We have always talked about how well Monarch: Legacy of Monsters has broadened the scope of modern monster epics by assimilating interesting human storylines with creature spectacle, but even we didn’t expect the engrossing emotional output the resultant treatment will provide as the season finale of the series managed to present. There were a number of well-connected story arcs in the series, the major one being the three-generation-spanning, Titan tracking tale, with both the Randa family and Lee Shaw at the center of the entirety. Aside from the core storyline, the emergence of Titans during the past and present timeline showcased differing coping mechanisms undertaken by humanity, ranging between willingness to co-exist to destructive reactions stemming from egocentric ideologies. Both of these narrative strands are tied up in the final episode of the first season of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, titled ‘Beyond Logic’, in a spectacular fashion, leaving enough hints that can be explored in the future as well.
In the previous episode, Shaw’s past journey into the Hollow Earth rift was highlighted, from where he returned as the sole survivor. The unique topography of Hollow Earth resulted in time dilation, which sent him twenty years into the future. In the present timeline, Shaw and May fell into another such rift. Cate, who had met the same fate, found herself on the other side of the subterranean realm and was rescued from a Titan by none other than Keiko Randa, her grandmother.
Lost Time, Lost Lives: How Did Keiko’s Present Interaction With Shaw Go?
Among the trio of Monarch’s founders, Keiko Miura’s presence—and later absence—was one of the few most significant aspects in the entire Monsterverse lore. Needless to say, her return needs to be as impactful, and the makers understood the assignment while crafting the finale. As the episode picks up right where the previous one ended, we see Cate seemingly perplexed at the sight of Keiko being alive, despite her being the same age as her. Keiko mistakes her granddaughter for a Monarch operative sent to rescue her and takes her along to find a way out—and still in shock, Cate finds herself unable to muster up the courage to reveal the truth. Contrary to our speculation, Keiko’s conversation with Cate reveals the place to be a limbo space she termed ‘Axis Mundi,” sandwiched between the surface world and the hollow world, and it explains how spatial and temporal distortions had affected this place only and not Hollow Earth, as seen in “Godzilla vs. Kong.” As they venture further into the jungle, the duo comes across May and Shaw, who were searching for Cate all this while.
The interaction between Shaw and Keiko in this segment is especially memorable, arguably the best when it comes to the treatment of human characters in the franchise. To lessen the shock of the realization that she has lost a lifetime worth of memories in this place, Shaw decides to break the news slowly. Initially not revealing his old appearance to Keiko, Shaw brings her up to speed about the time dilation situation, chronicling how he himself has missed two decades from his life and that she has lost more than half a century. The ensuing emotional surge breaks Keiko, which just keeps piling on with one traumatic update after another. Spending a couple of months in Axis Mundi has snatched more than fifty years off her life, and during that period, Bill has passed away and Hiroshi has been brought up as an orphan. After learning Cate’s identity as her granddaughter, Keiko’s barrage of surprising revelations finally ends.
What Happens In The Surface World During That Period?
On the other hand, in the surface world too, lives are thrown into utter disarray, and the characters try to find some solace by doing some soul-searching. Hiroshi comes clean and prepares to take leave of the lives of people whose trust he had broken, starting with Kentaro and Emiko. Even though Emiko severs her ties, she insists on Hiroshi fulfilling the responsibilities he has as a father to Kentaro.
Tim joins his post at Monarch HQ and insists Duvall check on the rescue signal they have been receiving from Hollow Earth/Axis Mundi, which he considers to be a sign of Cate, Shaw, and May’s survival. However, with the gamma radiation across all of the Monarch sites in the world jumping through the roof, Duvall is unwilling to prioritize three lives by ignoring the plight of billions, and she advises Tim to quit his post if he finds her decision to be disagreeable. Tim quits Monarch and visits Kentaro in order to convince him to seek help from his father, Hiroshi Randa, who might have a clue about the roadmap of the subterranean realm. Kentaro and Tim provide Hiroshi with a sliver of hope regarding the survival of Cate, and Tim promises to arrange the means to make the recon plan a reality.
