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The Good Place Whenever You're Ready Review The Good Place Whenever You're Ready Review

TV Reviews

The Good Place Review – Moving On (4×13)

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Whenever You're Ready" Episode 413/414 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, William Jackson Harper as Chidi, Ted Danson as Michael, D'Arcy Carden as Janet -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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The Good Place has completed its journey and is ready to go.

No crazy twist. No insane change of status quo. No dressing.

“Whenever You’re Ready” is the final chapter of The Good Place, and evokes the power and emotion that it does precisely because it doesn’t go wild.

The episode focuses in on each character, providing us a glimpse at what was important to them in their lives and what is important to them in their afterlife. From a narrative perspective, this approach allows the show to dive into the characters one last time to give us a perspective on what’s important to them and allows us to feel – just as they feel – when and why they are ready to leave the Good Place.

Jason has his time with Janet, completes the perfect game of Madden with his dad cheering him on, and throws a final party with his dance crew and EDM before heading off.

Tahani creates a positive relationship with her parents and her sister, then throws one final gathering of which she personally created every aspect of, including the furniture and food. A wonderful moment, as instead of tasking others with her every party need, she finally assumes the role of all those smaller jobs she at one point considered below her. Afterwards, Tahani finds a new calling in her afterlife and decides to become an architect.

Chidi witnesses his mother share her love with Eleanor and Eleanor’s mother treat her like a daughter. Yet he decides to stay a little while longer to allow Eleanor all the time with him that she needed.

Each of these stories is told from the focused character’s perspective, instead of as a unit. What gives the episode its sense of cohesion is that all these characters cross paths with each other through choice – Jason brings his friends to his party, Tahani meets up for a final gathering, and Chidi intertwines himself with Eleanor. The episode never feels disjointed despite having a distinct vignette structure.

However, alongside providing us perspective on these characters, this approach also provides perspective on what our lives are like (according to The Good Place). Asides from the dressing of these events being incredible (such as playing Madden on the jumbotron in a football stadium or walking through magic doors to go to Athens), each of these moments are small.

Tahani plays croquet with her family. Chidi walks around his old neighborhood. Jason tries to make Janet dinner.

These are the moments that make our own lives worth living. The connections and reflections we create are what we hold on to, and the ability to experience these moments is a gift. These simple moments are what allow each of these characters to move on from their lives because these are the moments that give them a sense of completeness.

These are the moments that Michael has been aching to experience his entire demon life.

Michael and Eleanor are the last two members of the squad remaining in The Good Place (Janet, of course, is still with them, but she will not be crossing through the doorway at any point, or so it seems). I am thrilled that these two are left together.

Michael and Eleanor are the reasons that everything on The Good Place happened. Eleanor and Chidi may have been the couple, but Eleanor and Michael were the team. Michael obviously started the series with his experiment, and Eleanor pushed it forward by constantly figuring it out.

The two are cut from the same cloth and Michael started his journey to the light side because of his ability to relate to Eleanor. Narratively, these two needed to be our ushers out of the story.

In a beautiful role reversal, Eleanor requests to Judge Gen that Michael be allowed to go to Earth to live out the rest of his life as a human, just as he had pleaded to Gen way back in Season 2’s “Somewhere Else.” Eleanor knows that Michael needs to experience human life to feel that he is complete, as he’s lost his way in the afterlife after running out of problems to solve.

Michael’s desire to be human has been present throughout the series, and the way he laughs at dropping a microwave dinner that is too hot reminds us how lucky we are to just be alive. Life is so full of stupid moments that not only do we take for granted, but ignore or actively get annoyed by.

This can’t be helped, and there are plenty of legitimately annoying occurrences in the world (why do people leave DVD’s in the DVD player?????), but it’s nice to be reminded to take a moment to appreciate those moments because by experiencing these moments, we are alive.

And being alive is special.

Outside of taking a stark stance on how to conduct ourselves as human, The Good Place’s biggest statement is that being alive is special, and being human is special. The series solidifies this point of view in its final episodes by making the claim that death is precisely what makes it special.

“Whenever You’re Ready” does a phenomenal job of showing us exactly why this is. We visibly see the joy drain from Chidi as he opens a menu in Paris and sees that the meal can be literally whatever he wants.

He’s bored. The perfect nature of his extended life has ceased to mean anything more to him. I can feel him wishing that the menu was set and that what he wants isn’t on it.

