In the thirty-second episode of Monster, Lotte makes a new friend; Tenma prepares for his big decision. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For talk of consent, sexual assault, Nazism, death
Holy god, this episode. I like how the quietest realizations and epiphanies can feel so goddamn huge, yâ€™all. Iâ€™M HERE FOR IT.
Iâ€™ve said this in a number of different ways, but I also adore how willing Monster is to drop us into the perspective of the secondary characters in this story. I never once thought weâ€™d get the POV of Lotte, and after Karlâ€™s conflict was resolved, I kinda forgot about her? Which is the point! She was the one who not only pushed Karl to investigate the truth, but she helped him repeatedly as he tried to work out his feelings towards Schuwald. â€œSanctuaryâ€ flips the story, though, and in doing so, we see how Lotte feels like she was just the character development for someone else. Iâ€™ll be very honest with yâ€™all: I related to this SO MUCH, and itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve struggled with a lot in my life. And very recently! Itâ€™s an issue of reciprocation, of feeling valued by the person you valued so much. What happens when it becomes clear that the other person doesnâ€™t ever plan on returning the favor? Or when you can tell they donâ€™t see you like you see them? The worst is when you donâ€™t even realize this is happening!!! HEY FEELINGS ARE THE WORST!
So, it was a little hard to watch Lotte try to pursue Karl, who is so wrapped up in the life of his father that he canâ€™t even see Lotte. Not really see her, that is. He thinks the dance that she invites him to is just any olâ€™ social function. He doesnâ€™t ask her how her day is; he doesnâ€™t inquire into anything going on in her life. She is just likeâ€¦ a distant acquaintance to him. Thatâ€™s it! All the friendliness we saw before is gone.Â
Thus, it makes sense to me that she basically attaches herself to Nina when she spots Nina in the library. (I was also LOSING IT because NINA IS IN MUNICH, TOO, HELP ME.) Sheâ€™s reeling from rejection and from feeling ignored, and so she is.. a lot. Like, Iâ€™m not gonna sit here and say she isnâ€™t super intense around Nina, but I feel like Nina gets it on some level. And even if she doesnâ€™t, sheâ€™s so supportive of Lotte, despite that she just met her. Well, that and Lotte is pretty extra at the dance. She makes a lot of assumptions about what Ninaâ€™s life has been like because Nina is traditionally attractive. Of course, the audience knows how tragically wrong Lotte is. Like I said on video, this whole thing fascinated me because Lotteâ€™s story revealed something new in Nina: Nina was not used to a â€œnormalâ€ experience. She even remarks as much during the dance! She never got to be a regular college student. Her life has been marked by trauma, by her training, by her mission to track down Johan.Â
My take: Nina tolerated Lotte and supported her because Lotte treated her like an actual person, and that includes being kinda rude about Ninaâ€™s life and her appearance. She was a whole human in Lotteâ€™s eyes, and she appreciated that.Â
BUT NOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN??? Lotte just realized that Nina and Johan look alike and are most likely related? Oh god, I canâ€™t get over the fact that EVERYONE IS NOW IN THE SAME CITY. The possibilities! They are endless!
Okay, I feel a lot better about what I wrote in the previous review about Tenmaâ€™s struggle. As Tenma gets closer and closer to his fateful decision, he finds it increasingly hard to commit to it. Oh, he definitely bought a sniper rifle, and heâ€™s training on it and on his body, and guess what? HEâ€™S EVEN MORE FUCKED UP THAN HE WAS IN THE LAST EPISODE. I feel like thatâ€™s what those scenes in the restaurant were for. Tenma has become so obsessed with this mission of his that he canâ€™t think of anything else. Unfortunately for him, heâ€™s also haunted by the idea of murdering Johan, even if he feels like itâ€™s the right choice. Shit, does he even think that? Or is he just following the momentum of his initial decision?
I donâ€™t know, but I donâ€™t know that I need to know that just yet. What happens here is still striking because itâ€™s so relevant to Tenmaâ€™s problem. After determining the location with the least obstaclesâ€”a forest that Johan frequents with Karl and Schuwaldâ€”Tenma tries to practice pulling the trigger. But itâ€™s not his reluctance or terror that stops him. No, itâ€™s a random older man, one who visits the forest every day. And why? Well, I did not expect this show to introduce a stranger, punch me in the heart, and then leave, because Iâ€™m a fool??? I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. But the story of that manâ€™s involvement in Nazism, his utter devotion to following what he was told to do, and the way his racist/xenophobic murder haunted him clearly affected Tenma. I donâ€™t think the show is saying that Tenma is the same as this man, but I would not be surprised if, in the coming episodes, Tenma decided not to shoot Johan in that particular forest. Itâ€™s a sacred place, where tragedy befell someone who was just trying to live. The appearance of the bird on Tenmaâ€™s arm is a sign from the universe, and it makes me wonder. And Iâ€™m gonna wonder aloud: Is Tenma actually going to kill Johan?
My gut feeling is no. Heâ€™s not. And Iâ€™ll predict that now: I think Johan might die by the end of Monster, but it wonâ€™t be at the hands of Dr. Tenma. He just doesnâ€™t have it in him.
The video for â€œSanctuaryâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now OUT!Â If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.