How Did Godzilla Manage To Save The Day? Was Shaw Able To Redeem Himself?
The continuous, pattern-type gamma radiation signal Monarch was receiving was actually coming from Dr. Suzuki’s gamma ray emitter, which fell into the Axis Mundi during Project Hourglass. Keiko had retrofitted it to act as a rhythmic signal emitter to send rescue signals to the surface world, and due to the reworked mechanism, it didn’t attract Titans any longer. With their underspace pod stranded in the Axis Mundi as well, Shaw plans to use it while changing the emitter to its original setting, which he presumes will be able to attract a Titan, whose journey through the rift might open a gateway to the surface world.
As planned, Shaw and the rest of the team carry the emitter to the underspace pod, and en route, Keiko catches up with her old friend. Considering that she will find herself out of time in a world that has moved on and become a burden in the lives of others, Keiko initially refuses to follow the team and plans to spend the rest of her life in Axis Mundi. However, the rest of the team disagrees, with Shaw being able to convince her that there is much left for her to live for. As the team boards the underspace pod (which is still functional due to the temporal anomaly) and uses Suzuki’s device to attract a Titan, they once again lure Ion Dragon (the one responsible for the annihilation of Shaw’s crew previously), who was already inside the Axis Mundi. Shaw goes out of the pod to fix the severed connection between the pod and the caller, and the catastrophic mistake almost threatens to sabotage their return—until a familiar savior arrives out of the blue, also getting attracted by Suzuki’s Titan caller.
Through the mystical rift, Godzilla arrives and engages in a brutal showdown with Ion Dragon, and the entire team witnesses the glory of the battle between two ancient beasts. Initially puzzling the big G with its speed and guile, the Ion Dragon didn’t stand a chance after Godzilla got his hands on it, as he proceeded to use his atomic breath on it before ripping off one of its wings with brute strength. Godzilla hurls the still-living body of the Titan into the rift, unwittingly creating a gateway to the surface world, which starts pulling the pod and caller inside it. Shaw hurries to enter the pod and latches on to Keiko’s hands at the final moment. However, realizing that the additional weight is pulling the pod down, Shaw decides to let go to save the rest of the team. The sole reason for Shaw’s anti-Monarch mission and, previously, to strengthen the organization was rooted in his feelings for Keiko. Fate has offered him another chance to save Keiko’s life, and he has grabbed it with both hands by sacrificing his own life. A chance to protect the person he loves is everything he could have asked for, and therefore it can be said that he passed away with dignity. A devastated Keiko mourns the loss of the only friend she had as the pod travels through the rift and suddenly gets redirected to a different route to appear in the surface world.
The team steps out of the pod in a secure facility and gets escorted by a private military of sorts, as they are greeted by Kentaro, Tim, and Hiroshi. After another bout of emotional reunions between the Randa family, May notices the Apex Cybernetics executive, the villainous Brenda Holland, her former employee, who was trying to create a cybernetic neural interface by experimenting on caged animals and had the ambition to do so with a Titan. As it turns out, two years have passed in the surface world already due to the time dilation, and in their effort to extract Cate and co. from Axis Mundi, Tim sought the help of Apex. As for the location where the team has surfaced, it is revealed to be Apex’s outpost on Skull Island, and as the episode ends, we hear the rumbling of another familiar behemoth. The king of Skull Island, Kong, rushes out in front, piercing the darkness of the jungle amidst torrential downpours, signifying his dominance with the iconic chest thumping and shouting out loud (more on the Monsterverse connection in a separate article). As the season ends, we faintly hope for Shaw’s survival, given how Keiko survived in the Axis Mundi. But it is befitting that his sacrifice is given some heft, and the character takes leave with his arc closing in a satisfying manner. However, we sincerely hope to see more of Keiko Randa in the upcoming installments of Monsterverse, as her brilliant characterization as one of the founders of Monarch made the series all the more enjoyable in the first place.