Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episodes 1 and 2 review: Aftermath

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters © 2023 Apple TV
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters © 2023 Apple TV /
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Monarch: Legacy of Monsters review
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters /

Episode 2: “Departure”

In the words of my 6-year-old twins, “WHERE IS GODZILLA?! IT MAKES NO SENSE, MOMMY!”

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters continues to play coy with Godzilla’s presence in its second episode. Unlike the expected city-smashing extravaganza we’re all here for and used to, the series seems to be taking a more subtle approach. We get only glimpses of Godzilla through flashbacks, hinting at future action but keeping the mighty kaiju mostly off-screen for now, much to my sadness. This is an interesting choice, suggesting that when Godzilla does actually appear, it’ll be worth the wait.

Please make it worth the wait, Apple TV.

This episode takes a deeper dive into the past, focusing on a flashback to 1952. Here, we meet three key characters, who we already met in the previous episode and are now seeing meet each other for the first time: Lee Shaw, a soldier (who was perfectly cast – having Wyatt Russell play the younger version of his own father’s character made for fantastic immersion); Keiko, a Japanese scientist; and Billy Randa, a cryptozoologist (thank you, spellcheck).

Them meeting was a one-in-a-million chance: Lee is assigned to guard Keiko as a punishment for a bar fight, and he’s initially skeptical about a woman being a scientist. This is also where I had to explain WWII to my two six-year-olds, who didn’t understand why Lee was skeptical. Billy runs into them, literally, and adds to the mix with his belief in legends over science. He’s tracking a dragon-like creature based on local folklore, which coincidentally happens to align with the path of what Keiko is studying. This trio’s dynamic is a fun mix of cultural misunderstandings, scientific curiosity, and adventure. And their chemistry – chef’s kiss.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 2
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters © 2023 Apple TV /

Their investigation leads them to an incredible discovery: the American battleship Lawton, strangely placed far from its last known location – Pearl Harbor. Billy reveals he’s the sole survivor of its sinking, which he believes was caused by a MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Their exploration takes a sharp turn when they encounter fresh corpses and a giant, bat-like dragon attacking the ship. It’s a heart-pounding scene that combines history, mystery, and monster lore very well.

The episode also touches on the broader theme of legacy. We learn that Bill Randa’s wish to leave a “legacy of monsters” to his son Hiroshi (Cate and Kentaro’s dad) hasn’t taken off yet. So far, the story centers more about how Hiroshi’s parents met Lee Shaw instead of on the monsters

we so desperately wish to see creating some chaos


Meanwhile in 2015 Tokyo, we see Cate confronting Monarch agents who are after her father’s files. After a tense encounter, she manages to escape following a very sad PTSD moment. Kentaro also faces Monarch’s agents and learns about Lee Shaw’s location, leading to a daring escape aided by his mother – the real MVP.

The trio – Cate, Kentaro, and May – reunite, each with different intentions. Kentaro’s wants to find Shaw, which leads them to a retirement home that is actually just a front for Monarch’s operations. Shaw, recognizing Kentaro as Hiroshi’s son but unaware of Cate, offers a choice: accept the official story of Hiroshi’s disappearance or join him in uncovering the truth. Guess which choice they picked.

The second episode ends with a promise of more to come both regarding the early days of Monarch and the current search for Hiroshi, indicating that future episodes could go deeper into both timelines, and hopefully will have some actual monster action.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 2
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters © 2023 Apple TV /

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters takes us on a journey that’s both familiar and fresh. The first two episodes, while light on traditional Godzilla action, give us the perfect setup for what promises to be an excellent addition to the MonsterVerse. We can’t wait to see where it goes next!

Make sure you tune into your Apple TV streaming service this Friday, November 24th, for the third episode, “Secrets and Lies.”

Next. All 4 MonsterVerse movies ranked from worst to best. dark

What did you think of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episodes 1 and 2? Will you tune into the next episode?