In the seventy-first episode of Monster, the massacre brings out Grimmer’s true self. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of trauma, nonconsensual medical procedures, grief, death
What the fuck do I say about this? I know I wrote not all that long ago that I was worried about who wouldn’t make it out of Johan’s endgame alive, but this story is just… whew. Crushing. And as action-packed as it is, it’s a remarkably dense episode, one full of some of the most important moments in the whole series. I’m going to try to address everything, but lord, there’s so much here!
I am STILL reeling from Lunge’s and Tenma’s reunion. Lunge has spent the majority of this show chasing down what he thought was reality: A surgeon using his kindness, good looks, and popularity to hide in plain sight. The evidence seemed to always point towards Dr. Tenma as a serial killer. So I love that the writing takes a turn in this episode, in the sense that Lunge outright begins to admit that he used personal time off to pursue a fiction. It’s a fascinating insight into how he thinks, since we’d not heard him use these terms before. He often fashioned himself as an immensely objective thinker. So what would happen if he pursued a fantasy? If he let his instinct guide down the path of this story? It’s not lost on me that the imagery of storytelling is also all over this show, particularly since that is how Klaus Poppe experimented on children.
What was most striking, though: Lunge saying that he’s sorry to Tenma. Y’all, if Lunge survives this (and hell, if Tenma survives this), I hope that they do get to have that beer together. I think Lunge recognized that he had contributed to the complications of Tenma’s life over the years, when it turned out that Tenma had always been telling the truth.
It’s a start, right?
Oh, that image of Nina running through the forest toward Ruhenheim is haunting enough as it is. BUT WHAT MEMORY RESURFACED FROM HER SUBCONSCIOUS? Why would it worry her if Johan remembered it as well??? Ah, another mystery so close to the end, THIS SHOW IS TEASING ME AT THIS POINT. Also, can we give a shout out to Dr. Guillen, who hands over the keys to his car to save those people who escaped? It basically confirms that he knows he is not leaving Ruhenheim until this is over… even if that means he dies during the process. But I feel that way about everyone who has willingly traveled there: Nina. Tenma. Lunge. Grimmer.
But the bulk of “The Wrath of the Magnificent Steiner” traces the final part of the journey of Mr. Grimmer, the man who grew up without a name, who attempted to live as full of a life as possible, even though the trauma he endured left him without human emotions. When the attack on the Hotel Versteck began, I worried. I worried about Grimmer’s fate, I worried about his health (both physical and mental), and I worried about everyone else in that building. The onslaught was so much heavier than I expected and indiscriminate. Johan’s people just showered that hotel with bullets. And in a shocking procession: we see the victims. The couple who won the lottery are injured. (But not yet dead?) The elderly couple that Johan used used? Murdered. Grimmer himself is shot in the shoulder.
And even then, it’s not enough to trigger the Magnificent Steiner. Grimmer is still in protective mode, still determined to save as many people as possible, and so, he varies his technique. It’s admirable what he attempts here: he tries to reach into the hearts of the people who are doing what was asked of them or what they were manipulated into. He appeals to human emotions. He appeals to empathy. Sympathy. Does it work? No. But it’s so damn noble, and it’s also proof that he always chooses to believe in the best of humanity, despite that the worst was done to him.
So there’s something particularly tragic about how the woman from the restaurant dies in front of Grimmer, too. She was relieved to see Grimmer. She had hope that she was going to be okay, and then she’s cut down. Senselessly. And it’s what… well, I was going to say that it’s what hits the switch for Grimmer, but that’s not really the case, is it? Based on what he tells Tenma at the end of this episode, none of this was due to the Magnificent Steiner. Instead, Grimmer tapped into himself, meaning that this was one of TWO emotions he felt at the very end. There was so much for Grimmer to be angry about: his childhood. His trauma. Everything that was done to him. All the people around the world who harm children for whatever reason. Johan. The men who killed the people of Ruhenheim. The gunman who killed the woman from the restaurant. And Grimmer channels this, and he takes out all four of those with guns who had fired upon the hotel, but not without suffering fatal wounds himself.
I was so worn out by the end of the episode that I couldn’t even cope with the death of Grimmer, who dies, by the way, in front of Wim and Klaus. Both characters break down over Grimmer’s body, though for entirely different reasons. Wim has lost someone who was kind to him, who believed in him. Klaus, however, has finally seen the results of what he has done. It’s horrifically uncomfortable, and it needs to be. Klaus escaped to Ruhenheim to find a peaceful home, but that means he never had to face his past. He never truly came to terms with his actions. And he never saw this. He never saw how his work damaged people, how it ruined them so badly that… well, take Grimmer. Grimmer did not feel any emotions until the last hour of his life at most. He experiences anger, but then sadness. Not at his imminent death, but because finally, after all these years, he can grieve the death of his son.
I just… jesus, y’all. It’s one of the most intense scenes not just on this show, but like… fuck. EVER???
Johan’s massacre is STILL GOING, by the way. What the fuck else is gonna happen in these remaining three episodes???
The video for “The Wrath of the Magnificent Steiner” 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.