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

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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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The Bold Type

The Bold Type Review- Big Wins For All (5×05)

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Jacqueline and Jane on The Bold Type Season 5 Episode 5

The penultimate episode of The Bold Type Season 5 Episode 5 left big wins for all, some personal and some professional. Yet successful all the same.

Jane’s left to run Scarlett by herself as Jacqueline enjoys the vacation time she most certainly deserves. She’s put her entire life into building up an incredibly successful company and now she gets to watch her star employee take control.

Although a difficult decision, Jacqueline’s ready to begin writing the next chapter in her life: retirement. No matter how unrealistic Jane’s promotion to editor-in-chief after only four years at the company is, it’s also empowering.

The show’s focus on female leadership is a breath of fresh air and important in mainstream media to portray women at the top. Especially in media, where it’s totally overrun by men, young women need to see themselves represented on screen.

Jacqueline and Jane on The Bold Type Season 5 Episode 5

Jacqueline and Jane on The Bold Type Season 5 Episode 5. (Freeform/Jonathan Wenk)

Of course, with its flaws. Jane’s rudely awoken to the reality of the number of meetings the editor-in-chief is required to sit through. But, she’s aspired to uphold Jacqueline’s legacy for so long, so she welcomes the challenge with open arms.

Meanwhile, Sutton started therapy and admits that the reason she drinks is to numb the pain.

Just as she’s making a breakthrough, the one and only Richard calls asking to meet to sign the divorce papers.

First of all, a fancy meal to sign divorce papers? Ouch.

Initially, seeing Richard made me angry for Sutton. All the pain he’s put her through, and then he has the audacity to casually sit across her smiling like nothing’s hurting him.

Richard on The Bold Type

Richard on the phone on The Bold Type. (Freeform/Jonathan Wenk)

But, once he opens up about his choice to adopt as a single man, the anger went away. Just like that, Sutton’s reminded of the biggest reason they didn’t work out and it looks like she’ll be able to walk away from him knowing that she means just as much to him as he means to her.

I’m happy they finalized the divorce on paper before they enjoyed one last rendezvous together. It was good to see Richard because it would’ve been a cheap blow for them not to bring him back one last time.

While Richard and Sutton are hopefully not getting back together, Kat and Adena very much looked like they’re going to get back together!!

Yes, I squealed. But how could I not! Even Jacqueline said she was happy to see them back together. They had the proper break required for exes to forge their own path separately and to mature apart.

Kat and Adena on The Bold Type (5x05)

Kat and Adena stand together in the lobby on The Bold Type. (Freeform/Jonathan Wenk)

The way Adena looked so longingly at Kat every time they were together was true love. And I agree Kat’s a better version of herself when she’s with Adena. She just needed some time apart to realize that.

Also, a round of applause for Kat’s new venture. She’s rehired! It wouldn’t feel right for Kat to not work her way back to Scarlet. It’s true, the trio will one day run the company.  However, for now, Kat will run her very own mini-company.

With the women set up for success, this episode set the groundwork for next week’s final episode. I’m not ready. Please don’t make me! I’ll just be crying in the corner. So, why don’t you leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Stray Musings:

  • Can I just say, the classic slow pull away that Kat and Adena exhibited really showed the chemistry between Nikohl and Aisha. That’s one thing I’d like to give props to this show for, its chemistry. The three leads have a beautiful friendship on-screen, it’d be hard to believe it wasn’t the same off-screen.
  • Jacqueline’s hair this episode–flawless, not a single strand was out of place. Whoever does her hair and costuming, please come to my house?
  • Poor Andrew, left in the dust. His jealousy of Jane is so apparent. Maybe he’ll get promoted, Jane already relies on him as much as Jacqueline does!
  • Richard’s aged beautifully, there I said it. He’s a silver fox, giving me soft Grey’s Anatomy McSteamy vibes.


