Monarch Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Not Our First Rodeo

Spoilers

Oh, this blackmailer means business!

Pieces are slowly starting to come together on Monarch Season 1 Episode 4 as we learn more about Dottie’s secrets impacting the Romans and obtain more information about the night of the killing and body burying.

And we added one more Roman into the mix!

Facing Albie  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 4

The more we get to know these characters and understand who Dottie was as a person, the easier it is to understand why everyone is the way that they are.

And there’s sympathy for all of them in some way or another. The mother/daughter dynamics between Dottie and Gigi, and Nicky run deep and are so layered and complicated.

Passing the Crown -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

Interestingly, the Roman siblings play heavily into their birth order in many ways, too, right down to how they react to things and behave.

And maybe if they all showed one another a bit more grace, they’d get along and understand things better, but it’s simply hard to do sometimes.

Of course you helped momma die. You”re just like her.

Gigi

As the eldest, Nicky behaves accordingly based on how she reacted to Dottie over the years. As upset as she was by her mother’s actions, the constant slights, and the poor treatment, it was ingrained in her to obey, and mind her mother and the rules, even if, as Gigi said, the rules constantly changed to suit Dottie.

As with gambling, Dottie was the house, and the house always won. Even into adulthood, Nicky was a bit of a shrinking violet in her mother’s presence, routinely making herself small and hoping that if she waited long enough, respected her mother’s wishes, and was “good,” she’d get what she desired– she’d earn it.

Dottie Sings  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

And that same thought process weighed heavily on Nicky even when respecting her mother’s wishes by helping her die. And now she could face felony charges, the destruction of her budding career that’s been decades in the making, her livelihood, and the family name, all because she listened to her mother.

It’s no wonder Nicky is struggling as much as she’s been, and the others either take it too lightly or don’t take her seriously in that regard at all.

It’s supposed to be Nicky’s turn to shine. In her mind, she did everything right; she waited patiently in her mother’s shadow, put up with awful things like Dottie stealing her hit songs, and it still isn’t panning out because Gigi is the hottest new thing.

And you toss into the mix a fickle industry that has no regard for women aging, and Nicky had become old news before she even got the chance to take off. Sure, she could’ve bucked against her mother’s wishes, gone off, made a name for herself when she was a teen, and never looked back.

Grumpy Queen -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 3

But that’s easier said than done, and that’s where Monarch nails the complexities of familial dynamics and how they play out dependent on personalities.

Nicky is bold, fierce, strong, and lovely, but when it came to her mother, she shrank, was timid, hesitant, and in her way thought that if she did everything that her mother wanted and ignored all the bad things, she’d earn her mother’s love.

Jamie: Nicky, you’re so talented, and beautiful, in fact, you’re spectacular but you’re not your momma.
Nicky: Well, now I know why my brother loves you so much.
Jamie: No, what I’m trying to tell you is don’t be some Gen Y clown of Dottie Roman.

And at the crux of all of this is the notion that no child should have to earn their parents’ love in the first place.

But that’s why Nicky and Gigi duking it out so much can feel much deeper than some surface-level sister rivalry, especially when they play into it the right way. Sometimes, they don’t, which is unfortunate, but when they do, it’s solid.

Sisters Singing -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

Gigi, as the youngest, is more inclined to speak her mind. She learned early on that she didn’t have her mother’s love the way she wanted because of who she was, how she looked, and so forth. And as hurtful and damaging as that is, there’s something liberating about it too.

It meant Gigi was free to call bullcrap on Dottie and her mechanizations, selfishness, and more. Gigi is more clear-eyed about Dottie than Nicky is, and it’s one of her greatest strengths.

But it also is a blindspot for her because it often leaves her incapable of understanding her sister’s position. Because of her own resentment clouding her judgment, all she sees when she looks at Nicky is her mother’s mini-me, the one Dottie intended to pass everything down to only when she was done with it.

Even though Gigi witnessed all the ways that Dottie slighted and screwed over Nicky, she still takes a lot of her anger out on her sister for blindly going along with Dottie or being too weak to go after what she desired out of the gate.

Gigi-tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

Gigi knows what it’s like to disappoint Dottie, so it’s no sweat off of her back, but Nicky not acting like her own person because of Dottie rubs Gigi the wrong way. And because Gigi thinks she’s better than her sister in that regard, she’s done playing nice and sitting back, and she’s willing to snatch her moment while the iron is hot.

And in that sense, Gigi makes sense when she tells Nicky that it’s not her job to sit back and wait patiently for Nicky to figure herself out and get her career off the ground after floundering for 20-something years.

Let’s be honest, when has the youngest sibling ever exuded an ounce of patience or ever grasped the concept of “paying their dues?”

Nevertheless, Gigi was cold-blooded for taking that Dottie song. It should’ve been off-limits, and it wasn’t fair. If they wanted to compete to see who would win everyone over at the rodeo, it should’ve been on a level playing field.

Sparkles and Shine -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 3

And both of them should’ve come up with some music for the event. Deep down, Gigi knew it wasn’t cool, so she kept it from Nicky. And shouldn’t both of them have cleared that with Albie first?

It was an incredibly personal song to introduce to the world, and they didn’t consider how painful it could be for him.

