Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 5 references you might have missed [Apple TV+ recap]


'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 5: San Francisco after Godzilla fought two kaiju there.
This is San Francisco after Godzilla fought two kaiju in the heart of the city.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewMonarch: Legacy of Monsters episode five focuses on Cate Randa’s backstory from when she survived the battle between Godzilla and two kaiju that destroyed much of San Franciso. Plus, a betrayal!

Read on for monster-size spoilers about the latest episode, plus some speculation about the show’s future.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 5 recap and things you might have overlooked

Monarch is the new Apple TV+ series set in the MonsterVerse that contains Godzilla and other classic kaiju. It premiered in mid-November and I analyzed the first two episodes, followed by episode three then episode four.

All those are available to watch now. They will be followed by a new episode every Friday through January 12.

The Monarch organization went evil

You won’t understand this show at all if you think the kaiju are the villains. They aren’t — the Monarch organization is the real adversary. There’s no other explanation for how this episode began.

At the end of episode four, Cate Randa (played by Anna Sawai), her half-brother Kentaro Randa (Ren Watabe), May Olowe-Hewitt (Kiersey Clemons) and Colonel Lee Shaw (Kurt Russell) were captured by Monarch. We pick up from there with each member of the group being held in solitary confinement for long enough that conditions border on torture. Meanwhile, Natalia Verdugo (Mirelly Taylor), deputy director of Monarch, silently watches them, waiting to see them snap. This is real supervillain shit.

The Randas and May are being sweated to see if they’ll give up any secrets they may have learned from the Monarch documents they found back in episode two. Verdugo can’t access the actual files because the group threw them in the Pacific in episode three to prevent Monarch from recovering them.

That said, the secretive organization isn’t totally evil. May gets medical treatment after nearly dying of exposure in the previous episode fleeing across the Alaskan tundra from the Frost Vark Titan. And she also has an interesting conversation with the Monarch agent Duvall (Elisa Lasowski) who suggests May might consider switching sides.

Cate, Kentaro and May (but not Shaw) are all released and given plane tickets back to Japan. But they aren‘t dissuaded by Monarch’s threats and head to San Francisco to continue the search for Hiroshi Randa (Takehiro Hira), Cate’s and Kentaro’s missing father and the MacGuffin of the Apple TV+ series.

I left my giant piles of rubble in San Francisco

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 5: Kentaro and Cate Randa plus May Olowe-Hewitt
Much of the excitement in episode five comes from sneaking through ruined San Francisco and dodging the Army.
Photo: Apple TV+

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode five is essentially Cate Randa’s backstory. We finally get more on what happened to her on G-Day — the day Godzilla leveled San Francisco while fighting two other kaiju.

In Godzilla movies, we know what always comes after the huge battle in which a city gets annihilated: the credits roll. In Monarch, we see the actual aftermath: a devastated city and hundreds of thousands if not millions of people displaced. And Cate was in the middle of it when the worst happened.

Cate, Kentaro and May head into the heart of the city to reach Hiroshi Randa’s old office hoping to find a clue that will lead them to his current location. To reach it, they have to get through crushed buildings and army troops patrolling to prevent looting. Also cats. Lots of cats.

It sends Cate into a panic attack. And a series of flashbacks.

Cate Randa takes us on an emotional rollercoaster

"Monarch" Episode 5: Cate Randa and Dani
Aren’t Cate and Dani adorable?
Photo: Apple TV+

In episode one, we saw that Cate was the sole survivor of a school bus full of kids that went off the Golden Gate Bridge during G-Day. In a flashback during episode five, we confirm what we suspected before — she’s a teacher and those were her students she helplessly watched die in front of her eyes. That would traumatize anyone. But it turns out Kate already had problems.

Near the beginning of episode five, we meet her girlfriend Dani (Courtney Dietz) and the two make such an adorable couple. They were even about to move in together. Awww, so sweet.

Then we see Kate deliberately sabotage their relationship for no discernible reason. So it’s actually her heartbroken ex-girlfriend who dies on G-Day. Ouch.

I don’t think the writers are making Cate a horrible person. I’m no psychologist, but emotionally healthy people are not so afraid to let anyone close that they go sleep with a stranger just to ruin their relationships.

