‘Monarch’ Throws a Rodeo of an Episode As Show Reveals More Murder Details

by Suzanne Halliburton

Monarch dribbled so many clues Tuesday night about that big secret everyone appears to be keeping. And along the way, fans got lots of country music singing, some bull-riding and a ton of family dysfunction.

But know that a family who buries bodies together sticks together in the coverup. That’s like a Texas tradition. So let’s recap Monarch episode four, otherwise known as “Not Our First Rodeo.”

First, the flash forward timeline now has changed. The episode opening is two months from now, not three, so the Romans are getting on with their post-Dottie life. We know from last week that the body Albie (Trace Adkins) and Nicky (Anna Friel) buried in the woods has disappeared. But good news for the Romans, the cops didn’t show up (again) Tuesday night.

Here’s the detail Monarch added. Luke (Joshua Sasse) also is in on the body burial. Albie points out that the entire family “we’re all complicit, all of us … it ain’t just me.”

Then at the end of the episode, Albie and Nicky put some bloody clothes into a trash can and set the duds on fire. Oh. there’s also a potential murder weapon. Somebody used a trophy for “Best Single” won by Nicky. The song was “God Knows,” the song Dottie (Susan Sarandon) wrote about Albie cheating on her. More about that song later.

Now, for the family dysfunction. Monarch, using some clever casting, showed Dottie, who committed suicide in the premiere, in flashbacks. Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amurri, portrays a younger version of Dottie. And we don’t like this Dottie. A very young Nicky was supposed to release “How Do I Live Without You.” Yes, that’s a Trisha Yearwood hit, but in the Monarch alternate reality, Dottie gets credit for the hits. And yes, Dottie stole the song from her own daughter. Nicky didn’t find out until a family party. Her momma told her oldest that she got a little stronger that day. Maybe Nicky became a bit more manipulative after the ordeal.

In the present, Gigi (Beth Ditto) told her big sister about their mother: “News flash, Nicky, she made up those rules to make sure she always wins.”

There’s still a competition between Nicky and Gigi to see who will inherit Dottie’s crown. The two planned to shine at the Austin rodeo. And Nicky took the family jet to Nashville to find the perfect rodeo song. It’s like power shopping for a new outfit, right? While in Nashville, Nicky started a dalliance with Wade, the country star who sings about broken hearted cowboys. But what song will she be singing?

Meanwhile, back in Austin, Gigi has found her perfect song. She plans to perform “God Knows.” That’s the song the sisters discovered in last week’s episode. Gigi didn’t tell her sister about her plans. But Nicky heard Gigi rehearsing the song as she talked to Luke on the phone.

Now, it’s time for the rodeo. Nicky, dressed in a red jumpsuit and white boots, was in her dressing room, waiting to go on stage. Jamie Burke, Albie’s new producer, introduced himself to Nicky and implored her to sing something worthy of her talent.

So Nicky stole her sister’s song.

Want more family drama? Luke decided to do some last-minute bull riding. Because on Monarch, you do such things to get your father’s attention. Luke almost made it for eight seconds. But he got bucked off the bull and ended up in the hospital. When he awoke from surgery, there was Albie to tell him he’s going to be OK. Then Kayla, Gigi’s wife, came into the room to reveal she’s pregnant with his baby. Now, that’s some quality dysfunction.

And we have a little bit more mystery. Dottie sold the catalogue of their songs for a reason she took to her grave. But Marty knew some details. Someone was blackmailing Dottie, charging her $50,000 a month to keep a secret. Albie sent a message that the money stops. But Marty returned with a message. The cost goes up to $100,000. Must be some secret. Stay tuned.