Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 9 hits us with a huge surprise [Apple TV+ recap]


'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 9 -- Hollow Earth
Get ready to travel to the bizarre place that is the Axis Mundi.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewMonarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 9 has characters exploring a strange world and making a really surprising discovery.

Read our review/recap for Godzilla-size spoilers about the latest episode, plus speculation about the show’s season finale, coming next week.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 9 review and things you might have overlooked

Starting with its premiere in November, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters tells the story of the Monarch organization studying titans — Godzilla and other giant kaiju. The series moves between the group founding Monarch in the 1950s/1960s and a later generation in 2015 affected by the battle between kaiju that destroyed so much of San Francisco.

I’ve done recaps of all eight previous episodes, so it’s time for episode nine, “Axis Mundi.”

Mystery of Shaw’s age finally answered

Episode nine starts with Operation Hourglass in 1962. The plan is to drop Captain Lee Shaw (played in this time period by Wyatt Russell) and a group of Monarch scientists down a titan tunnel in Kansas to discover where it leads.

But the tunnels are unstable, and only become usable when a kaiju is passing through them. So Bill Randa (Anders Holm) and Monarch use a gamma-ray emitter to summon a titan, then drop a capsule containing Shaw and his team down the tunnel after the giant monster.

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 9 Lee Shaw
Lee Shaw is going to inner space in Operation Hourglass.
Photo: Apple TV+

Predictably, it doesn’t go well. The equipment at the top of the tunnel is destroyed and all contact with Shaw is lost.

Shaw is presumed dead, but instead he lands in the Hollow Earth. As we viewers learned in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, that’s where the titan tunnels lead — the true home of Godzilla and the other kaiju.

Shaw spends a very short amount of time there before being pulled into a strange vortex and waking up in Japan … in 1982. Two decades have passed, but not for him.

As many had predicted, this is the answer to the mystery of how Shaw had fought in WWII but didn’t look or act about 95 years old in 2015. People don’t age in the Hollow Earth … but more on that later.

Into the Hollow Earth

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 9 -- Dr. Keiko Miura
Photo: Apple TV+

That may be the final chapter of the story for the 1950s/1960s group, so it’s time to catch up with what’s going on with the 2015 group.

At the end of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode eight, Cate Randa (played by Anna Sawai), May Olowe-Hewitt (Kiersey Clemons) and Lee Shaw (played in the 2015 segments by Kurt Russell) fell into a titan tunnel. In the next episode, May and Shaw wake up in Hollow Earth. That’s where the tunnels lead, as noted.

It’s a strange place filled with bizarre dangers. Fortunately, Shaw has been there before. But Kate is missing, so May and Shaw go off to look for her.

Cate is wandering alone through Hollow Earth and gets attacked by a titan. It’s a relatively small one — only about the size of a truck. But — surprise! — she’s rescued by none other than Dr. Keiko Randa, who’s still played by Mari Yamamoto because she hasn’t aged a day even though she’s been down there since 1959.

Sorry to pat myself on the back but I predicted this. Keiko supposedly died at the end of the very first episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, but she was killed off screen and her body was never found. In TV shows like this, “missing and presumed dead” often means the character is actually alive.

To be clear, that’s not criticism of the Apple TV+ series. This is a well-done plot twist that I think fooled a lot of viewers. Plus, Keiko Randa is one of my favorite characters so I’m very pleased she’s back.

Kentaro at a loss. And a crossroads.

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 9 -- Kentaro Randa
Everyone else went on the adventure of a lifetime. Kentaro just went to the hospital.
Photo: Apple TV+

Kentaro Randa (Ren Watabe) doesn’t know anything about all that. He was also at the former nuclear reactor in Kazakhstan, but instead of falling down the titan tunnel like everyone else, he’s injured in the explosion Shaw set off.

After he wakes up in hospital, Monarch Deputy Director Natalia Verdugo (Mirelly Taylor) tells him his half-sister and friends are dead. Also, that Monarch isn’t interested in working with him anymore.

He’s been kicked to the curb, but doesn’t accept it. Kentaro is in his father’s Tokyo office looking for new ways to track kaiju when the man himself appears. Hiroshi Randa (Takehiro Hira) was the MacGuffin of the first part of the series, but that’s no longer necessary.

First off, everyone is now looking for Cate. There’s no time to also look for Hiroshi.

For another, Kentaro has accepted that he can’t go back to his previous life. He’s inextricably linked with the Monarch organization and the search for kaiju. As such, he doesn’t have to chase after his dad to be involved in the TV show.

Meanwhile, Hiroshi is devastated when he discovers his daughter is (apparently) dead. It’s understandable. His mother (supposedly) died when he was a baby. Then “Uncle” Shaw disappeared out of his life for twenty years while being presumed dead, and now Cate is gone, too.

Speculation on the season one finale of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 9 -- Cate Randa and kaiju
Everyone needs to get out of the Hollow Earth. Soon.
Photo: Apple TV+

There’s only one episode of season one of this Apple TV+ series left, and there’s still a lot to get done.

Keiko Randa meeting Cate is going to be interesting, considering they’re grandmother/granddaughter though they’re not far apart in physical age. Also, the reunion of Shaw and Keiko Randa will make for great TV.

From a storytelling viewpoint, there must be a lot of kaiju involved in the episode somehow. While the Randa family, etc., are the main focus of the series, plenty of viewers tune in for the giant monsters. This season finale cannot go by without a lot of titans appearing on screen.

In episode eight, we learned that Shaw closing the titan tunnel in Alaska apparently angered kaiju around the world. Now he’s closed the one in Kazakhstan, which might set off a bunch of attacks. That might deliver the much-needed kaiju for the big finish.

Also, Monarch is headed for some kind of confrontation with Shaw’s group of rogue Monarch agents.

Plus, Cate, May, Shaw and Keiko all have to escape from Hollow Earth somehow.

And if all that weren’t enough for one episode, Verdugo is deputy director of Monarch but there’ve been no hints of who’s at the top of that shady organization. Perhaps this person will make a surprise appearance in the finale, which might lead us into season two.

Watch on Apple TV

We will find out more next Friday, when Apple releases the season finale of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. It’s titled “Beyond Logic,” a reference to Bill Randa’s favorite phrase, “Beyond logic lies the truth.”

The Apple TV+ teaser description for episode 10 says, “The team struggles to find a way out of Axis Mundi. Kentaro and Tim make an unexpected alliance.”


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