Thursday, October 17, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Place' - A Visitor to the Neighborhood Delivers a Major Accusation in 'Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy'

NBC's The Good Place - Episode 4.04 "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy"

Uncertainty abounds when an unexpected visitor arrives.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's The Good Place.

"Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy" was written by Cord Jefferson and directed by Morgan Sackett

The original human experiment was disrupted numerous times by the demons from the Bad Place. As such, it was always inevitable that Shawn would try his hardest to destroy the new human experiment. At first, he coordinated his efforts with Michael in order to torture humans in a new way. It didn't work. And now, he finds himself fighting against Eleanor and Team Cockroach as they insist that there is a better point system out there. That would ruin Shawn's ability and confidence to torture all of humanity for all eternity. That's how he has been operating for a long time. This is the greatest threat he has ever faced. And so, he was always going to find some way to disrupt the experiment and tamper with the results. The judge only ordered him and the Bad Place demons to pick out the four new humans for the experiment. That was the extent of their official role in the proceedings. That wasn't good enough because of what's at stake for them. The third season finale even introduced a new Michael suit. As such, that gave the impression that the demons may have found a new way to infiltrate the neighborhood. Sometimes all it takes is blending in through a familiar face. Eleanor has certainly been struggling as the architect of the neighborhood. Every idea doesn't work out exactly how she has planned. It has been months now and it still feels like she and the team are flailing around trying to improve the lives of Chidi, Simone, John and Brent. And now, the show reveals that they have been undermined every step of the way. Someone from the Bad Place is still operating in secret within the neighborhood. Chris blending in as Linda wasn't the extent of their bad intentions. Instead, it was merely the distraction in order to pull off a grander scheme. But that also introduces a meaningful conversation here. Are the demons beyond redemption themselves? Many of them have been presented as monstrous creations that solely want to torture humans. However, the narrative has proven that Michael has changed. He is firmly on Team Cockroach now and wants to save the human race. He is fully onboard with everything that Eleanor is doing. He trusts her completely. As such, it makes sense that he wouldn't be the only demon who may want something better in the afterlife. Glenn presents here as a potential ally because he comes with unsettling news. He declares that Michael is actually Vicky in disguise. She has been sabotaging the experiment from the start. It happened when the train came to pick up Chris. That's when the switch happened. Every confidence boost given to Eleanor by Michael may have been nothing more than a lie. A deception in order to guarantee the failure of this experiment. Glenn is coming forward now because he has always been treated so poorly by Shawn. His boss is cruel and mean. He doesn't condone the actions Shawn has been willing to take either. Glenn may end this episode as a pile of goo that will slowly have to reform. However, he comes with the idea that demons are like humans and are capable of change in the afterlife. That is a profound statement. It just comes with the major reveal that Janet is the one who has actually been disrupting the experiment. The Bad Place switched her out with a Bad Janet that has been rebooted enough times to be a good enough liar. That's how genius they have been. They sowed chaos very effectively. But it's also huge that Jason is the one who figures it all out. The audience probably heard it as well when he called her a girl and she didn't correct him. That rewards the history of the show and ensures that people have been learning and growing along the way. Sure, it creates a reality in which Eleanor and Tahani will have to man the neighborhood while Michael and Jason go to the Bad Place to retrieve Janet. Both stories have the potential of going awry. Eleanor doesn't want to inform the judge because of the fear of starting over again. She may get Chidi back as a result of that. But she also can't place her own desires above the fate of the entire human race. That too showcases maturity that may provide a solid sense of hope that everything will end in a powerful and uplifting way for these characters.