In 1955… Lee Shaw has to make some hard decisions about protecting Keiko and keeping the future of Monarch assured, wondering how long it may be between doing what he wants to do and what he has to do.
In 2015… the elder Shaw and his companions get close to finding what they’re looking for – but who can you trust when the Monarch forces are so close behind them… and in front of them is..?
After some time away in recent chapters,returns to splitting the coverage across different eras, the ‘contemporary’ 2015 and the ‘classic’ 1955 and it’s done effectively enough that after some establishing framing the date-stamps are no longer needed to distinguish as we move between them.
Though Monarch is a series built around its legacy of monsters, it’s telling that the real signs of the show’s quality come in this episode’s opening sequence in a much more human environment. Taking place at the ‘American Defense Industry Federation Summer Ball’ in 1955, it’s a mixture of high-resolution camera-work, magnificent mood-music, pinpoint production decoration and acting chemistry as Wyatt Russell’s Capt. Lee Shaw and Mari Yamamoto’s Dr. Keiko Miura navigate the dance-floor and stiff-necked (and openly xenophobic) military types, moving through a place they really don’t want to be to get the funding they desperately do. The dialogue is sharp (“This dress prevents breathing, the shoes prevent walking and I’m expected to impress men who can’t remember my name…“) and the clear old-school chemistry between Russell and Yamamoto rises above the subtext that they’re playing out. The series has established that though Keiko ends up in a romantic relationship with Anders Holm’s Bill Randa, there’s certainly an undeniable spark between the two and the pacing here makes the most of it. Russell recently essayed the inferior Captain America-wannabee John Walker in
The modern Monarch machinations get more twisty. We already know that Kiersey Clemons’ May is working with Monarch (somewhat against her will) and now Elisa Lasowski’s formidable soldier Duvall appears to have also joined up with Shaw Snr.’s cause (though, equally, it’s a pragmatic alliance not an altruistic one) against her employers. The other ‘kids’ (Ren Watabe’s Kentaro and Anna Sawai’s Cate) simply eye everything cynically, more than aware that the search for their father seems to be playing second-fiddle to Monarch’s generational aims and transient loyalties.
The story in both eras moves forward – the 1950s team paying the price for Shaw failing to keep hie eye on the military’s priorities and tendency to discard those who don’t use the official playbook of priorities and the 2015 team also seeing how much a military intervention can spoil proceedings. On the FX front, we get a solid Godzilla sequence as the behemoth rises through and above a mountain range and a continued sense of world deconstruction and scale with continued views of large-scale damage and how minute the humans irritants must look to the Titans as they breeze through the landscape.
There’s a few minor story quibbles… In 1955 Captain Wyatt seems to travel halfway across the world in amazingly quick time to meet up with Keiko and Bill and in 2015, with Godzilla rising from the mountain depths, our heroes wonder where he’s heading and how to track him. One would presume that a scaly beast the size of several skyscrapers wouldn’t actually need radar to detect and would leave something of a trail of notable debris behind him, but we’ll see how that goes.
However, in all other meaningful ways, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters continues to impress in every department…
- Production Design / VFX10