Good Place 2.12

Episode 25 – The Burrito

The Judge’s Burrito

The four humans arrive at the Judge’s chambers. Eleanor reveals Michael’s sacrifice. The Judge, Gen, agrees to hear out Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani, and tells them they must be subjected to separate tests of their personal growth.

At their own request, they will share one fate and can only pass if all do individually. Jason fails a test of impulse control, while Tahani fails when, instructed to ignore what others think of her, she maturely confronts her parents over their lifelong cruelty towards her.

Then Michael and Janet arrive.

Chidi: Wait, you don’t already know everything about us? You’re not omniscient?
Gen: Well. Not in the way you mean. I try to learn as little as I can about the events of humankind so I can remain impartial ’cause I’m a judge, yadda yadda yadda. That being said, sometimes I get bored and I cheat a little bit. I’ve been binging Ken Burns’ Vietnam recently. It’s okay. I mean, I’m immortal, but that thing is long, you know what I’m saying?

Gen: I just absorbed the entirety of your existences, and I just wanna say, you guys are so cute! And the thing is, you didn’t file any paperwork and you have no advocate, and the rules say I gotta… [gives a thumbs-down and blows a raspberry] send you back.

“Bad” Janet: You really junked your jeans on this one, you butterface.
Michael: I did what I had to do.
“Bad” Janet: Oh, you had to junk your jeans? [high-fives Shawn]
Shawn: How could you betray your own kind like this? Who taught you how to turn a human inside-out by reaching down their throat and grabbing their butt from the inside?

Eleanor: All those ethics lessons paid off! Who ever said philosophy was stupid!
Chidi: You d-you did! Many times! As recently as this morning!

Eleanor: Oh, Jason. I feel like you always understand about twenty percent of what’s happening.
Jason: Thanks!

Good Place 2.11

Episode 24 – Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent

The gang in the Bad Place

Inside Bad Place headquarters, Michael works to obtain special badges that enable use of the Judge’s portal. When a reception is unexpectedly held in the others’ hiding place, the humans impersonate demons and Janet impersonates a Bad Janet. Chidi is unwilling to lie until Eleanor convinces him moral particularism permits it.

Michael intends to use the humans’ extradition paperwork as a cover, but Shawn (against regulations) sends commandos to Mindy’s house and learns the humans aren’t there. Michael flees, stealing badges, and rejoins the humans at the reception, where a presentation about the neighborhood reveals the humans’ identities.

The five escape without Janet after Jason blocks Shawn’s pursuit with a Molotov cocktail. Michael sends Tahani, Jason, and Chidi through the portal before discovering he is one badge short. He then gives his to Eleanor—determining self-sacrifice solves the trolley problem—-and pushes a protesting Eleanor through the portal as Shawn arrives.

Jason: Mm, I don’t know. This plan seems complicated.
Eleanor: To be fair, you also once said that about an orange.
Jason: They don’t make sense! Apples, you eat their clothes, but oranges you don’t? Forget this plan! I say we just huck a Molotov cocktail and [whooshing noise] run through the portal.

Eleanor: No! Dumbass! I’m lying to you to make you feel better! See? Sometimes lying is awesome! [gasps] Plus, I said “dumbass”! Oh, cursing, how I’ve missed you.

Jason: What even is this thing? I hate suits. They remind me of court. And going to court, and being my own lawyer against the advice of the judge in court, and getting immediately convicted in court…

Jason: Is there a gift shop?
Michael: Jason, this is Hell. Of course there’s a gift shop. [sighs] It’s the least horrifying room, it’s the Hall of Low-Grade Crappiness.


Good Place 2.10

Episode 23 – Best Self

Michael tells the humans they will travel to the Good Place in a hot-air balloon that challenges them to prove they are the best versions of their respective selves.

They struggle to do so, and Michael admits he is stalling because he was actually unable to determine a means to enter the Good Place despite exploring over a billion options.

