In the twenty-ninth episode of Monster, Braun inches closer to understanding Johan. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of police brutality, suicide, extreme manipulation, death of a child
I knew Richard Braun could not have lasted too long, and I still wasn’t ready for this. I mean… have I been ready for any of this show??? Even when I’ve guessed things correctly, it has generally come at a cost. TO ME. AND MY WELL-BEING. Because one thing I’m noticing about Monster and the way it is written is that it constantly seems to anticipate what the audience expects from a narrative. And not in that shitty way where it seems like the writers are just creating twists for the sake of it, you know? (Not naming names, but Game of Thrones.) What’s interesting here is that I thought I had much of this figured out, but “Execution” makes it clear that I don’t truly understand Johan’s motives, at least not yet.
For example! I had assumed that Johan was going to kill Karl and replace him as Schuwald’s son. It seemed so obvious to me that this was what was being set up. But instead, Johan’s whole endgame changed before my eyes. This was about isolating Schuwald. Do I understand that? Oh, no, not in the fucking SLIGHTEST. And so, going into “Execution,” I assumed that the multiple people closing in on Johan’s truth meant that I was about to see each of them taken out. Which isn’t quite wrong, of course! But as Braun investigated Johan’s past, the story became something else. Exactly how deep does Johan’s nightmarish game go? I thought I had him figured out, but… his “parents.” HIS PARENTS. What the fuck is going on there? Did Johan manipulate them, too? Because after seeing that chilling final sequence, I now have a new understanding of just how captivating and hypnotic Johan can be. The same goes with Dr. Guillen’s interview of the serial killer Jurgens, which reveals another level of manipulation and trauma that was only hinted at before.
The truth is that Monster has been building towards this arc for a while now, not just with the previous Jurgens plot, but with the introduction of all these new characters in Munich AND Dr. Tenma’s discovery of Kinderheim 511. Johan has intricately inserted himself into the lives of countless people, often killing (or compelling people to kill) when anyone gets in his way. I should note that I still don’t get what the endgame is, but I think “Execution” has some clues in it. Johan seems obsessed with two things: the notion of good and evil, and the rights of children. It does seem easy to connect the two! Johan was subjected to untold horrors while in Kinderheim 511, something that Dieter had to deal with, too. And now I’m starting to wonder if Johan is telling the truth about having a monster within him. Is that why he is concerned about issues of right and wrong?
Even if that’s the case: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH HIS “PARENTS”??? My guess is that Braun just discovered the origin of the Johan Liebert name. I… think? Because the other complication is that we already met the Lieberts in the first episode? So maybe Johan just coincidentally discovered this family, their dead son, and MANIPULATED THEM INTO LYING AND SAYING THEIR SON WAS STILL ALIVE. Which??? What the fuck??? It seems everything Johan has done in Munich was towards this goal of being at the university with Schuwald. That doesn’t just include murder, but arson and extreme manipulation and faking a suicide? That also makes me wonder why he targeted Jurgens, too, who does kill himself in this episode after a totally baffling and creepy conversation with Dr. Guillen. What the fuck was he talking about before he died?
I don’t know, but I’m sure that the one thing I haven’t talked about in detail is part of the answer to that. It’s so clear now that we’ve seen Johan goad Braun to his death just how fucking terrifying he is. He obsessively researches the people he targets, and he knows how to twist the knife in deeper and deeper. And it’s what he does with Braun. It’s horrible to watch, especially since the man genuinely tried to be better. Of course, there’s a deeply disturbing reveal in the midst of this: BRAUN WASN’T DRUNK WHEN HE KILLED THAT SUSPECT. And the suspect came from Kinderheim 511!?!?!?!? So, we’ve got an actual extrajudicial execution at the heart of this, one that Braun carried out because he glimpsed pure evil in that boy. And evil that Johan might share?
This was too much. And there’s so much more to go, y’all. How??? Where the hell else is this story going to go?
The video for “Execution” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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