The restaurant not having what you want to eat is another very human moment, but it can lead to something exciting – a new dish and a new discovery.

When you have eternity, though, that doesn’t matter. There is nothing more to discover because you will eventually discover it all.

This is why death makes living special.

Unfortunately, in real life, we don’t exactly get to choose when we move on. Instead, we’re forced into making the best we can out of a seemingly random amount of time. We also don’t get to create our perfect experiences to fill that time with. We don’t know what happens when we die.

Michael’s time on Earth wouldn’t be human if he knew how the afterlife worked, so Eleanor’s clarification that the system may be different by the time he returns doubles down on death creating value in life. Michael is glad he doesn’t know what will happen because that makes him more human than anything.

A beautiful message, despite its sadness, and a message befitting of The Good Place at its end.

I cannot say I feel the finale was perfect, however (though obviously I think it is amazing).

Eleanor walked through the final door too quickly. I just needed that camera to follow her a little more slowly. It might be a nitpick but I wish I had more time to fully take in the moment that this is it, this is the final time we will see Eleanor Shellstrop.

I also wish there could have been more of a goodbye between Eleanor and Michael, as they did have such a solid connection.

Outside of those gripes – excellent. So many callbacks for the series, incredible expressions of the show’s themes through both show and character, and many wonderful character moments with our six heroes.

Janet was everyone’s ambassador to the original “Good Place,” so her also leading them to their final moments is excellent. Throughout the series, Janet’s growth into almost human made her relatable and someone to care about, but she always remained tethered to the afterlife with her amazing knowledge and powers.

As far as I can tell, she will remain in the Good Place for many Bearimy’s to come, but her time with the humans and Michael will always remain with her. She gets genuinely choked up when her friends leave, so seeing her in their final moments only emphasizes how human she has become. However, Janet is seemingly left in a narrative limbo – we aren’t given clear evidence of exactly what Janet will be doing in the Good Place moving forward, nor what that means to her, which is a missed character beat I wish they hit.

But Jason waiting for her to return, essentially becoming a monk – great writing. An amazing callback with relevance, as Jason only truly became ready to walk through that door when he finally took time to check his impulses and appreciate the world around him.

The Good Place is an amazing series. I stand by my feelings that we should have had an extra episode in the Good Place to build up towards a stronger revelation regarding the exit door, and I definitely feel Season 3’s Earth saga halted the tempo of the series a bit; but overall, The Good Place may just be an all-timer.

I’ve become a better person by watching this series, and I have a better appreciation of life because of it. The finale pointed out moments from the show and moments from my life and said, “Hey! Remember this? Appreciate it.

I’m guessing I’m not the only person who feels this way after watching this show, and I know I won’t be the last.

The twist at the end of season one is what truly hooked me into this show and will forever be its most famous moment, and that twist blasted open the doors to the complexity of humanity and existence.

The show never repeated a move like that, and it didn’t need to. The strength of the story, messages, and characters, as well as the hilarious writing, is what makes it an all-time great series.

“Whenever You’re Ready” is a fantastic end to a fantastic series. The Good Place leaves our screens now, but the ideals it pushed forward will continue to have meaning in our everyday lives, and I’m grateful for the laughs and lessons.

Goodbye, Good Place. Take it sleazy.

Other Musings:

  • Another aspect of the Good Place that encourages residents to feel complete is that everyone there is kind to one another. This is another subtle narrative parallel to the messages that being good and trying to be good brings value to other’s lives.
  • Loved John’s cameo. Wish we could have seen Brent make it to the Good Place to prove that even someone like him could improve. It felt as though he had regressed a bit since his final revelation with Chidi in “Help is Other People,” though I suppose that’s likely from his memory wipe?
  • Michael replaced Doug Forcett’s photo with Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason.
  • The narrative memory of this show is great. Eleanor telling Mindy that she knows she cares for people because Mindy once said, “I’m rooting for you guys” is great continuity and a fantastic character detail that deepens Mindy.
  • When The Good Place announced it was ending after four seasons a lot of people were bummed out, but no good story lasts forever! Four seasons is perfect for this show. It allowed the series to essentially follow a typical three-act structure that makes it feel complete, with season two, three, and four acting as the three main parts with season one as a prologue. Thank you for ending with season four!

And that’s the end of The Good Place.

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Chicago P.D

Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 6 Review – Survival

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Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 6 Review - Survival

Chicago PD came through again, this time with a rare gem that focused on Voight. 

