Supernatural, Season 14B (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at our website: couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in September 2019, our continuously consistent panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen S, Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn K – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 14B (following the season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, devil’s spawn Jack, and the looming threat of more than Apocalypse World Archangel Michael. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 14 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, fall to spring Thursdays at 8:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).

When: The Season 14 finale aired on April 25, 2019, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as of late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.  For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time.  How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Take a listen below.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons 9, 10, and 11

Season 12A

Season 12B

Season 13A

Season 13B

Season 14A

Our Super-CPU! panel has happily remained constant since its last meeting, and all panelists proved ready and raring as ever to talk about the second half of Season 14 with the force of hell unleashed upon earth.  Thus, panelists Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn (K), along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), and find ourselves at the CPU! Water Cooler, and/or the nearest purveyor of homemade pies, animatedly discussing major plot points from, and ruminating upon the success of, the second half of Season 14.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, particularly in this latest half season, we still have lots to think and to talk about in this latest chatty analysis.  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in September 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of Season 14 of Supernatural. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our “Star Trek 50+ Series” panel returns to the Water Cooler to wrap up its discussion of The Original Series by parsing through the third and final season of the show that started it all, in addition to each of the panelists offering their personal “best of” and “worst of” episode lists of that series. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?

NEW ANSWER: I guess we will find out in less than one year’s time! *tear* And I’m sure Kansas will remind them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer (Mark Pelligrino) is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?

NEW(ISH) ANSWER: Apocalypse World (AW) Michael runs around this dimension for awhile, and there was a potential if chancy return for Lucifer prognosticated, given that his second-favorite vessel Nick survives for a time and prays to Lucifer’s sleeping essence in the Empty, which improbably seems to awaken our favorite Evil Archangel. To date, however, the return of this dimension’s Michael as well as the actor who played Adam, given the fact that Michael Prime is still lounging in a slightly mind-addled Adam in the Cage, has not yet occurred. Plus, AW Michael is no more, owing to a certain saucy nephilim who decides to burn off what is left of his human soul to save the world. Listen to the podcast episode for the spicy details.

4) The perennial question: will we see John Winchester this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

NEW (BEYOND EXCITED AND TOTALLY UNFETTERED) ANSWER: YES! YES! YES! Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the original (and breathlessly handsome) face of John Winchester, makes a grand return to Supernatural in Season 14, Episode Thirteen, the 300th episode entitled “Lebanon!” Listen to the podcast episode for details! Oh, and I guess we can finally remove this question from the list, eh?

5) REPEAT QUESTION: A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt.  The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed.  Can the Colt be repaired?  By Sam?  How is the Colt powered?  Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time?  More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it?  Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun?  Why was it brought back only to be broken?  WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, including those about the Spear/Lance.  Last episode’s theories fell by the wayside because Season 14 does not return to the concept of a Spear/Lance.

6) REPEAT QUESTION: Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance.  Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments?  Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it?  We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The Spear/Lance remains broken, Supernatural Prime world’s Michael is still housed in half-brother Adam in Hell’s Cage, and AW Michael seems to forget about his spear. So, should we care about the Spear/Lance anymore? Eh, Supernatural writers? Bueller?

7) REPEAT Will Sam’s powers return?  He continues to obliquely reference them…

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, Sam has not tapped into the allegedly dormant powers he received from Prince of Hell Azazel.

8) REPEAT QUESTION: How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel (Misha Collins) or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

NEW ANSWER: The Empty is back, and s/he/it is super pissed – still – that Castiel is awake and out of his/her/its clutches.  Plus, when Jack (Alexander Calvert) temporarily loses his life in the first half of this season (listen to the podcast episode about 14A for details), and his soul first appears in Heaven, the Empty barges into the largely unguarded ethereal plane, given the near extinction of available angels to monitor its sterile white corridors and dreamy memory locations, looking to claim Jack’s soul due to his nephilim status.  Cas, however, offers himself back to the Empty in exchange for the Empty releasing its clutches on Jack. The Empty agrees to this deal but notes that the entity will return for Cas only when he is truly happy and would be truly hurt by the Empty’s act of returning Cas to the abyss. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “we do not care about the Empty in the slightest,” to 10 being “we must care because we know the Empty is about to start some next-level stuff,” we are probably at an 8.5 in the “caring about the Empty” spectrum.

Plus, at the end of the series finale (SPOILER), Jack (who is snuffed from existence by Chuck/God); Billie the Reaper; and the shadow that we theorize is either Lucifer or the Empty Nothing-Man himself, is standing in the Empty’s void, ultimately fulfilling the Empty’s early-season wish. Something tells us this is all going to come to a head in Season 15, and that the payoff will be anything but Empty in the end, but this eventuality does leave Cas’ deal with the Empty Nothing-Man somewhat moot, now, doesn’t it?

9) REPEAT QUESTION: Has Death, as in The Horseman Of, died before the Winchesters killed off the Death we knew and awoke the Darkness?  Is Billie the second “Death” or one of many?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions that are without answers at this time.

10) REPEAT QUESTION: Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean in the first half of the season?

REPEAT ANSWER: We have a feeling that this answer is ultimately part of the endgame for the series, and that we will not know said answer until the show is about to be done.

11) REPEAT QUESTION: How are Jack and the previous “anti-Christ” who appeared in Season 5 related, if at all?  Is Jack truly an “anti-Christ?”

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

12) REPEAT QUESTION: Sam is Lucifer’s true vessel and now does not have that option to defeat Michael. What can he do to save his brother?  Will he have to tap his Azazel powers? Can Rowena resurrect an archangel?  Will Sam lead the Angel Resistance on this side of the rift?  How will he get his brother back?

NEW ANSWER: Dean is temporarily vacated by Michael, but Michael returns. In the end, it is Jack, who sacrifices what remains of his human soul to be able to access his angelic powers, that effectively annihilates AW Michael, particularly after Michael vacates Dean again and heads straight for nearby, powerful witch Rowena. Our panel has strong feelings about this turn of events; listen to the podcast episode for details.

In addition, Sam leads the Angel Resistance and scant hunter forces on this side of the rift from the bunker for a time, forming an ad hoc Men of Letters organization in its own right, until AW Michael eradicates most of them (other than Mary and Bobby and a few others). This act, in fact, is what prompts Jack to sacrifice his soul for the greater good, though our panel struggles with Jack’s character arc progression and decision-making skills at this moment and thereafter. You should really listen to the episode.

