Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – An action-packed, exciting opener

By Adam Lock
Published: November 17, 2023 (Last updated: March 20, 2024)
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Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1 Episode 1 Recap - An action-packed, exciting opener
Wyatt Russell in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1 | Image via Apple TV++


A truly action-packed, exciting opener from Apple, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters gets off to a promising start. This is big-budget sci-fi twinned with an excellent, old-school score, whilst the multiple storylines and timelines help to merge the many films in the franchise into a cohesive narrative.

The MonsterVerse saw the merging of the Godzilla and King Kong film franchises to create a new powerhouse in the film industry. This unbeatable, money-making franchise spawned four films and has since moved into the TV arena as well, with Netflix’s Skull Island and now Apple TV+’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, which starts its Season 1 run with Episode 1, “Aftermath.”

In this action-packed opener, viewers are introduced to multiple timelines and storylines that are all connected with the prehistoric reptilian monster known as Godzilla. The premiere splits its time between the 50s, 70s, and 2010s, as we are introduced to our new cast of characters in this perilous world.

Warning, this article contains many spoilers.

Beginning in 1973 on Skull Island, an older Bill Randa (John Goodman) races through the jungle, running away from a terrifying gigantic spider. Bill finds himself trapped at a cliff’s edge. He throws a mysterious package into the sea, ready to meet his unfortunate end.

Bill is saved though by the sudden appearance of a giant crab-like creature, which attacks the spider. These two creatures fight one another as Bill makes his escape. The creatures end up in the sea, along with Bill’s mysterious package. This package is next seen in 2013. A fisherman finds the bag in his net in the Sea of Japan. But that will not be the last time we see this enigmatic object.

The rest of the opener is split between a 1959 storyline and one set in 2015. The 1959 timeline centers on a young Lee Shaw (Wyatt Russell), a young Billy Randa (Anders Holm), and Billy’s girlfriend Keiko (Mari Yamamoto). They are on the hunt for new creatures in Kazakhstan.

The trio breaks into a restricted area as the Geiger counter goes off the charts. They are confronted by a boy soldier, who believes that the radiation levels are just a fairy tale. Funnily enough, the readings drop to zero as they get nearer to an abandoned site. The contamination may have been a ruse after all.

What do the scientists find in Kazakhstan?

At the site, the trio perform tests, using explosives to disturb the ground around them. These explosions cause the earth to break apart though and the structures surrounding them start to crack also. Further investigations lead them into another abandoned building, where they find a collection of glowing larvae.

Billy and Keiko want to take samples of the creatures’ genetic material. They could very well have discovered new species. Lee is very much against this plan though, worrying that the creatures’ mother will return at any moment. Billy lowers Keiko into the nursery regardless. Lee is then forced to follow.

What is Hiroshi’s secret?

In the 2015 timeline, we follow Cate (Anna Sawai) to Tokyo. She is there to settle her father’s affairs after his death. She uses his keys to enter an apartment, but inside she finds his other family. It seems that Cate’s father Hiroshi had two separate families and two separate wives, one in America and one in Japan.

Cate argues with Hiroshi’s other wife and their son, Kentaro. It’s an awkward first encounter, as they both believe that the other is the second family. Cate is overwhelmed by the situation and flees. In the streets, she hears sirens blaring. An emergency warning system has been activated.

The alarms cause the citizens to run and flee, knocking Cate over in the process. She is rescued by Kentaro and his mother. They take her to the evacuation area, where the people wait, hiding from a possible Godzilla attack.

When did Cate first encounter Godzilla?

This drill triggers traumatic flashbacks for Cate, who has already lived through one Godzilla attack. She was at G-Day in San Francisco when Godzilla attacked for the first time, in the 2014 film Godzilla. Cate was on a school bus with her students when Godzilla tore through the Golden Gate Bridge. She managed to save some of her students, but most of them were lost in the carnage.

Back in 2015, Kentaro’s mother comforts Cate. Once the emergency alert has been canceled, they return to the ground level. Kentaro shows Cate around Hiroshi’s office. There they find a hidden safe.

How does Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1 Episode 1 end?

Cate cracks the code and finds Randa’s mysterious bag inside the safe. With Kentaro’s ex-girlfriend May’s (Kiersey Clemons) help, they are able to unlock the data stored on the 70s reels found within the bag. The reels contain files from a sinister company called Monarch. By opening this data, May has unwittingly alerted the mysterious company to their current whereabouts.

One of the photographs found on the reels is of Keiko standing inside one of Godzilla’s gigantic footprints. Cate recognizes Keiko right away, stating that it is her grandmother. The opening episode then ends with Keiko back in 1959.

Keiko and Lee are lowered into the creature’s lair. They inspect the insectoid larvae. An earthquake then awakens these creatures, which all start to hatch immediately. They are then pursued by the creatures. Lee manages to escape, but Keiko is dragged back down by the army of insects. It is heavily implied that Keiko then meets her horrifying end, killed by the swarm of creatures.

What did you think of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.


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