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TV Reviews

The Good Place Review – The New Afterlife (4×11)

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Mondays, Am I Right?" Episode 411-- Pictured: (l-r) Manny Jacinto as Jason, William Jackson Harper as Chidi -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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“Mondays, Am I Right?” starts and completes the human’s new afterlife plan. Michael and Shawn begin working together, Vicky and insecure Chidi return, and Janet reveals her dirtiest secret.

The return of insecure Chidi is a little surprising, since he seemed so fully transformed in the previous episode. I feel like this storyline maybe should have happened earlier in this season, but that wasn’t feasible due to Chidi’s erased memories. At worst, it felt like a regression of his character, but on the better side, it reminds us that the Chidi we’ve spent the last four seasons with is still in there and still has fears. Just because Chidi is his “best self” doesn’t mean he’s his “perfect” self, and he shouldn’t be. Nobody is perfect and we all have fears.

Jason, on the other hand, proves his worth by knocking some sense back into Chidi. Jason (for probably the first time in the series) slightly grated on my nerves last week, as he played no major part in creating the new afterlife system and his dimwittedness actively interrupted their planning. He seemed prepped to continue on this track at the start of “Mondays, Am I Right?” when he is helping Eleanor and Chidi sort out good people. He quickly names the Kool-Aid Man a top person (which isn’t necessarily a wrong choice), and then leaves Eleanor and Chidi to do all the work.

Instead of being superfluous, though, Jason gets to not just help Chidi with sound advice, but show genuine irritation at everyone’s assumption that he’s a total idiot. I really wish he would have been a more integral part of the creation of their new system because this moment would have landed even better, but as it stands, his reference to Romeo and Juliet and the offense he takes to Chidi being shocked he read it reminds us that Jason is a product of his environment and not necessarily just a dope.

Tahani hasn’t had much to do this season, but she gets a good showing this episode. Not only does she participate in the training of the demons, but her experience in swallowing her pride makes her a natural fit to encourage Michael to bring Vicky back. Her and Janet’s assumptions as to Michael’s motivations may have been wrong, but they display growth none the less. Janet’s growth comes from her admittance that asking for help is necessary sometimes, not because she ever had trouble asking for help, but because she’s grown human enough to realize that even she needs help sometimes. I can’t imagine what Alexa knows that Janet doesn’t, though.

Michael’s journey is the heart of this episode, and as it has in the past, parallels the show’s own journey. Michael, throughout the series, has been a demon with a purpose; whether that be torture, redeem, or save humans, he’s always had a task driving him forward.

With the completion of the new afterlife system, and having found someone who can run it better than he can (which is Vicky), he’s essentially out of tasks. He doesn’t know what his purpose moving forward will be, and the purposelessness scares him. What’s eternity mean if you’re doing nothing with it, anyway?

I don’t know. Not even Janet knows. But Michael does the right thing and places Vicky in charge, sacrificing his purpose for the betterment of all humans.

The rock has been pushed up the hill. By Michael, yes, but by The Good Place as well. “Mondays, Am I Right?” basically completes the show’s storyline, but we still have two episodes left.

So what’s next?

The team ends the episode sailing upwards towards the real Good Place, and having completed the overhaul of the afterlife, there seems to be no goal left for them to chase after. So some sort of conflict must arise once they get there.

“Mondays, Am I Right?” will be difficult to have a fully formed opinion on until that new conflict starts. The episode seems underwhelming, but its position in the narrative implies that this isn’t the endgame, and therefore it will be naturally underwhelming so close to an unknown finale. What sort of conflict will this system lead to? Will it end up not working? Will it continue to work perfectly and the final storyline only be tangentially related?

The other reason it feels underwhelming is it doesn’t lead anywhere. There is no implied next chapter within the episode. All there is is Janet telling Michael that he’ll just have to find out what is next. Once again, Michael’s journey reflects the show.

The fate of humanity may be solved, but what is next on The Good Place will determine the fate of this series. Until we can see where it goes, my understanding of this episode’s design is limited.

I’m optimistic, though.

Other Musings:

  • “It’s the way it’s always been done” is my least favorite reason for anything.
  • Vicky’s use here pleased me. I don’t know why, since I don’t feel she ever did anything to deserve getting her dream of being in charge, but it seems as though she chilled out once she felt someone trusted her. Maybe that’s just me trying to find a reason I liked her here.
  • 1.28 Jeremy Bearimy later, so we have zero idea of how much time passed.
  • The golden balloon is back!
  • FOLES!!!