13) REPEAT QUESTION: Is Jack powerless?  Will he regain his grace?  How?  Will his power be enough to save Dean? To save this world? To save Heaven?

NEW ANSWER: Jack finally regains his power when he burns off the portion of his human soul that allowed him to return from the dead with Lily’s angelic spell. The result leaves him mostly soulless angel, full of grace, and his newly reinstated power allows him to save Dean from AW Michael and to temporarily save the world – that is, until Jack, with his unmatched power, starts messing with the world order himself and attempts to create new angels. Listen to the podcast episode for the panel’s diverse reactions to this plot progression.

14) REPEAT QUESTION: Are Mary and AW Bobby flirting?  Are they going to be a romantic item in future? Is that wise?

NEW ANSWER: The answer to the first two questions is a definite “yes,” right down to the romantic relationship. As far as the wisdom in this decision, while the boys support this new development, the end result is not a happy one, at least for AW Bobby. To write what it is here would be a most major spoiler, so you know what to do. Of course, you could also just keep reading.

15) REPEAT QUESTION: Is the Shedim an abandoned concept, with the quick death of Asmodeus?

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The panel voted in the Season 14A episode that the writers forgot about the Shedim.  Still, we will keep asking the question until the writers track back to this tidbit of Asmodeus-inspired information.

16) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they break this world’s Michael, still stuck in Adam the half brother and locked in Hell’s Cage, out of his prison?  Even though Lucifer drove him mad?

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The answer to this question remains to be seen, though the producers have hinted in the press that this eventuality might finally play out in the final season.

17) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the remaining angels join a fight for or against AW Michael?  Will AW Michael snuff out the rest of the angels?

NEW ANSWER: The short answer to both questions is “no.” The slightly longer answer to both questions is that there are currently not enough angels to risk themselves in an off-brand Michael’s version of a holy war, and AW Michael seems to be at least somewhat sympathetic, or at least apathetic, to the plight of his brethren in this dimension.

18) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see Heaven collapse next season?

NEW ANSWER: No, but we do see the unleashing of hell on earth. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

19) REPEAT QUESTION: How will they be able to defeat a super-charged AW Michael, made stronger by his perfect vessel, Dean?

NEW ANSWER: The short answer is: Jack. See above for additional details.

20) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Chuck/God return to help arbiter these extra-worldly conflicts? He might have to return to create more angels, to resurrect any that have been lost, and/or to help quell the conflict with AW Michael.  Will Amara/the Darkness return with him?

NEW ANSWER: Chuck/God (guest: Rob Benedict) returns in the fourteenth season finale, except he does not appear to be acting totally like himself or, at least, the “himself” we have come to sort of know over the course of the series. Chuck states a clear aim to stop Jack in his tracks (some grandfather he is), who upsets the world order by forcing everyone in it to tell the truth, regardless of the consequences, which causes an imbalance that threatens to unravel the world’s very existence. Chuck/God appears, then, somewhat late to the party since Castiel tried to pray for him to return in a previous episode; solves the problem by smiting Jack when he is unable to convince Sam or Dean to do it for him; and then gets really upset that Sam and Dean get really upset by Chuck/God’s whims and actions. In the end, Chuck decides to destroy the world he created by starting his own apocalypse, complete with the literal uncorking of hell.

What’s more, Chuck/God reports that his sister, Amara aka The Darkness, returns with him, but that she’s hanging out in Reno. He says it so dismissively that our panel actually comes to believe that the Chuck/God we see in the fourteenth season finale is not the actual Chuck/God but either Amara in a mean if somewhat foolproof disguise, hellbent on causing the world’s destruction once more, or quite possibly a wily Lucifer, who has somehow pulled a switcheroo with his absentee dad, sending Chuck/God to the Empty and giving Lucifer a chance to be what he always wanted to be anyway (which is never good, according to most of the things we have read). Listen to the podcast episode, as the panel discusses extensive theories about the final shots of the season and what we predict might happen in Season 15 around these developments.

21) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the show explain how it is that nephilim are stronger than the angels (or archangels, in some circumstances) that sire them?

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, the show has provided no further explanation surrounding Sam’s Season 13 research findings concerning nephilim.  

22) The panel predicts that Lucifer’s return is all but guaranteed. How will this resourceful archangel emerge? Did he escape when the Empty’s back was turned, while the Empty was making deals with Cas in Heaven in exchange for Jack’s soul? Or, will he take a page from Cas’ book and piss off the Empty enough to convince the grumpy being to eject him as the Empty did Castiel? Or, are Nick and Lucifer connected in unexpected ways, given that Nick was possessed by Lucifer so many different times and for so long? Does Jack get his powers back quickly enough to help his expired father exit the deep dark? The possibilities as to the how feel endless, even if the panel sees Lucifer’s return as a foregone conclusion.

ANSWER: Well, maybe this answer is not as foregone as we thought. Though we suspect that Lucifer reaches for his soulless son in the back quarter of this season, as a portal from the Empty opens and as the red-eyed shadowy figure seems to outstretch toward Jack, the shadow is not actually successful in breaking away from the vacuum of said portal. Thus, by the end of Season 14, Lucifer (we think, unless one of our Chuck/God theories pans out) is still in the Empty…and if the shadow we see in the season finale is, in fact, the same shadow we suspect to be Lucifer, he is joined by his son, newly smote by his grandfather Chuck/God, and Billie the Reaper, for purposes and potential plans unknown. Listen to the podcast episode for all the theories and details.

23) When will Sam be forced to end Rowena’s life, as Billie the Reaper aka the New Death prophesied in Season 13? Will we see this eventuality this season?

ANSWER: We do not see this eventuality come to pass in Season 14, and now there is only one season left. So…we guess it is likely to happen in Season 15. Though the panel seems friendlier to Rowena overall, except for panelist Jen S, nowadays, the panel does not want Rowena’s death to be a rushed affair, however it goes down and if it does go down at all in Season 15.

