As Nicky prepares to perform at the “Queens of Country” concert, she learns of her husband’s affair.
Warning: This is an overview of Episode 103 of Monarch, so there will be scads of spoilers here. We strongly recommend that you not read this if you have not yet watched the episode.
Nicki and Gigi inadvertently learn of Albie’s decades-ago infidelity — and he owes up to it. Luke continues to press for details — and possibility incriminating evidence — in the matter of his mother’s demise. And a body disappears before Albie can hide it again. What are we to make of this? Here are our five takeaways from “Show Them What You Got, Baby,” Episode 103 of Monarch.
Takeaway No. 1
Dottie Roman is still very seriously dead, and Susan Sarandon doesn’t even appear as a Special Guest Star in the opening credits for this episode. (She is seen, fleetingly, in flashback images obviously culled from the premiere episode, but that’s all she wrote.) But that’s not to say that Dottie’s presence, or the lack thereof, doesn’t make itself felt. For openers, Luke (Joshua Sasse) pushes the assistant medical examiner to find anything in his mother’s corpse that shouldn’t be there — and even though the post mortem is preliminary, he’s already thinking “a member of our family is going to jail.” Gigi (Beth Ditto) demands that Nicki not wear a pair of their late mother’s boots, because Dottie had promised them to her. Which, not surprisingly, is a great big old lie. Cue a traumatic flashback in which a young Dottie, played by Eva Amuri, tells her little girl to never, ever wear her finery because she is “nothing like Nicki.” (What a bitch!) But when grown-up Gigi angrily throws the boots against the wall a few minutes later, she finds, hidden in the heel, she finds a flash drive containing a recording of a song that… well, pretty clearly indicates that Albie (Trace Adkins) once cheated on her.
Takeaway No. 2
Maybe they should have titled this episode “Secrets and Lies.” After learning about the contents of the flash drive from Gigi, Nicki confronts her father — who reluctantly admits that, yes, he was unfaithful. But it was only once, a long time ago. Still, he and Dottie discussed the infidelity on the night she died — Albie wanted to confess, only to discover Dottie knew all about it all along — and he’s fearful that may have pushed the ailing Dottie into a rapid health decline. Nicki tells her father he had nothing to do with Dottie’s death — and she should know, right? — and then turns her attention to other adulteries. First, she discovers that Clive (Adam Croasdell), her “pasty limey husband” (as Albie describes him) has been having (another) affair. Then she tries to convince Kayla (Meagan Holder), Gigi’s wife, to end her affair with Luke. Well, OK, she attempts to threaten her sister-in-law. But Nicki realizes she’ll need a Plan B when Kayla reveals she is pregnant with Luke’s child.
Takeaway No. 3
It was more than just wonderful to see and hear Tanya Tucker as this week’s Special Guest Star. (Although, let’s face it: Any show on TV would benefit from having Tanya Tucker doing a guest spot. Law & Order, Chicago Fire, FBI: Most Wanted, 60 Minutes, Monday Night Football — any show.) The cheery on the sundae was having a real country artist sing one of her own songs (“Delta Dawn”). By contrast, Nicki’s razzle-dazzling cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene” at the “Queens of Country” concert/competition was… meh. (Even though, in the world according to Monarch, it impressed a hard-to-impress concert management rep.) Albie and Gigi fared somewhat better with their quiet duet of “You Were Always On My Mind.” But was this another case where we were supposed to believe a well-known tune was actually a classic from the Roman Family Songbook?
Takeaway No. 4
Catt Phoenix (Martha Higareda) continues to hard-sell her talented 17-year-old daughter Ana Phoenix (Emma Milani) as a singer who should be signed by Monarch, the Roman family’s record label. She even brings her girl to The Tilted Wheel — evidently the Roman family’s honky-tonk — to perform while Albie and his grandson Ace (Iñigo Pascual) are spending a quiet afternoon there. Albie tries to be polite, and says he is not one of the “suits” who sign new artists. Not so long afterwards, however, a Monarch contract is sent to Catt and Ana’s low-rent motel room — by Ace. Does he really have the power to do that, or is he just smitten with the young lady and to woo her? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Takeaway No. 5
Nicki concocts what initially seems to be the perfect revenge by showing up at the “Queens of Country” event with Imogen (Devan Katherine), Clive’s latest illicit lover, and introduces her to the press as yet another gal who’s been done wrong by her low-down cheating husband. As the episode ended, however, Clive found a bottle of Dottie’s pills among his estranged wife’s belongings — and his smile indicated that he will not remain mum about it. Could Devin turn out to be the person Albie shot in the three-months-later flashforwards? And speaking of the flashforwards: Albie, accompanied by Nicki, return to the scene of the crime to dig up the body before the police do. But when they arrive, they find an empty grave. Uh-oh. Monarch isn’t going to turn out to be another Walking Dead spin-off, is it?