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The Good Place Review – An Imperfect Paradise (4×12)

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Patty" Episode 412 -- Pictured: (l-r) D'Arcy Carden as Janet, Kristen Bell as Eleanor, William Jackson Harper as Chidi, Ted Danson as Michael, Manny Jacinto as Jason, Jameela Jamil as Tahani -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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We finally make it to the Good Place and it is everything that’s been promised. Unfortunately, everything that’s been promised isn’t necessarily everything one would hope.

Nor was this episode “Patty” exactly what I had hoped, so let’s start at the beginning.

The front half of this season is too slow. I mentioned in my review for “Help is Other People” that the show seemed to be treading some water the first half of the season, and now with “Patty” under our belt, I’ve even more reason to feel this way.

This show needed another episode dedicated to discovering the Good Place. Some of what happened in “Patty” is what I referred to in my review for “You’ve Changed, Man,” when I discussed the potential pitfalls of the humans coming up with their new afterlife plan too quickly. That episode avoided those pitfalls by having the crew take the length of the episode to debate and discuss the best plan moving forward.

“Patty” does not avoid those pitfalls. It barely raises its problem before offering the solution, and therefore greatly undercuts the drama.

The problem is that the Good Place isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be, as the residents there lose their passion and joy and lead meaningless lives. Turns out that everlasting perfection tends to get boring, resulting in brains becoming mush and hopes and dreams becoming empty.

Good ol’ Eleanor Shellstrop comes up with a solution, though; let people leave. For good. Let them walk out a door and let their existence in the universe end, AKA permadeath. The idea behind this solution is that an ending will give the residents’ afterlives meaning again, and being allowed to leave once they feel they’ve accomplished everything will give them peace.

Let me be clear here – the solution to the Good Place is perfect for this series. I absolutely love it. It makes me sad and happy all at the same time. It’s a commentary on life and on stories, and is a culmination of the series’ messages and ethos.

But damn, if it isn’t a quick turnaround.

Due to the fast pace of this episode, the story has to plow through the set up of the problem. Hypatia of Alexandria, AKA Patty, ends up mostly telling the characters what the problem is instead of letting them, and us, naturally find it.

If there had been an extra episode dedicated to the Good Place, we could have not only seen more of Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason’s fantasies come true, but started to piece together that something isn’t quite right on our own.

Jason would have been the perfect vehicle for this as well. His impulsiveness makes him the perfect candidate to encounter the Good Place’s soul draining euphoria, as he would have burned through each of his fantasies quickly, leaving him the first to feel the emptiness of eternal heaven.

The episode tries to do this with Jason, but his entire journey happens off screen, and by the time he returns we already know what the problem is so his journey is inconsequential.

Imagine if the reveal at the end of season one happened three episode into the show. There would be too little time for the characters and audience to build up their own interpretations of the environment before the reveal. This is what I feel happened in “Patty.” We barely spend any time in the Good Place, and don’t get to discover for ourselves what it is about before we’re told what it is about.

I wish the experiment at the start of season four would have ended an episode sooner. That time could have been used to journey around the Good Place with our characters, giving them time to settle into their paradise only to feel something was off and for us to discover that with them.

As for Eleanor’s solution; it comes too quickly. There is no build up to her revelation and no input from any other character. I also feel this solution maybe should have come from Michael.

Michael has grown so much and learned all about what it means to be human, it would have been a very touching moment had he been the one to recall his lessons from Eleanor and realize what the people of the Good Place need.

Despite my gripes, the problem of the Good Place and the solution provided are excellent.

Providing the lifeless eternals an avenue for what is essentially true death is a haunting and beautiful sentiment. I wish there was more time spent with the rumination of this concept, because it really hits the themes of the show out of the park.

The Good Place has a plot about characters in the afterlife trying to avoid eternal damnation to achieve eternal bliss, but it’s always been about the connections the characters make with each other during this journey.

Based on the The Good Place’s philosophy, being a person is about making these connections and trying to be a better person today than you were yesterday. If you have eternal tomorrows, though, what drives you to improve? What drives you to do anything?

“Patty” posits that the gift of time is only a gift if there is a limited amount of it (even if that limit is decided by you). What you do with your time is only valuable if there is only so much time you have to fill. It makes what you choose to fill it with important.

I love this concept so much it hurts, and it makes me super salty that we didn’t get more time to explore this idea with these characters.