24) What does Naomi mean when she indicates that Heaven’s gates are open, including those closed in Season 9 via the Winchesters’ efforts? How many gates are there, and what function do they serve? Does this signal Heaven’s collapse, after all? Will human souls escape? Will monsters and/or demons try to get inside? Will Lucifer? Will AW Michael?

ANSWER: All answers without questions, since Naomi is missing in action this season, her fate largely a question at least to our panel, as the number of angels continues to dwindle. Also, given the events of the season finale, we suspect that Heaven is as much fair game to what Chuck/God releases from the depths of the netherworld as Earth is. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

25) When Lily Sunder (played by Veronica Cartwright this season) casts the spell to resurrect Jack, we know the magic draws from her own soul. When she decided, in the end, to cast the spell, though she was reluctant to do so at first, did she need to use any part of Jack’s soul for the spell after all? This remains a point of confusion for our panel or, at least, for your main moderator and Chief CP.

ANSWER: Yes, part of Jack’s soul is used but so is Lily’s soul, if we understand what Jack has left at the start of this half of the season to be correct. The Chief CP believes that the confusion arose from the fact that Lily’s soul and Jack’s soul are tied together, but you can help clarify this for us further, gentle listener.

26) Will the Empty come to claim Cas by the end of Season 14? What could make Cas so happy in that amount of time as to entice the Empty’s sense of vengeance against his nemesis, Castiel?

ANSWER: No. So far, the Empty has not come a-calling for Cas. Plus, Jack is actually in the Empty’s void in the season finale. Therefore, how can the Empty insist upon the fulfillment of Cas’ sacrificial promise as made in the first half of the season? There is one more season left to answer this question, we surmise.

27) We know John Winchester will be talking to the boys and to Mary in the 300th episode, as this has been widely reported by the entertainment news media, which is devoting a fair amount of coverage to the landmark episode. Will John encounter any of the other typical characters, such as AW Bobby?

ANSWER: No. John spends time only with his core family in the bunker in Lawrence, Kansas. And really, that was enough, as the 300th episode is, undeniably, the best episode of the season (and possibly one of the best of the series).

28) We also know that Angel Zachariah, as played by Kurt Fuller, will be making a return appearance in the 300th episode. What other long-gone characters might we see, then or at any other point in the season?

ANSWER: Other than Chuck/God, Zachariah, and John, we see no other familiar faces in Season 14. Season 15, however, proves to be a potential stomping ground for the greatest hits of Supernatural’s long litany of guest stars and characters, at least as hinted at in the press by the show’s producers and with Chuck/God’s literal uncorking of hell’s depths. Listen to the podcast episode for our predictions.

29) If AW Michael’s armies envelop the Earth, what will the demons do? Will they need a leader to do it? Will they elect one?

ANSWER: This question is moot. AW Michael does not get far enough along in his plans for the armies to envelop the Earth before Jack decides to smite his not-quite-uncle. So, the demons’ reactions are, you know, not a thing.

30) Will the Empty be destroyed? Will any other angels and demons escape? Will the Empty change to something else?

ANSWER: The Empty still exists, quite pointedly, at the end of Season 14. As for whether the Empty will change to something else or whether any of its captured ethereal beings escape its clutches…well, methinks an apocalyptic portent is brewing, and that Jack, Billie, and the unidentified shadow will light the match to set the whole thing ablaze. Listen to the podcast episode for predictions.

31) Will the Empty’s creation and/or manifestation as a being be explained?

ANSWER: So far, no joy.

32) Will Heaven be stabilized if it does not collapse?

ANSWER: So far, Heaven is still functioning but is more vulnerable than ever, since there are even less original angels to protect it, aside from some problematic creations of Jack’s that have not yet emerged from their perch on high; we do not know if these human-turned-angel attempts on Jack’s part are, as such, working models or not, and the panel is kind of leery about the whole situation. Listen to the podcast episode for our reactions.

33) How did Chuck/God and Amara/the Darkness come to exist? Will Supernatural tackle this divine subject?

ANSWER: Not this season.

34) Is Dark Kaia’s Spear the Spear of Destiny? Or, is the Spear the equivalent of Michael’s Spear that was broken in Prime World, as we learned in Season 12?

ANSWERS: Still questions without answers.

35) Is the Empty a version of Purgatory for angels and demons? Somebody needs to provide a better explanation for the Empty.

ANSWER: So far, no one has.

36) Does the AW or The Bad Place have an Empty? Or, is the Empty the same for all dimensions?

ANSWER: Unknown, and we probably will not find out the answer to this question at this point, since AW Michael no longer exists.

37) Seriously, what was The Bad Place?

ANSWER: Probably the most robust answer we will get is this: Chuck/God attempted to write a bunch of different versions of Earth. He only likes this dimension’s version. So, the Bad Place is a bad rough draft in the realm of his/His many creations. Beyond that, we do not know what it is, and we do not think that Chuck/God will be forthcoming with the answers in Season 15, whatever happens and wherever he may end up.

New Questions

1) Many of our remaining questions are covered in the old questions. The few new ones begin with this: is the Chuck/God we see in the fourteenth season finale really Chuck/God or someone wearing his face, such as Amara or Lucifer?

2) How will Sam and Dean escape the onslaught of converging demons we see in the fourteenth season finale?

3) What is Billie doing in the Empty?

4) Who is the shadow in the Empty really?

5) Will we see the return of demonic favorites, such as Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon? Or Crowley even?

6) Will John Winchester return a final time?

7) Mary (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) is killed by an overreaching and angelically charged Jack near the end of the season. Is she really gone for good?

8) How will it all end? Will Sam and Dean survive, or will they die? Together? Separately? Will Baby survive? Will Cas?

9) Will Heaven and Hell still exist by the end of the series?

10) Can Jared and Jensen go shirtless at least once in the final season? Kthxbai.

PARTING SHOTS

Our Supernatural panel continues to traverse somewhat wildly through a diverse range of vacillating individual and group opinions about the most recent SPN half season in this latest episode.  Some panelists regard this overall season as enjoyable at points, given Jensen Ackles’ opportunity to spread his proverbial wings and his acting range via his portrayal of AW Michael as well as the ongoing integration into the cast of Alexander Calvert’s Jack, both of which feel like modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story.  Others continue to watch the series because they are motivated by the curiosity that comes with needing to complete what was started, fourteen years ago. 

