Monarch Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Death and Christmas

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Dottie killed Rosa!

It's about what we suspected, but the confirmation was the juiciest aspect of Monarch Season 1 Episode 5. We know why someone would blackmail Dottie, but we still don't know who that person is and how things will blow up now that Albie refuses to keep up the payments.

And ironically, Nicky is experiencing a bit of what her mother has endured both in the present and the flash forward.

Christmas with Family  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 5

Much of the hour was a bit of going through the motions, with the really juicy bits being far and few between. As a result, we lost a lot of momentum despite some good content pertaining to the mysteries. It felt like were biding time until we got to revelations and flashforwards.

Luke recovered nicely from his bull riding injuries and was back in the metaphorical saddle, getting the Roman Family Christmas Special filmed and on track. He navigated some tricky behind-the-scenes situations with the D.A. and the upsetting realizations about his love life and what he stands to lose.

In the Dark -tall - Monarch

The Luke, Kayla, and Gigi situation-- the scenario is so uncomfortable to watch because of how messy it is and what's at stake. How long can they keep their affair and the origins of this baby a secret from Gigi?

Are they doing her any favors or sparing her by trying to lie about all this and keeping their affair and this love child under wraps?

Nicky has taken it upon herself to implement a plan that included pitching the idea that Luke would be the sperm donor to Kayla since she and Gigi were talking about having another child anyway.

It would cover the pregnancy, the fact that this child will have Roman blood and possibly have some resemblance to Luke, and keep the affair secret. However, they'll have to get into action fast if they want to sell this notion. Are we talking about a turkey baster situation, or what?

Kayla  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

It was odd that Gigi finally agreed to it, but they announced without us ever seeing the supposed scene involving Gigi when they asked Luke to be the donor.

And all of this ignores the persistent issue that Luke is in love with Kayla and wants to be with her. And he wants to be a dad, not an uncle. How long can he go on hiding any of this from his family, and what will happen if it keeps eating away at him?

It's tradition, I know, just like toxic masculinity and the confederacy.


It's a tricky situation since, at one point, it seemed like Kayla loved Luke, too, but these days, she seems committed to Gigi and doesn't want to disrupt her family.

She made it clear that there isn't a choice here for her because Gigi is who she wants to be with, but I'm not sure Luke is hearing or understanding that.

Sparkles and Shine -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 3

In his defense, some mixed messages came about. However, more recently, it seems like Kayla has been leaving Luke "on Read" whenever he sends her cute text messages or tells her he loves her and wants to be with her.

Interestingly, Luke doesn't have any qualms about breaking up this marriage or is thinking about the fallout in the family -- he wants Kayla. His feelings don't appear reciprocated, though.

They're making a much bigger mess out of this, and it'll be catastrophic, biblical, even when the truth comes out.

The timing could be rough for Gigi as she continues to make a name for herself in the limelight. Kayla knows how to give her the best pep talks, and her "Born This Way" performance at the Christmas special was fun.

Wanna Build a Snowman- tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 5

You can understand why Gigi felt the way she did about the special when we could see how she got stuck in the worst outfits. Why couldn't she be the pretty princess or something sometimes? Sheesh!

No one's heart was into the special, but Albie had a turnaround after the conversation with Jamie, who genuinely feels like a Cowboy therapist or Country Yoda.

What is that man's angle? His advice is always on point, but it's hard not to feel he has ulterior motives. He isn't simply nice for the sake of it, right?

When he wasn't giving Albie the push he needed to take charge as the head of the family and unite everyone in Dottie's absence, he was pushing Nicky to step into her own and be herself and stop fixating so much on Dottie or Clive, or tabloids.

Ice Queen  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 5

And the chemistry between them still crackles. Wicky may have won over the masses with their debut; that was part publicity stunt, part Wade truly wanting to date her, but Jamie sees Nicky in a way no one else has on this series thus far.

It's hard to ignore that and its appeal. Wade sees the woman he idolizes. Jamie sees the woman.

Jamie: I know your mom built this empire on being the ideal family and all, but you don't have to be perfect all the time. No one is.
Nicky: My momma always said that if you act like everything's perfect, then it will be.

Nicky enamors Wade, and they are hot together; no denying that. Their duet was one of the best performances of the hour. And his easygoing, lighthearted, youthful exuberance is refreshing.

But he also talks about Nicky as if he's hung up on the girl he used to obsess about as a kid -- he's a fanboy, and it's daunting when someone puts you on a pedestal that you know you'll fall from, you know?

Queen of Ice -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 5

Nicky beating Clive in the tabloids and winning people over -- all of that is small potatoes compared to the squeeze of Clive blackmailing her and the prosecutor wanting to speak to her directly.