As Cate’s ex says shortly before dying, “We were good. You just — You don’t want good.”

Kaiju: MIA

If you watch Monarch mostly to see kaiju, this is not going to be your favorite episode. Aside from a quick flashback glimpse or two of Godzilla there was nothing.

But last episode had multiple scenes with the Frost Vark Titan, and those aren’t cheap to produce. Perhaps there are virtually none in this one to help Apple TV+ balance the show’s budget.

Lee Saw vs. Monarch

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 5: Natalia Verdugo and Lee Shaw
The Monarch deputy director grills Col. Lee Shaw.
Photo: Apple TV+

Col. Shaw didn’t get released when Cate, Kentaro and May did. He’s still imprisoned in the Monarch base in Alaska and getting grilled by Verdugo, who we learn in this episode is deputy director of the Monarch organization.

We also learn Shaw’s attitude toward kaiju. At some point, he joined the “just kill them all“ group. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us – he’s a Colonel in the U.S. Army, after all. But that didn’t seem to be his attitude in the 1950s when he helped found Monarch.

Of course, we don’t have the full story of the founding. Season one of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters abruptly stopped following those events from the 1950s after episode three. Maybe we’ll pick it up again later in the season, or perhaps even season two.

The Apple TV+ series continues to have fun with Kurt Russell not being old enough to play a character who was in the army in the 1940s and 1950s.  Perhaps we’ll get an explanation someday.

Off to Africa

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 5: Uncovering hidden secrets
We’ve located the Arc of the Covenant! Wait, wrong movie.
Photo: Apple TV+

Near the end of episode five, Cate and two others reach Hiroshi Randa’s office in San Francisco. They dig around through his files, and after a scene reminiscent of the National Treasure film series they find a clue that leads them to Africa.

It’s important to remember that Monarch: Legacy of Monsters takes place in 2015, shortly after the events of the 2014 Godzilla movie. For them, everything that happened in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters is in the future.

We viewers already know from that movie that there are at least two kaiju in Africa. Baphomet is in Morocco and Sekhmet is in Egypt. Which one our group of young adventurers will find will have to wait until episode six.

The betrayal

But episode five isn’t over — there’s time for a quick backstabbing.

Remember the conversation May had with Duval at the beginning of the episode in which the Monarch agent says, “It’s not crazy to think we could help each other. It’s always good to have a backup”? At the end of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode five, May takes her up on the offer. She’s decided to betray her friends.

For what it’s worth, this makes it clear that May hasn’t always been a spy from Monarch, as some people had theorized. She just now flipped sides.

But it’s maybe not out of character. May has always been a figure of mystery throughout the episodes. We don’t really know where her loyalties lie, but your average computer hacker doesn’t have a getaway bag full of cash and passports under a variety of names and countries of origin.

Speculation on future episodes of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 5: Dr. Keiko Miura
Where is Dr. Keiko Miura?
Photo: Apple TV+

I already mentioned my prediction for episode six: Cate, Kentaro and May are off to Africa where they’ll encounter either Baphomet or Sekhmet. Or maybe some other kaiju.

They won’t find Hiroshi Randa there because it’s still too early in the season to clear up the central mystery driving the plot.

Perhaps this episode will be May’s backstory. And Duval needs one, too.

So far, the face of the Monarch organization is Deputy Director Verdugo. We don’t know who the director is, and I continue to predict that it’s going to be Dr. Keiko Miura (Mari Yamamoto), the Randa kids’ grandmother and cofounder of Monarch, last seen in the 1950s. We know it’s not her husband and cofounder Bill Randa — he died during the events of Kong: Skull Island in 1973.

We will find out more Friday, December 15, when the next episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is released: “Terrifying Miracles.” I’m hooked on this Apple TV+ series and can hardly wait.

Watch on Apple TV

Staying very popular

We’re far, far from alone in watching Monarch — the series is a big hit for Apple TV+. It was No. 3 on ReelGood’s list of Top 10 TV Shows on streaming during the week of November 30 through December 6. That puts it ahead of almost everything else on any streaming platform.


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