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This Is Us

This Is Us Series Finale Review – The End (6×18)

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This Is Us Series Finale Review Us Season 6 Episode 18

If you feel sad that it’s over, well, that’s how you know it was incredible when it was happening. Truer words have never been spoken. 

This Is Us aired its final episode ever —  I’m still letting the fact sink in that there will never be any new episodes.

Dan Fogelman and the team teased that the series finale would be a “big hug” to fans, but I’m going to need Jack Pearson to hold me a little bit longer and a bit tighter after that episode. 

The finale was centered around a depressing day — Rebecca’s funeral — and while it was definitely a sad moment with the series coming to an end, there was also an uplifting spirit throughout the hour as the series tapped into those flashbacks that resonated so deeply with fans. The flashbacks to when the Big Three were kids were reminiscent of the vibe in season one where we were just beginning to understand the complexities of the family dynamic.

Some might say the episode was uneventful after the penultimate episode on the train, but there was beauty in the simplicity because it was filled with so much love from start to finish. 

As the adult Big Three said goodbye to their mother, the feelings they felt mirrored what fans were feeling after six wonderful years of getting to know the Pearson clan inch by inch. 

And at the end of the day, with both Jack and Rebecca gone, the siblings only had each other. 

Kate questioned whether they would “drift,” but it’s almost comical that she even thinks that’s a possibility at this point in time. Those three as so very much intertwined that they could never drift too far without throwing each other a life raft. 

Kate’s quote “as long as I know where you are, I always know where I’m going” described their relationship to a tee. They have all carved different paths for themselves, but their childhood continues to play such a big role in their lives.

As Randall reveals, when he thinks about his family, he sees his parents and his siblings instead of his wife and children. Their connection is so profound that it can survive anything. 

The penultimate episode was so epic and emotional that it could’ve served as the series finale, but though Rebecca was the matriarch, it was always about the Big Three and the generations to come, which is why I’m glad that despite being the setting of the episode, Rebecca’s funeral wasn’t the sole focus. 

The dialogue at her funeral, including Kate’s song and Randall’s eulogy, was inaudible because we didn’t need to hear what they had to say — we’ve been on this journey with them, and we carry Rebecca in our hearts.

If you took anything away from this episode, it’s the gentle reminder to live in the moment and embrace the present because it’s all too fleeting. 

The flashback scenes to Rebecca’s carefree Saturday underscored just how quickly time passes by, and just how much we all yearn to grow up and worry about the future. 

Time is a thief, and you end up reaching a certain point in life where you’d love to just slow it down.

This Is Us has always delivered the lessons we never knew we needed, and we saw Jack teaching his children those valuable lessons even before they were ready to hear or process them. 

He urged young Kevin and Randall not to rush the growing-up process as he taught them to shave for the first time, and while they were just too jazzed about being “grown,” on some level, they definitely understood what he meant at some point.

It was Kate who had it all figured out and basked in the joys of being a kid. She wanted to spend time with the family, play games, and watch movies. Kate may have had plenty of issues with herself, and though she may have been a late bloomer, she was always the most aware. She knew these were the good days that she could never get back, so she helped facilitate so many of those key memories for the boys.

I sometimes wonder how she would’ve turned out if Jack was alive for her formative teenage years since he was her biggest supporter and cheerleader. 

Also, someone should really tell these kids adult life isn’t all it’s cracked out to be. 

But adult life isn’t without the good moments either. Even on a terrible day, Randall couldn’t contain his excitement about becoming a grandfather. 

When Deja told him it was going to be a boy, Randall, who has only been surrounded by women throughout his life, even did a happy dance. 

And then Deja hit us in the feels when she revealed that she and Malik wanted to name the boy William. She may not have known her grandfather, but he made a huge impact on her life. The moment was only made sweeter with a scene featuring William, right before his death, as he raves about the unconditional love he feels for his granddaughters and wonders what kind of impact he’ll have on them in the short time he’s a part of their lives. 

Oh, William, if you only knew. 

There were some stellar scenes, including the back-to-back montage of multiple generations swinging their children in a swing. It may be a simple activity, but it’s a tether connecting all of them through fond memories that they will all cherish for years to come. 

I’m not entirely content with the fact that the future remains slightly abstract for the Big Three and their families. It’s almost like a fill in the blanks for audiences, which feels strange considering how invested we are in their stories. Sure, we’ve gotten glimpses of adult Jack, Kate and Toby’s son, but why haven’t we seen Haley as an adult again?

Why can’t we get a peek into Randall’s life as a grandfather? Or anything with Kevin and Sophie?

