Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Episode 9 holds key revelations as we enter the Titan underworld and discover why Shaw looks so young and what happened to Keiko.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Episode 9 is the penultimate episode of the series, finally offering bigger reveals and some long-awaited answers to our burning questions. What ever happened to Keiko after she was pulled into the underworld back in the 50s? How is it Col. Shaw (Kurt Russell) is chronologically in his nineties when, in reality, he looks to be in his late sixties/early seventies? Does the Titan underworld really exist, and where are Cate (Anna Sawai), May (Kiersey Clemons), and Shaw (Wyatt Russell)? Are they still alive? And where is Hiroshi (Takehiro Hira)? Episode 9 answers all of these questions while throwing up some key discoveries and revelations. Things are quickly heating up, so in case you missed it, here’s a full recap of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Episode 9.
In Monarch’s Episode 8, we learned Shaw is attempting to rewrite the past by going to the place that was a living hell for him: the plant in Kazakhstan where he and Bill (Anders Holm) lost Keiko (Mari Yamamoto) to the underworld. As Cate, May, Kentaro (Ren Watabe), and Monarch agent Tim (Joe Tippett) visit this site, they find exoskeletons of the creatures that hatched and dragged Keiko to the underworld. Tim notes it should be a high-radiation area, but no radiation is detected, meaning something massive is absorbing it.
Just as they find a portal, Shaw shows up with Agent Duvall (Elisa Lasowski) and his team and discover stairs to nowhere and rooms without doors. This ties in with the Godzilla-King Kong theory that Earth is hollow and Titans live in another realm inside the earth, existing together in a place that is bigger on the inside. But before anyone can explore further, Shaw activates several bombs in an effort to protect the creatures. As this happens, Cate, May, and Shaw are all sucked down into the underworld and are presumed dead, as are Tim and other Monarch agents.
Episode 9 keeps us hanging about the fates of Cate, May, and Shaw and instead opens in the past with a flashback to a Monarch test site in Kansas in 1962. Hiroshi is a young boy living with his father, Bill Randa, and sharing a close relationship with his Uncle Lee, who often babysits the boy. But on this day, Shaw is preparing to make history by traveling into a rift via a specially constructed Titan-bait ship. Before he leaves, though, he gives the young Hiroshi his special pocketknife to hold onto until he returns.
General Puckett (Christopher Heyerdahl) does a walk-and-talk with politicians and officers as Operation Hourglass prepares to commence, boasting that Hourglass is the culmination of 20 years of Monarch efforts and noting that while outerspace travel is still a ways off, travel into underspace is possible now. However, the only way to get to underspace is to enter a portal’s rift and for that, the appearance of a Titan is required; otherwise, it’s too unstable.
Bill and Lee exchange salutes just before Lee enters the craft built by Dr. Suzuki (Leo Ashizawa), who then activates the Titan signal, which successfully lures in a MUTO with the promise of a meal. As a massive creature responds, the rift tunnel stabilizes and the spacecraft carrying Lee and several others drops into the Titan’s wake.
However, within mere seconds, it’s evident there’s a huge problem when all the metal surrounding the launch platform begins folding in on itself. Anything metal not tied down is pulled towards the launch platform and gets caught up in a quick-forming tornadic anomaly. The crew desperately tries to signal they’re in distress, but their signals go unheard. In an instant, the metal tornado vanishes, leaving Bill, Dr. Suzuki, and Gen. Puckett wondering what the hell just happened, believing Shaw and his crew to be lost.
In the aftermath of the disastrous mission, Gen. Puckett informs Bill that the Department of Defense—in believing Operation Hourglass to be a failure and an insane mission—is stopping all funding and wants Monarch shut down. This leaves both Gen. Puckett and Bill feeling like they could’ve stopped Operation Hourglass, which cost them their friend, Col. Leland Shaw.
