In the eighth episode of Monster, I’m still not ready. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of alcoholism
How many twists and turns has Monster thrown at me in just eight episodes? Way too many, y’all, and I just passed the TEN PERCENT MARK in my journey. How???
I say this all knowing that “Pursued” just threw another curveball at me. I went into this assuming that Dr. Tenma would find some way to pursue Nina. She was his link to Johan and the mysterious past of these twins, and he’d already left his job back at Eisler. EXCEPT THIS EPISODE IMMEDIATELY REVEALS THAT HE HADN’T REALLY DONE SO. He took an extended leave of absence, and with Nina’s sweet note, Dr. Tenma is reminded of the promise he made to himself. He wanted to be a surgeon—and the best possible!—because it was right. It was a good thing to want to save lives, and it was moral to view all lives of being worthy of being saved.
So Dr. Tenma gives up the chase, and he returns to a very “normal” life, at least relative to him. That transition was so confusing to me because I wrongly assumed that I was watching a flashback to Tenma’s time at Eisler. NOPE. He actually went back, and for at least a brief period of time, he was just the head surgeon! That’s it!
It’s a strange place to take the story, but that’s something I felt only in the moment. This really was the calm before the storm, and that storm arrived in two different forms: the necktie and Eva. It’s so wild to me to think how these two plots intertwined here because I figured that we were done with Eva. Her father was dead, she turned her back on Tenma, and then Tenma rejected her when she tried to come back into his life. This plot was completed, right?
NOPE. NOT AT ALL. Because now, years after everything that went down at the hospital, after Dr. Tenma already had multiple brushes with Johan, Eva is at a very strange place in her own life. She has inherited a filthy amount of money from her father, and she’s also faired well in her three divorces. I feel kinda weird about Eva as a stereotype of the gold digging widow? At the same time, I’m wondering if she’s meant to be a foil for Dr. Tenma. I can’t forget that she was the first person to vocalize the opinion that some lives are inherently more valuable than others. She also embarrassed Dr. Tenma for living up to the opposite belief of this. And where is she now? She’s rich, she has power and access, and she is deeply, deeply unhappy. It’s only within a drunken bout of daydreaming that she has an epiphany: the only man who actually cared about her was Dr. Tenma. He truly loved her, and she threw it away.
It’s hard to watch Eva here because I know how warped your thinking can be while drunk, even if I’ve gone as long as I have without alcohol. I still remember it! And at the time, it seemed like a good idea for her to approach Dr. Tenma and ask to try again. She was attempting to be sincere, but his cold rejection of her flipped the script. Again! This is the second time she’s been rejected by him, but after all this time, it still stings. (I also bet the alcohol isn’t helping.)
This one act, though, unravels everything SO DAMN QUICKLY, y’all!!! Because then Eva threatens to reveal that she knew exactly who she gifted the necktie that Inspector Lunge had. This whole sequence is fascinating to me because the show/writers decide to give us virtually nothing from Dr. Tenma’s perspective. He doesn’t fight back when Eva tries to blackmail him to try again. Instead, he give up! He very casually leaves the hospital, quitting his job in a surreal scene where he doesn’t even give his boss a chance to argue with him. While this is happening, Lunge and the Federal Police converge on the hospital, and they learn the hard way just how dedicated Tenma’s patients are. From Lunge’s perspective, I can see that being yet another sign that he’s on the right path. I bet he is already assuming that Tenma behaved as he did in order to win people over to his side as a means of camouflage. Right??? He could hide in plain sight by being a great surgeon! Of course, we know this isn’t the case.
Instead—and I’m going by conjecture here—I believe Dr. Tenma knew that telling people the truth would get him nowhere. He told Lunge, and Lunge still doesn’t believe him. He told Maurer the truth, too, and that didn’t end too well, did it? So he throws his whole career away, and then the episode cuts to FIVE MONTHS LATER, and we’re left with a lot of assumptions. Obviously, Tenma’s disappearance makes him a prime suspect in a new murder. Which I also get!!! The dude just up and left his job in the middle of an investigation, right after a piece of evidence was identified as his. But where is he going? Is he still trying to track down the twins? Was all of this his sign that he shouldn’t have given up on this pursuit in the first place? WHERE THE HELL IS THIS SHOW GOING.
The video for “Pursued” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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