HomeTelevisionMonarch Season 1 Episode 2 Review: There Can Only Be

Monarch Season 1 Episode 2 Review: There Can Only Be

What did Albie do?

The flashforward gets stickier on Monarch Season 1 Episode 2 when we see that Nicky may be in on or at least aware of her father killing someone and has an idea about who it is.

But with a sheriff deputy on Albie’s case, it’s possible he may not get away with murder.

Romans Perform  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

The opening and closing scenes may have filled in some of the mystery behind Albie’s actions, but most of the hour focused on Dottie’s memorial.

Can we take a moment, though, to bask in the fun cameo we got with Shania Twain?!

Shania Twain -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

Of course, Dottie was a diva who had her entire memorial service planned down to the last detail. The more we learn about this woman, the easier it is to understand why all of her kids are so screwed up.

My absolute favorite moment of the entire memorial was when Dottie’s poor sister, Nellie, thought she’d finally have her moment in the limelight to shine. Then Dottie upstaged her from beyond the grave.

The sisterly rivalry runs deep. Dottie couldn’t even let her sister have a single moment at the memorial. It actually, quite literally, wouldn’t have killed her to let Nellie soak up some of the attention for a change because she’s already dead.

The moment Nellie thought the audience could actually be cheering her on, the hologram of Dottie came into view, and Nellie was left to sing backup to pixels of her sister. It was awful but so hilarious.

Dottie Sings  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

Knowing that Dottie had this type of rivalry with her sister, it’s a shame that she fostered the same in her daughters. Nicky and Gigi never stood a chance. They would always end up pitted against one another.

Because of that rivalry, there’s serviceable tension and a genuine fear that the truth may come out about what happened to Dottie that night.

So far, Gigi is the only one who knows the truth about Nicky helping Dottie kill herself. And all it’ll take is one bad day and a fight for Gigi to spill the beans.

In hindsight, she may understand on some level that the rest of the family learning the truth wouldn’t do any good to any of them. But she’s inclined to operate on pure emotion whenever things escalate between the sisters.

Gigi's Discovery -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

Gigi has every right to be pissed off. She didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye to her mother, and in Dottie’s final moments, she solidified that Nicky was her favorite and the one she left the crown to, etc.,

Gigi harbors so much pain and resentment from her childhood that you feel for her. She can’t let any of it go; it always fuels her and dictates every step she makes.

Her account of how Dottie sent her to both fat and gay (conversion?) camp was heartbreaking, and the others always seem dismissive of her feelings regarding how poorly Dottie treated her.

She couldn’t overcome any of it, which is probably why she couldn’t believe that she had fans who could genuinely be interested in her.

Gigi-tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

But that interaction was impactful, and something tells me that she’ll grow so much confidence that it’ll go to her head. The press already referring to her as the “New Queen of Country” will only fuel the beef between the two sisters.

Gigi believes that everyone expects her to live in Nicky’s shadow. She wants to get her time to shine after so much energy spent holding back.

I can’t lose my sister and my mother at the same time, so I’ll help you but under one condition, no more secrets or lies.


But she’s not even thinking of things from Nicky’s perspective. Nicky spent her whole life in her mother’s shadow, with Dottie telling her how there could only be one queen and that it wasn’t her time in the spotlight yet.

You can feel Nicky’s conflict in all of this. She loved her mother, but she’s painfully aware of how Dottie stifled her and pushed her out of the spotlight at every turn.

Big Hair, Big Secrets  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

It’s crazy when you’re trying to say goodbye to someone with whom you have this complicated history. The Roman siblings know how things were for them growing up with Dottie, but the woman was perfect to the rest of the world.

You’re torn between genuine mourning over the loss of a loved one and all mixed up about how they may have done you when they were alive.

It brought out the worst in them when they spent more time bickering than anything else, particularly the girls. Of course, their spontaneous duet of Monarch’s theme song, “The Card You Gamble,” was how the sisters could set their feelings aside for a bit, squash their beef, and just be supportive of one another.

I loved their rendition of the song. Friel and Ditto harmonized beautifully, and it was definitely one of the strongest performances of the hour.

Longing for the Crown -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

But even if Nicky and Gigi can set things aside for intervals of time, it doesn’t mean there won’t be issues with others cropping up.

Luke is incredibly suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his mother’s death, and he has reason to be. For him, Dottie was his person, the only one in the family who seemed to value him in some regard.

Nicky wrote these letters. What the hell is my sister hiding?


He didn’t hesitate to assume the worst of Albie once he heard that Dottie and Albie fought before she died. And it only fueled the fire of contention between the two.