Or maybe even some big family Thanksgiving down the line that assures us that the Big Three never drifted and remained closer than ever following their mother’s death? I’d like to see Kate, Kevin, and Randall in their 60s or 70s! 

I know they revealed how they will be living their lives fearlessly to honor their mother, but it just feels like we were slightly robbed of seeing it come to fruition. 

There was even a brief mention of Randall considering a run for president, but we’ll never know what came of it. 

Much of the focus remained on the Big Three in the finale, but there were some stellar final scenes between some beloved characters. 

KaToby had a whirlwind relationship, but their final words to each other included an “I love you” and an acknowledgment that they had a really great thing going for a while. Despite being divorced, there was nothing awkward about their interaction because their relationship was so real and raw through the years. 

Beth also proved that she’s the MVP with a final game of “worst-case scenario” where she envisioned Randall renting an RV to visit his parent’s graves across the U.S. It was absolutely hilarious — she never misses a beat, even ahead of a funeral. 

The series has a sweet spot for full-circle moments, and there’s nothing more moving than the whole family playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, a game the Big Three played as children, following Rebecca’s funeral. 

This Is Us Series Finale Review Us Season 6 Episode 18

THIS IS US — “Us” Episode 618 — Pictured: (l-r) Iyana Halley Annie, Iantha Richardson as Tess, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Justin Hartley as Kevin, Alexandra Breckenridge as Sophie — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Rebecca and Jack did good — his words, not mine — as they raised three very incredible children who now have incredible families of their own. 

I didn’t expect to see Jack and Rebecca in the “afterlife” of sorts, but I’m glad we got a little more from them following the reunion on the train. 

She clued him into her fears about passing and leaving the children, but he assured her that she wouldn’t.  He was speaking metaphorically because the family game proved that Rebecca left an indelible mark on them; They will carry her, the memories, and the lessons she taught them until their very last breaths. 

And it seems as though Jack is acknowledging that he’s been with them this entire time watching over them, which is beautiful and reassuring.

It’s also reassuring that Bec wasn’t alone in her final moments — Jack was there to hold her and guide her into a new phase in her life. 

The cherry on top was the final moment of Jack looking at his adopted son, a young Randall, while adult Randall looks at his adopted daughter, Deja. 

It’s rare that you get a full picture spanning multiple generations, but it provided audiences with so many touching moments that always, in some shape or form, relate to their own lives. 

We’ve been blessed to have a front-row seat to the Pearson’s story, and what a journey about life, love, and loss it has been. 

There wasn’t a grand exit because life isn’t like that. It’s a collection of little moments (like teaching your sons to shave) that make us, us. And it has been the small, intimate moments that have made this show so relatable and heartfelt. It’s quite a thing, isn’t it?

Thank you to everyone that made this show possible. Thank you for reading my reviews weekly for six years. 

And if you ever need some inspiration, you’ll always have the re-runs to help you through it. 

Remember to appreciate everything that’s happening in real time instead of worrying about when it will end. Every song ends, but it’s no reason not to enjoy the music. 

What did you think of the This Is Us Series Finale? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


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Riverdale

Riverdale Review – Things That Go Bump in the Night (6×15)

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Riverdale review Things That Go Bump In The Night Season 6 Episode 15

Saving Riverdale goes hand-in-hand with saving Pop’s. The friendly neighborhood ghosts ensured that Tabitha Tate was well aware of that on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 15. 

As the small but mighty town prepares for a full-on good versus evil with Percival Pickens at the helm of the bad team, Tabitha attempted to salvage her family’s business first and foremost.

But every time they tore down Pop’s iconic facade, something went awry. When she saw a ghostly flashback, she tapped Cheryl and Heather, a self-proclaimed witch schooled by a coven in Greendale (hmm sound familiar) for help communicating with the spirit. It was then that she clued into the fact that the diner has been a refuge not only for the living but also for the dead, who were also very much aware of Percival’s plans.

Percival also knew that the spirits were standing in his way by bearing witness to the eldritch evil that they referred to as a ghost train.

It was complicated, even by Riverdale standards, but it confirms that Percival is some kind of evil entity that knows all too much. And the eldritch terrors, well, we’ve come across those in Greendale, so it’s a good thing that they have Heather on hand for intel and information.

The introduction of Heather also bridges the gap between Cheryl and the supernatural. She’s dabbled in it, but the fact that she’s a witch has never been established out loud until now. Heather’s confession about herself prompted Cheryl to be very open about her involvement in the supernatural. Cheryl has pretty much been guiding her powers of pyrokinesis all on her own — sans a few texts from her robust library — so it’ll be nice to have a guide who can help her lean into those powers. 

