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New Girl

The Good Place – Mindy St. Claire (1×12) & Michael’s Gambit (1×13)

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WARNING: If you have not seen the season finale of The Good Place, stop reading right now.

Spoilers ahead!

 

Turns out the “good place” is actually the “bad place” in disguise – who saw that masterful and crafty twist coming? Definitely not me. I watch so much TV I’m very rarely completely floored by a cliffhanger but this, this had my jaw on the ground.

The Good Place has always done a brilliant job of masking its questionable moral construction as a supposed paradise. Up until now the characters thought they were just living out their better days only to find out that they were actually forced to confront their emotions and darkest parts as the higher ups’ ploy to turn them against themselves. Unfortunately, like the characters, we were also blind to what was happening right in front of us. I mean, we’ve all pretty much been little experimental labyrinth rats this whole time.

We kick things off with Eleanor, Janet and Jason on a train to the “middle place” which is where Mary St. Claire has been living alone for over 30-years. Upon arrival, they realize this there are simply mediocre. But hey, it’s better than burning in eternal hell right?

While Eleanor is drinking warm beer and attempting to find her old, miserable self again, Jason and Janet are trying to figure out a way to have sex. I guess marrying a robot wasn’t completely thought through for him but love is love right? And he doesn’t really have a brain.

A few hours in, they receive a message from The Good Place through Janet’s walkie-talkie connection with bad Janet. If they don’t return and turn themselves into the Bad Place, which is where the all-knowing judge ruled they belonged, he would send Chidi and Tahani instead. Jason, who like I mentioned, doesn’t have a brain was fine with it but Eleanor was a good person now and she knew she couldn’t let Chidi and Tahani, selfless and righteous people, take the fall. So she convinced Jason to return to the good place and do what’s right.

Eleanor and Jason may have had the right intentions but they were a few seconds too late. Looking back at it now, I guess I should have figured it out because multiple times, it was repeated that Eleanor and Jason weren’t the only ones who did bag things, Chidi and Tahani did too. I believed everyone was only referring to aiding and abetting “criminals” but Eleanor figured the whole puzzle out when everyone began bickering with each other – they couldn’t ACTUALLY be sent to hell, they were already in it.

Cue the creepiest part of the show to date – Michael’s diabolic laugh. Yep, sweet, conflicted Michael who thought he screwed up his very own town was actually working for the BAD team. In fact, a flashback reveals that he was actually “bored” with the generic depiction of hell and wanted to make things more “fun” by creating a neighborhood where people thought they were in the good place but then tortured each other endlessly without even realizing in.

Once he got the approval, he created the Good Place revolving around Chidi, Tahani, Eleanor and Jason. Everyone else in the town was just an actor playing a role. Throughout their time in “paradise,” which consisted of eating endless amounts of frozen yogurt, the townspeople and Michael helped exploit their flaws and anxieties so that they would suffer and never realize the inconsistencies of the stories Michael was feeding them.

The plan, however brilliant, was so delicate, there were bound to be some hiccups. Turns out, Michael underestimated Eleanor, thinking she’d never bond so well with Chidi since he was known for hurting and pushing people away with his indecisions. He didn’t expect her to confess that she was the one causing the good place to crumble because she didn’t belong. And he sure as hell (no pun intended) didn’t expect her to figure out the truth.

Now that she did though, Michael knew he needed to “start over” his little experiment. The biggest flaw in the current town was that Eleanor and the rest of the gang all met and bonded. He decided to recreate the world but separating them all and then erased their memories. But before he hit that restart button, Eleanor wrote her “new” self a little note so that she could remember and hopefully foil Michael’s plan again.

As the screen went blank, we were transported back to the first episode. Eleanor arrives in the good place, meets Michael, is told about her really incredible life on Earth and meets her soulmate… who ISN’T Chidi. This dude is actually a hunk who only cares about his looks, which seems like something Eleanor would like, but it will ultimately hurt and torture her because it will continuously make her feel inadequate. And really, isn’t the most realistic depiction of hell a universe where you have to confront the worst parts of yourself…. the ones you seriously hate the most?