I say rare because while Voight plays an integral part of the series, he’s rarely ever the sole focus of the case in such a way that we actually see him dominating the screen for most of the 45-minute episode. 

And, on top of that, the episode ended without Voight and the team finding the suspect, which also allows for another multi-episode angle to play out and keep viewers invested. 

Voight’s carefree night took a turn when he overheard a beeping sound in an alleyway and found traces of blood belonging to a young man named Noah, who he saw getting violently kidnapped by an offender in nearby surveillance footage. 

Without much to go off of, Intelligence worked together to try to build a case and save Noah before it was too late. Since they found a baggie of party drugs near the scene of the abduction, they linked it to a dealer in the area whom Chapman, coincidentally, has tried to nab a handful of times. 

The dealer’s MO is to abduct those who stiff him, break their legs, and then dump them back at the place where he sells as part of his warning. 

However, after locating the car that kidnapped Noah, they found the young man in dire conditions after he was abused—stabbed six times and had his eyes stapled open (one of the most horrifying sights I’ve ever seen on television, might I add)—which indicated that this was the work of someone else entirely. 

Even when Noah identified his dealer in a lineup, Voight wasn’t convinced as he knew he simply did it to get them off of his back. Chapman, who offered to help Voight on the case, wasn’t pleased with the idea of letting a violent criminal that they’ve been pursuing walk away based on a hunch, so she went above Voight to get him arrested. 

Still, Voight knew that they were going after the wrong man, so he milked him for any information about Noah. 

Noah’s situation was a heartbreaking one as he was a lone wolf in the city on his own after his family turned on him when he came out as gay. When Voight made contact with them, Noah’s mother essentially said Noah deserved what happened to him and that she didn’t want updates because he was no longer their son. I can’t even imagine a mother saying something so cruel, especially when her son was missing and brutally tortured. How could you not want to know if he survived? It broke my heart—and it broke Voight’s heart, which is why he dedicated himself to the case so strongly. 

He knew that whatever Noah went through was personal, which was confirmed further when he realized that the suspect they were looking for had been stalking the boy for months, ever since he arrived in Chicago. This was a planned and calculated attack, but they had no suspects to work off of, which didn’t make it easy. 

It’s likely one of the main reasons why Voight took Noah in after he was discharged from the hospital. He needed Noah to feel safe and comfortable enough to open up so that they could finally catch this monster and put him behind bars. However, Voight also felt a personal connection to Noah, who reminded him a lot of his late son, Justin, and he felt for the kid since he had nowhere to go and no one to lean on. It’s not exactly all that shocking that an Intelligence member connected with someone on the case as we previously saw Burgess and Ruzek adopt Makayla after her parents were brutally murdered, however, it does sort of cross the line into getting too personally connected. Chapman seemed concerned with Voight’s decision, but only time will tell if he made the right one. 

If I had to wager a guess, I’d say Noah knows who his abuser is, but he’s not saying anything because he’s scared and traumatized since it’s someone that he cares about. Since we know the attack wasn’t random—and everyone who did come in contact with him explained that he didn’t have friends or make many connections with anyone—it has to be someone from home. Maybe someone like his brother or a friend whom he confided in. 

This is one of those lingering cases that we will revisit in future episodes, but it has so much promise. Voight’s seen a lot during his tenure in Chicago, but even he seemed completely shaken by what Noah endured. 

And will the series ever make any positive moves with Voight and Chapman? It’s clear that there’s something between them that goes beyond their workplace friendship. 

What did you think of the episode? Who do you think Noah’s attacker is?

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Chicago Med

Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 5 Review – I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You

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Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 5 Review - I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You

It was a rough shift for everyone on Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 5. The episode focused on plenty of heartbreaking cases, which naturally take a toll on the doctors who do their best for the patients who walk through their doors. 

One of the newest members of the team, Dr. Ripley, responded to help an elderly man suffering from hypothermia, who seemed disoriented and kept calling out for someone named “Betty.” While Alzheimer’s and dementia came to mind, especially due to Jimmy’s elderly age, a CT scan revealed something much more horrific: the patient was the victim of a lobotomy conducted at Med roughly 60 years ago. Ripley and Charles surmised that Jimmy was a problem child, so they took care of it by messing with his brain, not giving him a chance at a full life. Jimmy ventured to the hospital hoping to help his sister and caretaker, who took a fall at home, but by the time PD got an address, they were too late and she passed away due to natural causes. Ripley had to break the news to Jimmy, who, in his regressed state of mind, couldn’t understand what was happening—and it was gutwrenching to watch. Ripley felt so bad when he called social services, in fact, that he promised to visit Jimmy so that they could talk about Betty, knowing that the man had no one else looking out for him and was let down by his loved ones for so many years. 

