'The Good Place' Season 4 Episode 10 Review: 'You've Changed, Man!' charts out a new plan for the afterlife
Spoiler alert for Episode 10 of ‘The Good Place’
The midseason hiatus for 'The Good Place' ended on a cliffhanger that left things in about as dire a situation as things could get.
The Judge (Maya Rudolph) is about to erase humanity and restart all of creation, and the only way to stop her is if the ever-indecisive Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper) figures out a whole new system for judging people in the afterlife. It turns out there's no cause for alarm — Chidi's got this.
When Michael (Ted Danson) restored Chidi's memories, Chidi got back ALL of them — including the eight hundred or so timelines he went through in Season 2 (not to mention the time knife).
The Chidi in the show is a man who has lived hundreds of lives and has spent all of them in the pursuit of the answers to ethical philosophy. As was illustrated in the last episode, there's no one answer to how life should be lived — but there is definitely a better way.
That "better way" is the focus of the show. It's Professor Chidi's time to shine, as this episode may be one of the most exposition-heavy in the series, albeit one broken up with typically delightful Good Place humor and emotionally packed moments of humanity.
'The Good Place' has always asked the question of what it means to be a good person. To ask the question implies that you're not a good person, to begin with — but it's also a question that's inherently hopeful.
It implies that there is a way to become a good person. It's been the goal of the show from the very beginning — to find a way to get to, and stay, in The Good Place, a place only reserved for the very best of people.
The new system, outlined by Team Cockroach, doesn't just come up with a method of judgment that is less cruel to average people. It is a system that gives every single soul a chance to become better, through repeated lives and scenarios just like Michael's first neighborhood.
It's a system that does away with torture for torture's sake, and instead builds on Michael's original idea to have people torture each other, and in the process, help each other become better people.
It might not work, as Chidi points out, and some people may remain irredeemable for all eternity — but the important thing is that everyone gets a shot at redemption.
There is no better proof of concept than Chidi. His lives have led him to become the best version of himself, leading to a new confidence in his feelings, and decisions, and a reignited passion for life.
It's a Chidi that Chidi has been working towards pretty much all his life, and it's rewarding to see him get there. He radiates the happiness of someone who is in love and has found his purpose in life. Or afterlife, in this case.
Just as importantly, after a season of separation, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi are back together again, the memory of their love restored and reinforced across hundreds of lifetimes of finding each other.
They're practically dizzy for each other, and it's wonderful to see the two back to just being happy with each other again after so long apart.
What's impressive about the new system is not that it convinced the Judge, but that it's convinced die-hard torture lover Shawn that it's worth doing.
Shawn has gone through some growth of his own, as he realizes that in his own twisted way, he truly cares about Michael and Team Cockroach, as they've challenged him in ways he's never been challenged before in an eternity of torture.
The new system may be his greatest challenge ever, as while its broad terms have been determined, specific kinks still need to be worked in — sorry, worked out — but for now, the crisis is averted, and all of creation is saved.
The only real tragedy is the marbleizing of Disco Janet (D'Arcy Carden). Keep on truckin', Disco Janet, and know that 'Gonna Erase The Earth' will be stuck in all our heads until the show brings you back.
The next episode of 'The Good Place' airs on January 16 on NBC.