Janet pops in to deliver the note she found to Eleanor, except that neither of them remember writing it or where it came from. “Eleanor – Find Chidi,” she reads aloud before asking the question that will launch a series of  new scenarios for the characters, “Who the fork is Chidi?”

And scene.

Thoughts on this episode? Who knew that you could construct something so sharp and witty while still touching upon the very things that make us human. Everything worked – the dialogue, the cast who eagerly took their characters to the newer levels every week, a great series with a crisp story and THAT twist. In truth, they probably sprinkled clues to the explosive end into every episode and we just weren’t aware that we were supposed to put together the pieces to a killer twist that didn’t actually revolve around Eleanor being in the wrong place at all. In fact, she was in the right place this WHOLE time. So what happens next season? Will Eleanor find Chidi? Where was he placed? Why is Michael really doing all of this? Did you realize at any point this season that Chidi and Tahani’s best qualities were actually flaws?

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New Girl

Grey’s Anatomy – The Winner Takes It All (15×11)

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Parent-child relationships have always been the second most dramatic type of relationship on Grey’s, and this episode beautifully intertwined two of those storylines into a powerful and heartwrenching episode.

What a change of pace! These types of personal episodes are sprinkled lightly throughout the history of Grey’s, and oh boy do we eat them up! Sometimes we need to take a step back and revel in how complex and incredible the characters are beyond their amazing surgical abilities.

Meredith and Jackson stem from similar backgrounds. What with having to brand themselves beyond the family crest and all, oh and the fact that Richard has slept and fallen in love with both of their mothers. It was perfectly fitting that each relationship was developed further simultaneously.

Catherine’s strong mothering personality contrasted against Thatcher’s neglecting one was hard-hitting. Although, in the end, we still saw the same effect. No matter how damaged a relationship can be between a parent and child, there’s still an overwhelming sense of loyalty and love a child will feel toward their parent. Meredith definitely received the short end of the stick with her parental figures, but the intense and abundant love she has for her three children is amazing. Witnessing the special moments she has with her kids only makes our hearts ache more for Derek.

Meredith needed closure with Thatcher, and she finally got it, something she never truly received with Ellis. His yearning to be a father to Meredith, specifically after Derek’s death, was such a turnaround for his character and their relationship. It was during those few hours when he was completely vulnerable and honest that he and Meredith finally built the bond they had lost so many years ago.

There were many times I thought for sure Catherine was going to die. Shonda has created this impeccable presence — she can kill off whoever, whenever. Although I guess it wasn’t quite time for Catherine’s storyline to be over. Having a death so close to so many important characters midseason doesn’t seem very reasonable, so at the very least we’ll have many more seasons of Catherine’s fun and feistiness.

Jackson’s breakdown after attempting to imagine life without his mother was one of the most real moments of the episode. Maggie’s support for Jackson during this trying time will bring them closer together and I can’t wait to see the rest of their storyline, because we all know they are end game.

I love the small bits of Teddy and Tom we’re exposed to. I’m enjoying Tom’s regularity on the show and I really look forward to the developing relationship between the two. His character is slowly being revealed and I think the church scene was an important piece to his character. Despite the cocky facade he displays, he’s truly a genuine guy at heart, which seems like a trend with the men of Grey Sloan, or perhaps a general trend among all men.

Catherine’s bout with cancer isn’t over, but as she continually states, she’s alive and that’s the important part. Who’s to say what “winning” and “losing” is when it comes to cancer?

It’s been ingrained into our minds season after season that each surgery is a fight against death. Our culture has become so obsessed with finding ways to reverse the inevitability of death, that we’ve lost ourselves and the meaning of the journey of life. Thatcher did everything right in his treatment with cancer, but he still died. He didn’t lose, there’s nothing he could’ve done differently. It was his time, and he had the opportunity to leave peacefully in the presence of his daughter. I would say that is a win for sure.

