2. "Axis Mundi" - episode 9
Episode 9 is the beginning of the end of this first season and also sets the tone and the groundwork for all the MonsterVerse goodness that follows it in the timeline. With such engaging storytelling, it skillfully combines flashbacks as we continue to deep dive into the complexities of characters like Hiroshi and Lee, which only adds to the already super-rich narrative.
Wyatt Russell as young Lee shines with charisma and likability, bringing extra charm to the episode. And yes, he’s pretty easy on the eyes too! The proper introduction to Hollow Earth, the portrayal of the Monarch test site and the leap into the rift are stunningly gorgeous – a real testament to the special effects team's skills. The suspense is palpable as we see Lee in danger, knowing he survives but not how - which keeps us glued to the screen.
The episode also juggles multiple timelines effortlessly, keeping us engaged without any confusion. Kentaro's struggle to return to "normal life" after his extraordinary experiences adds depth and relatability to his character. The injustice of his dismissal from Monarch tugs at our heartstrings. Meanwhile, older Lee's journey through Hollow Earth is, again, a visual feast. The flashbacks add even more layers to his character, and the montage of him watching Godzilla's attack on TV is storytelling at its finest – powerful and wordless.
The episode ends on a nail-biting cliffhanger with Cate facing a Titan, saved at the last moment by Keiko, setting the stage perfectly for the season finale. This episode stands out for its brilliant balance of sci-fi action, deep character exploration, and stunning visuals, making it a must-watch and one of the best episodes of the series.