In the fifty-fourth episode of Monster, Eva has an epiphany; Tenma and Milch attempt their escape. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Hi, what the FUCK.
One thing I find compelling about Monster is how it demonstrates to the audience that one character’s decision can radiate out to drastically affect other people, often in ways they couldn’t possibly have anticipated. I’ll get to the escape in a moment (FUCKING HOW), but so much of Eva’s story in these recent episodes has been her reckoning with her past, how she treated Tenma, and how Tenma treated her despite her cruelty. It took a lot for her to come around to testifying in favor of Tenma. And while that’s like… basic human goodness? Like, I don’t want this to seem like some monumental victory. Eva is a complicated and deeply flawed character (I LOVE CHARACTERS LIKE THIS), but she’s also not a good person most of the time. That feels like an understatement to say it that way, too! Still, it is huge that she made the right choice.
And then, while sitting in the lobby of her hotel, she still wonders why she’s doing this. It’s during this introspective moment that she learns that Tenma escaped. As Milch will later put it, this makes him a criminal. Undeniably so! It also upends Eva’s act. She spent all this time struggling with this decision, and suddenly Tenma undoes it with one act. What good will it be for her to do this if Tenma is out there becoming a LITERAL FUGITIVE? Well, I’d argue that ultimately, she should still do it, given that they need to prove Tenma’s innocence at some point. That makes me wonder: Is she going to back out of this? Will this turn her away from testifying?
That question becomes even more relevant just moments later, when Roberto arrives to meet Eva, and Eva recognizes his voice after overhearing him on the phone with Vardemann. HEY, THAT WHOLE SCENE WAS SO BEAUTIFULLY TENSE. Every bit of this was! (Both plots, I mean.) I am so into the fact that this show is just ratcheting up the tension and horror as we approach the ending. All these little details and threads are coming together, and here, Eva realizes the trap she’s stumbled into. I admit I don’t understand why she didn’t just leave the hotel, especially after she discovered that Roberto had been in her room, too. But I’ll chalk that up to fear. She fled to her hotel room, then was completely frozen upon realizing that she was trapped.
SO WHO WAS AT THE DOOR???
It’s astounding to me that Gustav and Helene—mentioned very briefly in “Lawyer”—are given maybe ten minutes of screen time. If that! Yet they feel like whole characters, and the tiny glimpse of their life—one of drugs, crime, and chaos—is so damn compelling. It turns out that Milch’s requests to record that cop show were a clue, a means for Gustav to know when to fake being injured so as to stop the transport bus that Milch would be on. So, Milch had tried to teach his younger brother to follow in his footsteps, but Gustav… well, he seemed very easily distracted. So much so that his plan falls apart because he was too busy paying attention to Helene and THE TRANSPORT VAN STRUCK HIM. I honestly could not believe what I was watching unfold. How does this show pack so many twists into this story?
It was horrifying plot twist, too, and you could see just how much it messed up Milch, who felt he had failed to train his brother well. Though I’d argue that part of his shock—maybe most of it—came from his realization that the escape attempt had horrifically failed. We see later how willing Milch is to leave his brother behind, to see Gustav as a means to an end. I don’t think there’s any actual familiarity or intimacy between the brothers. Milch just wants to make it Tunisia. (Is he truly going to make it this time? I feel like the authorities are more interested in catching Tenma than him.)
Which brings me to Dr. Tenma, who is ELECTRIFYING in this episode. It honestly felt so massive to me that he made the decision not to prioritize Gustav’s medical care. He would later do that, once he, Milch, and Helene were on the run. But he chose HIMSELF first. Okay, yes, he chose to escape because he wants to save Eva, but STILL. This was a big moment! Is it weird to be proud of Tenma for taking advantage of this situation??? It certainly feels strange, but I love that he’s trying to take control of this situation. He does so while still sticking to his moral code, too, since he makes sure that Helene has the right information as she heads into Eisler Memorial. A BOLD CHOICE, Y’ALL. He returned to the scene of his first “crime,” but did so to help a complete stranger.
So, Tenma is on his own. He’s heading for Eva, though he only knows that she’s in Düsseldorf. AND I STILL DON’T KNOW WHO KNOCKED ON HER DOOR. This show makes me SWEAT, y’all.
The video for “The Escape” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– You can now pre-order my second YA novel, Each of Us a Desert, which will be released on September 15, 2020 from Tor Teen!
– If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.