Just how annoying can Brent get?
Last week’s opening episode of The Good Place season four felt unfinished. While it was billed as the first half of a two parter, it still disappointing. What I didn’t anticipate is just how well this week’s episode would start to bring the threads of the season together.
The end of A Girl From Arizona Part 1 saw one of the new humans sent away after they were revealed to be a demon, and Chidi brought in to fill their place. We start up this week with the gang going to The Medium Place to regroup. Still confused by The Bad Place’s motivations, they simply get back to trying to make the humans that are left realise they maybe aren’t as good as they think they are.
The majority of the episode sees them focusing on Brent Norwalk, the epitome of an entitled white man. Brent makes me want to bang my head against a wall even more than he did last episode, and at this point he is so annoying that it is very difficult to be invested in him. Where all of the main cast from the last three seasons were flawed but in a funny way, Brent just makes my blood boil. He has none of Tahani’s pomp, or Chidi’s anxiety; he is genuinely just a complete jerk. But, then again, we actually know very little about him. He is shown to be constantly boasting about all the good things that have happened to him, but no one’s life is without the bad parts. Even if those bad parts pale in comparison to those experienced by others.
I am still on the fence about Brent. He is a genius move by the writers, because he seems like exactly the kind of dickhead that The Bad Place would inflict upon the experiment. But it is very difficult to see how he could ever become a better person, and to even begin to root for him.
The rest of the episode centres around how the gang deals with each failed attempt at getting Brent to realise just how bad a person he is. These emotions come to a head when Tahani suggests a change in leadership. Eleanor is, understandably, more than a little put out by this. But it is an interesting angle to go with. It re-iterates the fact that though being with each other makes all of the gang better, it doesn’t make them perfect people. They are still fallible, still human, and they have all of the mixed emotions that come along with that. The doubt in Eleanor’s leading ability, and the her subsequent doubt in herself really shows that, no matter how good a person you become, you will always question yourself. If anything, the inclusion of this, alongside Brent’s utterly unearned confidence, suggests that questioning yourself is a good thing, as it provides a chance to re-evaluate.
This episode did a good job of tying up the loose ends from the first episode and setting up what is to come. Especially with Eleanor finally biting the bullet and properly introducing Chidi and Simone to each other. But the part that shines the most in this episode, just as it has throughout the show, is the beauty of these people coming together to make themselves and their lives better. Watching this episode reminded me of why I love The Good Place so much, and why it fills me with hope.
Guessed the spoiler? Are modern audiences too savvy for TV show twists?
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum