As loose ends begin to be taken care of and we get more and more explanations, the eighth episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters delivers on all fronts - drama, suspense, and excitement.
This episode, “Birthright,” is where everything starts coming together. Our favorite gang - Tim, Cate, May, and Kentaro - are off to Monarch HQ, and what they find is a map that is brimming with clues and hidden answers. It's all about radiation spikes and the key to finding Shaw in Kazakhstan. Remember Keiko's tragic end in episode 1? Yep, we're heading right back there.
SPOILER WARNING FOR THOSE WHO DARE VENTURE BEYOND THIS SENTENCE - I am discussing the episode in its entirety!
Let's get right to it, shall we?
Now, Director Natalia Verdugo was a bit hesitant to let our squad handle Shaw alone, understandably so, but Cate rolled a nat 20 and her convincing skills won Verdugo over. The Titan nest in Kazakhstan was supposed to be a no-go for a few thousand years, thanks to a reactor meltdown but, turns out, it’s not as lethal as they initially thought. There's something fishy (or should I say, monster-ish?) absorbing all that radiation…
The real jaw-dropper comes when our heroes find themselves being held at gunpoint by the ever-badass Duvall by a portal to Hollow Earth, rigged with bombs, as Shaw makes his villainy appearance. Shaw's plan? Seal it off for good. He's got his reasons, tied to his guilt over Keiko and his views on Godzilla as the ultimate barrier between and savior of humans against other Titans.
Cate tries to talk Shaw down, but he still sets the bombs off. Chaos ensues, and in a heart-wrenching twist, a Beetle Titan snatches Cate and drags her into the sealed portal in a very familiar fashion, a.k.a. a-la grandmama Keiko. The screams of the other characters? Chills, guys, chills.
Just as we’re all dying on the inside, the show throws us back to the 1950s, where Bill and Keiko are piecing together a Titan map to try and save Monarch. We see how Bill stumbles upon the Hollow Earth theory thanks to an ant, and he rushes to Keiko’s house in excitement. There, he uncovers her secret past, but instead of drama, we get a wholesome turn with Bill wanting to be part of her and Hiroshi's life. Top-notch step-dad material, Bill is.
And the scene with Shaw confronting the general about Godzilla not being dead as they had assumed was very well delivered and executed. Both Russells, Kurt and Wyatt, do a tremendous job in their roles as Lee Shaw, and this was just another demonstration.
All in all, this episode is the perfect setup for the two-parter finale. The past and present come together beautifully, Shaw's journey is both tragic and captivating, the fantastic blend of humor and drama… Chef’s kiss. But that cliffhanger? It left me and my now seven-year-old twins (they just had a birthday) screaming at the TV, begging for the final episodes.
While there wasn’t much monster action or a twist in Cate and May's romance (I AM SO HERE FOR THAT), it's still an epic episode, setting up what I bet will be an explosive finale.
"Birthright" is a near-perfect blend of monster mayhem, human drama, and mystery. It's not just good; it's monstrously fantastic!