Out of options, the group holds a party. Tahani ends her relationship with Jason. Eleanor admits she has feelings for Chidi, who describes his struggle to process his feelings and wishes he and Eleanor had met under normal circumstances.

The humans name Michael an “honorary human”, praising him for making more of an effort to do the right thing than a typical person. Tahani suggests they “demand to speak to a manager”, but Michael says the Judge rarely hears cases and can only be reached through the Bad Place. Eleanor suggests they try, and everyone agrees. Michael incapacitates the Bad Janet sent to transport him, and Janet conducts everyone to the Bad Place on a train as the neighborhood disintegrates.

Eleanor: Cool! Cool! Cool, we got this. I don’t know about you guys, but I am definitely the best version of myself. I know a shirtton about ethics now, ’cause I studied, and I read books, that weren’t even written by the Real Housewives. Relax, everyone. We’re all gonna be fine.

Jason: And to Janet! The best robot.
Janet: Not a robot.
Jason: Girl.
Janet: Not a girl.
Jason: And straight-up hottie.
Janet: I am attractive, yes.

Easy Cash

Easy Money
(Court Theatre)

Featuring Roy Snow and Luanne Gordon
If you listen closely, you might hear the neighbours whispering through Auckland’s high-end apartment complex, The Cutlass. They’re whispering about the glamorous new Australian couple, Trudi and Stephen, who have moved in down the hall. Rumour has it they’ve moved to New Zealand for a new business opportunity: selling the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Trudi and Stephen are whispering too. They know Sir Robert Kingswood, long-time resident of The Cutlass, is worth millions. Not to mention Catherine who lives upstairs — since her husband died her bank account has been looking very healthy indeed. They’ve noticed poor young Trevor doesn’t have much money, and they’ve also noticed he’s a gullible fool.

With double-crosses, dirty tricks and all the dodgy dealings you can throw at a JAFA, Roger Hall’s rejuvenation of The Alchemist is a laugh-a-minute satire of how fools and their money are soon parted.

Stuff Review

What’s Up Review

Theatreview Review


Good Place 2.9

Episode 22 – Leap to Faith

Michael’s falsified progress reports have earned them both promotions and the new torture plan will be widely implemented. Michael “reveals” to Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason that they are in the Bad Place, and announces the demons will destroy and abandon the neighborhood while the humans will be remanded to traditional torture the next day.

The four consider exposing Michael to Shawn or fleeing to Mindy St. Clair’s house, but Eleanor realizes Michael mentioned Kierkegaard as a cue for them to take a leap of faith on him, and his cruel roast of them encoded a plan.

Mindy is delighted when a sexually willing Derek arrives at her house with cocaine.

Shawn: When you proposed this new form of torture, we all laughed behind your back. Some people called you names, like “the Thomas Edison of Incompetence”, or “That Dick”.

Shawn: Hello, imbeciles. We need to study everything that happened here. There was a first version that collapsed, but the second has been a huge success. We’ll be shutting this place down. The four of you will be brought to the real Bad Place, where your brains will be removed, studied, and batted about a stadium like beach balls. Your arms will be peeled like bananas; that part’s just for fun.
Michael: [laughing] Right.
Shawn: And then you will be tortured for, you know. Ever.

Tahani: No, sorry, and no offense, Jason, but the stakes here are too high to let someone with your limited intellectual processing capacity weigh in.
Jason: I was gonna agree with you.
Tahani: Oh, great, well that’s two votes for my plan.

Jason: I never thought I’d be the one to say it, but this is getting outta hand. I think we gotta go to the cops.
Eleanor: What cops? Where do you think we are!?

Michael: “Humans… make a lot of mistakes when they’re horny.”

Michael: Eleanor and I have a lot in common. Now here’s how you can tell us apart: One of us is a manipulative demon who’s an expert at making other people miserable, and then the other one is me!

Tahani: Oh, Michael, we never doubted you for a moment.
Michael: Thank you, Tahani. You’re lying, though, right?
Tahani: Yes, I am. I doubted you very strongly.


