The group works to negotiate an afterlife plan with Shawn and the Judge.
- Genre: Comedy
- Network: NBC
- Air Date: Jan 9, 2020
- Directed By: Rebecca Asher
- Written By: Matthew Murray
- Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop
- Ted Danson as Michael
- William Jackson Harper as Chidi
- Jameela Jamil as Tahani
- D’Arcy Carden as Janet
- Manny Jacinto as Jianyu
What all is coming in Season 4 now?
The last time we left the Soul Squad, Chidi regained all of his memories and insight into the universe to boot – not bad! But time passes as the Judge searches for the Earth-cleansing Nutcracker, and in Season 4, Episode 10 of A Good Place, it’s time for the Soul Squad to stop branching and allow the afterlife.
What all is happening in episode 10 of season 4 of Good Place?
Janet follows the Judge in her hunt for an eraser through other Janets (I don’t know if that makes sense, but it did) in an attempt to stop Earth’s destruction.
In class, Chidi tells Eleanor that he loves her, surprising her with confidence, and sets to restore the afterlife. Chidi identifies excessive cruelty as the central problem of the current system: most people don’t commit the same cruelty that inevitably ends up living in the Bad Place. Michael proposes to create a permanent middle place where humanity, exceptionally bad or good, will spend eternity, but Sean wears a kibosh.
Eleanor tries to offer Sean what she thinks he wants: torture the Soul Squad in exchange for her deal. Sean says no again, so the team decides to go on their own terms, offering a fair system in the afterlife that will genuinely help humanity. The Judge understands that the Earth-Eraser is in our Janet and opens into her void. Janet drags the rest of the group behind her, and the Soul Squad presents their proposal to the Judge, Sean, and Timothy Olyphant.
Plan: In the new system, life on Earth will, as always, be judged by points, but life will not be the last test. Instead, the afterlife will serve as a testing ground for morality, which every person on Earth has struggled with.
They will have the same chance as Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason, who happened to be in the neighbourhood, an opportunity to improve. Another twist: failed testers review their failures with architects and then restart to try again, but with very vague memories of their past experiences leading to better moral decisions. Chidi and Janet are presented as examples of past experience and reset power.
The referee is impressed, but Sean swipes left again. The referee keeps looking for the clicker, but Michael doesn’t give up. He goes to Sean, admitting defeat. Sean panics; it turns out he knows the system is broken and relies on his hilarious war with Michael to keep him entertained.
Everyone gathers in the Judge’s office, and just before the Earth reboots, Michael announces that Sean has accepted. After Jason throws the clicker to celebrate, she asks what they need to do next.
“Oh, don’t look at me,” he says. “I’m just a guy with an idea.”
Even for a thesis-laden show about moral philosophy, episode 10 of season 4 of A Good Place is uncommonly straightforward in its prescription for metaphysical justice, the elusive goal Eleanor seeks in the afterlife. In keeping with the final act of this all too fleeting series, You Changed a Man lays the ethical cards on the table, revealing a firm (albeit incomplete) definition of goodness. The point is that, unlike much of A Good Place, this episode is not about human morality or practical ethics. In The Good Place season 4, episode 10 deals with the aftermath, reward or punishment for all of our perceived realities undertaken on Earth.
This puts “You’ve Changed, Man” not only in the realm of metaphysical theory but also in an overtly spiritual context that the show – for all its sympathy and brilliance – isn’t quite ready to dedicate. And fair enough, the point of A Good Place was never to discuss religion. But even eluding the spiritual corner of eternal justice, The Good Place season 4, episode 10 can’t help but stumble upon notions of intermediate morality (the Middle Place theorist) and a kind of purgatory experienced by renewed souls who don’t get better enough to get to a good place. Instead of direct spirituality, The Good Place does what it often does best: presents metaphors for the intangible ideas it tries to convey. In this case, Janet’s Judge’s journey through the parade of voids quietly replaces the larger question: How do we know this is real?
Without a spiritual background, the whole concept of the afterlife, and even more so dictated by human definitions of good and evil, is intensely shaky. This is a question to which there can be no single answer. When the Judge finally finds the general location of this nebulous thing, she is presented with more substantial uncertainties. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Soul Squad (and The Good Place) make their diagnosis of a righteous afterlife in the void or that “Timothy Olyphant” is there at the same time.
The appearance of Oliphant is, of course, a joke, but it is also Janet’s design, embodying the features of a fictional character. It is natural, or it may not be like the afterlife.
To counterbalance his most important idea is not so much philosophy as speculation, episode 10 of season 4 of A Good Place focuses on some emotional truths. Sean has a vital revelation moment – for him and Michael, the whole prospect of the end of reality is itself not entirely accurate. They, unlike humanity, will hold out – but it was this resistance that brought Sean to the point of compromise.
The only real thing for him right now is not the torture he loves to talk about, but Michael and the hilarious war between them. And sure enough, the new download of all of Chidi’s systems gave him the confidence that he and Eleanor love each other as a force of reality… just in time for Chidi to turn down the chance to make his last afterlife a reality.
It may not be significant. But with only three episodes left, it’s hard not to wonder if The Good Place’s romantic mainstay can handle all that its latest rehearsals cover.