In the thirty-eighth episode of Monster, chaos reigns while Tenma and Nina try to change fate. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of manipulation, terrorism
Surprise! Everything got even more fucked up!
What an incredible call back to “The Girl and the Seasoned Soldier.” How many times has a tiny detail been utterly crucial to a future plot line in this show??? I’m blown away, especially since Burkhardt’s advice from that episode is used to build tension here. We know from the end of the previous episode that someone took a shot. (I vocalized this on video, but it’s clear that Tenma had to take the shot; Roberto was the one with his back to the fire, so the spitting embers were a clue as to what had actually happened.) But once it’s revealed that Tenma ACTUALLY DID IT, Burkhardt’s warning pivots the stakes. I immediately began to panic because Tenma didn’t take two shots. Had he made a critical mistake?
So Tenma shoots him again.
I love that this was built up so painstakingly over the first half of this show because it made this act feel huge. Roberto tumbles over the balcony and is consumed by smoke and flames. Is he dead? Oh, no, I refuse to accept he is until I see an actual corpse. But Dr. Tenma did it. He pulled the trigger TWICE, and that second time was with the intent to harm. Does this fundamentally change who Tenma is? I wondered that! Would it be easier for him to pull the trigger when he aimed his gun at Johan?
More on that in a second.
It is both impressive and haunting that Karl’s story here reveals so much about Schuwald. It’s impressive from a craft standpoint because it’s very important that Karl gets closure over his mother. But this confirms that Schuwald had suspected something was off with Johan. Was it Dr. Reichwein’s influence, or had he been suspicious once he looked into Karl’s mother? I am not sure of the chronology, but it’s clear that Schuwald both wanted to give Karl closure and spare him from whatever Johan was going to do to him at the ceremony.
And that’s part of the reason this is so haunting to me. He went there knowing that something terrible would happen. He faced inevitability, and yet, he still wasn’t prepared. But before I talk about the utterly unnerving context of the title of this episode, I have to acknowledge that Schuwald’s investigation uncovered another nightmare. Karl’s mother KNOWS NINA AND JOHAN’S MOTHER. Not only that, but years after Karl was separated from his mother, JOHAN MOVED IN WITH HER AND BASICALLY WAS HER REPLACEMENT SON. Well, not that she viewed him as a replacement; it’s more that Johan reminded her of Karl so much. Y’all, how long has Johan been planning this manipulation of Karl and Schuwald? It’s three years at the minimum, and he was pulling this off while also manipulating people in literal other cities.
Holy shit. It’s too much.
The Demon in My Eyes
It’s hard to pick a part of this that’s more disturbing than the others. Is it Tenma tripping over the attendees who were trying to climb the stairs to safety? Or the fact that someone locked all the doors so that everyone would burn to death? Or the whole triple showdown in the flames and smoke? OR THAT ENDING? I don’t know, y’all. I can’t get one image out of my mind: Johan grabbing Schuwald’s face and asking if he can see what’s reflected in his eyes. Johan delights in suffering; he delights in knowing what he is, what he’s capable of, and how easily he accomplishes the nightmares he perpetrates. There’s a certainty to him that’s just frightening. He knew Tenma wouldn’t shoot him, and he knew his twin sister would hesitate long enough for him to escape scot-free. He just walked right out of there with TWO PEOPLE TRAINING GUNS ON HIM. It didn’t even matter that Nina shot at him! God, the chilling way he points his finger between his eyes, taunting Tenma? IT IS LITERALLY TOO MUCH.
And then the curtains collapse on Nina and Schuwald and also my heart? That, too. If either of them just died, I’m going to be FURIOUS.
This whole arc has been one giant ball of tension, and it’s still not over! Did anyone die in the fire? Where’s Lunge, and is he still going to think Tenma was behind this? How long until Karl puts everything together? Oh gods, if Schuwald survives, is HE going to tell the truth??? I’m so stressed out.
The video for “The Demon in My Eyes” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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