In the forty-fourth episode of Monster, I can’t. Yet again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of potential transphobia at the end
I just… said. I said so many things. Out loud. In the video for this episode. All of them wrong. COMICALLY wrong. And here I am, now in pieces because… lord, the answer was SO FUCKING OBVIOUS.
I’ll get there. So, let’s start first by talking about how much “Double Darkness” builds off of what’s established in “Detective Suk.” I do feel like I had a decent grasp on who Suk was as a person, that he was someone who desired the validation of others. I think that plays into his reliance on Anna (NOT ANNA, HELP ME) throughout this story. Obviously, there was someone attraction there, too, but Suk also wanted someone to understand him, to see that he was hurting, to witness the chaos that he was a part of. Because this is absolutely chaos! That opening scene was so demonstrative for me: Suk is now part of a media circus concerning the multiple murders affecting the Prague police department, and he is not ready to handle this at all. Seriously, look how drastically Detective Suk’s life has changed in just a week. His mentor was murdered, he discovered massive corruption in the police force, and multiple of his superiors were poisoned. And now, he’s forced to go back to where it all started to just gather information.
Look, I didn’t expect those interviews with the orphans to bring about anything new, and if anything, I assumed that the move was to stick Suk with grunt work. He wasn’t good in front of the camera, and he still wasn’t experienced enough. Right??? It made a lot of sense! And then… lord. Y’all, Suk has no idea what he’s stumbled into. He has no idea that there’s this massive nightmare surrounding him. In more ways than one, too! Because in those orphans, he is given the first clues that might lead him to Kinderheim 511. Will he pursue it, though? I don’t actually know! I know that Suk wants to be a good detective. As he tells Anna later, this is the job he always wanted. So, even if the whole bit with Grimmer hadn’t happened, I think Suk would have tracked down as many threads as he could have.
That being said, his experience with Grimmer felt so meaningful. One thing that’s pinging around in my brain: Suk’s world was a binary before this. Black and white. Good and evil. Heroes and villains. And the truth is that our world is so hopelessly, endlessly complicated. It really is! (It’s got me thinking about the ultimate point of The Good Place, but that’s a completely separate essay.) As these horrific events have unfolded, Detective Suk has been forced to adjust who he sees as the bad guy, as the hero, as the idol, and how he sees his own self within this machine. He began to formulate the idea that Grimmer was his key to unlocking the murder of Zeman, but look what happens once he watches Grimmer with those kids. There’s a motif here that Monster has employed before. We’ve seen characters meet Dr. Tenma and experience life in his presence, and many of them realize that Tenma was never capable of being the murderer that the police thinks he is. Here, Detective Suk is presented with a version of Grimmer who is shockingly open, who actually hands over the key to Petrov’s safe deposit box. I mean… Grimmer has to know that Suk will try to find it, right? Is his intent to involve someone else because he knows that he’ll never be able to get the contents of it himself? Why does he trust Suk?
Of course, there’s the other huge thing I’m worried about. The subject of those tapes has been next to Detective Suk the entire fucking time. Y’all, I can’t explain how my brain works sometimes, but it literally did not occur to me (EVEN AS A TWIN!!! I HAVE LITERALLY PRETENDED TO BE MY TWIN MORE TIMES THAN I CAN COUNT!!!) that it was Johan playing as Anna. Literally. Did. Not. Occur. To. Me. And christ, it makes so much sense. I’ve witnessed this exact kind of invasive manipulation before and recently: the way Johan integrated himself into the lives of Schuwald and Karl. This is his whole THING! To get people to trust him, to make them think they have someone to confide, and then he just twists the knife in their back slowly, so much so that they never even know it’s there.
My guess is that Johan is trying to eliminate any information on himself, which was a theory put forth a long time ago, and thus, killing the members of the ex-secret police force is the perfect move. And now he’s over-the-moon about Suk’s confession. IT’S ALL BAD. VERY, VERY BAD.
I did want to give a bit of brief space to acknowledge that the twist ending might not come to anything super terrible. I certainly don’t think the show is even attempting to say that Johan isn’t a cis man, so most of my thoughts on this are circumstantial. There’s a pervasive stigma against trans people—especially trans women—that revolves around deception and my hope is that Monster doesn’t veer into the whole trans panic trope with this twist. It’s hard to tell at this point, but I still wanted to bring it up as something to think about.
The video for “Double Darkness” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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