The first two episodes of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters that were released last week informed us that the show will take place in two separate timelines. One was in the ‘50s, where Bill Randa, Lee Shaw, and Dr. Keiko built the foundations of the MUTO research organization known as Monarch, as well as the building blocks of their friendship. Their first mission together took them to Randa’s old ship, which had become the home of a bat-like Titan that had the ability to ionize radiation. The other part of the narrative took place in the 2010s, when Cate and Kentaro Randa, Hiroshi Randa’s children from two different marriages, tried to solve the mysterious disappearance of Hiroshi and his connections with Monarch. Kentaro’s ex-girlfriend, May, joined the quest, and the three of them were hunted down by Monarch operatives, Tim and Duvall. That didn’t stop them from reaching an elderly Lee Shaw, who was being imprisoned in an institution that looked like a retirement home. Let’s find out if the kids broke out the old man from that place and went on a globe-trotting adventure.
Cate, Lee Shaw, May, and Kentaro Travel to South Korea
Episode 3 of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters opens with Cate, Kentaro, and May deciding to break out Lee Shaw from the “retirement home” that’s being monitored by Monarch. That leads to some classic old “generation gap” argument between Shaw and the kids. As Shaw finds his bearings after so many years, the episode cuts to the ’50s, where the young Lee Shaw, Bill Randa, and Dr. Keiko are preparing themselves for a meeting with General Puckett so that their endeavor to hunt down MUTOs can be funded by the government, and they can get the help of the army. The only issue is that, since no one has seen these monsters other than the central trio, they’ve to do a bit of bootlicking to get the money from Puckett. So, obviously, Puckett says that he needs a photograph of the creature, which is Godzilla, to sanction the project. Shaw and Randa say that they’ll need a huge amount of uranium to lure out the creature. Puckett, very nonchalantly, says that the amount of uranium they’re asking for rivals the amount the US dropped on Japan. It’s a very small moment of racism, but Keiko’s micro-reaction shows how insensitive Americans can be, even when they’re doing a joint project with a country that they have nearly destroyed.
While Randa and Keiko try to explain the way these MUTOs probably work and how they absorb radiation and not emit it, Shaw takes the approach that an army man will understand. He says that these MUTOs are a global threat, and they need to deal with it before the world knows about it. Unsurprisingly, that works, and the trio gets the green light to lure out Godzilla. Lee Shaw, May, Cate, Kentaro, and the car they are traveling in are on a cargo ship, and May finally addresses Lee Shaw’s age. She says that Lee is supposed to be 90 years old, and Shaw says that he doesn’t look as old as he is because of his “good genes.” I am sorry, but no amount of “good genes” is stopping a man from looking 70 years old when he is actually 100 years old. The show could have avoided this by changing up the time periods. I think that the writers didn’t put too much thought into it, and someone noticed while shooting the show, and they lazily tried to brush it under the rug with a “good genes” line. Well, my money is still in a Lazarus Pit-type situation, which Shaw has accessed during his Monarch-ing days, thereby slowing down his aging. Anyway, Cate gets angry that Hiroshi was looking into monsters and, yet, he didn’t warn anyone when Godzilla hit San Francisco, and she steps out of the car to get some air.
Cate, Shaw, May, and Kentaro Head to Barrow
Randa, Keiko, and Shaw arrive at Bikini Atoll after what seems to be two years since their last meeting with Puckett. The trio is enthusiastic about the event. But when they see that the uranium that has been acquired is in the form of a nuclear bomb and a soldier is painting a picture of a monster and crossing it off with a red line, they realize that the US Army intends to kill whatever is coming out of the sea. Randa and Keiko say that this isn’t what they had asked for. They have to study these animals instead of killing them. Now, Shaw knows that, but it seems like Puckett has the wrong idea. So, Shaw approaches Puckett to try and convince him not to kill the MUTO. However, he realizes that his plan to convince Puckett by painting the MUTOs as a “global threat” has backfired, and Puckett wants to kill them instead of co-existing with them for research purposes. In doing so, the Americans can prove that they’ve the power to kill literal Titans, which will get them to rank higher in the rat race that countries are constantly in. May seems to be in a conversation with someone over the phone, thereby hinting at the fact that she’s hiding something. Given how she throws away her phone and doesn’t tell Kentaro who she was talking to, this can cause viewers to believe that May is colluding with the enemy and informing them where Shaw and the rest are going. But it can be a huge misdirection, and May is just talking to someone who cares about her. Kentaro and May have an argument because Kentaro’s shenanigans have upended her life. Kentaro unloads that frustration on Lee Shaw when he tries to throw away Hiroshi’s documents so that Monarch doesn’t get its hands on them and refuses to tell the group why they are going to Korea instead of Alaska (which is Hiroshi’s last known location). Once Kentaro has cooled down, he throws away the documents because there’s a digital copy of the files on May’s laptop.
