Time and time again, Monkey has proven herself the heart and conscience of this show. I always wanted to believe that there was something deeper underneath her base exterior, possibly something selfish or sinister. But no, as this episode reveals, Monkey is pretty transparent, at least as far as we know so far.
This episode is largely divided up into two parts: Monkey’s backstory and her discussion with Rat in the sewer. The former is something many people have likely been eagerly anticipating considering Monkey is one of the most likable characters in the show. But her backstory really falls … not flat exactly, just, in boring territory. While I’ve praised the show before for making it’s character’s backstories intriguing, they’ve still for the most part been somewhat standard. Even Rooster, whose backstory I adored, can have her character summed up in one word: deceptive. It can’t be helped when each character seems to only have one episode for development.
Still, Monkey’s backstory is just what you’d expect: her trying to solve the world’s wars. In the meat of her flashback, she attempts to mediate a stagnant war by enticing fighters on both sides to drop their weapons and form a rebel army. While this causes a temporary ceasefire, it is not long before the original combatants turn aggressors on the rebel army, causing Monkey’s plan to backfire. It goes to show that not everything can be solved with a wave of a magic wand, and Monkey knows this all too well. As is said during the episode, she’s saved more people than anyone, but she has also failed to save more people than anyone too.
All of this comes back around in her discussion with Rat, who believes war will never truly end, no matter who you save, so it’s sometimes better to simply kill off problematic people. His views are polar opposite to Monkey’s, a conclusion we as an audience reach within one minute of them engaging in their philosophical discussion. But the episode keeps it going, drawing out their conversation unnecessarily long and hitting the same points over and over, just worded differently. I think there could have been any number of ways to more effectively show off their clashing ideals. For starters, not having it take place while they’re just sitting around in the sewers doing nothing.
At the end of the episode, Monkey and Rat are chased out of the sewer by an almost comical flock of zombie birds (that takes way too long to reach them). Waiting for them outside the sewer are Rabbit and Snake…Dragon? I still don’t know which brother is which. The birds make me wonder, though. Did Rabbit somehow gain control of Rooster and gain her power, or are those birds simply the ones Boar killed in her spray of bullets before? Curious. Anyway, the episode ends with Monkey and Rat vs Rabbit and Mr. Decapitated Man. As they get ready to fight, Rat says something strange to Monkey, commenting on her acting as she always does. It’s a subtle clue that falls in line with the scenes where other warriors mention they feel like they have seen Rat somewhere before. What does this sleepyhead know, really? (Or does he just know Monkey as Boar did?)
This episode, despite its flaws, is not bad. It’s just kind of boring. For a show that tries to sell itself on glorious, unapologetic violence, there has been a notable lack of violence thus far, and this episode being one large circular discussion doesn’t really help. It’s interesting that Monkey is still alive by the end of the episode, breaking the pattern set by Boar, Dog, and Rooster. Could the show shake things up beyond what’s expected, or will Monkey still bite the dust at the beginning of the next episode? I’m eager to find out, and I hope there will be a rewarding pay-off in the fight scene in the process.