There’s a reason why ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monster’ is doing a dual storyline with this particular pace. It’s all about uncovering the mystery surrounding the shadowy government entity and the gloriously dangerous monster they track. It’s to temper expectations from the audience that they will be swimming in a Godzilla-laden destructive path (hence, monsters in the title). But also approach things from a more ground-level perspective. In “Aftermath,” we get not only Endoswarmers presumably killing a person but also a secret family, relationship strife, and a hacker story.
“Departure” aligns with the mantra of going back in time within the 1950s while slightly moving ahead during the present-day 2015 storyline. There’s no clear sense of what we’re after or why these files are important. However, there’s an overture that this knowledge is game-changing – so much so that Monarch operatives go all the way to Japan to track down the likes of Cate, Kentaro, and May. But there’s something, right? I hope. Lee is an interesting guy in the sense of jumping back a few years into 1952. He gets into a fight with his fellow soldiers while they are being sleazy in a Manila bar. For that transgression, he earned the job of being a security detail for a scientist in the Philippines as they investigated an abnormal amount of radioactive isotopes.
If you remember Lee's friendly, somewhat overprotective nature in the last episode, it’s not here. He’s a little sexist, assuming the doctor is a male, and perhaps prejudiced altogether to Keiko because this is post-WW2. While going into the jungle, they meet Billy. Billy is more of a believer in MUTOs than Lee could ever be. He follows the story of a dragon (Godzilla) that has radioactive breath. Given their kindred spirits on exploration and eventually walking toward finding something, Billy and Keiko’s eventual love affair is understandable (as is Lee’s dismissal).
In 2015, Kentaro is still wrestling with his father’s secrets more than Cate's – she’s ready to go home. There’s still no love lost with May. Emiko gets a moment to be angry about Hiroshi’s past even as she tries to rationalize his upbringing. That’s a good pivoting point where the link between the past and present meet. Kentaro finds Lee’s file and discovers he even looked after Hiroshi after most of his family passed away. For now, Bill and Hiroshi have a loose connection concerning what he wants to leave regarding Monarch. It’s presumably got him either killed or apprehended. Other than the thematic chase of Tim, his aid trying to get the information back, Kurt Russell’s unveiling was a cool thing to see.
Why did Monarch place him in one of the most beautiful prisons known to man? Who knows. When the trio shows up, he’s ready to cut off that ankle monitor and bust out to uncover some Alaskian secrets. (Why didn’t he do that from the beginning?) There might be a point where you wonder where the monster action is, and it comes towards the end of the episode. The situation is a bridge to somewhat redeem the younger version of Lee and get some face time with different variations of MUTOs. Lumping science fiction with historical events works here with the USS Lawton and Bill being the only survivor.
Monarch’s second episode is a setup for something. There are still questions about why Hiroshi and Lee had a falling out that led them to go separate ways. Some origins are floated about where the MUTOs came from; Keiko hints at them being extraterrestrials (looking at a certain three-headed monster for that). Your enjoyment of this series thus far hinges on the patience you allow the creators to build up to an inevitable climax. That payoff is yet to be seen.