Take away “Employee of the Bearimy” and add in another episode of the characters in the Good Place so the plot here has time to thicken and build some tension. Let the humans personally begin to feel the lackluster bliss of the Good Place and have Michael’s tenure as the head honcho of the Good Place force him to reflect on his time becoming human.

Maybe we even could have been given enough time with one of the Good Place residents to develop an attachment to them, and experience the elation they feel when Eleanor announces the ability to leave.

As it stands, though, I feel “Patty” is a great concept slightly muddled by some imperfect execution.

There is one episode left, and just as I said about “Mondays, Am I Right?” it’s hard to completely judge “Patty” without knowing what is coming next, since the ending of this episode’s storyline feels very finite.

“Mondays, Am I Right?” gets a minor bump upwards in my viewing due to this episode. The team’s success at creating a system that will push more people into the Good Place provides some good tension for this episode, since soon, due to their new system, more people will end up in the Good Place and suffer the same soul sucking paradise that’s been plaguing the Good Place for centuries.

Anyway, salt aside, there is a lot to love in “Patty.” The Good Place feels fully realized and milkshakes are made of stardust. Tahani talks about caviar on Jello-O shots and Chidi has never been more excited than he is meeting Patty.

Beautiful touches such as the squad walking arm and arm into their perfect party together and Jason realizing that he’d rather be with his friends than go-karting with animals are examples of what has made the series sing over the past four years. The story of these characters is here, and it coalesces nicely with the plot of the episode.

As time passes I know I will look back at this episode and be happier with what it provides instead of being disappointed in what I feel was left on the table. The story here is excellent; it’s just a bit too quick.

For now, though, I wish their time this season was a bit better spent.

Other Musings:

  • Janet slips up and says she was born.
  • I thought Michael’s anxiety over being in the Good Place was going to be his focus in the episode. This would have been a GREAT storyline if there was an extra episode here.
  • Michael’s line about never signing his name before pulled at my heartstrings for some reason. I wish there was more time for moments like these.
  • Michael’s robe is ridiculous and classic Good Place visual comedy.
  • Love that they rebuild the neighborhood. Gave me some Lost vibes, as the most important time in their lives was the time they spent together, so their paradise is a return to their original afterlives.

NEW MUSIC CUE ALERT – I believe we finally have a new major music cue for when Eleanor reminds Michael that he is in charge of the Good Place and can make a door that allows residents to move on. This is my favorite moment of the episode and a reminder at how essential music is to make your moments land. This cue almost saves the moment from not having enough build up. Almost.


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Legacies

Legacies Review – Planet Mystic Falls (3×15)

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Legacies Review A New Hope Season 3 Episode 15

Hope, Josie, and Lizzie traveled to a galaxy far away on Legacies Season 3 Episode 15, and I probably should’ve been tripping in order to fully enjoy the penultimate episode. 

While I was skeptical going into the Star Wars-themed episode, I found myself slightly enjoying it and the connections that were made to The Vampire Diaries and Legacies

And I know no one was complaining about that sweet little cameo from Little Hope! How could you not squeal with glee when she came onto the screen?!

The nightshade-induced hallucination pulled a page straight from 11-year-old Lizzie’s diary and delivered, in a roundabout fashion, a profound discovery we already knew: Hope needs to become a tribrid to defeat Malivore once and for all. 

Hope knew that it would come to this, but she’d been putting it off out of fear. 

However, she can no longer fight it when her loved ones are being threatened and hurt because of the monsters and she has the means to put an end to it.

She was created to destroy Malivore, and while it’s optimistic of Jo and Lizzie to think that there’s always another way, I truly don’t think that’s the case this time around. 

Hope cannot fight her fate. 

Hope’s feelings of loss also bubbled up to the surface. After Little Hope appeared and mentioned The Hollow, Hope was reminded about all that she lost in life. 

It was heartbreaking to see her confront her younger self and inform her that she wouldn’t get her family back simply by defeating The Hollow. 

Hope knows what the future holds, and it’s an endless amount of pain, misery, and loneliness. 

This is why her breakup with Landon was so upsetting because he was yet another person that she loved that was taken from her. 

Maybe in the process of destroying Malivore, Hope will find a way to be with Landon once again? 

