“You’ve Changed, Man” rumbles through a whole lot of ideas in quick succession. The newly zen Chidi, who shall now be referred to as Zen Chidi, pulls out his trusty blackboard and writes out several new, better versions of the afterlife to try out.
Zen Chidi is great. He is a totally different man – he’s confident, smooth, good at making decisions – but Zen Chidi doesn’t feel like a falsity. Our Chidi is definitely still in there, as we see his face light up when he does spins on his roller skates, and talking philosophy still gets his engine running.
On the way to appeal to the judge, the crew jumps from location to location, not doing much more than talking, and the episode does meander a bit. I find it tempting to criticize it for that, since by the end of the episode all of the initial ideas presented by the humans to save the afterlife essentially become meaningless, but if the crew had found an answer right away, I would be criticizing it for making the solution too simple.
I suppose this is a lose-lose situation in that regard, and if I had to lean towards a side, I’d choose the version where we see them constantly pitch different afterlives because it helps the episodes on two levels.
One, the search for the perfect afterlife is a good parallel to Judge Gen’s search for the Earth reset button; our crew journeys across the afterlife to propose different afterlife styles, and Gen journeys through the Janets for the button. The journey through the Janets is a ton of fun. Despite being revealed very recently, Disco Janet fits right into this world, and I 100% believe Gen would get distracted by Disco Janet’s rad void. Gen has always been a bit flighty and casual, so instead of feeling like a stretch to extend her search, this diversion just feels like a natural extension of her personality. (Somehow, neutral Janet’s was still my favorite void, though.)
The other reason I don’t criticize the meandering A-Plot is that I think it’s important to see the process of creating a new afterlife because it makes their final solution feel more earned.
The show has earned this moment as well, as the plan for the afterlife is one that reflects one of the greatest lessons of the show so far; learning. Instead of being punished forever for their sins, Zen Chidi and the gang suggest that every human should be placed within a particular test to see if they can overcome their shortcomings, and if they fail, they’ll be rebooted over and over again until they can get it right.
I love this idea, and I love the message that it sends to viewers. Try over and over again to improve, and eventually, you will. When Judge Gen and Timothy Olyphant question the validity of this process, Jason accurately points out that it’s already worked. (More than once, of course, if we count good ol’ Brent as well).
Gen isn’t the only one who needs to be convinced to reboot the afterlife instead of Earth, though. Head demon Shawn also has a vote (so do the Good Place Committee, but they’ll say yes to anything), and unlike Gen, Shawn is not impartial. One would assume this would make him harder to convince, but instead, it becomes the key to winning him over.
Shawn has always enjoyed torture and has always been shown as a demon who runs his office with a hammer. He despises Michael for betraying him and constantly reminds him of how successful “good old fashioned torture” is.
With these traits, I was quite nervous during the final proposal that he’d disagree. He has been so opposed to everything the humans do I thought that he would say no to any idea that didn’t have him coming out on top, so the way the show hinted at his change of heart didn’t ring true to me.
To my initial relief, he didn’t agree, but soon Michael is back at it convincing him. This time it works, and for a moment I felt the character of Shawn had been slightly betrayed.
Then Michael says one very important line, “You wouldn’t have let me try the original experiment if you knew things were working.”
I always had found it a little odd that Shawn green-lit the original experiment and allowed a reboot, and then became an immediate antagonist who was against the neighborhood. I passed it off as a slight character adjustment as the show developed, but now it seems (even if just by luck) that his characterization has been more consistent than I had given credit for.
Shawn himself was getting bored with normal torture, so he agreed to allow Michael to try something new. When it failed he refused to accept any part of the failure and put it all on Michael, and found a new joy in tormenting them. Michael realizes this and uses it to his advantage, first by getting Shawn to admit that he’ll be bored once he can’t torment Michael anymore. Then he tells Shawn that this time, instead of just watching the new experiment, Shawn can be part of it.
There is no reasoning the judge will listen to, but Shawn, because of his personal investment in not just torture, but keeping his life engaging, decides to try something new. He comes full circle here, completing an arc that happened under his human suit all series, and displays true character growth by admitting these feelings and shortcomings to Michael.
