I got the impression that he’s going to quit his job to be a full-time musician.

I don’t know about a career change, I just think he’s getting serious with Sharona.

I liked the way they worked the present into the plot. I always wondered why Monk choose that specific one to save unopened.

I agree with this second conjecture about Randy. We saw hints of this in a previous episode. As to tonight’s episode, the killer is pretty obvious. The interesting part is really the circumstances for Trudy’s murder and what was in her secret past. Also, as in most shows this season the interesting part of the plots have not been the who-dun-it. It has been watching the characters act out their parts as a murder is solved. In the eight years of the show all the characters have been given their share of development and it’s still fun to see them interact with each other. But the show has definitely shown the effects of a long run and running out of new ideas. The one scene that disappointed me tonight was the scene in the BART station. There is no station like that in the Bay Area. There are certainly no trains running around outside the station. I guess it was too much to expect Monk to shoot those scenes in the Bay Area. And I saw the perp getting run over by a train the instant he started scrambling around the train yard. Another downer was no Dale the Whale. Of course, there’s still next week!

Something’s not clear to me. Didn’t Trudy ask Adrian to not open the present until Christmas twelve years ago? So does that mean she knew she would be dead before then? Otherwise, what was she going to do if she wasn’t killed before Christmas? Take back the present?

I found Monk’s reaction to his blood test silly. The guy was hospitalized for a long time after Trudy’s death. I’m sure the hospital orderlies made him cooperate back then. Monk’s not dumb. Hr’d know better than to resist.

I’d guess Trudy was hiding her tape among all the other presents. She could always swap it out later.

Technically, she said that the present was supposed to be a surprise.

It’s entirely possible that she did indeed intend to take the present back, perhaps swapping it with something else. Or maybe she knew that she was on the cusp of either a huge breakthrough or her own death. There could be any number of ways to resolve this issue.

I think the original pilot was filmed on location in San Francisco, so it would have been nice if they would have done so for the final few episodes.

One part that keeps making me giggle:

“Did he say anything before he died?”
“He was hit by a train. He probably said, ‘train.’”