In the thirty-fifth episode of Monster, Lunge tries to understand Tenma; Tenma prepares for Johan; Dr. Reichwein has a shocking confrontation. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For talk of manipulation, trauma
This is starting to come together, and I’m AFRAID.
You know, I’d hoped that Lunge would have approached this with an open mind, but it seems that Lunge has gone even further into his own bias in “My Nameless Hero.” Y’all… this was A Lot, which joins every other plot point in Monster that I’ve deemed A Lot. Lunge has a very specific means of assimilating and categorizing information, but as he spends time around Munich, interviewing people who have met or known Dr. Tenma, he does something… disturbing? Look, I don’t even think this would be that bad if it weren’t for what Lunge does with his daughter. Well, the whole thing of getting in the mind of Dr. Tenma by “being” Japanese is certainly misguided at best. But to Lunge, all information is just that: information. He doesn’t always see the context in which it exists.
I say that because I’m thinking of the scene in the karaoke bar, where Lunge sinks into his perception of what Tenma’s experience is. In this, he imagines a loneliness in the man that’s due to being Japanese, that’s due to him not fitting in with the world around him. Which isn’t a stretch, necessarily, but I think it’s a very white-centric view of the world, in the sense that Lunge can’t imagine other reasons for Tenma feeling isolated. And he’s not actually wrong about that isolation! It’s just that Tenma feels lonely because he’s taken on the burden of eliminating Johan from the world, and that struggle makes him feel alone.
So Lunge is getting to a relatively correct conclusion, but the means are wrong, and those means are important. He still views Tenma as a loner, as someone who is a brutal, manipulative killer, and what we see here is confirmation bias. When he hears that Tenma’s past colleagues or acquaintances found him pleasant, or when one says that Tenma never really liked being the center of attention, he sees those as evidence of a deeper problem, or evidence of how Tenma is manipulating everyone around him.
Which makes me wonder… is that picture book going to change his mind? Is he actually going to believe that it’s irrelevant and useless, or will he come to see it as a clue once he finds out it affected someone named Johan Liebert? Because y’all, it’s only a matter of time before Lunge finds out that Johan is a real person, and if they meet??? I don’t think Lunge can be fooled in person!!!
Well… I didn’t expect that.
On one level, Dr. Reichwein’s strategy here is brilliant. Why wouldn’t he just directly confront Johan’s parents? These people are enabling him… sort of? Here’s the thing: I’m immensely worried about what this actually means. What if Johan manipulated them, too? What if they’re under his spell? I fully believe that this is a very real possibility, you know? Look at the expressions on the Liebert’s faces as Dr. Reichwein talks to them!!! That’s not the expression you wear when a random stranger suggests your son is a mass murderer who is going to eventually target you. Something incredibly fucked up is happening here, and I can’t quite place it. Did the Lieberts look so forlorn because they knew what Dr. Reichwein was saying was true? Did they feel like the chickens were coming home to roost? Were they expecting this day? Why were they seemingly so pleased once Dr. Reichwein left?
Johan is a master manipulator. He has this couple right where he wants them, and they will most likely be what he needs them to be forever. Which makes me think that Dr. Reichwein’s attempt to convince Schuwald of Johan’s crimes is going to be a futile thing. Why would Schuwald listen to him? Why would he question all the “good” things that Johan has delivered to him? He made it so that Karl and Schuwald were reunited!!! He helps run his business and day-to-day issues. This is NOT A GOOD IDEA, but I don’t know what else he could do, you know?
Hiding in Plain Sight
Holy shit, Dr. Tenma is locking himself in the library and hiding on the shelf where he’s going to try to kill Johan. This is… commitment? It doesn’t tell me if Tenma is actually going to follow through with this, but the moment is rapidly approaching. Can he do it? Can he slip into the darkness completely? I don’t know. But there’s an important moment before Tenma does this, and I’m realizing that this picture book is a much, much bigger thing in terms of the show’s arc. Lunge translates a line that reminded me of what Johan wrote to Tenma on that roof. What about what Lotte translated? Is that where Johan got the idea of the monster that lives inside of him? How much of an influence did this book play in his life???
It’s still kinda cool that I came to this show after binge watching Mindhunter, since both shows contain a common story technique: interviews with serial killers. Obviously, Monster came first, and both shows are borrowing from real life, but I’m interested in this notion that Johan has become infamous, that there are serial killers who idolize him and look up to him. Dr. Gillen is the source of the info that these men get, but it’s passing between the killers, right? And how correct is the murderer here? Will Johan kill the Lieberts because he is done with them? Did he attach himself to Schuwald simply to mess with all of these people???
The video for “My Nameless Hero” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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