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Recap / The Good Place S 4 E 10 "You've Changed, Man"

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Judge Gen is all set to reboot the universe and wipe out humanity (both the living and the dead), but needs the remote control to do it, and it is hidden inside the voids of the Janet army. In the meantime, the Soul Squad Janet accompanies her, working to distract her long enough for Michael and the others to come up with an alternative.

Chidi and Eleanor come up with what appears to be a fitting solution: humans live very short lives and those lives take place in a complicated, messy and ever-changing world where it's really hard to live the kind of moral life necessary to earn a spot in the Good Place. They propose that the truly worst of the worst humans be sentenced to the Bad Place, the Good Place would be for the truly good, and the Medium Place be the place for the majority of humanity who are neither. They propose it to the Good Place Committee, who agree to it instantly without even hearing it. But Shawn won't go for it, preferring instead to wreak things in the fake neighborhood and be a jerk to the Soul Squad.

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They up the offer: in exchange for the Medium Place solution, the original four humans offer to let Shawn take them to the Bad Place for himself. Shawn momentarily considers it, but rejects that as well.

When Judge Gen gets to the last few Janets left, they manage to get her attention and expand on their original proposal. In the current system, people get one shot at life, get evaluated, and get a final destiny. But in Michael's fake Good Place, the four humans had hundreds of "lives", and through them, got better. They propose that the life humans have an Earth be considered not the test of one's ultimate destiny, but just a starting class in ethics. Then, at death, all humans will go through a test, a simulated environment like Michael's neighborhood, set up by two architects, one from the Good Place and one from the Bad Place; they will make a scenario which exposes the person's moral shortcomings. But there will be multiple rounds through these neighborhoods: in each "life", most people will get better. Some won't, and will deserve the Bad Place, but many will improve and get to the Good Place.

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Judge Gen is willing to go with this if Shawn is. Shawn takes some convincing, but admits that he's grown bored under the current system as well, with his conflict against Michael being the most excitement he's gotten to experience in centuries, and the chance to have more time fighting Michael wins him over. With the new system proposal accepted, the next step is to implement it with the rest of the afterlife.


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Tropes in this episode include:

