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The Good Place You've Changed, Man Review The Good Place You've Changed, Man Review

TV Reviews

The Good Place Review – Making a New Afterlife (4×10)

THE GOOD PLACE -- "You've Changed, Man" Episode 410 -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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“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.)

Check Out Our The Good Place Gift Guide for All Your Afterlife Swag

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.

Other Musings:

  • 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.


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Big Sky

Big Sky Review – The Great Escape (1×03)

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Big Sky Review The Big Rick Season 1 Episode 3

“You kidnapped the wrong girls.”

Not only is that the quote of the year, but it’s also the understatement of the year. I’m surprised that Rick Legarski continues to be involved with this situation knowing just how badly Ronald botched it up on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 3. 

Think about it (and not that I’m rooting for Rick here at all, but he seems like the brains of the operation), if Legarski just started ignoring Ronald, he could wash his hands of the whole situation. He could at least try to pretend to help Jenny and Cassie instead of coming up with some lame excuse about worrying about his pension. The best-case scenario for him is that he leads them down the wrong path, the worst-case is that they catch onto Ronald.  Even if Ronald talked, the chances of someone believing a somewhat deranged truck driver over a “respected” Sheriff that’s squeaky clean would be slim-to-none, regardless of Cassie’s “bad feeling about him.”

But instead, he exposed himself to all three girls, particularly Grace, who can now identify him if they’re ever rescued. Both Rick and Ronald are being sloppy in trying to fix their mess. 

The truth is that they are in way over their heads here and have no plan — they can’t let them go without incriminating themselves, but they also don’t want to kill them. 

Rick and Ronald have never been involved in a “kidnapping” kidnapping. Their operations always seem to involve selling off women into trafficking, particularly women who don’t have anyone looking for them, and never thinking about them again. 

But they can’t sell two wholesome girls that have a whole search time without raising any flags. Especially since they’ve already raised so many flags.

Cassie has made it clear that Rick is her prime suspect even though she has zero credible evidence. I love that she’s not backing down, even when Rick tries to spin some tale about being a good and respect cop. She is not fooled and she doesn’t care if he knows it. And while Rick isn’t letting on, her intimidation tactic is getting to him. 

To be honest, I’m impressed with the intuition that all these women have. Not one of them, Cassie or Grace for now, have come across Rick and been fooled by his uniform; their gut tells them that something’s off and they listen to it.

At this point, it’s even worse for Rick and Ronald because Cassie and Jenny motivated by their personal quest to find out what happened to Cody. It’s such a bummer how little Ryan Phillippe we get in this show that hinged its promotion on Ryan Phillippe. I’m still not over his death on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 1

The pace ticked up a bit this week with Grace’s bold yet disgusting escape. She really is a trooper for climbing into the drainage system. 

Grace is nifty, brilliant, and brave, but even with all that determination fueling her, there was too much working against her, particularly knowledge of the area and a cop with a vehicle. 

If Rick hadn’t found her, she would have definitely been able to get help from the fisherman, but sadly, it ended with Rick raising his body count as she was tossed back into the underground truck. And even after being shot twice, the girl still had fight left in her.

Also, can anyone tell me where he got that acid in the middle of the forest? 

Big Sky Review – Bad Vibes in Montana (1×02)

Law enforcement hasn’t been much help for Cassie and Jenny as it has been less than 48 hours, which means the girls aren’t even officially declared missing. Imagine how much more difficult it’s going to be for Ronald and Rick once the general public begins looking for these women!

The teaser for next week shows Cassie and Jenny planting a tracking device on Rick’s vehicle, which leads them right to the barn, but if I know anything about procedural shows, something will prevent them from finding the girls. 

Thus far, much of the episode is spent in the present, and we’ve yet to fully dive into Ronald or Rick’s background too much. We know both men have issues with the females in their lives — Rick with his wife and Ronald with his overbearing mommy — but how does that play into their “career path.” What makes Ronald’s mother question if he had anything to do with the girls’ disappearance in next week’s teaser?

And how did “Big Rick,” who swore he always did the right and moral thing, end up in sex trafficking anyway? Also does he not take care of any other business, or work with anyone else? I know he’s a Sheriff, but how is he just able to come and go as he pleases? Are there no other crimes in Montana? 

We also haven’t seen the girls’ mother/parents, which I’ve found odd. Jenny briefly mentioned being on the phone with Grace and Danielle’s mother, but you would think they would be in town looking for their kids and raising hell when the cops refuse to assist. Make it make sense. 

Do you think the Church of Glory and Transcendence was just a red flag or are they somehow connected? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a cult-like church that essentially marries off young women to older men was mentioned during talks of sex trafficking. William Edwards did seem to “know” that the Sheriff was always “up to something,” but it’s unclear if the two are connected at this point. 

Other Thoughts

    • Why did Ronald’s tooth come out? Is he sick? I can’t see that happening from a single punch! 
    • Grace did all that for them, and yet Danielle and Jerrie can’t come up with successful sneak attack? It’s two against one! Danielle keeps saying she’s just the pretty face, but I’m going to need her to step it up! 
    • I said it before but it needs to be said, the receptionist, Denise, who gave them Rick’s number is shady. 

Big Sky had a captivating pilot, but the fact that we’re asking so many questions means one of two things… either ABC has a compelling mystery-driven thriller on their hands or the show is losing steam quickly. Despite the rollercoaster of emotions and the palm-sweating anxiety, the fact that there’s been zero character development since the first episode makes me think it’s the latter. 

It’s unfortunate because they have some promising female leads and some great material to work that could make bold, necessary statements in terms of sex trafficking, cult-y churches, corrupt law enforcement, transgender issues, and more.

But the bottom line is that we’re three episodes in and not much further along than we were at the end of that first episode. For the show’s sake, I hope it picks up the pace quickly. 


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Netflix

Virgin River Review – Blown Away (2×10)

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Virgin River Blown Away Review Season 2 Episode 10

What will it take for Mel and Jack to get a moment of happiness around here?

The Virgin River Season 2 finale gave fans everything they wanted in terms of the Mel and Jack relationship before ripping it all away.

After Mel told Jack she loved him, the two decided that it was time that they pursued a relationship. 

And, of course, that meant a lot happy scenes between the couple, which, in TV land can only mean one thing — something terrible is about to happen.

We were all just as naive as Jack when we thought that messing with Calvin and his business would be without real consequences. 

In the final scene of the episode, Mel found Jack bleeding out behind the bar after being shot, likely by Calvin or one of his men. 

While he was losing a lot of blood, I can’t imagine that the show will willingly kill off Jack-freaking-Sheridan or force Mel to deal with the death of yet another man she allowed herself to love. 

But it hits too close to home, and the timing couldn’t have been worse either. Throughout most of the second season, Mel refused to pursue a relationship with Jack because she was scared of getting hurt again.And finally, when she mustered up enough courage to let those fears go and opened herself up again, pain and suffering followed! This woman will never be able to trust ever again. 

Of course, this would have happened regardless of whether or not Mel got involved with Jack. And it would’ve hurt just the same because she’s always cared about him deeply. 

The good things is that Mel likely found Jack in time and will be the reason he survives. She couldn’t save Mark, but maybe she’ll be able to save Jack. Jack truly is her second chance. 

This begs the question whether or not Mel’s decision to pay Brady a public visit at Emerald Lumber played a role in the attack on Jack. 

Obviously, we know Calvin has men everywhere, and if they suspected that Mel was there on behalf of Jack, they could have interpreted it as Jack continuing to mess with his business and come after him. 

However, Mel went rogue in an attempt to ease Jack’s guilt and confronted Brady about what really happened to Spencer. 

It was bit irrational of her to just waltz right in there and scream her demands, but at least she was able to confirm what I believed to be the case the whole time — Brady did not kill Spencer. 