Was this character arc for Shawn preplanned? Maybe. I have a suspicion they just found a way to make it all work here at the end -and it does work.
But ya know what? Right now, everything on this show is working.
- Loved our quick spread of philosophy this episode. There are a lot of fascinating concepts and ideas to dive into, but if you do so, don’t forget to strap on some roller-skates.
- I got a bit nervous the series was going to take us to a place where the humans come up with an afterlife that still sent people to be punished for eternity, and I am so glad they come up with something better and more in line with the show’s messages.
- Disco Ball marble is A+ writing.
- A puppy cannon is so wrong. I love it.
- Timothy Olyphant is a great stand-in for the audience asking all the questions at the New Afterlife Proposal. They could have just had Gen ask all of these, but it is more fun bringing in a fresh face for a moment instead (and in a way natural to the show).
- Chidi is just the idea guy.
Only Murders in the Building Review – Framed (2×02)
Mrs. Gambolini needs to tell us everything she knows!
Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 2 ended with the talking parrot dropping quite a cliffhanger: she knows “who did it.” Is the “it” she’s referring to Bunny’s death? If so, we need her to spill the tea!
But that wasn’t the only jaw-dropping moment throughout the episode. As Charles, Oliver, and Mabel began to investigate Bunny’s death for the podcast in an attempt to clear their own names, they unraveled a mystery within a mystery with Charles Savage at the center of it all.
When Mabel found Bunny impaled, she heard her say “savage,” which either referred to Charles or the painting that had his last name written on the back likely referring to the fact that Charles’ father was the subject in the pricy piece of Rose Cooper erotica that went missing and turned up in his apartment shortly after.
After stating that the killer is likely in possession of the painting on the podcast, the trio knew they needed to get rid of the art so that they didn’t look like murderers, but by trying to sneak the painting back into Bunny’s apartment during a neighborly memorial for her, they simply managed to draw more attention to themselves.
Of course, the plan got totally botched forcing them to leave behind the painting in the dumpster, after which it ended up in Amy Schumer’s penthouse. Oliver learned that she wanted to turn the first season of the podcast into a movie starring in the role of Jan.
To be quite honest, Schumer’s addition might provide some slight comical relief, and I know she’s supposed to be over-exaggerated, but in comparison to the rest of the trio who are just naturally funny, it comes off too forced.
The real treat was Leonora, Bunny’s mother, who arrived at the memorial declaring that the Rose Cooper painting belonged to her.
Leonora was a wild spirit who loved coconut liquor and could literally sniff out the killer… or, better yet, who wasn’t the killer. And Charles, Oliver, and Mabel were not killers — though, they did know something. I wish that held up with the police!
She confided in Charles, and a heart-to-heart between the two tapped into some of his childhood trauma involving his father. The painting was such a distraction for him that it was nice he got some answers, even if they weren’t the ones he was looking for.
Turns out, this whole time, he thought his father was an aspiring actor who could never land a role, but instead, his dad was paying off a bellhop to watch his son while he was stepping out on his wife with other women, including Rose Cooper and Leonora.
Rose’s story ended in a “mysterious death,” and though it’s unclear what actually happened to her, Charles recalls his father getting arrested outside of her apartment building. As he emerges from the building in a bloody tank, it’s a fair assumption that he was somehow involved with Rose’s death. That is unless Rose and Leonora are the same person. My gut tells me they might be.
The fear and confusion on young Charles’ face is heartbreaking, but it also explains why he has held onto his dreams of living at the Arconia and acting for all these years. His whole life was based on a lie.
While none of this explains why Bunny was murdered outright, it does paint a deeper and more painful picture of Charles. It also connects him to Bunny more intimately as they may have been siblings this whole time! Leonora married a Folger, so it’s possible that Bunny was a love child between her and Charles’ father, but she kept it a secret from her husband.
Charles may be the reason why they are all getting framed!