Good Place 2.8

Episode 21 – Derek

Michael fears Derek’s existence will expose him. Michael sends Jason and Tahani on a private retreat and seeks Chidi and Eleanor’s advice.

Janet and Derek’s relationship deteriorates. After Jason and Tahani ask Janet to marry them, Chidi acknowledges that the most ethical action is to inform the couple of Janet’s issue, despite the double effect that Janet might eliminate

Michael: Hey, guys, what’cha doing. Nothing? Great. So, Chidi. Just wanna double-check: How do ethical philosophers feel about murder?
Chidi: It’s frowned upon.
Michael: Okay. What if the reason you want to murder someone is to make your life easier? That’s okay, right?
[Chidi facepalms]

Chidi: I know, but we’ll also be sent to the real Bad Place if we do bad things! I know it’s tempting to take a shortcut, but moral strength is defined by how we behave in times of stress.
Michael: Has anyone ever told you what a drag you are?
Chidi: EveryoneConstantly.

Michael:  Being ethical. It’s hard, and I kinda hate it. When’s it get easier?
Eleanor: Why don’t you ask Chidi? He’s the ethics master. I’m just a newbie, and I still kinda suck at it.

Stalin’s Dead

The Death of Stalin is a 2017 political satire comedy film.
It stars Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough and Jeffrey Tambor.

Based on the French graphic novel La mort de Staline, the film depicts the Soviet power struggles following the death of dictator Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) in 1953.

Mainly went to see this because it was directed and co-written by Armando Iannucci, who made ‘The Thick of It’ and the USA version, Veep.

It feels like a toned down version of his TV series. There is less foul language. Some of it was a bit difficult to follow, but the humour in the situations were apparent and overall would give it a 3/5.


Time Titan

The Time Titan of Tomorrow
(Space Team #8)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2018)

He and his Space Team are broke. Forced to take low-paying gun-for-hire jobs just to keep the food replicator working, their prospects are not looking good.

When they pick up a distress signal from a luxury space cruiser, they think their luck might be about to change. And it does. Sadly, not in the way they’d hoped.

Another enjoyable outing from Cal & his gang. It’s never all that clear what his objective is, but it’s how he does it and bumbles through that is enjoyable and fun.

You will need to have read the previous books as a few characters from previous stories turn up at the end.

Good Place 2.7

Episode 20 – Janet and Michael

This is all about Michael fixing Janet. Turns out she has a manual. It even has a self-destruct section. In the end he can’t kill her and she consults Eleanor. Eleanor recognizes it as the ‘ex-boyfriend’ problem and tells her to get a new man, which she creates. Derek.

Michael: Hey, you know who could use some torturing right now? Chidi.
Vicky: [gasps; excited] Oh. I love torturing Chidi.
Michael: I know!
Vicky: No, actually, I had this great idea the other night, thought it was worth exploring. Picture this: [with an expansive gesture] Needles.

Janet’s Diagnosis:

Michael: Ninety-nine point seven… trillion degrees… Little bit on the high side, but no biggie.

Michael: And still no blood. Oh, thank goodness.


Michael: [reading] “In the event of continued malfunction, hold down Janet’s nose and insert paperclip into small hole behind left ear.”

Tahani & Jason:

Michael: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You two are sleeping together?
Jason: Only when we’re done having sex.


The Crescents (The Book of Deacon 5)
by Joseph Lallo (2017)

Generations of war have been put to rest. The D’Karon scourge has been wiped away. All that remains for Myranda, Deacon, and the other Chosen is the long, slow road to recovery for their weakened kingdom. It is no small task, as dark magic has taken a terrible toll on the land. Crops struggle to grow. The scars of war are slow to fade. But from across the sea comes hope.

This is the second book by this author that has disappointed  me. The Book of Deacon trilogy and Jade were excellent, Also the first Free-Wrench, but the third I didn’t finish. The problem is this the pacing is just too slow and nothing interesting happens for ages. So it’s goodbye Joe.