Anyone could simply look at Albie and know that confrontation never ends well for anyone coming after him. There’s a reporter who is probably still icing his face who can confirm that. However, it was still a surprise when Albie drove his fist through Luke’s solar plexus and knocked the wind out of him.

Albie on Guitar  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

It’s not the first time for the two. Luke alluded to Albie having an abusive streak with him, but it’s evident from Albie’s comments by the grave site that it’s the only way he knows how to love his son.

But Luke quickly deduced that Nicky was behind those letters they supposedly got from Dottie that Gigi called foul on. They were written in Nicky’s handwriting, and now Luke is fixated on figuring this out.

Momma taught me that instinct is the most powerful thing that we had, and if something don’t feel right, it ain’t right.


Instead of calling his sister out on it, he reached out to the medical examiner. Luke is more of a wild card to have on Nicky’s case than Gigi. What may have amounted to Nicky’s genuine intention to honor her mother’s wishes has now evolved into a bigger mess that could tear the family apart.

And that’s not even counting whatever secrets may come out now that Nicky is fixated on her mother’s final words. The Roman family is riddled with secrets and buried bodies, figuratively and literally, and I don’t know if they can survive the unraveling of them.

Deep, Dark Secrets  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

But in the future, you can sense that Nicky and Albie may work closely together on some of this. She seemed to suspect what her father was doing out in the woods.

It’s one of the reasons why my theory is still that the body he buried was Nicky’s husband. But we’ll have to wait to find out. However, that sheriff showing up at their door is not good.

Albie is a bit of a hardass, but we saw him at his softest when spending some time with Ace. Ace has a lot to deal with growing up in this famous family as the adopted one who stands out and has anxiety issues.

But it’s good to know, especially since Albie’s relationship with Luke is so terrible, that Albie connects so well with Ace. It’s doubtful that anyone else could’ve convinced Ace to step out on that stage and perform during the funeral.

Roman Patriarch -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

And somehow, singing in front of millions with his grandfather was the trick for Ace to break through his anxiety.

The two singing a rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” seemed a bit odd for the circumstances, like, truly, especially for Ace singing about his grandmother, but whatever, they sounded good. It was sweet for the mere cuteness of Albie and Ace performing together.

You could feel the love there, whereas newbies Catt and Ana have one of those relationships where it feels like Catt is trying to use her daughter as a meal ticket.

We didn’t get to spend too much time with them, but there was enough there to determine that a lot is riding on Ana getting this shot at Monarch picking her up as an artist.

Queen Puts on a Show -tall

Catt isn’t the type of woman who will take no for an answer, and you can tell she can manipulate situations at will if she feels it’s necessary.

With a focus on Ace and the introduction of Ana, something tells me that the two teens bonding with each other will be Catt and Ana’s way into the Roman family empire if Catt gets her way.

It wouldn’t be the first potential scandal on their hands since this situation with Kayla and Luke is a mess waiting to happen.

One of the problems is that we don’t see enough of Kayla and Gigi together. We hear about their relationship but don’t particularly see or understand it.

Kayla  - Monarch Season 1 Episode 1

Right out the gate, they’ve thrown this affair in our faces, with Kayla and Luke having these forbidden moments and kisses. We need some more background on the entire situation to make sense of how Kayla ended up with Gigi instead of Luke.

If her heart belonged to Luke, what happened? And interestingly, Kayla works as a music manager, but she won’t work for Monarch. Why?

Kayla: I know what she saw in you, because I see it too. But it doesn’t matter what I see in you because this is wrong, Luke. I love Gigi, and I made a promise to her.
Luke: I know. I feel guilty too.
Kayla: We have to stop this.
Luke: Life’s short, and we owe it to ourselves if we’re happy to seize the moment.
Kayla: She can never know.
Luke: Never

Luke is eager to work with her in the family business, likely for more than one reason, but it seems like something that Kayla is firmly against.

Aside from the scandalous, trifling nature of their relationship on the surface, we don’t have much to go on with those two.

Stage Presence -tall - Monarch Season 1 Episode 2

But Nicky seeing the two of them kissing could be a game-changer, especially if Luke attempts to challenge Nicky on being behind Dottie’s death. Sadly, it’ll mean that Gigi and her feelings are pawns in all of this.

Over to you, Monarch Fanatics.

How long before Gigi learns the truth about her wife and brother’s affair? What do you anticipate will happen with Catt and Ana? Sound off below.

You can watch Monarch online here via TV Fanatic.

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

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