Every once in a while on the hit USA show "Monk
," the writers get together to write a happy Christmas episode to sate the fans as they wait for it to return in January. Former episodes have been the excellent "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa
," or last year's "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus
," and this year another has been added titled "Mr. Monk and the Miracle
." While this episode does deal with Adrian Monk and his wacky OCD tendencies, the main story actually revolves around Captain Stottlemeyer.
For years Stottlemeyer has provided Monk with a supportive and kind friend and employer, but now he is in the need for good cheer himself. It has been years since his wife divorced him, and he is in pain. His son will not speak to him, and even Randy does not seem to need him anymore in the office. His back pain refuses to go away no matter what he uses on it, and he hears the story about a 'miracle' fountain. Apparently an angel painting appears on the door of a chosen person, and if they drink from the fountain at a local monastery, they are cured. Stottlemeyer is skeptical at first and jokes around with his pharmacist (Michael Badalucco
from "The Practice
") about how ridiculous the concept is. Everything changes when he does drink from the well and feels no pain the next morning. With a new outlook on life, Stottlemeyer quits his job and joins the monastery to enjoy a life of faith and peace.
Let's get back to Monk. He is preparing for Christmas with Julie and Natalie when three homeless men Ike, Reggie and the Professor knock on his door. A friend of theirs was found dead in a refrigerator, and they do not believe it was an accidental death. They hire Monk with a collection of bottles, and Natalie persuades him to take the case. This leads to a few hilarious scenes of Monk generally abhorring every second near the nice but dirty men, but he does decide that the death was a murder. Now if only he could get Stottlemeyer out of the monastery long enough to help solve the case! Natalie also cooks dinner for the homeless men at Monk's house, and he assists by wrapping plastic around all the chairs and generally being insanely rude. In the Monk-way, which is usually forgiven. It did feel like it was going overboard a few times, but never felt unrealistic considering how obsessed he is with cleanliness.
In the end the murder and the miracle water is connected, of course, and Monk and Natalie sneak into the monastery to tell the Captain what happened. They sing it in a classic monotone monk chant. That was probably the best part of the entire episode. It was a little surprising that Stottlemeyer accepted this miracle so easily, but Ted Levine did a fantastic job portraying him as hopeless and miserable. Even if it was all a sham, the Captain takes some positive things from it, and he looked pretty good without a mustache! The murder was avenged, the Captain is healthy and speaks to his son again, and everyone is ready for a happy holiday. Aw. You have to love "Monk." It was a pretty simple episode; nothing too spectacular or extraordinary, but it suited the series and made you laugh. That's all anyone can ask for.
This show is nearing its last season. There will be a few more episodes in this season, but the eighth and final will begin in the summer of 2009. It has been a very long journey, but hopefully Adrian Monk will finally catch the killer of his wife Trudy and find some peace. The next episode of "Monk" does not air until January 9th, so enjoy the holiday episode and repeats on USA until everyone's favorite obsessive detective is back again.
Monk cast: Tony Shalhoub
/ Bitty Schram
/ Ted Levine
/ Jason Gray-Stanford
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer