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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mr. Monk Goes To The Hospital

It's a sad and depressing time in the lives of Monk fans everywhere. The fifth season ended with the airing of "Mr. Monk Goes to the Hospital." There won't be a new episode of Monk again until July, so my expectations were undoubtedly high. However, these high expectations weren't necessarily met. Instead, after a season of strong, but sometimes awkward and unusual episodes, the season ended on perhaps one of the most unusual and unsatisfying of them all.

With that said, "Mr. Monk Goes to the Hospital" is still a good episode of Monk, providing plenty of humor and an intriguing crime-ridden storyline. OCD detective Adrian Monk visits the hospital with his assistant, Natalie Teeger. The reason for his visit lies in a nosebleed that doesn't seem to want to end. Naturally, the funny Monkesque antics ensue before long as Monk and Natalie spend considerable time in the emergency room waiting for Monk to be treated.

However, Natalie quickly ups and leaves Monk alone at the hospital to go meet a date, this being her first day off in several months. Adrian reluctantly releases her from duty for the day and is treated. It's directly after this treatment that Adrian wanders off, only to discover one of the hospital's doctors murdered in his own office.

As Adrian examines the crime scene with his friends at the San Francisco Police Department, Detectives Stottlemeyer and Disher, the evidence quickly leads back to an elderly patient, 82-year-old Hank Johansen. Of course, this man was unable to commit the crime, and before long, all signs point towards his doctor, Dr. Scott.

The problems with the episode don't lie in any of the above. The first problem is in what ends up happening to Monk at the end. Dr. Scott bludgeons him brutally and then treats him in the hospital under a fake name. Monk is literally seconds from death when he is nearly injected with a substance he's allergic to, but is saved in the nick of time. This brutal treatment of Monk was a little strange to see in the season finale. I would have preferred a triumphant Monk that left us wanting more. Instead, we saw a down and out Monk walking with a walker, and I couldn't help but wonder if his character did, in fact, need a break.

The second problem lies in how the episode ends. Not only did Monk stumble out of the hospital with only brief mentions of the crime and Dr. Scott's arrest, but I didn't even see the arrest or feel any sort of vindication for which Monk fans are usually accustomed to at the end of the episode.

It was simply a strange way to wrap up a season.

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