In the forty-second episode of Monster, Grimmer is pursued for the information he has. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of torture
I definitely have to repeat this because it’s so astounding to me: NONE OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS HAVE BEEN IN THESE TWO RECENT EPISODES. Not one!!! This show introduced us to Grimmer in an episode with Tenma, but then fully committed to telling his story, which just got even weirder. It’s pretty damn incredible to me, especially since I do find myself intrigued by Grimmer as well. What exactly happened to him? Why was he driven to this point? How does it inform his personal philosophy? Just how intentional is his behavior to others, especially when it comes to children?
“The Adventures of the Magnificent Steiner” hints further at Grimmer’s mysterious past—from the introduction of the alter ego/personality of the Magnificent Steiner, to Grimmer’s continued kindness towards children—but also sits firmly in the present. It’s more a thriller than anything else, and it is structured in a way to lull us into safety with that opening interrogation. We watch as Inspector Zeman calmly—almost without interest—clips his nails and asks Grimmer some questions about Petrov’s death. The fact that he seemed so nonchalant about it all disturbed me, but I still didn’t piece together what this narrative was actually doing. I see it now: this was a test. A first round. Zeman wanted to see what Grimmer would give up, fully knowing that there was a key to a safety deposit box containing evidence of Johan. (I assume he never knew about Johan in any specific way, just about the existence of the “Monster.”) How long had these people been trying to get ahold of it? Even without knowing that, it was clear that they knew this was an opportunity. Plus, what was one mild-mannered freelance journalist going to do? These people had time, money, resources… it was only a matter of time.
Thus, once Grimmer failed to give them what they wanted, the plan was implemented. A random taxi ride back to a hotel becomes sinister once a second passenger gets in and sits in the passenger seat. A threat is made. Grimmer realizes he’s been tricked. The inevitable comes to pass, and Grimmer spends most of this episode withstanding the brutal and cruel torture that is dealt to him. Mind you: the whole time, even the audience doesn’t even know where the key is! So while we know that Grimmer is pretending to be innocent, it’s still likely that he never even got to the tape at all. He resists a torment that was at times hard to watch, and I’m not even going to write down that Thing that happens because it is Literally The Worst! In every way! I COULDN’T LOOK AT IT.
In the midst of the torture, a necessary story unfolds: there is a group from the “East” that has is dead-set on learning the identity of the Monster from Kinderheim 511. Why? Because they want to find him and use him to UNITE ALL THE ALUMNI OF THE ORPHANAGE. We’ve seen something similar to this, since there was that neo-fascist organization earlier in the show that wanted to use Johan for their own purposes. This, however, is directly tied to the conflict of East and West Germany, and it’s also linked to what started this all in the first place. Do they want to resume the experiment? To me, this sounded like they wanted to exploit or use these people for some political end. But… didn’t most of the people from Kinderheim 511 die? So who counts as alumni now?
Of course, I’m ignoring another issue at hand: WHO THE FUCK IS THAT WOMAN? I thought it was Nina again, but the fact that the show keeps obscuring her identity from us makes me think she is definitely someone else. But who? Why did she kill Petrov AND these men? Both times, she spared Grimmer, too, so… is she on his side? Is he on hers, more importantly? Are they on parallel paths, or is her motivation entirely different?
HEY, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE.
The video for “The Adventures of the Magnificent Steiner” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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