Ultimately, however, most if not all of the panelists expressed some disappointment about the way the fourteenth season unfolded in the back half, especially its end, given the fact that the limited monster-of-the-week episodes were largely forgettable (though the decreased number of them was, by and large, welcomed by the panelists) and given the, at times, shocking and, at other times, seemingly unearned turns of some of the characters. What is more, the panelists proved particularly struck by the anticlimactic feel of some of these twists, specifically the quick eradication of AW Michael, Jack’s general progression toward the end of season, and the shocking death of Mary, which, to the panel, felt premature and, at its base, off, given everything that had been set up by the show’s writers prior to the point. Your friendly neighborhood Chief CP, in fact, effused some notable disappointment about the thudded landing of the AW Michael story line, as the purported “game changer” touted by the show’s cast preseason felt like the same old game on a different day by the end of the story line’s quick and unsatisfying telling.

Still, the panel members continue to find compelling reasons to stick with the series, ups and downs aside, owing to some good writing moments, the consistent acting, and the natural and long nurtured quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). In this way, in the end and despite the panel members’ individual gripes and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching all this time – all panel members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we move into the fifteenth and final season! (The Heavens will truly weep on the day of this specific series finale, I can tell you.)

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically renewed for a full (and final) season of 20 episodes. Season 15 premieres Thursday, October 10, 2019, at 8:00 PM on the CW. In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the fifteenth mid-season finale, likely sometime in or around January 2020. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

The Good Place, Season 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2019, our eager, philosophy-oriented panel, the personnel of which has changed somewhat since our last recording in this series – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Michael, Kelsey, Selene, and panelist Krista (new to the panel but not to the podcast after one panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys, while another departed the panel for life’s greater obligations) – convenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 3 of the heady NBC comedy about the human condition known as The Good Place.  As always, if you have not watched any of The Good Place, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Good Place,” The Season 3 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Good Place” is a fantasy comedy series, which airs on NBC, fall/winter Thursdays at 8:30 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “The Good Place,” created by Michael Schur, focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a woman who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael (Ted Danson) to “The Good Place,” a Heaven-like utopia he designed, in reward for her righteous life.  She realizes that she was sent there by mistake; as a result, she must hide her morally imperfect behavior and try to become a better person. William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, and Manny Jacinto co-star as other residents of “The Good Place,” while D’Arcy Carden plays Janet, an artificial being helping the inhabitants of the place in question.

SYNOPSIS

After her death, Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) is welcomed into the afterlife by Michael (Danson), the facilitator and architect of Eleanor’s new neighborhood in a “perfect utopia” called the “Good Place.” When Michael tells Eleanor that she made it into The Good Place as reward for her life of selfless devotion to helping others, she realizes she must have been mistaken for someone else.

When: Season 3 aired from September 27, 2018, to January 24, 2019, on NBC with a total of 13 episodes.

Where: The action is set in the fictional Good Place and other times in the fictional Bad Place and yet other times in the fictional Medium Place and yet other times, particularly in Season 3, on Earth.  All Places are construed to be in the afterlife – except when the action is not in the afterlife but on Earth. To explain anymore than that here, however, would invite MAJOR SPOILERS!

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode related to Seasons 1 and 2 via the link below!

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2016-2017 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“On the strength of the trailer, and the fact that Veronica Mars/Ana from Frozen is playing the lead with Kristen Bell’s best comedic timing, I think anyone would be remiss to pass on this new sitcom.  The premise is unique, casting Ted Danson as the ‘Good Place’s’ resident bureaucrat is inspired, and frankly, I had to stifle laughter every few seconds as I sat awkwardly in a public waiting room watching the trailer. The substitute uses for various curse words as delivered by Bell warrant the look-see alone…”

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

This panel already discussed Seasons 1 and 2 of The Good Place in one fell swoop, that is in one gigantic episode, last year. Listen to that lively discourse here:

Seasons 1 and 2

Do you follow our CPU! social media accounts (if not, you should)?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel? No, you didn’t.  That may be because The Good Place was a runaway hit with the CPU! core and a few close friends and family; apparently, many united couch potatoes consider this show to be forking fantastic.  Thus, this panel quickly filled to burgeoning fullness, as it was so popularly requested.

Common reactions from our The Good Place panelists continue to characterize the show as hilarious, original, smart, well-written, well-directed, well-performed…you get the drift.  In other words, many CPU! faithful think that The Good Place is one of the freshest comedies to hit the airwaves in years, especially and particularly on network TV and, especially and particularly, on the Peacock network, which has long been struggling to regain some of its “Must See” reign of yesteryear and yore, and possibly colonial times, but is giving a good go of it with this heady, philosophical comedy. 

Since the last episode in this “Water Cooler” series, though, our panel has experienced somewhat of a changeover in personnel, as sometimes happens here at CPU! One panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys. One panelist departed the panel for life’s greater obligations. Panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Michael, and Selene returned and were joined by a panelist new to the panel, but not to the podcast, to dissect the “Jeremy Bearimy” type ups and downs of The Good Place‘s third season.

To wit, our panelists continued to offer little bad or negative to say about Season 3 apart from nitpicks of a typically individual and personal type among each panelist; the show, therefore, is still popular with this panel.  Everyone continues to universally agree that the creator and show-runner has produced something totally new, totally kick-ash awesome; at the top of its comedic game; and accessible to most everyone despite its complex premise, all while avoiding the typical tendency of pandering to a larger audience by muting or undercutting the intelligence of the premise and of the situations in which the characters find themselves.  In fact, if you are part of The Good Place fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your adoration for this decidedly traction-gaining cult hit while traversing, perhaps, some similar confusions that you might have also experienced while viewing Season 3.  With all this said, have I convinced you (yet) to listen via the embedded link below?

This podcast was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points of Season 3 (and most of the plot points in this sitcom are kind of major). Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Grace and Frankie panel returns to the CPU! Water Cooler to review the finer points of squatting while showing general appreciation for Season 5 of the sitcom about septuagenarians (allegedly).  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Is the soulmate construct a fake representation of a concept, i.e. soulmates, that is not real or does not exist?  Or, did Michael, as architect of this purported torture chamber, merely build in the soulmate aspect incidentally, as a simple device, missing the point of soulmates entirely – in other words, “getting it wrong?”  Is the show advocating that soulmates are real and/or something worthy of considering as possible, or is the show presenting a cynical view of “soulmate” love, platonic or otherwise, by inferring that soulmates are something made up, whether by Michael, by someone or something like him, and/or by the rest of us?

