In the seventy-second episode of Monster, more truths come to light. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For trauma, PTSD.
THERE’S SO MUCH GOING ON HERE, AND IT IS ALL UPSETTING.
Roberto / Lunge
I’m gonna try to address everything based on the various plot threads woven together here, so let’s start with THIS nightmare. Because you know what? I don’t think I ever needed a backstory for Roberto. Hell, even the most basic explanation of Johan’s disciples—that they were people he manipulated into seeing his views on humanity and the value of life—was enough to explain away a whole lot of what I’ve seen on this show. Roberto also didn’t require one as an antagonist: his cruelty stood on its own. He worked for Johan, he seemed to delight in causing people pain or in manipulating them, and in that sense, he was a pure antagonist: evil for the sake of it.
It’s clear from this episode that there is a bit more to him than that. Roberto believes in Johan, and he’s revealed here not only to be yet another person manipulated by Johan, but he is the childhood friend, Adolf Reinhart, that Grimmer once knew in the orphanage. Which makes him one of a number of nameless children, who grew up in a state of extreme trauma. But that means that we get to see two sides of the same coin. Grimmer was treated the same way and raised in the same environment. But he lacked the exposure to Johan, who brought out the most cynical and violent impulses in each person he met. I like this for an entirely personal reason, too. Trauma can manifest later on in life in incredibly fucked up ways. And while most stories I’ve come across give us characters like Roberto, few give us Grimmer, and this show allowed us to see MULTIPLE examples of characters dealing with trauma in completely different ways. And most of them aren’t negative, stigma-riddled disasters, either!
Roberto also reveals Johan’s plan to Lunge, at least the endgame. I feel pretty certain now that Johan is imitating Klaus Poppe, in that he is erasing everyone who ever knew him. Why? Because that’s what Klaus did at the Red Rose Mansion after falling in love with Anna, Johan and Nina’s mother. (It’s also not lost on me that Klaus experiencing love or something similar is what unraveled him and pulled him away from his experiments. I can’t help but think of the program that Dieter was a part of: experiments on showering children with love.) But Johan here appears to be making a stand against Tenma specifically, and I think we’ll see a direct refutation of Dr. Tenma’s belief that all life has value. Johan doesn’t believe this at all, and I’m guessing that’s why he wants to kill everyone until Tenma is the only one left. Why would Johan “calculate” matters in this way?
Because he wants to prove Dr. Tenma wrong.
(Oh, lord, I hope I’m right about that.)
SO. Is Roberto dead??? Did Lunge kill him in that final moment? Their whole fight is one of the most brutal and dire sequences in the whole damn show, but I gotta say: I love that Lunge’s mind is what gives him the advantage here. That line he has, where he says his mind refuses to calculate Johan’s plan? POETRY, Y’ALL.
I did tough on some of this already, but as Tenma decides to head out to find Johan, Klaus tags along, and he says a LOT. There’s a gorgeous motif used here—one that we later see with Wim’s father, as he drunkenly wanders around Ruhenheim in a panic—of Klaus slowly taking one step down the stairs. With each step, he arrives closer to the truth. His truth is multi-faceted and complex, but what he confesses to Tenma fills in some necessary gaps. I didn’t think it was all that big of a surprise that he had fallen in love with the twins’ mother. That drawing/painting of her was a huge indication of that. But I think one thing that’s not stated outright but feels very vital to this is that this love was not reciprocated. At least, there’s no sign of it. Yet even unreciprocated love got Klaus to care about another human, and in that act, everything came undone. He got rid of his entire life, abandoned his project, mass murdered everyone who knew about it, and then… ran.
And that’s a huge part of his characterization, too. He didn’t make amends for what he had done; he ran. In doing so, he left behind damage. Well, he left it behind until he didn’t. Now we know who the stranger was who visited the Liebert’s home the night they were murdered: Klaus. His appearance set in motion this whole nightmare, which is what prompts Tenma to tell the truth. Klaus may have created this monster, but Tenma revived him.
Thus, they both walk to their fate, to confront the monster at the heart of all of this.
But where is Johan? If anyone is going to find him first, it’ll be Nina, who has the deepest connection with him out of everyone. But that connection is both fraught and traumatic, and Nina is still recovering her memories out from the mire of confusion that’s been her life. So much is buried; so much is hidden. But of everything she has recovered, there are still mysteries and unknowns. Which feels realistic, you know? There is one here, though, that I’m struggling to piece together. What was all that talk of forgiving Johan? Look, I’m the SUPREME LEADER in blaming myself for literally everything that has ever gone wrong in the world, so I understand why Nina might blame herself for what Johan has done. But I don’t get why she thinks she should have forgiven him the night of the Lieberts’ murder. What else happened that I don’t know of? Why would she say that? AHHHHH THERE ARE ONLY TWO EPISODES LEFT, HOW IS THIS ALL GOING TO COME TOGETHER????
The video for “A Nameless Man” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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