The Good Place: 4.03 Chillaxing
This week we start getting into the meat of the final season of The Good Place. Now that Eleanor and Michael think they have found a way to help Brent improve himself, the gang moves on to John and Chidi.
John is, on the face of it, an incredibly vapid person. All he seems to care about is writing scathing articles about the glitterati, whilst also wanting to live the life of one. So, at first, Tahani takes the approach of giving him all of the things that he couldn't afford whilst he was alive. I found this to be a very interesting approach, and a very appropriate look on something that is a big issue in modern life. With the advent of social media, it is easier than ever to see into other people's lives, or at least the lives they are projecting for us to see. The story eventually gets around to the fact that constantly wanting to be in the most exclusive places ends up with you being alone. Since, exclusive spaces, by definition, don't really let many people in.
Tahani realising that she and John aren't so different was a nice revelation. They were both envious of others to the point that it damaged their own happiness and isolated them from everyone. This episode shows that there is no need for this. Once they have both put away their constant need to be accepted by the elite, they actually manage to make a really human connection to one another.
Another thought that I had whilst watching this episode was that the experiment may not really be what we think. I wouldn't be surprised if, at the end of the season, the gang haven't succeeded in getting all of the new humans to be better people. However, I also think it is possible that they will still succeed because they themselves have continued to become better people throughout this new experiment. I would love it if it went down this route. All of the characters have worked so hard and given up so much to get to this point in the narrative, it would be odd if there wasn't a celestial acknowledgement of this at some point.
The other major plot thread of this episode centres around Chidi. Without the stress of Eleanor's secret on his shoulders, he is just enjoying his time in the afterlife. Which means he has no reason to commit to being a better person or teaching the other humans to be better as well.
Enter Jason. Once again taking on the role he played in the first season of the show, the silent monk Jianyu. He then tells Chidi his secret, and everything just gets a little bit out of control from there. It was quite nice to see nervous Chidi again, seeing him dealing with keeping a secret from the outside was really interesting. While it was hilarious to see the lengths to which Chidi would go to protect Jason's identity, it was also sort of heartbreaking to see the extent to which Eleanor pushed him.
It all worked out in the end, but not with out Eleanor realise that she had gone too far in torturing Chidi. This realisation from her and how bad she feels about it, just makes me even more suspicious that The Judge has some tricks up her sleeve.
I enjoyed this episode. It was funny, silly and colourful, but also thought provoking. It really made me think about the ways that people flock to celebrity and spend so much time trying to be like them, and about how far I might go to keep someone secret. The only thing I wasn't too sure about in this episode was the conspicuous absence of Simone and Brent. I hope they are back next episode now that the ethics lessons have started in earnest.