ANSWER: Still a question. While the concept of soulmates does not seem to be entirely off the table, particularly with the dubbing of our four main souls (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason) as the “Soul Squad,” the soulmate concept remains largely nebulous where this sitcom is concerned. Yet, the concept may undergo deep exploration in Season 4 based upon some of the set-ups of the Season 3 finale. Listen to the podcast episode for details (PS panelist Michael is still championing this theory).

2) Are the four main characters apart from Michael and Janet – Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason – really members of a “soul cluster,” i.e. four so-called soulmates who cannot exist apart from the others and hope to be better people because they, whether fatalistically or not, happen to make each other better naturally, as panelist Michael advocates?

ANSWER: As above, still a question, but one shared by the characters on the show. Michael the Architect is testing this theory by running some experiments, first in Season 3 by giving the so-called “Soul Squad” a literally new lease on life and by allowing them to find each other, hoping that their togetherness improves them where their individuality failed, and now, in advance of Season 4 and as of the Season 3 finale, by recreating “The Good Place” of Season 1 to see if the “Soul Squad” will achieve an evolution that makes them Real Good Place ™ worthy, with a little help from their friends. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Why is Chidi’s paralyzing inability to make a decision worthy of him being sent to the Bad Place?

ANSWER: While no answer has been proffered by the show, we assume it’s because his indecision can sometimes lead to catastrophic consequences, including loss of life and including the loss of his own life. Again, this has not been explicitly confirmed by the show, but we do think paralyzing indecisiveness seems like a mean way to eliminate a soul from “Good Place” consideration. Then again, the system may be rigged, as the show is explicitly positing, and this question may be ultimately moot.

4) Is the show advocating Eleanor as its “moral center?”  Michael comes to the conclusion that the afterlife determination system is flawed based upon the four main characters’ personal growth, especially Eleanor’s, even as Eleanor struggles to maintain that growth in the second season finale.  Where will Eleanor land in the end? Will she ever be Real Good Place ™ worthy?

ANSWER: Still a question. This, friends and fellow viewers, may be the ultimate heart and soul and the very thematic foundation of the entire series.

5) How will Eleanor and Chidi find Tahani and Jason again, if they do it all, in their brave new world?  How quickly?

ANSWER: Pretty quickly, considering that Michael cannot stand to watch on the sidelines for long. The wily architectural demon, despite Judge Gen’s (Maya Rudolph) express orders to the contrary, decides to give each of the four in the Soul Squad (or “Squad”) a little nudge toward not only finding each other but also toward sticking together, no matter the outcome. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Where will Michael and Janet end up, Good or Bad Place, particularly since Demon Michael seems to have attained some positive personal, and somewhat human, improvement, and since Good Janet, given Michael’s 802 reboots of his construct and of her stolen self, is the most advanced version of Janet ever, with her newfound capability of lying, of loving, and of experiencing some human emotions?

ANSWER: So far, Michael and Janet simply exist, helping the Squad with their afterlife journey, though it was looking like a likely Bad Place retirement for Michael there for a minute, with a potential return of Janet to whatever void she hailed from when she was created. They survive the season’s events, only to return to similar roles as those that they served when the series began. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Will Michael and Judge Gen’s experiment result in the creation of other possible places – such as more Medium Places, where someone bad can improve, as panelist Selene hopes?

ANSWER: So far, the only Place that has been created in Season 3 is a duplicate or clone of Season 1’s Good Place that was the mask for (SPOILER) the Bad Place. We think that there is only one true Good Place (the Real Good Place [tm]), one true Bad Place, and one true Medium Place, with some constructed facades within each of them at times. For example, the cloned Good Place that was once a mask for the Bad Place was built in the Medium Place in Season 3. Look, we didn’t write this, okay.

8) Will Michael end up becoming a Judge like Gen, as panelist Joey predicts, possibly with Janet as his assistant-friend?

ANSWER: So far, Michael remains an Architect and a demon, though he is one besot by a panic attack at the end of the third season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

9) Were Eleanor and Chidi actually brought back to life, or are they being run through some sort of test simulation, to gauge the measure of personal growth attainable without the promise of “moral dessert?”  Or, are they in a new construct similar to purgatory, where borderline bad people can try to be good people, as panelists Joey and Kristen surmise?

ANSWER: All four members were actually returned to the land of the living at the beginning of Season 3. Unfortunately, their circumstances did not sustain. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Did Michael’s “torture” plan fail because of Janet, as panelist Gabe guesses?

ANSWER: Unknown. Janet is certainly a variable for the Squad, given her evolution beyond her initial programming matrix, but Michael’s true guess, that the members of the Squad make each other better people in or out of the afterlife and whether they are meant to do so or not, is probably the more likely reason why Michael’s initial plans failed.

11) Will the four main characters continue to torture each other without Michael and Janet present, provided that they meet again in their new “near death” version of Earth?  Are Michael and Janet the reason why the characters did not attain further personal growth than they already achieved (or, at least, Janet because we know Michael was trying to torture them for at least some time)?  Is Janet actually a corrupted computer-like matrix, or is she evolved artificial intelligence?

ANSWER: The four main characters do not continue to torture each other. As the Squad, they challenge each other to become better people, better souls, and, arguably, Michael and Janet help that evolution even further along, quite forcefully and bluntly at times. To that end, Michael and Janet appear to impose no limits on the Squad; the Squad’s individual members’ limitations are self-manifested and become what each character must rise above, theoretically by the end of the series.

Janet is most likely evolved artificial intelligence, but Janet is a unique, ethereal creation, with very little definition beyond what the show has specifically showed or told the viewer about her. Who knows if simple, mortal words and concepts can sufficiently describe her construction and formation? All the panel knows for certain is that D’Arcy Carden is criminally underrated in this role.

12) If Eleanor finds Chidi, Tahini, and Jason again, how do the latter three escape death in this new version of their world?

