I used to love the series Monk. For the first 3.5 seasons it was one of my must watch shows. The cast had a chemistry that I enjoyed thoroughly, and the stories were always fun. Sadly, after the cast change when they replaced Sharona with Natalie, I just never had that same feeling. I could fall away from the series for seasons at a time, and there are still episodes that I have never caught up on. Natalie is a nice enough character, and the shows were still mostly funny. It just was missing something for me. The heart of the show for me had gone missing.
Last night the highly anticipated guest spot for Bitty Schram aired, and for the first time in 5 years I had that feeling of being completely satisfied by a Monk episode. I cheered at the wonderful comedy and shippy scenes. I watched the second airing. I had a big grin on my face for the rest of the night.
Part of it is finally having better closure after the actress's abrupt departure from the show, but there's also a large degree of joy at seeing that wonderful cast chemistry on screen again. There were touching scenes between Natalie and Sharona discussing their different approaches to Monk (wonderful to see the two assistants finally together). The comedy brilliance between Tony Shaloub and Bitty Schram picking up right where Monk and Sharona left off. A warm family type reunion between Sharona and Stottlemeyer made me feel all mushy, and palpable sparks between Sharona and Randy satisfied my inner shipper.
Sharona's character left this episode with a promise to return to town in two weeks, opening the door that it could be possible to see Sharona again briefly (especially in light of her apparent relationship with Randy now). At the very least we had a perfect Monk episode before the end of the series.