Additional Sidenotes:

  • Every time Lexi was mentioned, I just imagined Chyler Leigh kicking ass over on Supergirl
  • That pinky promise made between Catherine and Jackson was downright pure bait for the waterworks
  • The perspective about using the words “fight” and “lose” in regards to living with cancer was mindblowing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of cancer the same way

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New Girl

Grey’s Anatomy – Shelter From the Storm (15×09)

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So many tears, so many almost kisses, so many emotions all packed into one episode. What a wonderful start to the second half of the season, especially after being left off on an epic cliffhanger!

The love triangle between DeLuca, Link, and Meredith seemed to be skewing to one side as Meredith and Andrew were stuck in an elevator most of the episode. And as stated by Addison seasons ago, elevators seem to be a sort of aphrodisiac at Grey Sloan Memorial.

Meredith has a strong will if she’s able to hold off DeLuca’s sexy Italian whispers and dazzling eyes. Unless she’s right and she won’t find love ever again. Derek was her great love, and there is no arguing that fact.

Teddy, Amelia, and Owen’s elevator scene could’ve been so much more cringe-worthy, but thanks to the added humor it was primarily comedic. Teddy has been and will always be Owen’s soulmate, and I hope he chooses her, sorry Amelia!

Watching Jackson be truly vulnerable when he found out about his mom’s cancer was so heart-wrenching. I hope he and Maggie work through their rough patch, but as teased by Maggie’s final moments with Cece, it seems they’ll be in the clear. Going through the most tragic moments in life with someone by your side, bonds you in such an unbelievable way.

The budding relationship between Nico and Schmidt is cute to watch, and the way Schmidt gets so giddy and childishly happy even at the slightest finger graze from Nico is the perfect depiction. They better get some more screen time and advancement in their storyline.

Shonda sure knows how to create incredible familial relationships between the characters. Seeing Alex be so gentle and caring for Bailey was truly the sweetest interaction this entire episode. Dare I say tears were certainly shed!

It was powerful watching Bailey experience some residual OCD PTSD but watching Alex care and comfort her seemed like the first step to stopping it in its tracks. Alex’s character development is one that needs to go down in all of TV history.

It was sad to see Cece’s fight end, but that’s what makes Grey’s Anatomy so incredible. Each character doesn’t always have a seemingly happy ending. It keeps you on your toes, and that’s exactly how life is.

Having Richard be the one to find Betty scouring the hospital looking for drugs was such a calculating choice. One that could not have been more perfect, and I was all for it. Betty has gone through so many tearful moments of regret, but it doesn’t seem like she’s really making an effort to turn her life around.

I hope Amelia’s choice to send her to a rehab facility pays off. Maybe we’ll see her again in sobered up at the end of the season. If not, I’m not too concerned. The Betty storyline is kind of just wasted time.

Watching Amelia bow out so gracefully portrays just how much she loves him. I guess it’s true that if you love someone the best thing to do is let them go. But, perhaps Amelia, Teddy, and Owen can create some sort of modern family.

There’s so much to be unpacked in this half of the season.  Catherine will not be happy that Jackson and Richard found out about her diagnosis from Maggie. It seems like a precarious situation that’s about to go south quite soon.

If this episode is setting the precedence for the final episodes of the season, this is going to be a nail biter for sure! Although, it wouldn’t be the Grey’s we all know and love if that weren’t the case. Thank goodness it’s renewed for a 16th season.

What do you think of the love triangles? Where do you think Owen’s loyalty stands?