ANSWER: Via a flashback provided in the Season 3 premiere, all four members of the Squad escape death with a little help from their friend Michael. He lets Jason out of the safe, moves Chidi out of the way of the falling air conditioning unit, assures that Tahani is not in the line of sight of the falling statue of her sister, and ensures that Eleanor’s margarita bottle is out of the path of the roving shopping carts.

13) Is this new version of the world a new Medium Place, as panelist Kristen posits?

ANSWER: No. The world we see in Season 3 is all Earth, with all of its warts and blemishes, but in an alternate reality in which the Squad members never died. Although, Earth as the quintessential Medium Place does make for a good philosophical theory to mull related to this show.

14) Who is actually in the Real Good Place ™?  Are there any actual good people, or angels, since there are demons in this universe?  Or, are the alleged good people actually morally complicated, similar to the angels on Supernatural, as panelist Gabe theorizes?

ANSWER: Still a question. Since no one has been admitted to the Real Good Place ™ in 521 years, we do not know who generally populates it, other than a Council, who decides what happens to the construction of The Good Place, and Gwendolyn (Nicole Byer), who pleasantly receives people in a post office-like room in the Real Good Place ™. What or who is beyond the door of that post office type facility is anyone but the writers’ guess.

15) Why does watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert qualify for Bad Place entry?  Is it all about the socks?  Give it away, now.

ANSWER: Still a question. Especially since this show is all about the Otherside. I feel a bit Under the Bridge about this assertion. It’s giving me Scar Tissue.

16) Is Michael really a demon?  Where do demons come from on this show?  What is Michael’s back story?  What is boss Shawn’s back story?  Why is the Bad Place largely set in an office?  Is this a reference to The Office, for which Michael Schur wrote and on which he also appeared (as Dwight’s cousin Mose)?

ANSWER: So far, Michael is really and truly a demon, though we have not been told where and how demons originate, what Michael’s back story is, what Shawn’s back story is, or why the Bad Place is largely set in an office. Though, perhaps we can make some healthy assumptions about that last question.

New Questions

1) Will our intrepid heroes and “Soul Squad” achieve entry into the really Real Good Place ™? Or, are they doomed to Bad Place eternity while and/or making a better afterlife for everyone else?

2) With Judge Gen’s ruling that Shawn’s deliberate attempts to torture the Squad by introducing bothersome people from their lives into the newly reconstituted Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) cannot fly, does that mean the viewer will see two additional entrants to the Good Place that serve as “challenges” for Eleanor and for Jason, since we have met challenges for Tahani in the form of a bothersome reporter and Chidi’s ex Simone as his antagonistic force? If so, who are they? Is it possible that with Judge Gen’s reset, someone already in the Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) could present the challenge to Eleanor, Jason, or both? Is the challenge even a conceit that still applies? If not, will Tahani’s tormentor disappear? Alternatively, will Chidi, who has chosen to have his mind erased concerning his love for Eleanor in order not to sour this new iteration of the experiment with the appearance of Simone, be representative of Eleanor’s personal challenger? The panel spends much time discussing this confusing turn of events in the instant podcast episode, to which you should listen for further details.

3) Does Tahani actually have real feelings for Jason, allowed to blossom through their partnership over spending Tahani’s considerable wealth for the good of humankind? Or, is she demonstrating a wistful longing for the same kind of connection shared by Janet and Jason?

4) How long will Michael experience his panic attack, and how will his inability to function as the de facto Architect affect the new experiment?

5) What exactly is the construction and use of the new iteration of the Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) meant to demonstrate; will Judge Gen be able to change the point system? Who gives Judge Gen her power? Or, will the system collapse in on itself, and then what will happen? Or, will they be able to reset everything for everyone?

6) Is the guard at the portal to Earth (Mike O’Malley), who loves frogs, secretly this show’s version of God? Does he at least know more than he is letting on? Several panelists have suggested that he might become more important before the series end.

7) Is Earth actually a kind of purgatory, a preparation for the afterlife, as panelist Selene suggests or posits in the sort of heady, philosophical meandering that this sitcom inspires?

8) Panelist Michael still believes that the soulmate construct as depicted in Season 1 is not just a device of Architect Michael’s to convince the Squad that they were in a heavenly utopia of an afterlife but a truth universal for our main characters: i.e. they make each other better because they are truly soulmates. Are the Squad soulmates? Is that what the show is advocating? What’s more, is it even broader than that? Is humanity one giant soul cluster, fuel for the sustainability of the afterlife Places? Or, moreover, will we be watching the “Mister Rogers” ending – where all are meant to be improved for potential Real Good Place ™ admission, and no one is meant to be in the Bad Place?

9) If no one’s been admitted into the Real Good Place ™ in the last 521 years, since presumably the Spanish Inquisition or so that nobody expects (side reference, that), how is the Bad Place not suffering from overcrowding? What is Shawn doing to expand that real estate?

10) Will we ever get to see who and what might be beyond the door of the post office in the Real Good Place ™?

11) What will Janet’s final end be, given her start and subsequent evolution?

12) Will the show allow the love relationships to continue, despite the obstacles? Will Eleanor and Chidi find each other again? Will Janet and Jason remain together, particularly since Jason is so threatened by Derek? Will Tahani find someone to love, since she has achieved some sort of reconciliation with her sister?

13) Assuming that Architect Michael exposes the chinks in the system for entry into the Real Good Place ™, what will become of him in the end? He has also evolved beyond the gleeful demon who delighted in torture and to whom we were introduced.

14) Will we see Eleanor’s parents, Donkey Doug and Pillboi, Tahani’s sister, or Chidi’s friends and relatives again?

