Monster Girl Doctor
by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Monster Girl Doctor ?
This episode's cold open is on a scarred warrior woman running down a back street. She is ambushed and a battle commences… but we won't see the results right away, because we're off to Dr. Glenn's clinic. There a
Futurama Trisolian Slime woman is taking a bioregenerative bath as prescribed by the good doctor. After the usual uwu-ing over our protagonist, she leaves in a bathtub carted out by an attendant. Sapphentite and Glenn go to close up for the night – but what's this, a knock at the door? And it's none other than Lindworm City Council Representative Skadi Dragenfelt herself?!
We are introduced to a bit of Lindwormian history, which is quite short. Apparently Skadi's leadership has taken this hip young metropolis from lowly level 1 village to bustling urban hub in a scant ten years, and she is without question the reason for this success and the most powerful person in town. She, however, does not speak much on the subject, because she has her audio sliders set to minimum. Instead, Kunai Zenow – her abrasive flesh golem bodyguard – speaks for her. Wouldn't you know it, Zenow is exactly who we saw in the opening, and she is in need of her right arm being reattached. Skadi wants this done immediately, and thanks to Dr. Cthulhy's recommendation she leaves Zenow in Dr. Glenn's care certain it will be done.
Turns out that Zenow has other plans. She despises doctors, and is not confident this little pipsqueak can find the arm let alone reattach it. Plus she's done this plenty of times herself! Once she's certain Skadi has gotten far enough away, she heads out to find the arm herself. Dr. Glenn follows along shortly thereafter with his satchel in hand to do his best to help – she is his patient after all. Zenow for her part gets into another altercation, and though she manages to get away she leaves a leg behind in the process.
Dr. Glenn runs into a few old friends who you may remember from the hazy bygone era of the first and second episodes – Tisalia the centaur and Lulala the mermaid. Tisalia helps Glenn locate Zenow's leg by screaming at the sight of it in a back alley. Later, Lulala swims up to deliver the arm straight to doctor Glenn and talk a bit of shop re: city waste management. Glenn says he's not sure where to find Zenow, and Lulala says “Bro just ask the limbs they're twitching right now.” So they ask the limbs Duhhh, which way did she go George? and they point out Zenow's location because it turns out they are still moving!
With the help of those limbs, Dr. Glenn finds Zenow in a back alley. During this we learn that not only can Zenow still feel what her limbs feel – her leg in particular is quite sensitive – but she is haunted by echoes of the memories and unachieved ambitions of the people used to make her. We also learn what her name means and what his name means, as they are both from the Far East.
Zenow wants to be self-reliant and brush off the Doctor's help, but he insists on helping her because not only is she his patient she's also human – suffering is what proves that we are alive. He assists in not only reattaching her limbs, he also cleans up her shoddy stitching… oh, and uh, the sensitivity on her leg comes back into play. There's no way for him to do his job without interacting with that sensitive region, and by the end of the operation he has successfully reattached the limb and relieved some tension in a manner of speaking.
Zenow is at once mad at him for doing that and unable to forgive him but also cannot forget what he has done for her, and they part (ha!) on better terms than when they met. The rogues from before are off in a nearby alley watching and they can't help but snicker as the duo leave.
Sapphentite has been busy back at the clinic. Earlier she was visited by a buxom spider drinking buddie who inquired about Dr. Glenn. During their tete-atete, the spider woman put a seed of doubt into Sapphentite's mind regarding Glenn's loyalty to her – “He's probably off cheating on you right now.” When Glenn finally does return to the clinic, Sapphentite rounds the corner with an enlarged stomach and declares “Look doctor, I'm pregnant!” It's at this point we smash cut to the ED and give Glenn a week to ponder the impact of those words.
Boy, talk about an episode that leaves me conflicted. On the one hand, there's not terribly much to write home about visually – the episode looks fine, with no real standout moments bar perhaps the high detail on the sequence where Dr. Glenn is sewing up Zenow. The music is fine and the voice acting is fine, it's all perfectly serviceable.
Kunai Zenow is the most compelling of the girls we've met thus far. She has a complicated past that she has addressed without really finding closure on, she's got an interesting dynamic with her boss where she literally speaks for her but is utterly beholden to her. She's a capable warrior and bodyguard though we don't get to see much of that in practice and she spends most of the episode struggling, yet she never really loses her determination or resolve. The elements related to her status as a flesh golem involve a lot of interesting characterization and world-building – the ability to maintain physical sensation when separated is a neat caveat that gets played for a bit of comedy and fan service. The fact that she has refused to seek true care for the wounds and that bitter refusal to look after herself results in her being constantly haunted by the ghosts of the bodies that make her up, and that if only she would lower her emotional barriers and let someone tend to those wounds she would no longer carry those burdens… that's beautiful stuff, in my opinion. I was caught completely off guard by how layered and well put together (ha!) that was.
Then there's the whole scene with Dr. Glenn reattaching her leg and redoing her sutures. Honestly, the notion of being sensitive to physical touch during a medical procedure and that having an inadvertent response to it is not an invalid setup at all. That is a thing that happens when two humans come into contact, sometimes your nerves make reactions occur in your body that may not be great, timing-wise. In fact, I thought the comedic element of Dr. Glenn carrying the limbs around earlier in the episode and being oblivious to the fact that Zenow still had a sensation link was actually kind of funny in a situational comedy sort of sense. But the part with him reinstalling the leg was… well, suffice to say it kicked me out of the moment. I understand that, for the target audience, this is The Reason To Watch The Show so it's absurd to complain about it. And for what it's worth, it did not come close to giving me the same bad vibes that the horseshoe scene did in episode one.
But, for my money, the really gratuitous expression Zenow has when that moment occurs knocked me out of the scene. To me it felt like tonal whiplash, almost like I was being reminded not to get too invested. Once again, this was only one scene in the runtime of an episode I found myself enjoying, about a character I think has some real depth - but I can't deny that it has me hedging my expectations for future episodes.
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