Clive found the oxy and ran with it, not wasting any time spinning the worst tale to ensure he gets what he wants from Nicky. It's sickening. It's bad enough that he's a repetitive cheater and treats Nicky terribly.

Wade: No disrespect to your marriage, but I always hoped you'd be single one day.
Nicky: I don't know what to say.
Wade: Say you'll do a song with me.

But she's the mother of his children, and he's willing to destroy her and their lives to extort money from her. How slimy can one person get?

If it comes down to it, he could be instrumental in an investigation against Nicky, especially once he gets wind of the D.A.'s office wanting to speak to her. Nothing good can come from this, and this is where it makes you upset that Dottie did this to her daughter.

Happier Times with Dottie  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 5

But this is also why they've made a strong case that Clive is the one who Albie shot. What do we think happened, though?

Did Nicky attack Clive in their home after an argument, hitting him with the award she got, and Albie drive him out to finish the job and bury the body?

Nicky: Ace, hey, what are you, what are you doing?
Ace: I saw it all.

It would explain why Luke was also the one to have that duffel bag, which was probably filled with money, and he ditched the car. Although, from the looks of it, he left evidence behind that could implicate him.

It also would explain the final flashforward where Albie sends Nicky back home to pretend as if nothing happened and kiss her children, and Ace admits that he saw everything.

Ace -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 3

Ace looked scarred for life.

It's hard because we have two different blackmail situations happening. Clive is the one who is posing a threat to Nicky, and if the others get word of that, they'll want to do something about it. After all, it affects the entire Roman family and their image.

Marty: Albie, I don't think you understand. These people are dangerous.
Albie: Here's what you don't understand. So am I.

And Albie is already in his feelings about blackmailing because of what happened with Dottie. And as he warned Marty, he's a dangerous man, too. Can we appreciate how hot the delivery of Albie's "I don't think you understand, so am I" was? Because damn, it truly was!

But it's hard to imagine that Clive has anything to do with blackmailing Dottie, so that has to be someone else. And thanks to Nellie, we know the why.

Dottie Roman-tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

Dottie truly was living out a dark country song with her vengeance. Her method of ensuring that Rosa, Albie's lover, wouldn't be a problem was to burn the poor woman to death in the barn.

Nellie saw the entire thing happen and saw the smile on Dottie's face, so she knew her sister meant it. Dottie wouldn't let anything or anyone come between her and the Roman family and its legacy.

She eliminated the competition permanently. Not only did Rosa die in that fire, the only one who got punished for carrying on an affair or falling in love with Albie, but she also got blamed for the barn fire.

Whoever learned about Rosa succeeded in blackmailing Dottie for ten years. Albie must know the person; otherwise, why would they show up at the meeting he arranged and leave a note on his car but not meet him directly?

Thinkin' Bout Christmas-tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 5

Could it be Nellie? She resents her sister and is still treated as if she should be grateful to be there since she stays on the Roman family compound rent-free, and she never had the fame and fortune that Dottie did.

She knew what had happened and intended to take it to the grave until Albie pressured her. Or is it someone who was related to Rosa?

It would make sense if the blackmailer knew Rosa directly, but this person feels more like an opportunist than vengeful.

Catt's assessment of the Romans is interesting for someone who wanted access to them to help Ana's career take off. She spoke about how they use people with such certainty that it feels like it comes from experience.

The Catt Attack  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 3

But it's doubtful that she's the blackmailer. Otherwise, they wouldn't have struggled financially for so long, right? And the theories about her connection to Albie have a few holes in them, especially now with Ana and Ace's romance.

We know the why surrounding Dottie's blackmail scandal, and it's dark and worrisome, and ugly. Albie seemed in denial about it but also not nearly as shocked as one would imagine.

Rosa didn't cause that fire. And she didn't run off. She died in that fire, just as Dottie intended.


But we don't know the who of it all. And thus, the mystery persists.

The flashforward scenes are pure chaos, and us not knowing very much at all, and I'm eager to get more pieces to that puzzle because every bit is wilder than the last.

Over to you, Monarch Fanatics.

What are all of your theories? Do you love Nicky with Wade or with Jamie? Did you guess that Dottie burned Rosa to a crisp in that barn on purpose? Let's discuss it all below!

You can watch Monarch online here via TV Fanatic.

Death and Christmas Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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Monarch Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Half a marriage is partnership, the other half is keeping your mouth shut.


Marty: Albie, I don't think you understand. These people are dangerous.
Albie: Here's what you don't understand. So am I.