Monk - Season 7: Mr. Monk And The Other Brother
Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Ted Levine, Jason Gray-Stanford, Hector Elizondo, Emmy Clark, Guest Star: Steve Zahn
Created By: Andy Breckman (Exec Producer/Writer)
Premieres: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 9/8c on USA

The seventh season of Monk resumes this Friday night and we had the opportunity to view the episode, titled “Mr. Monk And The Other Brother.” This review contains a few spoilers from the episode but since we all know part of the greatness of the series is trying to figure out whodunit before Monk manages to; rest assured that I won’t ruin the ending for you.

The episode begins with Mr. Monk enjoying a batch of homemade pancakes (the edges cut off so that each pancake is perfectly square) when an intruder shows up in his house. After threatening the man with a gun in a box, the intruder manages to convince Monk that he is in fact his half-brother, Jack Jr. Jack (Steve Zahn) needs Monk’s help. He’s escaped from prison and is being framed for murder. He needs Monk to help clear his name. As Jack has a shady past as a con-artist, Monk is naturally wary of him but his need for family causes him to shelve his suspicions enough to investigate the case.

With the exception of Zahn’s appearance, there isn’t anything truly spectacular about the episode. Sure, we get yet another glimpse into Adrian Monk’s personal life as we see him battling with his distrust of his half-brother vs. his desire to have a family but the mystery of the week isn’t all that exciting. That said, if you love Monk, I doubt you’ll be disappointed by the episode over all. Even an average episode of this series is still pretty good and there are the usual bits of humor thrown in from all angles.

I happen to be a pretty big Steve Zahn fan. I guess I just find the guy’s side-kicky dorkiness to be very amusing in pretty much every role I’ve seen him in (I’m especially partial to his role in That Thing You Do!) . While his appearance in the episode was an added treat, I can’t say that there was anything about his character that really jumped out at me in terms of the humor. The contrast between Jack and Monk is evident enough to be funny but that’s about it. We’ve seen Monk standing opposite someone completely different from himself so many times that there really isn’t anything all that exciting about his half-brother in that respect. It isn’t that Zahn’s not funny; more that the role itself is pretty cookie-cutter for this series.

As I said though, if you love Monk and are eager for the seventh season to resume, I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with this next new episode.

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