Legacies Review A New Hope Season 3 Episode 15

Legacies — “A New Hope” — Image Number: LGC315a_0244r — Pictured (L-R): Danielle Rose Russell as Hope Mikaelson and Kaylee Bryant as Josie Saltzman — Photo: Boris Martin/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Though, from the promos, it seems like Landon might be moving on with Miss Cleo! 

The trip through the galaxies also touched upon the insecurities of Lizzie and Josie. The former couldn’t be “The Chosen One,” even in her own story, while Josie was reduced to an android who didn’t have her own story but instead, served Princess Elizabeth, which in reality meant that she always put her sister’s needs above her own. 

Hope’s sequel to the story in Lizzie’s diary remedied things a bit and painted Josie as the hero who protects people, but overall, it was an accurate representation of how the girls saw themselves and each other. 

Though, as Lizzie kept reminding us, the story came from her 11-year-old mind, and thus, they’ve grown significantly since then. In her diary, she painted Hope as the villain, Lord Marshall, but nowadays, the three of them are united in this fight. 

Did it break anyone else’s heart that Hope secretly wished they could all be friends?!

She’d be happy to know that in the present day, their drug-induced adventures brought them closer together and sealed their fates as they all gained a new appreciation for each other.

Also, is anyone shipping Lizzie and Ethan aka Dak Romo?

Back at Mystic Falls, not Planet Mystic Falls, Kaleb, MG, and Jed embarked on their own mission to bury the Wendigo. 

Unfortunately, the Wendigo was still alive, which meant that MG had to slay the monster once again. 

The trip did allow MG and Kaleb to finally have a heart-to-heart with the latter revealing that he was upset because he felt as though MG replaced him with his new buddy Ethan. 

Kaleb’s jealousy was understandable considering MG swapped schools and found a new sidekick almost immediately, but I’m glad they worked things out in the end. Ethan may have been a cool dude, but there’s no friendship better than MG and Kaleb’s! 

And Jed, I guess. 

The show really cannot find a storyline for him! 

I couldn’t care less about the whole Dorian, Emma, and Alaric drama, but I guess it’s a good thing that Emma is allowing Dorian to stick around.

As Hope, Lizzie, and Josie gear up for an epic battle against Malivore, Alaric is going to need all the backup he can get!

And finally… we found out what monster emerged after Andi threw herself into the pit. 

It was Clarke, which was a huge disappointment and convinced me that it’s absolutely time to put an end to this Malivore storyline once and for all. 

If I never have to say Malivore again, I’ll be happy! 

Other Mystic Falls Musings

  • Gandalf4Eva proves that Lizzie is a lowkey nerd. MG would be proud.
  •  Alaric Saltzman channeled his inner Indiana Jones and it was everything I could’ve ever imagined. 
  • Hope still hasn’t learned how to accept help. Even in a hallucination, she uses her magic to put everyone to sleep and handle the situation on her own! 
  • Salvatore Castle is such a great name. 
  • Jed making smores on the Wendigo was such a monster-fighting vibe. 

What did you think of the episode? Could you get past the ridiculousness?

Have you been enjoying Legacies Season 3 so far? Or do you think Season 4 needs a complete overhaul?

Sound off in the comments below! 

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Walker

Walker Review – In Memory of Hoyt (1×14)

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Walker Review Mehar’s Jacket Season 1 Episode 14

The hour of Walker Season 1 Episode 14 was dedicated to Hoyt Rawlins’s memory. 

We watched the Walker family pick up the pieces following the Clint West drama while grieving the death of Hoyt. 

Their journey led them to a piece of land that Hoyt bought without anyone’s knowledge to pick up his belongings.

Even from beyond the grave, Hoyt is able to deliver a world of surprises as they found the belongings were actually a few horses and a pregnant alpaca (not a llama, Walker!). 

This led Cordell, Stella, Auggie, and Geri on a little adventure to bring the rogue furry family back home.

Everyone was feeling a bit guilty following Hoyt’s death. Stella blamed herself for everything that happened since she brought Trevor into their lives. Cordell felt responsible as his time undercover brought West’s wrath upon the family and unintentionally got Hoyt killed. 

His death affected Geri the most as her last memory with Hoyt was rejecting his marriage proposal. 

It’s a reminder to tell your loved ones just how much you care because you never know when it will be the last time. 

Thankfully, being together helped everyone mend the brokenness that they felt. 

After a chat with Geri, Stella realized that she couldn’t place all that blame on herself — her only crime was letting love in, which wasn’t a crime at all. 