And, of course, Heather is a librarian, so she’ll be able to lend a hand with Cheryl’s idea of expanding Thornhill into a local library. After all, plenty of people already use the location as a source of information. 

Am I shipping Heather and Cheryl? I’m not convinced just yet, but maybe it’s because I’m still holding out hope — like many fans — that a Choni reunion is coming. However, I do think that Heather and Cheryl’s interests align better than Choni’s ever have, so that’s an exciting shakeup. 

Toni has her hands full in her fight for custody of baby Anthony. She and Fangs are going up against Kevin, and since they are open “gangbangers,” there isn’t much working in their favor. But when the lawyer informed Toni that a healthy family front could persuade the judge, Toni decided to propose to Fangs despite being more and more aware that they aren’t soulmates.

As a mother, I totally understand where Toni is coming from. A mom would do anything for her child, and if that means she has to see eye to eye with Fangs and make him believe that they are destined to be together, so be it. 

Fangs is trying his best. I can’t say I agree with his choice to go work for Percival knowing the danger that he poses to the town, but his actions are coming from a place of love, just like Toni’s. He wants to be there for baby Anthony and provide for his family, and Percival’s offer is allowing him to do it. The idea seems to be that he’s selling his soul to take care of his loved ones, but it’s possible having a personal tether can keep him safe from any mind control. 

We should all be blaming Kevin for starting this mess to begin with. 

We rarely see Jughead and Veronica team up, but boy was it incredibly fun. Veronica came up with a brilliant plan to bring in more revenue to the casino and stick it to the shareholders that were doubting her. 

Listen, when you have a friend that can read minds, why not exploit it for profit? And thus, Forsythe the Fantastic — The Seer of the South Side was born. Everyone loves a good magic trick, and this act surely delivered.

And naturally, the haters wanted a piece as well. Reggie immediately hit up Veronica and attempted to blackmail her if she didn’t give him a cut of the profit. 

Reggie dangled the fact that Veronica ordered the hit on her father against her, which isn’t entirely fair considering he was only privy to that information on a personal level. 

Veronica wasn’t here for any of it, so she called up Jughead to see if his abilities extended to memory wipes as well. Sure enough, Jughead was eager to strengthen his powers, and before Reggie could even say “blackmail,” he forget exactly what he had against Veronica.

Unfortunately, he was aware that he lost a crucial bit of information, so he told Percival, who is now aware that Jughead’s powers are intensifying. 

And based on what went down with Frank and Archie, he’s also aware that Archie figured out a way to become invincible. 

Having Frank try to undercut Archie clearly underscores just how dangerous Percival’s manipulations are. Frank was always Archie’s biggest cheerleader, so there’s no way he would willingly try to sabotage his nephew’s business. And despite Archie’s best efforts, Frank wasn’t strong enough to use Fred’s memory as a tether.

Archie wouldn’t even know Frank was pulling a fast one on him if it wasn’t for Betty’s ability to see people’s auras. When Betty saw Frank glowing in a red hue, she knew that he wasn’t being truthful about his decision to call a truce. 

Betty tried to hone in on her abilities so that she could determine why she was able to see some dangerous auras and not others.

She confided in an FBI agent — Drake — who was definitely helpful, but her help was also slightly concerning. Why didn’t she question anything Betty was saying? Why did she ask Betty if she’s happy living with her boyfriend? It was strange. Why didn’t Betty see any red flags there?

Betty initially thought that her blindspot was anyone with the serial killer gene, but when she tested Dagwood and Juniper, she realized that one of the twins had the gene, but it wasn’t the one glowing in red. I’m glad they are incorporating the twins into the mystery, but I truly don’t want them to be the inhabitants of evil. And I’m really glad Betty saved that cat before Butterscotch met the same fate as Caramel.

Alice dug into Betty when she realized she took the twins from her, and her tirade ended with her informing Betty that she was the villain and has always been bad. 

Betty definitely seemed shocked and hurt by the outburst, but it was also leaning into her own biggest fear as she saw a red aura around herself in the mirror. 

Who does Betty pose a threat to? Herself? Her loved ones? Juniper and Dagwood? The town? And does Drake know more than she’s letting onto?

Overall, it was an intense night of Riverdale that laid a lot of the groundwork for the final battle. 