Another character I’m not too keen about is Alice Bank, but I think that has to do more with my personal indifference towards Cara Delevigne than anything else because I don’t mind Mabel finding someone she connects with who also wants to help her work through her trauma and provide her an outlet from all this darkness.
I’m even rooting for Mabel to find love, so yeah, I just don’t feel the chemistry between Delevigne and Selena Gomez.
The episode also introduces us briefly to Nina Lin, the new board president, but we don’t know much about her aside from Howard’s interpretation that she’s even worse than Bunny was.
Other clues that will likely come into play at some point
- The painting is a reproduction and not the original so either Bunny or the killer had it made.
- Ursula dumping a ton of paper into the dumpster. I’m not sure if there’s any significance, but it definitely seemed like she was trying to get rid of a trail.
- Charles says his father died when he was young, but did he?
- Why did Howard have a black eye? I don’t buy the cat story at all!
- Bunny’s grandfather was the architect of the Arconia, and he created a bunch of secret entrances and exits because he was a peeping tom. Men..
What did you think of the second episode? Do you have a theory? If so, drop it in the comments below!
Superman & Lois Season Finale Review – Waiting for Superman (2×15)
Superman may have been rendered powerless, but it was never going to keep him down for long.
The world’s savior went to great lengths to restore his abilities on Superman & Lois Season 2 Episode 15 because, without him, Ally Alston and her lesser-half would have likely completed the merge and destroyed both worlds as we know it.
Everyone did their best to save the planet, but no one was as powerful or as skilled as Superman.
Now, that’s not to say that they didn’t hold things down until he recharged either.
Hope is a powerful thing when you have nothing left. While it would have been easy for everyone to just give up and accept their fate, that’s not the kind of approach that creates heroes.
Tal decided to make up for all the damage that he did in the past — including his attempt to also destroy the world — by trying to save it this time.
When he quickly learned that he was foolish for thinking he could ever be a match for the all-powerful Ally, Jordan lent a hand and saved his life. And honestly, it was impressive considering Jordan is just coming into his powers.
Nat and John Henry were also willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good as the former followed her father into the void to help stop Ally.
Since John Henry’s message from the void came through a bit choppy, Nat didn’t realize that her father wanted her to bring X-K into the pod, so they improvised and depleted all the energy from their exosuits to power the pod and allow it to blow up Ally’s tether between world’s, which left them powerless.
Thankfully, at that exact moment, Superman gained full power by throwing himself directly into the sun (talk about a sunburn) to recharge his cells.
It may have been an extreme measure, but it was once that effectively allowed him to save both worlds from Ally’s madness.
And everyone, even Ally’s devoted followers, were grateful for it.
There’s something so captivating about apocalyptic shows and storylines, and Superman & Lois approached it with a fresh take as we saw the worlds bleeding into each other.
Lois was sadly pulled into the Bizarro world and never blipped out, which was terrifying and lonely. She encountered a few people along the way, including her father and Kyle, who all made it back to their worlds eventually. Kyle, in particular, felt as though this was karma for cheating on Lana and breaking up the family, which was heartbreaking. Yes, he may have made some bad choices, but no one deserves to be alone and scared.
I was worried that Lois would end up stranded in the Bizarro version of Smallville when she was standing on the street all alone, but thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
Once Superman regained his abilities, everything we back to normal.
Kyle, unfortunately, didn’t get his happy ending. When you’re on the verge of losing someone, it puts a lot of things into perspective. While Lana spent much of her “final moments” looking for Kyle, who blipped out into the other reality, it made her realize that she’s not over the hurt he caused her and likely never would be. Admittedly, I was a little stunned by this realization as I thought it would help them patch things up, but I acknowledge that Lana has enough self-respect to stand her ground and follow her gut.
It would make it a lot easier to forgive Kyle and reconcile the family, but if she’s not ready to trust him, it won’t make either of them happy in the long run. Sometimes, there’s no going back to how things were, there’s just moving forward, and at least these two are mature enough to remain friends and co-parent.
Superman’s identity is still the world’s biggest secret, but the circle of people who are privy to it has grown just a smidge. Of course, Lana and Sarah are both aware, but Lois also confided in Chrissy, who was completely floored by the realization. As a journalist, you’d think she would put two and two together or see the resemblance, but she was sure that Lois was kidding at first.
