Monster – episode 68

January 14, 2006 on 8:21 pm | In Monster | Comments Off on Monster – episode 68


Not thrilling as Monster goes, but “Ruhenheim” is a great example of a slow boil that brings back two characters and perfectly sets up the last ten episodes of the story.

Runge enters Ruhenheim, the town that he has traced Franz Bonaparta to. There he meets Grimmer, and they pretend to not know each other. In the end, the mysteries of the sleepy town become too much for them to bear …

Runge has certainly changed quite a bit over the course of this series, without changing at all on a fundamental level; his attitude to the “Tenma case” has turned around considerably, but at base he is still an obsessive detective who cares for nothing but the chase. The only part that seems uncharacteristic is his semi-warm treatment of Wim, the child of the town drunk; perhaps, on reflection, he’s starting to miss his family and regret what he has done to them.

Grimmer, on the other hand, has no real insight to offer: his role in this episode was apparently just to get him into the situation. One can’t really complain about that, but the way that he and Runge “revealed” themselves was an enjoyable scene indeed; an ingenius way to justify a red herring. The “vampire’s house” at the end was understated but in retrospect creates a pure sense of foreboding and, again, the feeling that makes me love this series so much.

Given the name “Ruhenheim”, you might expect to get a feel for the village. Ruhenheim is a bizarre town, with streets that are practically dead and no business being done by its hotels or sausageries: odd, given its sprawling nature. This episode gives an amazing feeling of a town that’s about to explode; not with the tension of Monster‘s Turkish district storyline, but with the brewing of paranoia and eeriness.
There are disparate storylines that make absolutely no sense at first: an early scene showing a lottery addicted wife and her disinterested husband seems pointless, but comes full circle by the end in ways that were unimagined; the showcasing of the absent minded hotel manager, Wim, and the drunkard himself are bound to mean something in time – as is the man who went and got himself shot.

Wim himself is a marvellous example of precisely what the series is all about: the raising of children and nature versus nurture. Wim has to deal with bullies and an abusive father, but he is ultimately an optimistic kid thanks to support that he gets from elsewhere. The scary thing about watching Monster is that all of the children shown within are capable of becoming monsters themselves – and there is no way to tell if they will do so, given that the show can not go into the future and show us. It’s that little extra touch of horror that keeps viewers on edge.

It’s amazing how well Monster is setting up more mysteries. This one time, I will forgive the delay in episodes as it has allowed me to catalogue the series in my mind as I watched. Truly A grade stuff.

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