Monster – episode 64

October 14, 2005 on 10:46 pm | In Monster | Comments Off on Monster – episode 64

“The Baby’s Depression”

This episode was named for The Baby, but it should have been named for Capek. The amount of animation they spent on Capek’s horror weighed the episode more in the ambiguous man’s favour, despite the first half “belonging” to The Baby.

In writing it up, I realised that the true strength of this episode – an episode that focuses on a triangle of villains – is its precise examination of humanity, something present even in scum.

The Baby is depressed, so he pays a stripper to dine with him. He always pays his company, but despite his guest’s “baseness”, she shows him attention and what seems to be genuine interest. We then see The Baby, earlier in the day, worrying about Johan’s motives.
The episode progresses to the point where Capek begins to worry about Johan himself.

Surprisingly, for a genocidal maniac, The Baby came across as quite sympathetic in this episode. His depression was understandable, as he’s not much to look at and has a repellent personality; at least one of those is reason enough to be lonely. This reinforces one of the ideas of the series: while they can be monstrous, people are still people.

Likewise, this shows up in Capek’s excellently portrayed sense of terror – and his realisation when he witnesses the death of Milan that, just maybe, he has done something wrong. If nothing else, Monster has shown us that the people who commit their wrongs normally believe that what they do is right, even if they have to become pathological to do so.

Even more amazingly, this concept of humanity manifests itself in Johan’s lines: he seems angry to have had the Monster thrust upon him. Normally Johan is devoid of emotion – exactly what makes him such a scary fellow. This had been a difference between Johan and Anna, that Anna had the eyes of a monster when furious – but now I’m not so sure. Johan has found fire in his eyes, and perhaps his motives are finally coming a little clearer than the vague ideas peddled before. Perhaps, just perhaps, he does want to purge himself of the Monster; until now, I had believed that was just a mind-game that he played.

Bonus paragraph that I couldn’t edit into the entry’s flow
Incidentally, “The devil’s apprentice” is nothing like he was when he first appeared before Martin several episodes back. Back then he was enthusiastic and marginally insane; something must have happened to him because he is confident to the point of smugness and doesn’t let the madness angle shine through. I suppose what I’m saying is that he used to smile with teeth.
Bonus paragraph end

The “shock ending” for this episode was a fairly lousy shock; I was certainly unsurprised by the news. Next episode sees Tenma and Nina back in action, but Lunge really needs to make a return, considering where he left us hanging.
It’s okay for a series like this to have as many characters as it does, but sometimes the balancing act isn’t exactly perfect, or even ideal. When you’re rationed to one episode whenever grace dictates, it’s far easier to notice these things.

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