The way she stared at Clark Kent after was hilarious. But I’m glad she’s in the circle of trust. After Lois visited the Bizarro world, we learned that Chrissy is a good person on every planet. She’s someone you can trust and confide in. Superman’s secret has come between her and Lois one too many times, and if they are going to work together, she deserves to know. Why is this the only moment that made me truly emotional?
I’m happy that the series arrived at the point where all the people that have always deserved to know the truth about Superman are finally clued in.
The world may have been ending, but it also gave Sarah a lot of time to process. When she finally had a moment to talk to Jordan about it, they both acknowledged that there wasn’t one issue that led to their failed romance — it was on both of them. Sarah never thought about Jordan’s feelings, while Jordan never shared his feelings with Sarah. They weren’t ready to give everything up just yet, but they were ready to press “reset” and start over. And opening up that line of communication will make a world of difference for them. Sarah won’t have to doubt if Jordan is telling her the truth, and he won’t have to hide who he is or what he’s doing anymore. I’m excited for what their future holds! I’m also happy Sarah acknowledged the weight of the secret that Jordan had to carry.
Post-Armageddon, everyone decided to catch a break. The Lane family patched things up, which was so awesome. They finally got their Lucy back — not brainwashed by Ally. I’m surprised Lucy didn’t want to see Ally one last time to chew her out, but it’s for the best. Lois made the visit instead simply to understand if Ally ever accomplished her goal of feeling complete. The two Ally’s informed her that they did not, but I’ll be honest, there was something eerie about that whole interaction. It seemed as though Lois was feeling empty and wanting answers as to how to fill the void, and when the two Ally’s held hands, it made me think there was yet another part of the plan that they hadn’t tried yet.
Maybe I’m just being overly cautious about the whole situation because John Diggle arrived to introduce the next season’s new mystery/villain: Bruno Mannheim.
Burno is the Intergang crime boss and one of Superman’s enemies who dabbles in money launder and human trafficking. He’s also the man who killed this planet’s John Henry, and Diggle wants to know why.
There’s no better man for the job than John Henry! And after such a stellar season that really ramped things up in the final episode, I have full confidence in the writers for whatever they have planned next.
And it’s probably a good thing that Superman, clad in a hygge white chunky sweater, has rebuilt his fortress for his family. If this near-Armaggedon has taught us anything, it’s that dangers loom at every corner and they need to be able to find a place of solace, solitude, and safety.
Jordan needs somewhere to train, Jonathan deserves to get to know his grandmother and experience some of the super perks even without powers, and Lois, well, she deserves the world for enduring all that stress day-in-and-day-out.
Other sweet moments:
- Nat referring to Jon and Jordan as her “brothers” was everything. She finally found a place for herself here, and I hope the series hones in on this special relationship because Nat and John feel like natural inclusions in the superfamily.
- Tal turning over a new leaf, thanking and apologizing by getting the boys new trucks that Clark was absolutely against, and Tal looking for his wife in the other world.
- Also, Tal and Clark’s brotherly moment. The brother’s bond is strong! I’ll miss him!
What did you think of the season finale? Are you happy the Ally Alston storyline was put to rest? Do you think it is the last we’ve seen of her?
Share your thoughts and comments below — and I’ll see you all back here next season!
Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Premiere Review – Bloody Mabel
They will not go gently or quietly into the night.
The season 2 premiere of Only Murders in the Building was chock full of everything that made the first series such a smash success — witty one-liners, a mysterious death, an array of suspects, and three determined Arconia residents willing to stop at nothing until they figured out the case and made a killer podcast along the way.
Of course, I’m talking about Mabel, Oliver, and Charles, though, when the series kicks off, their mugshots are splashed smack dab across every paper in town.
The tables have turned as they are now the suspects in the murder investigation of Bunny, who was found stabbed to death (eight times, might I add) with a knitting needle/knife.
