Monarch: Legacy of Monsters - Episode 2 Departure Review

The episode's lack of narrative cohesion and over-reliance on nostalgia detract from its potential.

Monarch: The Legacy of Monsters - Episode 2, Departure Review.
Monarch: The Legacy of Monsters - Episode 2 - Departure

Apple TV+'s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters continues its cinematic journey in the second episode, Departure, directed by Matt Shakman and penned by Chris Black. While the episode teases potential brilliance with its introduction of a colossal dragon, its execution leaves much to be desired, struggling to balance mythical grandeur with narrative coherence.

The episode's most striking moment, undoubtedly, is the emergence of a dragon from a World War II battleship. This visual spectacle encapsulates the series' ambition to blend historical elements with fantasy, harkening to legendary creature features. The dragon serves as a metaphorical and literal awakening of the narrative's deeper layers, promising a fantastical exploration beyond the confines of conventional storytelling.

A central narrative thread involves characters Cate, Kentaro, and May unraveling their father's Monarch files, leading them to Kurt Russell's Lt. Leland Lafayette Shaw III. Russell, a venerable presence, embodies a bridge between past and present, linking the show to the broader MonsterVerse. However, the episode stumbles in its over-reliance on the audience's presumed nostalgia for characters like John Goodman’s Bill Randa from "Kong: Skull Island." The attempt to elevate stock characters to iconic status feels forced and undermines the episode's narrative integrity.

Shakman's direction is competent yet fails to fully capitalize on the episode's thematic potential. The episode needed a more dynamic visual language to match the grandeur of its mythical elements. The cinematography, while solid, does not push the boundaries of the television medium, missing an opportunity to create a more immersive and visually compelling experience.

Departure struggles with pacing, oscillating between exhilarating moments and sluggish narrative progression. The episode feels like a protracted setup, meandering through plot points without delivering a coherent or engaging storyline. The show's promise of a monstrous spectacle is undercut by its inability to weave the monstrous seamlessly into the fabric of its world.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Episode 2, Departure, is a mixed bag. While it excels in its mythical elements, promising a richly textured world, it falls short in execution. The episode's lack of narrative cohesion and over-reliance on nostalgia detract from its potential. It remains to be seen if the series can balance its grandiose aspirations with effective storytelling in future episodes.

A visually intriguing yet narratively disjointed episode that struggles to find its footing in the vast landscape of the MonsterVerse.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