  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Luckily for the Soul Squad, Gen is easily distracted by what she finds in the Janets' voids, so her search for the doomsday clicker isn't as fast as it might be. Special mention goes to Disco Janet's void, where she enjoys a one woman (and one not-a-woman) dance party and for a short while completely forgets why she went there in the first place.
  • Bathos: Bad Janet's parting words at the end of her road to redemption while facing the Judge of all creation and in a final stand to save humanity are... a long fart. Even more, she lets out a Single Tear while doing it, implying that to her this is as meaningful and personal as more conventional last words would be, making the whole scene a very emotional moment, but still hilarious.
  • Batman Gambit: Michael manages to convince Shawn to cooperate by conceding that he won, realizing that - like all bullies - he antagonized them because the conflict was so much fun.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": When the Good Place Committee are all in agreement with their leader's choice to have all the frozen yogurt flavors because there would be no conflict, Chidi impulsively yells this out.
  • Call-Back:
  • The Cameo: Timothy Olyphant appears as a Janet construct of himself.
  • Character Development: Building on the brief glimpse we got in the previous episode, Chidi is now supremely confident and at ease when dealing with huge problems and setbacks.
  • Chekhov's Gag: At the beginning of the episode, Janet includes Timothy Olyphant as one of Earth's great works of art in an attempt to stop Gen from wiping out the human race. Later, Janet manages to pacify Gen long enough to hear them out by conjuring a copy of him (or rather his character from Justified).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Chidi and Eleanor, have spent a year effectively cut off from one another, and seem to have only become more attracted to one another. As a result, they both have a hard time controlling themselves. Despite having maybe one hour to prevent the annihilation of humanity, they repeatedly suggest running off for some private time.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The gang agrees that this is the ultimate problem of the afterlife. People are eternally damned to the Bad Place and subject to never-ending torture if they didn't live their finite lives as flawless saints for only a short period of time compared to... well, eternity.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The episode title is a quote by Jason to Shawn, but it's more appropriate as a reference to how Chidi has become more confident, relaxed and assertive, which is radically different to his personality in any other of his iterations.
  • Down in the Dumps: Bad Janet's void looks identical to regular Janet's void, only it's full of junk (most of which is stacked in piles and on fire).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The main theme of the proposed afterlife changes gives all humans a chance to earn their way out of the Bad Place and into the Good Place.
  • Evil Gloating: Subverted - Shawn initially delights in his own victory over the Soul Squad, but when Michael pretends to concede defeat, he tries to gloat but trails off and can't revel in it, feeling like it isn't worth giving if Michael isn't going to fight back.
  • Evil Is Petty: Shawn would rather drag Michael and the Soul Squad down with him than admit defeat and celebrates the end of human existence by going to the Neighborhood to smash glass ornaments and pee in a fountain.
  • Extreme Doormat: The Good Place Committee agree to the Soul Squad's plan to remake the afterlife without even hearing their offer first and then caves into Shawn's counter-offer to have the Bad Place take all of humanity and the Soul Squad to make him happy.
  • Gasshole: Bad Janet again. Her last words before getting marbleized are just one long fart. Gen marblelizes a second Bad Janet before she could do the same, but even as a marble she manages to rip one off.
  • Geeky Turn-On: Chidi finds it very sexy when Eleanor talks about philosophy.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: While looking through Disco Janet's void for the device, Gen becomes briefly distracted and dances to "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward.
  • Has a Type: Gen admits to having a thing for the father figures on the various shows she watches because she doesn't have a dad.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The gang offers to allow Shawn to torture them for eternity if he agrees to the proposal. Shawn's tempted, but ultimately refuses.
  • It's Personal: Shawn states he doesn't mind that he'll lose all of the people he tortures when all of humanity is erased, because it's worth it for the Soul Squad to end up losing.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: While arguing against destroying the Earth to Gen, Janet mentions all the good things that would be destroyed with it: the works of Shakespeare, the Pyramids, Timothy Olyphant...
  • Mr. Fanservice: Timothy Olyphant appears because Gen finds him so attractive.
  • Race Against the Clock: Represented here by the group of Janets that came into Gen's chambers and how each one is marbelized after Gen fails to find her world-ending device in each void.
  • Real Time: This episode takes place in the half-hour or so that it will take Gen to search all the Janets' voids. Eleanor makes a note of the ticking clock at the t-minus ten minute mark when Michael wastes a minute giving a speech.
  • Rousing Speech: Michael gives one to the Soul Squad and the Good Place Committee, recounting how everything they'd gone through has led up to this moment - finding a way to fix and reform the afterlife.
  • Running Gag: Tahani tells Shawn that she cannot pull off the Mod look as an idea for a torture. When they are explaining their new afterlife idea to Gen and Shawn, she repeats this as one of her "moral shortcomings."
  • Shmuck Bait: The gang lure the Judge into their meeting spot with a sign on a door that says "Earth Destroying Detonator Here".
  • Take That!:
    • In Bad Janet's void, "I'm a Gummy Bear" is playing in the background and there is an advertisement for Pirates of the Caribbean 12: Jack Sparrow Fights Aquaman. Probably. I mean at this point it doesn't matter.
    • One of Janet's arguments against rebooting humanity is the possibility that they could wind up worse.
      Janet: What if you start humanity over from scratch and humans evolve over millions of years and they end up worse? What if they invent Rap Rock sooner and it becomes the only kind of music? Do you really want to oversee an entire world of Limp Bizkits run by Emperor Kid Rock?
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jason begins juggling the detonator, but thankfully is stopped by the group before anything bad happens.
  • Victory Is Boring: When Michael concedes defeat to Shawn, Shawn is not only surprised, but also forced to admit that outright crushing humanity and having no one left to fight is unpalatable. This is what finally leads him to accept Team Cockroach's proposal for an entirely new system, where good and evil would still be conflict.
  • Worthy Opponent: Shawn grudgingly admits that his war against Michael was the most fun he's had in a very long time. When Michael simply admits defeat, it throws him for a loop, because the idea of his arch-nemesis simply giving up is too far for him.

 
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Michael concedes defeat

Michael manages to convince Shawn to cooperate by conceding that he won, realizing that - like all bullies - he antagonized them because the conflict was so much fun.

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