After getting off in South Korea, the gang is immediately arrested for illegally trespassing into the country without proper passports. That turns out to be a ruse because Shaw’s friend (played by Bruce Baek, who is also a Pachinko alumni, along with Anna Sawai and Mari Yamamoto) is one of the immigration officers, and he has arrested the gang so that they can be taken away from the watchful eyes of the Korean government. Tim and Duvall are forced to answer to their boss (played by Mirelly Taylor) because they’ve done whatever they have done on their own accord, instead of taking the help of the Monarch staff. Taylor’s character namedrops Dr. Serizawa (which seems to be the character played by Ken Watanabe, who dies in King of the Monsters). Duvall gets information that Shaw and the others are in South Korea. So, instead of grilling the dynamic duo, the Monarch boss tells them to take a tactical team and bring in Shaw and the rest. Talking about Shaw and the rest, Baek’s character gets them a “rust bucket” to get to Alaska. Since they don’t have a lot of options, they board it and head out. The episode cuts back to the ’50s, and we finally get to see Godzilla approaching the nuclear bomb. It’s a shame that the legend has been stuffed into our small screens while his Japanese counterpart is garnering critical acclaim in theaters. Anyway, Keiko makes a last-ditch attempt to stop Puckett from exploding the bomb on Godzilla, but is stopped by Shaw, while Randa films the whole thing. The bomb explodes, and it seems like the show wants us to assume that Godzilla has been killed, or at least that the characters think that Godzilla has been killed. We know that Godzilla can’t be killed like that. We have seen three films centered around this iteration of the big guy. Hence, this feels like a colossal waste of time.
Was Hiroshi in Alaska?
While going through Hiroshi’s files, May manages to pinpoint a location, i.e., Barrow. Well, Barrow is the old name. It’s currently known as Utqiagvik. Before anyone gets offended, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is set somewhere in 2015. Barrow became Utqiagvik at the tail end of 2016. So, after getting these new coordinates, Shaw tells his Korean friend, who is probably named Duo, to take the plane to Barrow (currently known as Utqiagvik). I saw “probably named” because Bruce Baek’s character’s name doesn’t show up in the end credits. He and his character aren’t listed on IMDb, TMDB, or Wikipedia at the time of writing this article. The screener wasn’t subtitled at the time of writing the article. So, I have to trust my ears and Kurt Russell’s pronunciation here. The narrative swings back to the ’50s, and we see that Keiko and Randa are dejected after the outcome of the nuclear bombing of Godzilla. However, Lee Shaw surprises them by saying that the army is giving them a blank check so that they can use all of their resources to find more of these Kaijus (MUTOs, Titans, whatever you like to call them). Keiko and Randa believe that if they take the army’s money, then they’ll be heavily monitored by them, which also means that the army will try to kill every Kaiju that they find, and that will hinder their research. Shaw promises to act as a buffer between the scientists and the army so that the scientists can work peacefully, and the army remains under the impression that they are making great strides in terms of global Kaiju dominance.
At the end of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 3, Shaw and his rust bucket reach somewhere around Barrow, and they are forced to make an emergency landing because of the bad weather. They find another crashed plane as well as a tent, which is full of Hiroshi’s files, thereby proving that Hiroshi was there. That said, before they can look into it any further, they are attacked by a Titan that looks like a star-nosed mole, except all of its tendrils emit cooling rays. Shaw’s Korean friend is killed by the Titan, and it destroys the plane that Shaw, Kentaro, May, and Cate had used to arrive there, which means that they’ve nowhere to go and they’ve to fight a Titan now. Yes, we’ll have to wait until next week’s episode to know if they’ll survive. Technically, they shouldn’t because they are tiny, pesky humans, and that’s a Titan. But, come on, let’s be serious for a moment. We know that the aforementioned four characters aren’t going to bite the dust anytime soon. I believe Kurt Russell’s character is going to die by the end of the show, and the young ones will show up in the theatrical sequels. It’s a roundabout way of saying that these guys are definitely going to survive the Titan attack.