Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, January 9. All times are Eastern.
The Good Place (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): The good news is that The Good Place is back. The bad news is that every episode brings us closer to the end—and the end is very close. (As is always the case with this twisty marvel, please don’t watch this clip or read the rest of the Top Pick if you’re not up to date on the show.)
Here’s our own Dennis Perkins on “The Answer,” the top-tier episode that rounded out the first half of this last season:
The Good Place is an awfully assured TV show, and “The Answer” (credited to Daniel Schofield) operates confidently under the understanding that the stakes are already plenty high, and that the real drama—and comedy—rests in what Chidi Anagonye has learned, and how he can use it.
The flashback structure of the episode that follows is a masterpiece, a graceful latticework of huge laughs (Eleanor, in one flashback, angrily claims that Chidi’s true soulmate is “a library cart full of damp Saltines”), stuff we know, and stuff we thought we knew, all leading up to a final reveal that just reaffirms what Chidi, and we, suspected. Answers on The Good Place (and in the Good Place) can’t be found solely with logic, or points, or even ethics. The answer is something more like poetry, complete with all the beautiful ambiguity, frustration, and absurdity that entails.
What will happen in “You’ve Changed, Man”? No idea, except someone (probably Eleanor, based on the language) will tell someone else they’ve changed, and Disco Janet will, like the other Janets, attempt to evade Judge Gen for as long as possible while Chidi Anagonye saves humanity. What will happen here on The A.V. Club? Dennis Perkins will recap.
Superstore (NBC, 8 p.m.): So, this is what’s going on at Cloud 9.
That’s going to go very well for those gentlemen, don’t you think?