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Loki

Loki Review – A Moon On The Brink (1×03)

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Loki Lamentis Review

The third episode of Loki has arrived, and we’re now starting to get into the meat of the show. The last episode left us when Loki escaped through a portal with Lady Loki, now we know where they ended up. Let’s dive in!

After all his longing to be free from the TVA, Lady Loki’s portal leads them…back to the TVA. Bit of a letdown for him.

Lady Loki, who we learn goes by Sylvie, has a plan that involves finding the Time-Keepers and fighting anyone who gets in her way. This includes Loki who shows up trying to propose they form a team. I mean I don’t know if I’d want to team up with someone who keeps trying to kill me, but that’s just me.

But, of course, Judge Renslayer appears with Minutemen, and Loki uses the TemPad to open another portal, which he and Sylvie escape through.

This is where the bulk of the episode really happens, on a moon called Lamentis-1 in 2077–in the middle of its destruction.

Throughout the episode, we learn a lot of kernels of information about Sylvie and her mission against the TVA.

Like the fact, they have different powers. Loki, as we know, can change his appearance, and hide things through magic–like the TemPad that needs recharging so they can escape. Whereas Sylvie’s power is more about enchanting people’s minds to retrieve information.

I kind of feel like she has the cooler power because being able to get inside people’s minds? Very useful. I mean Loki turning into people is sweet too, but he can’t also access their memories so it’s not ideal.

Loki seems particularly interested in her power, asking for clarity about how it works multiple times in the episode. But she finally breaks it down for him, and in the process, we get some vital information!

My prediction from episode 2, about something being off at the TVA was correct. I won’t brag, don’t worry. We learn the Minuteman she enchanted, Hunter C-20, had memories of an Earth life before the TVA.

So the Time-Keepers didn’t create everyone. In fact, everyone at the TVA is a variant. The lies! And no one at the TVA even knows! Their previous memories are clouded. Which begs the question: What is going on?!

I have a feeling that Judge Renslayer knows more than others at the TVA, and I hope that gets revealed soon. I’ll give Mobius a pass because he seems like a true naive believer, and everyone else seems equally indoctrinated.

Sylvie kinda supports this theory by referring to the TVA as “oppressive time police”. Oppressive as in they intentionally keep the timeline the same? The “Sacred Timeline” has always felt a bit grand and cheesy. Maybe it can be changed. Maybe. We’ll find out.

But besides the vital information Sylvie is pumping out, this episode heavily develops the relationship of the two Loki’s.

Of course, they start by fighting each other, but by the end of the episode, they’re fighting side by side trying to get off Lamentis-1.

This journey totally gets them on the same page as they try to recharge the TemPad. Nothing like impending death to make everyone get along.

But my gosh they have the worst luck. Every single plan keeps unraveling!

Need a power source? Use the ship leaving. Can’t get on the train to the ship? Use your powers. Thrown off the train for being drunk and blowing your cover and in the process break the TemPad? Try and hi-jack the ship. But of course! The moon is being bombarded by flaming rocks! So the ship gets destroyed.

Not looking good for these two. They better hope that the TVA find where they are so they can be rescued. They’ll definitely be arrested, but hey, you’ll be alive.

We’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out, but we KNOW they’ll survive because otherwise…there’s no show.

Other key moments? Just in time for Pride Month, we finally got a major confirmation of Loki’s bisexuality. I feel like they’ve alluded to it throughout the movies, and it’s in the comic books, so it only makes sense to come all the way out with it.

Also, Sylvie and Loki are adopted, but unlike him, she doesn’t really remember her mom. So they have overlapping life events but not everything is exactly the same. So what makes a Loki a “Loki”? If she’s not a God, then what makes them the same? Besides an affinity for green?

They definitely share a passion for trickery (although she seems to lean into violence easier) as she tried to get the TemPad from Loki multiple times. So can she be trusted? I feel like her mission’s driven by a deeply personal reason, so if it’s in danger of failing, she may betray Loki.

And he may betray her.

