" is used to beating the plot horse to death after eight seasons, but Harold Krenshaw is certainly the most annoying reoccurring character on the show. He's Monk's nemesis with absolutely none of his redeeming qualities. Seeing him on the screen is like constant nails on the chalkboard, and it brings the worst out in Monk too. But it looks like they may be finally wrapping that up now that we're into the last season, and it's about time.
The episode opens with a young girl talking about having group therapy with Dr. Bell and then being attacked. She's found dead in the pool the next day. In Monk land, a letter from his health insurance comes in and basically says they will no longer cover his therapy. Monk has one session left with Dr. Bell, and Bell offers his group therapy sessions, because the insurance will cover that. Monk tries to get around it by finding Bell biking the next day and talking about his problems there, but he acknowledges this isn't working when he and Natalie fall over on the bike. Group therapy it is!
Monk meets the other patients, an angry and vicious woman named Rhonda, and a sweet but easily frightened man named Augie. Then there is the fourth patient Harold himself, which means that he and Monk are at one another's throats and trying to win over Bell's attention. Yay. Like we haven't seen this a million times. Harold keeps lording it over everyone that he's 'cured' but clearly he's not, since he's still in group and just hides his fears better. He's painfully obnoxious. While shopping Harold tries to convince Monk to leave group, and he points out a former patient named Xavier that is now cured. Monk refuses to leave just to spite Harold.
The next day Monk goes to a crime scene and finds out that fellow group member Augie is dead, apparently suicide. Monk rules this out quickly and starts to suspect someone is killing all the group members. Naturally, he accuses Harold, who then makes a pretty strong case that Monk could be the murderer too. This is the funniest part of the episode since Monk starts to think Harold is right; he could totally be the murderer. Hee. He and Natalie investigate Rhonda, but she's found dead! Just as Monk starts to piece it together, Xavier knocks him out and throws him in a car trunk. Where Harold is. Yay.
image © USA Network
Harold and Monk make up in this very tense situation and manage to overcome their claustrophobia together. They're afraid Xavier is going to kill Dr. Bell, but by the time they get out to rescue him, Bell has already talked down his crazy ex-patient. Xavier had told the group about loving this girl, and he ended up killing her. So he was killing the group to break any ties he had to the girl. With all the group members dead, Harold graciously quits group so Monk can have Bell all to himself. It looks like they're actually bestest buddies now. Aw. Now please never have Harold show up again. Please please please. One Monk is more than enough, but add an annoying version of him that's not lovable in the least, and it's just too much!
"Monk" is on USA Friday nights at 9 PM EST.
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Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
Follow Chelsea on twitter at http://twitter.com/mustbethursday