Thursday, October 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Place' - Tahani Hopes to Step Up as the Experiment Grows More Complicated in 'Employee of the Bearimy'

NBC's The Good Place - Episode 4.05 "Employee of the Bearimy"

Michael and Jason hatch a plan. Eleanor learns firsthand the difficulties of running the neighborhood.

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.

"Employee of the Bearimy" was written by Joe Mande and directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller

It's never too late to embrace something new. That's the overwhelming message of this episode. Tahani wants to feel as if she is contributing more to the afterlife than what she was known for doing on Earth. She looks at Eleanor with slight envy. She is the scrappy survivor who is making this new neighborhood experiment work. Right now, everything is in turmoil and chaos because of the reveal that Bad Janet has been disrupting every single plan. The neighborhood can no longer rely on Janet in order to make their lives better in the afterlife. Eleanor is capable of spinning a tale in which the system is down for maintenance and the citizens of the neighborhood must embrace the simplicities of life once more. She can certainly make it seem like some philosophical notion of greater meaning. It's mostly just her flailing around trying to keep the experiment viable until Michael and Jason return with Janet. That is a perilous mission though. They may never return. The last time the gang went to the Bad Place it was a chaotic adventure where not everyone was promised to get out of there alive. Michael was willing to sacrifice himself for his friends. And now, Michael and Jason return because Janet needs to be rescued. She is just as vital a member of the team as any of the humans. Right now, Derek is struggling to keep everything functional in the neighborhood. There is no guarantee that him rebooting himself once more will suddenly make things better. It may only make things more suspicious if one of the actual humans happens to note that the town's citizens are suddenly dead on the street. But again, Eleanor is more than capable of adjusting to the situation on the fly while still making it seem like Chidi is evolving in the afterlife. He would much rather spend his time at home reading. That is where he is comfortable. He can certainly be comfortable at the lake house as well. He doesn't have to go swimming or water skiing. He just has to be willing to surround himself with new people and the hope that something beautiful and new could be right around the corner. He can't simply let his fears dictate his actions. Tahani holds onto this ambition as well. She wants to believe she is reliable for more than throwing parties. Eleanor sees that as a valuable tool because it forces connection amongst the humans. In order for this experiment to work, the humans need to be interacting with and having a positive influence on each other. It's questionable whether or not that is actually happening. It may seem like the only significant change is that Chidi and Simone are happy as a couple once more. John and Brent are still basically the same. But again, even a little bit of progress can prove wondrous to the results of the experiment. Tahani has that desire to do something different. She has the support of her friend right now as well. Eleanor may not like the timing of this existential crisis. However, she understands what Tahani is feeling and will be supportive of her no matter what she tries next. Meanwhile, it's rewarding to see how easy it actually is for Michael and Jason to break into the Bad Place and free Janet. Sure, it comes with a reminder of what Michael used to be. He wants to spread his message that demons aren't beyond redemption. They too can hope for something more out of their lives in the afterlife. And yet, it ultimately boils down to him having to use the weapon that can kill demons in order to make it to freedom. That may be an awkward moral dilemma in the grand scheme of things. But it's such a blessing to see Michael, Janet and Jason together again. The obstacle that Janet creates to hinder the Bad Place may not last for long. This threat is bound to rear its head again at some point. But right now, the victories are what's important. The friendships continue to evolve and show just how beautiful humanity can become when given the tools to succeed.