It’s hard to know because Tom Hiddleston does a good job of layering on the charm this episode. We get an overall more fun Loki instead of a tortured and broody one. Instead, Sylvie is the serious one dedicated to her mission. But this episode does a good job of pushing and pulling them together and apart. Who knows where they’ll end up in their–relationship? Friendship? Partnership?

Hopefully off this crumbling moon.

I personally can’t wait for next week’s episode, because I need answers! What do you think will happen with these two?


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Superman & Lois

Superman & Lois Review – Fire and Ice (1×11)

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Superman & Lois Review A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events Season 1 Episode 11

John’s prophecy is coming true after all. 

Episodes focused on origin stories are typically boring (especially since we know how they pan out), but there was nothing wasted about this one.

Not only was Clark and Lois’s meet-cute interesting in itself, but it also tied into the broader storyline involving Superman’s brother, Morgan Edge, and his desire for world domination. 

On Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 11, Edge followed a weekend Superman to the Fortress of Solitude where he tapped into his memories in hopes of understanding why he would turn his back on a Kryptonian brother. 

What he found was that Superman had a family of his own… a human family. 

And well, Edge wasn’t too fond of that. 

In my previous Superman & Lois reviews, I stated that I didn’t think that this world’s Superman would ever turn into the Dark Superman that John warned about, but that was clearly before Edge threatened Clark’s family and to expose his secret to the world. 

Superman & Lois Review A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events Season 1 Episode 11

Superman & Lois — “A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events” — Image Number: SML111fg_0046r.jpg — Pictured: Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Clark would sacrifice himself before he’d let anything happen to his wife and children. 

And right about now, it’s really good that the DOD has weapons that can neutralize Kryptonians because if what happened on John’s planet happens on this planet, they’re going to need some serious reinforcements. 

Clark submitted to Edge and was taken to Edge’s Fortress — located in the desert rather than in the icy arctic (a clear tell of their polar opposite personalities) — where his father began the processing of breaking him down and essentially turning him into a soulless villain just like Edge.

A quick glimpse at Edge’s relationship with his father and it’s obvious he’s been conditioned to see the negative in everything since day one.

He believes that Superman had a chance to be a man of greatness and chose to be less, but his definition of less clearly differs widely from Clark’s. 

And it does seem like there’s a part of him that envies all that Superman was able to achieve on this planet. They were both given the same opportunities, and while Superman chose to make the best of his new life while carrying on the legacy of Krypton to do good and become a champion of the humans, while Edge grew up and chose violence.

I would hope that Superman won’t be as easily broken as Edge and his father believe — after all, he has a link to his humanity in the twins and Lois, so I can see him clinging to that. 

The DOD and John are going to play a huge role in stopping Dark Superman and Edge, but I also think this is where Jordan’s powers are going to come into play. 

He’s going to need to step up and be the hero his family needs while his father is gone. Unfortunately, that means he’s going to have to hone in on his powers all on his own now that Edge destroyed the Fortress and Jor-El’s hologram. 

All of this comes at a time when Smallville needs Superman more than ever as the locals are reeling from Edge’s attack.

If Kyle is any indication, the others who were “body-snatched” are likely very disoriented by recent events. And he actually knows the full extent of what happened. 

This incident has rehabilitated Kyle’s character as he apologized to Lois for pushing her aside and deeming her the villain while putting Edge on a pedestal.

Kyle may be a solid guy after all. 

Will he and Lana return the favor and help the Kent family in their time of need?

Also, how will everything affect Jordan and Sarah’s relationship? They finally made it official — Sarah made the first move! — but it came after she thanked the twins for being honest with her no matter what. 

While Jonathan was honest with her about what was going on with her father, Jordan is still keeping his alien abilities a secret. 

Will she find out about them with the emergence of Dark Superman?

What did you think of the episode? Are you excited to see what happens when Superman turns into the enemy? Will Clark be able to fight it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below! We’ll see you back here on July 13! 


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