The bottom line is that someone is framing our trio, and it’s earned Mabel, who appeared on the front pages in a bloody white shirt, the nickname “Bloody Mabel.” Say that three times into a mirror. Just kidding, don’t. I don’t want to be held accountable for whatever happens.
Initially, Mabel heeds Detective Williams’ warning to get a hobby — any other hobby — than solving this mystery as they are still person’s of interest, but it doesn’t take long for the threesome to get all wrapped up in the cozy crime-solving.
Cinda Canning’s podcast, Only Murderers in the Building, actually pushes them to pursue their own investigation in order to clear their names. After all, they’ve done this before and solved a murder that the police weren’t even close to untangling.
And, not to mention, they all have plans for a future that doesn’t involve sitting behind bars.
Charles is offered a role in the reboot of Brazzos, only this time, he’s tapped for Uncle Brazzo’s, a sidekick to his niece, a refresh of the beloved character. He’s not totally pleased with it, but it is a series regular role, so he’s optimistic about it.
Oliver continues to live in the whimsical world he’s created for himself. He’s the only one rejoicing at all the paparazzi attention post-arrest, and when he meets Amy Schumer (starring as Amy Schumer), he’s totally on board to talk about selling the rights to his podcast so she can turn it into a streaming show. Also, I don’t want to point fingers immediately, but there’s something really suspicious about Amy, right? Like the fact that she likes murder and calls it cozy? Let’s remember — everyone and anyone you meet is a suspect on this show.
And then there’s Mabel, who is trying desperately to have a life away from death. The poor girl has been through enough. Bunny literally died in her hands. There’s trauma there, which is why her memory is so hazy from that night.
As she begins to process, she starts to remember small things, including the fact that Bunny said two things to her before she succumbed to her injuries: “14” and “savage.”
None of those things make much sense out of context, but it would be wise to remember them as they will likely come into play the more that the trio investigates.
Mabel also has a desire to tap into her artistry, which is a welcome change of pace for her considering she was all about laying low last season.
When Alice Banks (Cara Delevigne) reaches out as a fan of Mabel’s mural and invites her to a gallery opening, Mabel quickly jumps on the opportunity.
But — hold on. While we’re all eager for Mabel to have a friend and close confidante around, again, everyone is a suspect.
Isn’t it a little convenient that Alice reaches out to capitalize on Mabel’s newfound internet fame? She has to know that if Mabel shows up at the gallery, it’ll be all over social media in minutes.
There’s also the fact that when Charles, Oliver, and Mabel break into Bunny’s apartment (only because they heard her voice, which turned out to be her pet parrot, who will likely provide some clarity on what transpired the night of Bunny’s death, I’m sure), they overhear Uma and Howard discuss a painting that was stolen from her apartment that’s worth millions.
It can’t be a coincidence that an art gallery owner expresses interest in Mabel around the same time she’s framed for the murder of the owner of a pricy piece of art. There’s also the note Oliver finds informing Bunny that someone wanted the painting. Could it be Alice? Or Amy? Or Cinda? Everyone has something to gain from keeping this murder investigation going!
The trio eventually escapes via a secret, hidden elevator in Bunny’s closet without getting caught sneaking around the dead woman’s apartment, which would have made them guilty, but you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t even hesitate to take an old and unknown elevator down to an unknown exit? What if it got stuck? Am I being too practical?
The hidden elevator is a surprising development, sure, but it likely isn’t the only hidden entryway/exit the Arconia has to offer. That place is a maze, and those residents know way more than they are letting on.
And it would explain how so many things go unnoticed. Like the fact that the expensive art piece ended up hanging on Charles’ apartment wall.
Why does the killer want to frame him? And furthermore, why did Bunny have a nude painting of Charles’ father in her house? Despite Bunny’s death, we’re going to find out way more about her, and hopefully, many of the other residents. There are so many characters living in that massive structure, it’s time to get to know them on a deeper level.
I have a lot of questions after this episode, but that only means it was an intriguing and captivating installment in yet another promising and twisted season of this refreshing murder mystery series.
What did you think of the episode? Weigh in below with thoughts, comments, and theories!
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