It’s pretty clear that Percival is going to come for Veronica and Jughead for their little “act,” and will likely take a stab at Pop’s new setup at the El Royale, but if they keep being one step ahead of him and keeping him on his toes, maybe they have a shot at winning this after all?

What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


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Dynasty

Dynasty Review – There’s No Need to Panic (5×12)

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Dynasty Review There's No Need to Panic Season 5 Episode 12

Only Alexis would design a panic room equipped with a tanning bed and a 25k wine fridge that didn’t actually have the capability to send an SOS during an emergency. 

On Dynasty Season 5 Episode 12, Alexis was targeted by robbers because of her social media posts, which allowed her to spend some quality time with Fallon. 

The two didn’t see eye-to-eye for much of the time spent inside the panic room, but they eventually poured their hearts out to each other before the housekeeper arrived to reset the power and let them out. 

Fallon was feeling extra prickly about the whole situation because she thought she was pregnant. She kept questioning why her mother didn’t just give up the jewelry the robbers were after in order to buy their freedom, but what she failed to realize was that the ring had significance as her mother was going to use it to propose to Dex. 

It was actually heartbreaking to hear Alexis say that she was going to pop the question simply because she didn’t want to be abandoned and alone. 

Alexis isn’t the easiest person to deal with, but she deserves happiness. I loved that Fallon suggested that she reconsider the real reason behind her desire to marry Dex. At that age, you should only get married because you’re absolutely sure that you’ve found “the one.” No one has time for sham marriages. 

Fallon rarely gives her mother solid advice, but it was key to helping Alexis determine her worth. 

When they were finally free, Alexis chose not to chase Dex to the airport, but, in a moment of fate, he waltzed through the door and plopped down on one knee. The timing was right — and for the right reasons. 

With The CW announcing Dynasty’s cancelation, the episode was pretty bittersweet. On one hand, it definitely seems like they are running out of storylines, but on the other hand, I’m hoping we get to see Alexis’s big day. 

Fallon confided in her mother about the potential pregnancy, but when she eventually made it to the doctor, she was told that it was a false positive. 

And that wasn’t the worst of it. The doctor informed Fallon that she wouldn’t be able to have children ever because of the scar tissue from where she got shot. 

Seeing how hard Fallon and Liam tried for a child, this isn’t the news they were hoping for. But all hope isn’t lost just yet — there are so many options nowadays, especially if you have the kind of money Fallon and Liam have. 

They could get a surrogate — Amanda or Kirby! — or they could adopt. If they are still dedicated to starting a family, there are plenty of options that would also make for a great storyline. 

Though, admittedly, it put a bit of a damper on a celebratory evening. 

At least Liam finally wrapped up his movie so he’ll be able to focus on expanding the family moving forward. 

We’ve seen Liam and Culhane work closely together ever since he took the job as a producer on the indie film, but I’ll be honest, the whole plot was pretty bland. 

I know men don’t talk, but I honestly don’t buy that either of them would still be triggered by something that happened years ago, even if they didn’t talk it out. 

Culhane has moved on from Fallon, and she’s happy with Liam, so there’s no point in bringing any of this up again. And as Culhane pointed out, Fallon wasn’t “stolen” from anyone, she’s always done exactly what she wanted and she ended up with the person she was meant to be with. 

The tension between Amanda and Adam was exciting at the beginning, but they are both going a little overboard. It’s clear that they don’t like each other, but they work at the same hospital, so they could at least tolerate each other instead of constantly wanting to pull one over the other. 

It’s so petty. I’d expect it from Adam, but I thought Amanda was above that kind of behavior. It sucks to see her get dragged down to that level. 

I am, however, enjoying the progression of her relationship with Kirby. Kirby hasn’t had the best luck in her dating life, but it seems that Amanda might be the real deal. 

Well, that is if she doesn’t keep pulling Kirby into her feud with Adam. It wasn’t fair of her to ask Kirby to spy on her ex-boyfriend. What an awkward position to put Kirby in! 

As for Cristal — she is finally owning her power and putting it to use. I love to see it. 

Cristal and Blake definitely exude power couple vibes, but it’s true that Blake is used to being the alpha; the superior one in the relationship. 

He likes to yield all the power when the truth is, Cristal is actually more powerful. She doesn’t need him to sign off on anything because she holds the. majority of the shares. Blake was definitely taken aback by her bold stance, but he didn’t seem to mind it. I think he’s very aware that Cristal has great instincts and he should trust them. Just imagine how great they could be if he treated her as his equal. 

What did you think of the episode? How are you holding up after finding out that Dynasty is coming to an end?


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