Jump forward to 2015, and we see Kentaro awaken in a Tokyo hospital bruised and broken. Unsure of what happened, Kentaro questions Monarch director Natalia Verdugo (Mirelly Taylor), who informs him that the Kazakhstan reactor plant he, Cate, May, Shaw, and Monarch agents Tim and Duvall were exploring collapsed in on itself after Shaw imploded the rift. It is believed that Kentaro, Tim, and Agent Duvall are the only ones to have survived. While Verdugo blames Shaw, she informs Kentaro there’s no further need for his assistance at Monarch. The only thing he can do, she tells him, is live.
Coincidentally, as we cut back to 1962, we see Shaw and all but one of his crew members struggling to live after falling through the rift. Shaw regains consciousness in the Titan underworld universe and is surrounded by tall, creaking, ominous trees, and strange lights above. He calls out for Cate, but there is no answer.
In a scene not unlike the fire swamp in The Princess Bride (1987), Shaw finds May and moves her out of the way just as the ground lights up and explodes with an electrical charge. They quickly navigate the lightning swamp to a safe area, where Shaw explains that after a rift closes, an electrical charge remains that feels like a lethal static shock, also affecting one’s vision. He further explains he knows this because he was “down here once on a recon mission” and managed to make it back home alive. Shaw promises to keep May alive as they search for Cate, but time is running out.
A flashback brings us back to 1982, where Shaw wakes up in an underground Monarch hospital in Japan. He’s peppered with questions while being examined but he only wants to talk to Bill. Instead, he comes face to face with an adult Hiroshi, who returns Shaw’s pocketknife and informs him it is 1982, Bill is no longer alive, and that Shaw has been missing and presumed dead for 20 years. This helps to explain why present-day Shaw, who is chronologically in his nineties, looks decades younger.
This truth sends Shaw into shock, but before he zones completely out, he manages to tell Hiroshi what happened to Operation Hourglass in underspace. Shaw reveals they followed a Titan down and crashed, then immediately tried to contact Mission Control while doing some recon of the area. Unfortunately, that effort was interrupted by a Titan and subsequently, he was pulled up through the rift in the Titan’s draft. Shaw says he remembers looking up and seeing an airplane, then nothing until he came to in the hospital in 1982.
Hiroshi fills in a few details and tells Shaw he was found in the woods near the site of a shrine that marks the boundary of the living and the dead. Hiroshi also says they found a rift inside the shrine. Shaw believes Bill was right about everything, including the existence of the Titan world and its balance to our world. However, Hiroshi corrects him and tells him his dad was crazy.
Shaw begs Hiroshi for help with the Titans, but he refuses. Shaw believes the Titans lived here for 300,000 years before he, Bill, and Keiko disturbed them and created trouble between their world and ours. Hiroshi then tells Shaw he is being sent to a “retirement home” for further observation—the same “retirement home” that Cate, May, and Kentaro break him out of in Episode 4. We see him parked in front of a television, taking his prescribed pills like a zombie.
By the end of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Episode 9, Kentaro is home with his mother, who encourages him not to listen to Verdugo and not to cut himself off from all that has happened. So, Kentaro heads to his father’s office to see what further information he can find but instead comes face to face with his father, who demands to know why Cate and Kentaro were together in the desert before painfully learning they were looking for him, and their efforts (and his disappearance) cost Cate her life. Hiroshi is devastated.
Episode 9 ends with a huge revealing moment when Cate awakens in the underspace in a forest full of strange noises, then hears a menacing growl. A Titan slowly stalks and taunts her before lunging towards her to feast, but he is stopped when Keiko appears and shoots him with an arrow to the face. Wait, what? Keiko is alive? After all these years?? Yes, she is, but that’s not the only thing. She hasn’t aged a day since she disappeared back in the 50s.
Monarch’s last big reveal of Episode 9 shows Dr. Barnes at the Alaskan Monarch base, where she makes a crucial discovery that could change everything: The gamma-ray bursts they are studying are, in fact, patterned signals. Someone is trying to send them a message. A big one. But who could it be?
Stay tuned! The season finale of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters airs Friday, January 12 on Apple TV+.
Episode 9 of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is now available to watch on Apple TV+.