Walker Review Mehar’s Jacket Season 1 Episode 14

Walker — “Mehar’s Jacket” — Image Number: WLK114a_0121r — Pictured (L-R):Coby Bell as Captain Larry James, Lindsey Morgan as Micki Ramirez and Jeff Pierre as Trey Barnett — Photo: Rebecca Brenneman/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

She ended up returning Trevor’s phone call, forgiving him, and letting him go. While I enjoyed their relationship, it’s the only thing Stella could have done. There’s no going back from what happened, and her relationship with Trevor would always be haunted by death and destruction.

Geri realized that while there was a lot left unsaid between her and Cordell, she needed some space, which he was more than happy to give her. 

Cordell knows what it’s like to lose the person you love, so he understands that she needs time to process. 

Even before they set out on their journey, Cordell asked for a leave of absence for the force, which allowed him to heal. It’s what Cordell should’ve done when Emily passed but didn’t. 

All of it finally caught up with him, so it’s not a surprise that he needs to take a breather. 

But can he stay away from being a ranger for long? Based on the promo for next week, it doesn’t seem like it. 

There was also a sweet moment between him and Micki, who felt a bit lost without her partner.

Micki teamed up with the Captain and Trey, who assisted in a missing person’s case. Since Trey developed a relationship with Lou, a buddy he met at physical therapy, the Captain needed his assistance in figuring out what might have happened to him.

The case took quite a surprising turn when Trey correctly guessed that Lou entered an underground boxing match to pay off his debts. 

Since he was recovering from a brain injury, it was a very dangerous idea, so Micki stepped in to win him the money. 

Who knew she was a jiu-jitsu champ!?

I’m loving the ways they’re incorporating Trey into the storyline. He’s a lone wolf that somehow always gets in on the action. 

And I really loved how supportive they all were of Micki getting in the ring. 

I was surprised Bret didn’t rush to be by Liam’s side after he was shot, but it seems as though he didn’t find out until he was on the mend. 

Hopefully, we’ll get to see a reunion between the duo ahead of Liam’s political run!

They aren’t the only couple patching things up either as Abelina and Bonham also saw eye-to-eye after he came clean about his cancer diagnosis and even asked if she’d attend radiation therapy with him. 

Hoyt’s death seems to have shown everyone just how precious these moments together truly are! 

With the Clint West storyline officially put to rest, where will Walker focus its efforts moving forward? 

The episode definitely seemed more like a transitional one for the family, so I’m hoping the action returns next week. 

What did you think of the episode?


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Why Women Kill

Why Women Kill Review – Scene of the Crime (2×04)

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Why Women Kill Review - Scene of the Crime Season 2 Episode 4

Getting away with murder is proving to be a full-time job for Alma and Bertram. 

On Why Women Kill Season 2 Episode 4, the police find Mrs. Yost’s car and pay her home a little visit during which they almost find her murderers ransacking the place.

I’m talking about Alma and Bertram, of course, who are simply borrowing things from the home to make their space more appealing to the Elysian Garden Club when they popped by for their surprise visit.

Alma’s desire to fit in with the ladies put her and her husband in the line of fire, but even when the risk was high, Alma found that the reward was higher and followed through with having Bertram steal Yost’s painting while the investigators were right outside.

Alma is a woman on a mission; she won’t be stopped. 

It also seems like she doesn’t fully understand the severity of her crime simply because she’s been invisible all her life, but the Philcocks should probably be more concerned about the footprint the cops found on the riverbank where they dumped the car.

The footprint brings the case from an accident to foul play, so they’ll likely be looking for the culprit.

Would Alma turn on her husband and let him take the fall considering everything he’s done?

She’s finally close to getting the lifestyle she always yearned for, so I could see her trying to protect it at all costs. 

Alma was able to ward off the cops with a pretty impressive act, but the Garden Club was a harder sell. 

Rita immediately sees right through Alma — she knows Grace tipped her off about the surprise visit, she knows the dress she’s wearing isn’t her own, and she knows that Alma has never been to Paris. Truthfully, Alma didn’t do such a hot job trying to sell that last one. 

If Alma wants to become someone else, she’s going to have to study up and believe that she is someone else first. Fake it till you make it, baby. 

While most people would brush off someone who is pretending to be someone they’re not to impress others, Rita relates to Alma’s desire to remake herself.

In fact, she finds Alma’s motivation admirable, so she agrees to help her the same way Carlo once helped her. 