Nicky gets the kudos for her kickass girl power moves with how she handled things with her husband’s mistress, but sometimes that naturally goes out the window when siblings are at war.

I didn’t want to love her undercutting Gigi by performing the song ahead of her, but I did. It was a clever move, and it put her ahead.

Stage Presence -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

It was unfair that Gigi called her ruthless and accused her of being like Dottie because Nicky fought back. Gigi has also implied that her sister was weak, so you can’t have it both ways, you know?

Nicky wouldn’t have had the guts to do it, and she probably would’ve been without a song to perform if not for Jamie pushing her and inspiring her.

Jamie is one to watch, and Luke’s issues with him may be rooted in jealousy, but his instincts are probably on point.

Jamie’s sucking up to Nicky after the work he put in with Albie seemed suspicious. Yes, he’s an incredibly handsome man, and that one conversation somehow managed to make me forget about Nicky’s super hot elevator hookup with the charismatic Wade. However, Jamie feels like he’s working an angle.

Getting in Tune -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 4

The scariest part about him is that he makes sense. His advice to Nicky was sound, and he had the audacity to tell Albie how he lost his luster and couldn’t function without Dottie.

Albie needs to get back out there and back to what he does best, and he’s been floating on a title he hasn’t played up to in a long time.

When Dottie Roman passed, the world, they lost the Queen of Country, but you lost your North Star. She focused you, polished you, pointed you to stardom. But I gotta ask, Mr. Roman. Do you even know who you are without her? If you ever want some help remembering who Albie Roman was and who he still can be, give me a call.

Jamie

He also needs to keep working on his relationship with Luke. They made some headway after the accident, but the flash forward indicates that it’s maybe not enough.

Albie took Nicky’s words to heart, and in his own way, he tried to tell Luke that he loved and valued him, even if he only managed to frame it as Luke’s value being his position at Monarch.

Talking Business  - Monarch

You can tell that Luke is great at what he does, but Albie has such little respect for it that it makes it impossible for Luke ever to impress his father.

And poor Luke genuinely feels like he’s the outlier to the family because no one views him as an artist, as if that’s the only value one can have in the family.

No wonder he went back to one of the most “masculine” things he could do, bull riding at the rodeo, to get Albie’s attention.

Luke makes a damn fine cowboy, and he was super hot in his cowboy hat. Sadly, the bull got the better of him, and he gave everyone a scare when he ended up in the hospital with some internal bleeding.

In the Dark -tall - Monarch

Even narratively, what’s presented to the audience can shaft poor Luke. We spent a great deal of time with the sisters bickering in the waiting room, but we missed some moments with Luke.

It sucked that we couldn’t get Luke’s reaction to Kayla, who was quietly spiraling over Luke’s injuries but had to restrain herself with Gigi there when she told him about the pregnancy.

He told Nicky he was excited about it but scared, too. But what does that conversation even look like, given the situation? It’s so incredibly messy!

Are they really thinking about having this baby? And how are we four episodes in, and poor Gigi still doesn’t know the truth?!

Secrets of His Own -tall - Monarch

Luke was surprised that Nicky knew about his affair and the pregnancy, but they didn’t even talk about it. Instead, he told her that the D.A. wouldn’t let go of the autopsy results and they’ll have to wait to see if anything incriminating would come from this investigation.

And then we got that moment with Luke and Albie. Albie is an old-school type of traditionally masculine guy who can’t seem to access his feelings or vocalize them in healthy ways.

The good news is you’re going to be okay. But maybe we rethink this bull riding thing. I don’t think it’s a good career move for you, Hoss. We can’t replace you as CEO. What would Monarch do without you?

Albie

For him, he can only express himself through music.

He may have to put off some of the music now that he’s wrapped up in the blackmail plot. Marty had all the scoop about why they no longer have the rights to their music.

Meeting Outdoors -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 4

Dottie sold them to pay off some mysterious blackmailer every month for the past five years. But Marty never found out who the person is. And now that Dottie is gone, Albie isn’t keen on paying off someone about something he knows very little.

But Albie poked the bear with his threat. The blackmailer asking for double the payment is insane, and whatever information they have could probably destroy everything!

Let me remind everybody who we’re protecting here. I think we all know it ain’t just me.

Albie

If it were merely about protecting Dottie, she’s gone now, and the Romans and Monarch could withstand a posthumous scandal to some degree. But if it’s much bigger and impacts the entire family on a greater level, then there’s no telling how things can play out.

It probably has to do with that barn fire, and the woman Albie had an affair with, who may or may not be Catt’s mother if the fan speculation is on point about that one.

Albie Profile -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 4

Of course, the blackmailer could be the person Albie shot and buried. The flashforward shows that Luke is in on the action along with Albie and Nicky.

Nicky had to burn bloody clothes, and she also got some form of award, and that was the murder weapon. But who got killed, who did the killing, and where the hell is that body? We still don’t know.

Over to you, Monarch Fanatics. Were you on Gigi’s side or Nicky’s? Who do you think is blackmailing the Romans and why? Sound off below.

You can watch Monarch online here via TV Fanatic. And if you missed it, catch our exclusive interview with star, Joshua Sasse.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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