Special thanks to Jeremy Williams for the submission!
After two episodes of no real new scenes with Godzilla or the characters set in the past, we get some much-needed screen time with them both.
I’m not sure how other fans feel about this but for me, it was nice to see young Shaw, Keiko, and Randa return. Their absence was certainly felt in the last two episodes and I feel it even hurt the series overall. Even if I did enjoy the last episode with its many flaws, this one is more of a return to form. Though of course not without flaws of its own that hold it back in some ways.
To begin with, while I enjoy the stuff in the past more, this episode features one of the biggest issues it has going for it. Namely, that for whatever reason they decided to have a very forced love triangle of sorts between Shaw, Keiko, and Randa. This was incredibly obvious from episode one and was partly why I thought it was a huge mistake to not start at the beginning for those characters. Instead, we were introduced to the three of them while they were already established in their relationships with each other and Monarch.
Rarely does a love triangle work narratively, and here it most certainly doesn’t with how tired and cliché the inclusion of one has become in entertainment. As with many shows or movies, it mainly takes away from whatever story it is present within instead of adding anything interesting. This is quite true here, especially with how quickly and lazily it’s handled between Shaw and Keiko. Most notably the reason given by Keiko as to why they shouldn’t pursue the relationship. Even though we are shown the feelings are mutual between the two, most notably by their interactions early on in the episode.
So the big surprise of this episode for me personally was that we finally got to see the Monsterverse Godzilla in or around Japan. It certainly was bound to happen, but it’s crazy how long it took. While it was a great little moment, it raised many questions. His appearance is brought about by a new character based in Japan named Dr. Suzuki, who has developed a way to lure out the Titans with his Gamma radiation simulation device. His name-dropping of Monster Island is a nice bit of fan service during his introduction, but it’s little more than a member-berry moment.
So back to my issues with Godzilla’s appearance, and it’s a cool little sequence, but it raises many questions, with the biggest being that it doesn’t seem that the body of water could fit Godzilla, as well as how did he pull the device down without the water appearing more disturbed? We see it disappeared just before he makes his appearance. Secondly, while yes, they were just experimenting by activating the device and they didn’t fully know it would work as intended, why on earth would they do something so foolish and reckless in my opinion when they have no means of defending themselves or containing any monster they may summon?
While the majority of the story in the past this episode deals with the future of Monarch and Shaw making a dumb decision that risks its future, the present-day side of things sees Shaw freed from Monarch by Duvall who lets him know that others aren’t happy with how Monarch is running things. Nice scene too and she even mentions that she is the sister of Sandra from 2014. Again, a nice nod to a previous film in the series, but outside of her being related to Sandra and Ford Brody, the revelation serves no real purpose. Not to mention it raises far too many questions as we aren’t let in on how long she has been with Monarch.
With our current day trio, we see them finally catch up with Hiroshi’s trail and find out that he is indeed still alive. Not only that, but he is currently in possession of a similar device to the one we are shown being used in the past. While they can see one another from a distance, Cate and Kentaro are denied a reunion, as we see Hiroshi in using the device awakens Godzilla, who just so happened to be sleeping nearby. So close, in fact, that most of the characters are in danger from the debris caused by Godzilla rising out of the ground.
There’s a lot of cool stuff in this whole sequence, be it the fact that we get Kurt Russell in the same frame as Godzilla, a nice nod to Mothra vs. Godzilla, and it’s just one of the best moments in the series. Just loads to love and again I’m glad we got present-day Shaw to interact in some way with Godzilla, as I know that was part of the issue people had with Joe’s early death in 2014.
Plenty to enjoy, but there are a few big issues this scene introduces. For one, how the heck did Godzilla get to be not only in the middle of the Sahara desert, but how was he able to become part of the landscape like he did? It appears that the hill he was under looks to have formed around him. Not to mention, how did Godzilla get there without anyone (including Monarch) seeing him come ashore? And for that matter, how was he able to disappear without anyone seeing him after he was awoken? As we know, from King of the Monsters, Godzilla hasn’t been seen by the public since 2014. Just more messy lore and continuity issues that this series continues to be in abundance of. Another of which happens to be that none acknowledged the change of his appearance or even questioned it. For all they know, it could’ve been another of the same species, as we don’t know how much of the tie-in Aftershock is still canon.
The episode comes to an end with our trio heading to a local airport after surviving their encounter with Godzilla. While you would think it would be a bit simple after that ordeal, not quite as we see May getting kidnapped. Quite frankly, this is where I began to lose my patience with the series. The show already has so much going on that this was the last thing it needed, especially so close to the end. But we do at least see that the best Monarch agent Tim survived his encounter with Godzilla before running into Cate and Kentaro in the airport.
While I’ve been particularly harsh on this episode, I feel it is still pretty good for the most part. The series just has far too many issues that have been piling up over the course of the story so far. I think plenty of fans will enjoy it as you get a decent amount of Godzilla, but for me, the series has far too much fat in need of trimming. Doesn’t help that May getting kidnapped does nothing for me as she is a completely useless character in the series outside of the first episode. Still, plenty of good moments in this episode to bring it back around, at the very least.