Y’all, grab a cold drink and maybe put on something sparkly. We’re going to Dottie Cantrell Roman’s funeral in this episode of Monarch.
The official title of Monarch episode two is “There Can Only Be One Queen.” And really, we’re thinking it can be called the quest to find a new queen. That’s because Queen Dottie is dead, long live Nicky. Or check that, long live Gigi. (Too soon to tell).
As the show opens, we’ve got a flash forward three months from now before it drifts back to present time. Albie is burying a body. And as he shoves his shovel back into the truck and drives away, Albie (Trace Adkins) doesn’t see a cop car parked on the side of the road. Said cop calls in a license check.
Then, Monarch comes back to the present. And it’s a very sad present. It’s morning now in Austin, Texas. And the entire family now knows that Dottie (Susan Sarandon) died in her sleep. Everyone not named Nicky or Gigi assumed it’s because of her terminal cancer, although she’d seemed fine the night before at the Musicale. Gigi swears to Nicky she won’t tell that her sister helped with Dottie’s suicide, but how long will she maintain the silence?
There’s a heart-breaking scene with Albie grabbing at the back of the hearse as it drives away. He’s a broken man. Albie told the kids how he met their mother. They were both six and at church. Dottie wore a pretty dress and had ribbons in her hair. She then told him she’d marry him one day.
Then there’s this Nicky memory. She’s singing “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” with her mother. Even Albie has a line. But when it’s time for an encore, only Dottie returns to the stage. Cause say it with me, there’s only one queen.
And because Dottie was the undisputed queen, she planned her funeral down to the last, small detail. Of course, it’ll be live streamed because not every country music A-lister and all the fans can make it down to Austin for the event of the year. Dottie picked performers and assigned their songs. All she had to do was be beautiful in the open casket, except for when she made an appearance as a hologram. (More on that later).
There is all sorts of family angst in the immediate hours after death, Luke picks a fight with a drunk Albie, who then punches his son in the gut. Albie also doesn’t want to perform the song Dottie selected. The lawyer reads the will and then hands out individual notes to each of Dottie’s three kids.
And over at Monarch Records, a mother and daughter show up for an appointment. The daughter is the singer and because of Dottie’s death, the company is double booked. Please come back later.
Then comes the funeral, Dottie’s final plan (caveat, final plan anybody knows about now). And Monarch viewers catch a glimpse of a country music superstar. Yes, that’s the amazing Shania Twain, who flirts a little with Luke.
There are two memorable performances from Dottie’s funeral. First, Dottie’s sister Nellie kicks off the funeral festivities with a cover of The Judds “Love Can Build a Bridge.” (Tony Award winner Faith Prince plays Nellie) And halfway through, Dottie appears as a hologram giving the audience a celestial duet.
Then the Monarch viewers get to see a heartwarming duet featuring Albie and his grandson. The two sang a cover of “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran.
There’s family dysfunction scattered throughout. Luke kisses Gigi’s wife. And then Luke figures out that the personal notes written by Dottie probably came from Nicky. He even matched the handwriting.
There’s another scene with the mystery woman and her daughter. We’re going out on a limb here. Somehow, this woman is tied to the barn burning mentioned so many times in the Monarch premiere. And then came the episode’s final moments. A policeman knocks on the mansion’s door. He wants to talk to Albie.
Until next week!