PARTING SHOTS

As of the Season 3 finale, the CPU! The Good Place panel universally, effusively, and glowingly continues to recommend this unique situation comedy because of its original, quality premise; complex, layered writing; stellar performances; and fresh take on an intellectual concept that does not meander into trope-filled, didactic territory, despite its meditation on moral and ethical principles and philosophy.  The panelists note that, though pacing became something of an issue in this third season, particularly as members of the Soul Squad explored individual quests and missions in the middle episodes of the season – some of which felt marginally clunky in execution and in premise – Season 3 remained, by and large, tightly constructed by maintaining the rapid-fire pacing, superior wit, enticing and engaging cliffhangers for episode endings, and a refreshing lack of filler episodes established during the show’s first two seasons.  Several panelists characterized this show as easy to recommend, easy to binge-watch, and easy to which to become addicted, even as the premise is “hard to explain.”  The panelists additionally continue to praise the program’s ability to intellectually challenge the viewer while remaining both accessible and hilarious high-concept comedy; in fact, several panel members deem the show as having significant re-watch value, based upon personal experience (already!).  In fact, the entire panel wholeheartedly continues to recommend The Good Place to anyone, anywhere, with a hearty “Just watch it!” as the overall recommendation refrain.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Good Place was renewed for a fourth and final season by NBC, which will premiere on NBC on September 26, 2019.  Currently, Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream fully on Netflix, while the five most recently aired episodes of the show are available on Hulu and on NBC’s streaming app and website.  In the meantime, the CPU! Good Place panel will return to the Water Cooler following the airing of the series finale to say goodbye to this series we’ve grown to love so much. Until then – stay tuned!

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3 & “Goodbye”/Looking Back Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this episode, recorded in May 2019, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and Unfortunate TV fans – including moderator Nick, Kristen, Kelsey, Jenn, Selene, and Kylie – is Around the Water Cooler, Streaming Originals, and chatting for the last time as a panel about the third and final season of Unfortunate hit and Netflix original program A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you have not watched any of said Unfortunate Events, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song: 
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: The CPU! Goodbye to “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – The Season 3 Recap and Review + Looking Back at Seasons 1-3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for series of unfortunate events title

Moderated by: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an American black comedy-drama television series developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, which is based upon the children’s novel series of the same name authored by Lemony Snicket and which is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” adapts the books of Lemony Snicket’s series of novels. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith.

SYNOPSIS

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf (Harris), an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s initial failed attempt to do so, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and to uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

When: Season 3 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 1, 2019, with a total of 7 episodes.

Where: The action takes place in various fictional locales, not always specifically named.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode covering Season 1 via the link below.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Couch Potatoes Unite! has been reviewing and recapping this series from the beginning! If you need to catch up with us, listen to the prior episodes of this series via the embedded links below:

Season 1

Season 2

Frequent contributor and panelist Nick abounds in passion and, therefore, perseveres in his moderation duties while discussing the latest (and final) season of Netflix Streaming Original A Series of Unfortunate Events, in this latest chapter of CPU!’s podcast episodes about this #Unfortunate series. In this final season’s recap and review, yours truly, the Chief CP, again participates as a regular old panelist to remark upon the unfortunate-ness of the whole affair. Nick and I are, in turn, joined by returning CPU! and ASOUE panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Selene, and Jenn for this final probing, passionate, and, at times, pithy discussion about the Baudelaires and their trials and tribulations.

This podcast was recorded in May 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our regularly scheduled review episodes will return to a brief hiatus (as spring moves into summer), so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Associate Producer of Marketing and frequent panelist Krista interviewing Associate Producer of Special Projects and frequent panelist Selene.  Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

Lingering Questions

1) Will the Baudelaire children survive their trials and tribulations? Will they get a happy ending? Will they reunite with the caring Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack) from Season 1? Will they find a happy home anywhere? Or, will they be marginally miserable but, at least, always together?

ANSWERS: (SPOILERS!!!) The Baudelaires survive and become quite self-sufficient in the end, needing no guardian, which might be the happiest ending that they could have expected or for which we, the viewers, could have hoped. They also reunite, briefly, with Justice Strauss, who the viewer learns has been searching for them for the length of the entire series, ever since the children were separated from the kind judge in the first season. Unfortunately, Justice Strauss is forced to preside over a trial during which the Baudelaires must answer for questionable, entirely inadvertent crime(s). The Baudelaires, as a result of a rigged system overseen by nefarious High Court adjudicators that Justice Strauss naively trusts, choose to run from the trial, particularly given some arson-related circumstances affecting the trial’s location, and find themselves on the ocean and sailing toward a mysterious island, surprisingly with Count Olaf and without Justice Strauss. After these wily children deal with Count Olaf on this removed island oasis, they make a temporary home for themselves in an abode, the interior of an apple tree, previously occupied by their parents; the island itself provides a very specific tidal window through which to sail that can only be accessed once per year. The Baudelaires, then, after a year of waiting for the turn in the tide, return to the mainland, together, where they presumably live out the rest of their days. Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

2) Will Count Olaf get his well-deserved comeuppance?

ANSWER: Well…Count Olaf does find himself on the receiving end of a poisonous fungus and a harpoon, which (SPOILER!!!) ultimately cause his death. Whether that ending feels satisfying as a proverbial “comeuppance” is debatable. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) What is the SUGAR BOWL? Why should we care about the sugar bowl? Is it Beatrice’s sugar bowl? Why does Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch) want it so badly?

ANSWER: The SUGAR BOWL is just a sugar bowl, as it turns out, though it becomes an important vessel for the VFD’s secret formula for a weaponized poisonous fungus called the Medusoid Mycelium, as well as the sugar-like form of the antidote to said poisonous fungus. Esme wants the bowl so badly because the SUGAR BOWL was originally her sugar bowl, part of a tea set that was very “in” for her when it was whole. Listen to the podcast episode for further analysis.

4) Who is Beatrice? Is she dead? If not, where is she?

ANSWER: The podcast panel believes that Beatrice, i.e. the subject of Lemony Snicket’s (Warburton) notes at the top of each pair of episodes, is the Baudelaires’ mother, played by Morena Baccarin, who is confirmed to be dead. Yet, Beatrice could also refer to Lemony’s niece, Beatrice Baudelaire II, who the Baudelaire siblings care for following the death of Beatrice II’s mom, and Lemony’s sister, Kit Snicket. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

5) Are the Baudelaires’ parents really dead? If not, will we see them again?

ANSWER: Yes. The Baudelaires’ parents are really dead, though we are treated to a glimpse of them in a series finale flashback.

6) If Lemony Snicket is telling the story, does he know the end?

ANSWER: No. Lemony does not know the end, and he makes a point of saying that readers/viewers are not meant to know all the answers to all the questions, either. In fact, the series finish is rather open-ended. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Are the Quagmires’ (Avi Lake and Dylan Kingwell) parents officially dead?

