In the sixtieth episode of Monster, Martin makes a fateful decision, and then Eva makes one, too. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For grief, death, manipulation/torture, suicide/suicidal ideation.
Holy shit, this episode was GUT-WRENCHING. It’s clear now why the narrative needed to focus on Martin, as these three episodes form a miniature arc about guilt, loyalty, and love. It’s just such a good story, and I think it’s also a fascinating way for the show (and the source material) to bring forth existing themes and twist them in new ways. Martin’s story is obviously intertwined with Eva’s, but it’s a necessary step in her characterization. Also, how often is it that a straight white man dies so that a woman can have development???
Anyway, let’s discuss! This episode closes the loop that was introduced in “I Hate This Job,” explaining how it was that Martin ended up in the back of that car, bleeding to death from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. There’s so much more depth offered here aside from this, though. Martin’s childhood and his own grief over the death of his alcoholic mother matters deeply to the story. His own trauma is exploited by the nameless man at the end of the previous episode, and it pushes him to the brink of a terrible choice: killing Eva.
Except he doesn’t, and there’s such a beautiful message here, one that resonated with me. That man knew Martin’s traumatic past, and he tortured Martin by appealing to the most hurtful memory he’d ever had. Thus, he believed that he could manipulate Martin into killing Eva, taking care of a loose thread in the process. But what these people failed to account for—and I assume that Johan is at the center of all of this—is empathy. When Eva softly calls out out for Tenma, Martin is unable to kill her. She doesn’t want to die, as that man had insisted. No, she just wants the pain to end. I know plenty of people (myself included) who have come to understand this about their own struggles with suicidal ideation and depression.
So I personally love the choice that Martin makes here and why he makes it. He recognizes the complete, complicated humanity in Eva, and he saves her, knowing that he’ll most likely die because of it. And after the gunfight, the episode slowly shifts point of view, moving away from Martin’s story and settling in Eva’s. But it’s not before Martin reveals one last truth: the name of the man with the glasses—Peter Capek—and his plans. He’s continuing the Red Rose Mansion experiments because HE IS ONE OF THE SURVIVORS. It’s a key piece of this puzzle, too, because we’d gotten confirmation that this organization wanted Johan to help them start up a neo-fascist dictatorship of sorts. But they’re using these nightmarish techniques in order to court Johan, and for whatever reason, Johan is fine with them collaborating in this sense. But why? What is Johan getting out of this? Does he have some master plan at work? I assume so. I still don’t know why he burned down the mansion, either. I started considering that he did so to expose the murders there, but now??? UGH, I STILL DON’T GET IT.
Back to Eva, though. Her reunion with Tenma is one of the saddest sequences on this entire show. There’s no rage at Tenma like I expected. Instead, Eva now appreciates how Martin did truly nice things for her, and it triggers an immense guilt in her. Eva does not value herself; she is fully aware of how awful she’s been to other people. And now, someone died so that she could live? It’s a terrible burden to live with, and so I understand why she’s so distraught here. But that’s also why the final images are so electrifying. Eva is not going to let this story happen to her. Is it reckless that she buys a gun so she can kill Johan herself? Oh, of course it is! But it’s also an exciting development because it signifies a new direction for her character.
This is gonna be a mess, but I’m so thrilled.
The video for “The Man Who Knew Too Much” 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.