Rita has been so successful in creating a new persona for herself that she prides on the fact that “no one can imagine we were ever anyone else.”

The heart-to-heart between the two women had some really vulnerable moments. They may be completely different on the outside, but on the inside, they aren’t so different after all. 

Rita also sees an opportunity to throw herself into a new “project,” which will help her move on from Scooter. 

By the end of the night, Alma has the ladies from the garden club hooting, hollering, and singing home as they exclaim that they can’t remember the last time they had so much fun. 

The funny thing is that Alma could probably gain the respect of the ladies by simply being herself. She’s witty, smart, and quick on her feet — all qualities that they admire. 

Rita even found herself feeling a tinge of jealousy as she watched Alma and her husband embrace. Alma thinks she could never compete with Rita and her beautiful and extravagant life, but she already has something Rita has always longed for — true love. 

It’s a classic case of wanting what we don’t/can’t have.

Things on the outside may seem great, but we never really know what’s going on behind closed doors. 

Alma and Bertie may seem picture-perfect, but they harbor some dark and twisted secrets not only about Mrs. Yost but Bertram’s previous killings, which would be definitely be uncovered if the police began to investigate. 

The Philcock’s didn’t just have a close call with the cops — they were also almost found out by the garden club ladies at Mrs. Yost’s dog began to dig up her body. 

Poor Bertram had to wrestle the dog, who was on a mission to find his owner. 

And I doubt he’s going to stop since he can smell her. He could lead the police right to Mrs. Yost. 

How will they handle the four-legged friend?

I seriously doubt Bertie will keep his promise to stop killing after his chat Aunt Martha, the sickly grandmother of one of the garden club ladies. 

Bertram was so intrigued by her cancer diagnosis. Will he go “help” another patient and jeopardize Alma’s chances of becoming a member?

Alma is so determined to embrace this new lifestyle, she told him she’d forgive all the killings if he supporter her, but could she look the other way in the future?

Bertram may have been supportive of Alma in the beginning, but he was definitely concerned as to how far she would go to make herself seem worthy of their attention.

Will he put his foot down when she becomes too obsessed?

Of course, the friendship between Alma and Rita will likely be short-lived as the latter realized that Dee, the woman Scooter was cheating on her with, is Alma’s daughter. 

You could practically see the smoke coming out from her ears as she puts two-and-two together. 

I would hope Rita wouldn’t punish Alma for her daughter’s actions, but we know Rita is vengeful. The invite to the elite society might be a curse for Alma who, so far, sees it only as a blessing. 

Dee and Vern’s relationship took a serious turn when they decided to become a real couple. 

We got the backstory on Vern’s leg injuries, which he sustained during the war. He’s self-conscious about them because they were the reason his girl left him, however, Dee proves that she’s in it for the long haul.

It’s obvious Dee is a ride-or-die kind of chick, so I’m glad she found the right man to support. 

There’s something so sweet about her connection with Vern. 

Vern got into a bit of trouble when the husband of one of his clients sought to get revenge on him for ruining his life. Vern’s line of business is definitely dangerous, but he’s not ruining any lives — those men ruined their own lives the minute they decided to cheat. 

It wasn’t lost on me that Vern is good friends with Ruben, the detective investigating Mrs. Yost’s disappearance. This leads me to believe that he’s going to play a crucial role in keeping Alma and Bertram out of jail.

Scooter found himself on the streets as Rita, a scorned woman, took back everything she paid for — the apartment, the furniture, and even the clothes. 

He was forced to turn to Dee to get some money, which was a new low, but you couldn’t help but feel bad for him as he apologized for hurting her and explained that he thought they were only having fun. 

Scooter isn’t the brightest, so it’s hard to hold the situation against him.

They always say when a person shows you who they are, believe them. Scooter was upfront with Dee about being the kind of guy who would do anything to advance his career.

And since he’s hit rock bottom, a relationship with Catherine is most likely on the books. 

After she saw him at the mansion and threw her dry cleaning at him, it was the perfect way in that as it seemed like Catherine made an impression on him all on her own. 

And if Scooter is successful at removing Catherine from Rita’s life, she’ll likely take him back in a heartbeat! 

What did you think of the episode?

Will Rita give Scooter another chance after he seduces Catherine to help her? Will Bertie kill again? Will Alma get into the club? Or will Dee ruin her chances?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 


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