'Monk' Recap: Mr. Monk's Other Brother
There's one person who needs Adrian Monk this week, and that is Jack Monk Jr. That's right, Monk has a little half-brother played by Steve Zahn who is a convict escaped from prison. He is wanted for the murder of a female prison guard, but he swears he did not do it. Zahn plays much the same role as he always does: the Owen Wilson-like charismatic loser with a laid back attitude and full of BS. It works as a start contrast to Monk's serious but naive personality. Jack plays his big half-brother from the first instant, claiming he is innocent and Monk has to help clear his name. Now everyone knows that one of Monk's saddest qualities is his overwhelming and long lasting loneliness; Trudy helped him for a time, but it all stems from his childhood. So it is not surprising that faced with the potential of a new family, he's willing to look past the obvious signs of Jack's criminal behavior.
Monk takes Jack on the crime scene with him as a 'pen pal,' and they investigate the crime. While doing so they meet Daniel Reese, the prison guard who shot at Jack, and learn more about the supposed murder. Jack's lies to Monk slowly unravel by his own stupidity, having lied about no roommate (which he did, in fact have) or his dead mother, who his girlfriend pretends to be on the phone to guilt Monk. You have to find some sort of respect for such a talented con artist. Every time Monk finds out a new lie from Jack, he somehow manages to get suckered into a second chance. He even calls Stottlemeyer in the middle of the night, but changes his mind once the Captain gets there. Stottlemeyer looks understandably confused with the two men weirdly making up a prowler story, and Jack has been crying. He wisely walks out of it, but someday one would hope if Monk was in a real hostage situation Stottlemeyer would know better!
After discussing the issue with his therapist, Bell points out that Jack does not intend to return to prison like he promised and intends to run away. This is the last straw for Monk, especially when he finds Jack scamming Natalie out of money and wearing a dead woman's watch. Yikes. That last one is a little beyond 'charming con man,' but it helps Monk solve the case. As one might expect, Jack restores everyone's faith in him by helping his big brother and becoming the hero. It is very, very sweet. It would be interesting to see how Jack and Ambrose get along, and perhaps one day there will be a Monk brothers' reunion!
This was a strong episode for "Monk" to come back to. It was humorous, with a great but shallow job done by Zahn, and there was also some emotional weight behind it. Monk longs for a family, for belonging, and he never got that from his abandoning father or neurotic brother. Jack is not only a new and open hearted entity, but he is normal, something that the Monk family does not know much of. Normal in the sense he is comfortable with the outside world and easy to like, not so normal in the way his Monk genius is wasted on scams. Next week is tellingly titled "Mr. Monk Gets Shot." Uh oh.
"Monk" is on Friday's at 9 PM EST on USA.
Monk cast: Tony Shalhoub / Bitty Schram / Ted Levine / Jason Gray-Stanford / More
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
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