Instead, Spencer and his family made it safely out of town and he was cooperating with Mike from the LAPD to bring Calvin down. Who knew that Brady’s shady involvement would eventually be the reason that Calvin’s operation may be shut down?

What do you think? Will Jack survive? What motivated the attack?

Doc and Hope are engaged! Things ended a bit rocky between the couple in the previous episode as Hope accused him of cheating, but turns out, when you don’t jump to conclusions immediately, there are logical explanations. 

Muriel helped Doc connect with a vintage jeweler in Seattle to get Hope’s engagement ring reset. As a thank you, he took her out to lunch. Easy peasy. 

Once Hope realized that she’d overreacted and Doc was willing to go above and beyond to make her a happy woman for the rest of their lives, she said yes to getting re-married and they even talked about a ceremony and reception. 

But again, the joy was short-lived as something is seriously wrong with Doc’s health. 

He tried to tell her what it was but was interrupted by a surprise engagement party by the town, which is cute, but also frustrating for fans because it means we have to wait until season 3 to find out what it is. 

Will a season 3 even happen? It has to now so that we can find out what’s ailing our good doctor and learn about Jack’s fate. And did Doc only propose cause he’s sick? Will Hope rethink the vow renewal once she learns she might have to care for Vernon? 

In B-level storylines, Preacher finally learned that the man who looks just like Wes is his twin, Vince, also a detective, who is hellbent on finding Paige and making her pay for hurting his brother. 

I’d say that I’m concerned with this storyline, however, the fact that Wes was revealed to be a monster makes me think that Paige now has a fighting chance of telling the truth and getting away without being unfairly punished. 

After Jack denied Preacher’s request of becoming a managing partner in the bar, he decided to take the gig in San Francisco. But what does that mean for Paige? Will Preacher actually go through with it? Did seeing Christopher change his mind?

Connie’s whole spiel about Ricky and Lizzie having sex was ridiculous. She knows how “free spirited” Lizzie is and still had the nerve to blame Ricky for “deflowering” her niece. Get a grip, Connie. The fact that these two are almost 18 is even crazier. 

Connie should’ve listened to Lydie, the voice of reason, who seemed to understand that times have changed and young adults are going to have sex. As long as they are being safe, that’s all that mattered.

Charmaine continued to get on everyone’s last nerve. After telling Mel that she was giving up on wanting to make a relationship with Jack work, she basically threw herself at him when he said that he was going to buy a house for the twins that was halfway between the salon and the bar. 

Her attitude changed from sour to completely ecstatic, but she obviously got the wrong idea. Jack simply told her he was getting a house, not that he was getting a house for them all to live in so they could be a family. 

Charmaine continues to live in a fantasy world when Jack has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want to be with her romantically. She hears what she wants to hear and then blames him for leading her on. 

When he shot her down for the umpteenth time, she kicked the crazy into high gear and basically told him that he wouldn’t actually be the twins’ father. In short, she’s punishing him for being honest with her. 

This is obviously the worst case scenario because we know that Charmaine loves to spin a good story. If she commits to keeping Jack away from the kids, she’ll do and say anything to win custody.

I said all season long that I wasn’t a fan of Charmaine’s, but now, I’m really not a fan. 

With so many cliffhangers and open-ended storylines, Netflix has to renew Virgin River for a third season! They can’t leave us hanging in the balance like they did with Jack!

What did you think of the season? Let us know in the comments.  


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Virgin River Review – Hazards Ahead (2×09)

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Virgin River Hazards Ahead Review Season 2 Episode 9

The penultimate episode of Virgin River Season 2 found Jack in some hot water with Calvin. 

First off, why are there so many people in the woods running around willy nilly? This should not be a normal occurrence for Virgin River. 

Second off, will this Adrian guy play a bigger role or was he simply there so that Mel would find out that Jack’s been visiting Spencer? It’s unclear, and it’s one of the more infuriating things about Virgin River Season 2. 