Additional Sidenotes:

  • It’s truly impressive how the actor’s age with the show. Jackson is finally getting some baby whites!
  • Bailey’s sassy comments are always golden, “Don’t hyperventilate the patient!”
  • The dramatized trash blowing in the wind is such a sad reality
  • Cece has taught us all so much about love … R.I.P.
  • Meredith speaking  Italian?! How has this never come up before?
  • Helm’s growing crush on Meredith is so bitter-sweet, yet so relatable. If you’re gay and have never crushed on a straight girl or women are you really gay?
  • Who else had to look away as Jet’s legs proceeded to get crushed by the elevator? I definitely thought he lost them right then and there

 

 

 

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – I’m Making up for Lost Time (4×04)

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - I'm Making up for Lost Time

In this episode, we were provided a deep dive into Rebecca’s childhood through the eyes of her half-brother Tucker. Honestly, only the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend superfans might vaguely recall she has a brother. Anyway, Tucker chooses to put on the shoes Rebecca previously gifted him for his 13th birthday and makes a trip to visit her. Rebecca’s surprised by his appearance, but ultimately happy to try and make things right with the last person in her life she holds unfinished business with.

Soon after she’s surprised with another grand gesture, this time by Nathaniel. He tells her that he’s still in love with her and wants her back, but she refuses to accept his proposal. This is a huge step-up from what she would’ve done in the past, and it truly speaks to her changing for the better.

There’s definitely something slightly off about Tucker and we are given a sneak peek of him deceptively responding to Rebecca’s text meant for his mom and snooping through her childhood diary. No wonder he continues to steal the words right out of her mouth! Of course, there’s no way an early aged teen boy is going to be as perfect as he led on to be.

As Nathaniel is feeling the burn of his latest “rebection” he takes it out on Sunil and Mrs. Hernandez who are fighting over the most recent case. It’s obvious that Mrs. Hernandez is much more qualified for the case, but Sunil sets out to win the case by promising Nathaniel that he’ll win him back Rebecca.

Rebecca invites Paula and her boys over to hang out with her and Tucker, but it’s obvious that Tucker isn’t a typical teenage boy, nothing like Paula’s seemingly lumps-on-a-log sons, so Paula takes them to the escape room alone. I guess being stuck in a room together offers unique insight into a relationship, and Paula realizes she’s been so caught up in Rebecca’s troubles for the past few years that she knows nothing of what’s going on in her son’s lives.

Meanwhile, Rebecca takes Tucker on a trip to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where they happen to “stumble” upon the location of an audition for Peter Pan,  of course, Tucker’s plan all along. Rebecca’s overtaken by the connection Tucker makes with her and her love for the musical Slumbered, so she takes him in for an audition.

Sunil stalks Rebecca and Tucker who have stalked the director of Peter Pan –dang is there a lot of stalking and sneaking around in this show. Sunil sees Tucker with Rebecca’s diary and reports back to Nathaniel, offering him the option of getting the diary so that he can finally understand the inner depths of Rebecca’s mind.

Nathaniel approaches Tucker and offers to get him the role of Peter Pan in return for Rebecca’s diary. This is some top-notch elementary-level drama!

Rebecca receives a call from the director of Peter Pan congratulating her that Tucker has received the part, and Tucker calculatingly suggests that they celebrate with some Rebetzels. As Nathaniel is on his way out he stops by and pulls out another “I love you” speech word for word from Slumbered. He’s a lawyer, he should know all about plagiarism! Tsk tsk, I would’ve expected better from you Nathaniel. Rebecca realizes that the only way he would’ve known that highly classified personal information was if he somehow had gotten ahold of her diary. She rightfully yells at him, and it doesn’t look like he’s any closer to winning her back.

Tucker and Rebecca have a real and heartfelt sibling bonding moment when Rebecca learns that although he may have been initially faking some of the similarities, they both came from the same deadbeat dad and Tucker too needs therapy. Additionally, she promises that she’ll pay for him to go to theater camp so that he doesn’t have to go through the long process of flying out and manipulating her just to start an acting career.

This episode really gave Rebecca a taste of what she’s been dishing out to others for the past few years. The manipulation, stalking, and overcompensation for insecurities. I can really see that this season is highly focused on her coming to terms with her past doings and making major adjustments to fix them and change. High praise for Rebecca and all that she’s been working through!

What’s next for Rebecca? I can’t imagine this being the last of Tucker we’ll see. And I wonder what Nathaniel will attempt to convince Rebecca that their mutual love for each other is the only thing that matters despite their difficulty and confusing history.

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