The case also hit close to home for Ripley, who had disciplinary issues as a teen and who felt abandoned by those who should’ve helped him, something Dr. Charles apologized for when he was his psychologist. The nature of the relationship between these two remains one of the most compelling storylines this season.

Another newbie, Dr. Zola, tapped in Dr. Marcel when Alex’s parents brought him in with concerns over his very high heart rate. He ended up needing appendix surgery, but during the procedure, they found cancer before running into some trouble with one of the drugs they used to wake him up from his anesthesia, nearly killing the 14-year-old. Zola insisted that Med pull the medication immediately, but Crocket knew that it wasn’t that easy, and after he brought it up in one of the meetings, the board decided to keep it in rotation and make a case to the FDA. When Zola said she’d pursue it further, Crockett advised her to drop it, and with all the hot water she’s gotten herself in during her short time at Med, she should probably heed his advice for now—though I do anticipate we’ll see this storyline pop up down the line with everyone eventually agreeing that Zola’s instincts were right. 

Dr. Charles’ tough day also included getting his longtime friend, Bert, checked out at Sharon Goodwin’s request. Ever since Bert came into the ED after falling while watching his grandson, there have been concerns about cognitive decline, particularly since his family has a history of dementia. And since Bert is the kind of person who refuses to see a doctor, Goodwin had to get creative, though when they finally sat him down to have a chat about their concerns, he felt ambushed and bolted out. It’s scary to be told that there may be something happening with your memory, but the signs are all there and it’s important to get ahead of it. Eventually, he came around to the idea, agreeing to get further tests if it gets Sharon off of his back.

Dr. Asher took on a patient brought in by Dr. Johsnon (you know I’m happy to see him coming around more often). The couple’s dream pregnancy turned into a nightmare when the woman’s water broke at 15 weeks and the doctors refused to do a D&C for fear of legal repercussions. Instead, they sent her away and kept telling the husband that the situation wasn’t an emergency as she carried a dead fetus and developed an infection. Eventually, he trekked from his rural home to Chicago to seek out help before it was too late—and by that point, the woman had gone into septic shock. It was touch and go there as Asher tried to save the woman’s uterus while also preventing her from hemorrhaging out during the operation. Everything ended up just fine, all things considered, with the couple candidly exploring future options for their family that they were both comfortable with. Without fully touching upon the complexities of the current laws surrounding pregnancies and miscarriages, Chicago Med showed the dangers of laws that work against women, their choices, and their safety.

And finally, Dr. Archer was unable to save a patient that his son brought into the ED who was having shortness of breath. Sean, who is a counselor at a rehab facility, put all of his faith in his father, but sometimes, things are simply out of everyone’s control, which was hard for him to accept as he was full of hope and positivity, trying to help people with their second chance at life. While it’s unclear what caused Damon’s fluid in the lungs, it may have been caused by persistent drug use, which led to heart failure, and meant he was too far gone to be saved. I’m just hoping that Damon’s death doesn’t send Sean off the deep end or make him second-guess his career path—it’s just a reminder that life doesn’t always work out the way you want or expect it too. 

Maggie assisted Dr. Johnson throughout his visit, all while getting her divorce papers officially notarized. When the moment finally came, it was nice to see her get the support of Asher and Zola, while also acknowledging that she has an interest in Johnson… when she’s finally ready to get back out there again. 

What did you think of the episode? Did it pull on your heartstrings?

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Chicago P.D

Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 5 Review – Split-Second

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Is 'Chicago PD' New Tonight? Everything We Know About Season 11 Episode 5

Atwater does it again, but that’s really no surprise. Kevin Atwater episodes of Chicago PD are consistently the strongest—delivering complex issues, a riveting performance, and making us all question why LaRoyce Hawkins isn’t allowed to take the wheel more often. 

And would it kill them to give him a love interest so he doesn’t have to carry this burden all on his own?

On Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 5, Atwater responded to a robbery in progress on Jeweler’s Row, but the situation quickly escalated as the robbers proved to be dangerous and careless, firing shots that killed the store owner and hit an innocent bystander, who ended up bleeding out to death.

The moment was one that haunted Atwater for much of the episode, as the wife of Corey, who was trapped between the safety door, blamed Atwater for making a conscious choice to try to save the owner over her husband. 

And she’s not wrong—Atwater went to check on the other man, allowing the impenetrable doors to close, preventing him from rendering life-saving aid to Corey. 

He was filled with instant regret knowing that his choices could’ve made a difference, and while we know that it’s simply Atwater’s personality to want to take accountability, the case showed that sometimes, despite our best efforts, we can’t change the outcome. And we can’t save everyone. 

It wasn’t stated in the episode—and Atwater said time and time again that he didn’t know why he chose to check on the owner instead of Corey—but my guess is that he didn’t imagine that the doors would be impossible to break through. He likely also felt that the injuries of the owner may have been more extensive than Corey’s, and felt the need to prioritize helping him. 

At the end of the day, he followed his gut in a split-second, trying to make the best decisions for everyone, and there’s not much more you can ask for when it comes to the person responding to a critical situation. 

He went back to the scene of the crime, retracing his steps an replaying the situation over and over in his brain, making himself feel guiltier, particularly when he found the keys under the shattered glass, which could have bought Corey the necessary time until the paramedics arrived, but that’s all hindsight and doesn’t change what happened. Atwater can learn from it, but he needs to let himself move on for his mental health, especially as Voight pointed out that there is no handbook on who you should save first. 

Atwater’s regret aside, the episode was action-packed as they tried to identify the two robbers, who were leaving behind a trail of victims during their heists. The key person to helping them make a break in the case was Teresa. They knew she saw one of the suspects as there was video footage of her looking him in the face before he put his mask on, but when confronted, Teresa insisted that there was a “glare” and she saw nothing.

Considering the suspects took off with every victim’s driver’s license, I’m not surprised Teresa chose to stay quiet as she feared retaliation against her family. She already lost her husband, and she didn’t want to put her husband in harm’s way. 

While Voight’s tactics of pushing her to talk or charging her with obstruction of justice may have seemed harsh, it was necessary to motivate her to help them make a break in the case. (I’ll be honest, I first thought that Teresa was keeping the suspect’s identity a secret because it was someone she knew/someone connected to her son, so I was glad that wasn’t the case.) 

But the sad reality is that even if she hadn’t identified the suspect, they could’ve still come for her to silence her since they knew that she saw one of their faces, which is exactly what happened. They didn’t care if she sold them out—if she could, she needed to be taken care of. Working with the police and giving them what they needed sooner may have ensured her safety as they could’ve caught the bad guys, but I’m also not surprised that there’s a distrust of police, in general, but also specifically for Teresa.

Teresa felt betrayed by Atwater since he didn’t save her husband—it’s all she could focus on. Not to mention that even though Atwater told her that they would have units watching her house until the bad guys were caught, he couldn’t guarantee her safety as the moment one of the suspects broke into her home, no one was stationed outside of her home because they were switching shifts. They dropped the ball, and if it wasn’t for Atwater’s quick thinking, it could’ve cost her and her son their lives. 

Atwater went above and beyond on the case, as he felt a sense of responsibility to the family, but he also found himself with conflicting emotions after he shot Aiden and asked Teresa for assistance with putting pressure on the wound, which she refused to do because “he didn’t deserve to live while her husband died.”

And, quite honestly, as a victim who is grieving a major loss and feels betrayed, I totally get where she’s coming from. This is a man who killed her husband and who broke into her home to kill her and her child without a second thought. If Atwater wasn’t there, he wouldn’t have shown her any mercy, so why did she have to take the high road in this case? 

On the other hand, Atwater is not in a position to pick and choose who he saves. He has sworn to serve and protect—so while he stopped the suspect from hurting someone else, he also has to render aid and do everything to prevent the suspect from dying. Atwater did his job, even if the outcome wasn’t fair. And honestly, when is life ever fair? 

As we’ve seen time and time again on Chicago PD, there are many inner struggles that come with being a cop, and no one feels guilter, harbors more regret, or is harder on themselves than the cops that find themselves in those tricky situations, toeing the line between right, wrong, and necessary. 

Thankfully for all of us, Atwater has always excelled in those storylines, rising to the occasion every single time. 

What did you think of the episode? 

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