Jack eventually made it to Spencer’s trailer and realized that something terrible has happened. I still don’t know how he thought he was going to protect Spencer’s family from Calvin or why he was so surprised Calvin figured it out. He clearly underestimates him and doesn’t understand the mess he’s involved in. 

And that’s even after he was knocked out and brought to Calvin’s pot farm for a little face-to-face. 

Jack thinks he’s doing the right thing, but he’s outnumbered here. And if he keeps meddling in Calvin’s business, he’s going to get himself killed. At this point, he has to start thinking about his children, Charmaine, and even Mel before making these reckless decisions. 

I’m still holding out hope that Brady is playing some long game to bring Calvin down. I don’t think he killed Spencer and instead, helped him get out of town. That may just be my wishful thinking, but I just don’t see him as the kind of person to kill another just because the gig guaranteed him money. 

Jack needs to be better at answering his phone. I swear, Mel could’ve put herself in real danger trying to find him! 

Thankfully, it didn’t come to that, and instead, she realized just how much she cares about him. Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we love someone until they’re almost taken from us. Of course, she’s already lost one man she loves, and she was letting fear get in the way of finding love again. But almost losing Jack showed her that her feelings are deep and true. 

Maybe this will finally be the push that Mel needs to appreciate what she has now. After all, it helped her finally come clean about her feelings and tell Jack that she loves him! 

Of course, it helped that Charmaine finally let go of the fairytale that she’s been spinning about her life with Jack. She finally realized that waiting for Jack to feel something for her would just mean that she’d be with a man who didn’t love her. No one deserves that. 

They can still respect each other and be good co-parents to the twins. And without unrealistic expectations, I think it’ll allow them to have a much better relationship. 

That is if Charmaine doesn’t take the kids to Portland. It’s one thing to think about your family and security, it’s another to contemplate a big move without even telling the baby daddy, who has be supportive through the whole process. It almost seemed like she was doing it out of a spite, which is not a good look. 

Charmaine has to put herself first, but she also has to consider that Jack is involved in this too and has a say in what happens to his children. 

And Mel made a great point — Charmaine would want to know if the roles were reversed. Keeping this from Jack isn’t fair. 

Hope and Doc… I’m just out of words here. 

I don’t necessarily understand why Doc met up with Muriel in Seattle. Did he really go for a medical conference? Did he simply want to have a nice lunch date while he was out there? Does he think they could be friends?

Did he not think Hope would jump to conclusions? His judgment was so very questionable here. 

As was the decision to re-propose to Hope. They’ve only just begun seeing each other, despite being married for years, and it was pretty dramatic to get Hope on board with being out in the open with their relationship. 

They had a massive fight about Hope’s gossip, so what made him think that plopping down on one knee — even if it was uber romantic — was a good idea?

And Hope, man, she simply cannot just have a conversation without throwing fits and accusing people. Instead of playing Doc the voicemail, why couldn’t she simply ask him why he met up with Muriel and see what he said first?

Preacher seems to have caught a lucky break in Wes’ disappearance. While they may have found the car, the Sheriff hasn’t connected Wes to Paige. And apparently, his partner flipped on him, so Wes is now being revealed for the monster that he was. Technically, this means that if they were to launch an investigation, Paige’s self-defense explanation would hold up in court. 

The Sheriff said they wouldn’t be pursuing it any further because they don’t have the manpower, so again, it seemed like great news for everyone involved except for the fact that Preacher saw Wes walk into his bar! Is Preacher losing it? Does Wes have a twin? If the latter is the case, that would prove to be very messy for Preacher. 

Maybe Preacher should just take the job offer in San Francisco and leave all of this behind him! Though, I still don’t trust Jamie. Why is she hanging around this small town for so long? Why is she so determined to get Preacher to leave?

And then there’s Ricky and Lizzie, who gave into temptation and enjoyed their first time together. They were being safe, which is good news, but the bad news is that they were terrible at sneaking around. 

Connie came home earlier and found Ricky walking around the house in boxers. Yikes.


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