ANSWER: Yes. The Quagmires’ parents are officially dead.

8) Who is Jacqueline (Sara Canning) – what is her goal?

ANSWER: Unknown. Jacqueline apparently leaves to be the new Duchess of Winnipeg, according to Mr. Poe (Freeman). We presume Jacqueline fulfilled her VFD duties in ensuring, sloppily, the protection of the Baudelaire children, but her disappearance ultimately feels forced and unsatisfying. Of course, maybe we are not supposed to care about whether or not Jacqueline has goals, since we are also not sure if they have been fulfilled. Anyway, we’ll never know the answer, unless Lemony Snicket writes more books focused on any of the other characters besides the Baudelaire siblings. Of course, panelist Jenn reveals in this episode, after some cursory research, that Jacqueline is not a character in the books. In conclusion, none of the panelists appear to be too broken up about the lack of Jacqueline information. Let us know what you think.

9) Will the Quagmire triplets return?

ANSWER: We do not see the original two triplets, at least not until the last episode, but we do learn that Quigley, the third, presumably dead, triplet is actually alive. Listen to the podcast episodes for details.

10) What is the VFD already? And why did Count Olaf “look away” from them at the start? Why do they have standard disguise kits?

ANSWER: The VFD is a super-secret spy organization established to put out the world’s fires, both literal and proverbial. We learn in this season that Count Olaf is wooed away from the stability and safety of the VFD because, first, Beatrice I inadvertently kills Olaf’s beloved father via a freak opera-house accident, and because, second, two nefarious characters with absolutely no back story – the Man with a Beard and No Hair and the Woman with Hair and No Beard – see fit to cause the oft-mentioned VFD schism by preying upon the easily manipulated but grieving Olaf. The disguises, we presume, are part of spying. Except where Olaf is concerned, when disguises and costumes are either part of ACTING or NEFARIOUS SCHEMES TO STEAL CHILDREN’S FORTUNES. Anyway, the panel believes that the VFD might be officially defunct as of the end of ASOUE, unless there are other VFD agents out in the world that we have not yet met. We’re not betting our opiate-laced coconut milk on it, though.

New Questions Without Answers

1) Who are the Man With a Beard and No Hair and the Woman with Hair and No Beard, and why do they have such beef with the VFD? Why were they introduced so late in the series?

2) How could the Baudelaire children remain on the mainland without an official guardian, and why isn’t the viewer at least somewhat entitled to know the minimum information about the world in which the Baudelaires reside vis-a-vis wards of the state?

3) What exactly is the nature of the relationship between Count Olaf and Kit Snicket, and why does the show not take more time to develop it?

4) Are all three of the triplets at the Hotel Denouement, as played by Max Greenfield, truly good and/or truly evil? Why would Kit Snicket align herself with the allegedly evil one if she was really good? For that matter, is Count Olaf truly evil or simply greedy and nefarious?

5) Why don’t the Baudelaires seek Lemony Snicket out sooner than the series finale, when Beatrice II seems to be preteen adjacent?

6) Whatever happened to Fernald and Fiona Widdershins? Whatever happened to their stepfather?

7) Did Ishmael (Peter MacNicol) create the mysterious series-ending island? Why is the island shaped like the VFD insignia tattooed on all of its agents?

8) Why didn’t Nathan Fillion appear in the flashback scene with Morena Baccarin or, earlier in Season 2, with Neil Patrick Harris in what could have been fourth-wall shattering actor reunions between Joss Whedon series alumni?

9) Whatever happened to the pirates?

10) Whatever happened to the orphans on Count Olaf’s submarine?

PARTING SHOTS

The ASOUE panel’s review of Season 3 is decidedly mixed among the various panelists. Some panelists, particularly the Chief CP and Jenn, expressed experiencing a mingled sense of apathy, frustration, and boredom about where the series ended, as they regard the repetition off-putting even as the ending felt rushed; other panelists, like Kelsey and Kristen, find themselves relieved that the ending was, ultimately, a bit more fortunate for the unfortunate Baudelaires. Remaining panelists Nick and Selene report possession of an overall sense of enthusiasm about the series, now that all is said and done, but acknowledge the obvious narrative flaws, which they discuss in this episode.

Yet, the panelists continue to unanimously praise the visual presentation and technical aspects of the show, even as they offer wide-ranging reactions to the overall direction and story flow. To that end, all panelists find reason to enjoy the show’s overall pastiche, with the script’s whimsical wordplay, the over the top characters, and the absurdly unfortunate situations guiding the overarching plot. The panelists also laud the use of tongue-in-cheek breakage of the fourth wall and some sly references to popular culture, though such references may or may not date this story over time. Ultimately, however, many of the panelists struggle with the scattered and somewhat tonally flat final season’s end, feeling that the show does not so much earn its sprint across its artificially constructed fictional finish line, despite all of its ham-fisted attempts to subvert typical fantasy tropes and in light of the anticlimactic and somewhat unsatisfying story conclusion. Still, all panelists, even the skeptics like the Chief CP, find enough good to say about A Series of Unfortunate Events to recommend it in the end, which is kind of fortunate, if you think about it. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it – you can always “look away.”

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Ended! A Series of Unfortunate Events ended with this third and final season after ultimately adapting all of the Lemony Snicket novels in the original book series via the three available seasons of this Netflix original program. All ASOUE seasons are, therefore, available to stream on Netflix, as that is the network that produced it. 

At the last, despite the fluctuations of panelist opinions between the first two seasons and between those seasons and the third, A Series of Unfortunate Events continues to be recommended by all of our panelists, especially to fans of the original book series; of the 2004 film adaptation of same; of Neil Patrick Harris and of Patrick Warburton, who portray Count Olaf and Mr. Snicket, respectively, and who do so with flourish and aplomb; to fans of the type of dark, sardonic humor offered by the likes of Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfeld, the latter of whom is credited as a creator and an executive producer of this series; and to fans of generally wicked wordplay.  Panelists Kelsey and Selene recommend this program for family viewing along with younger children, though they expressed more concern about the uptick in darkness and death prevalent in the second and third seasons and about how their seven-year-old daughter might react to this new intensity. Chief CP Kylie, the only true member of Gen X on this panel, continues to caution that the series may be more palatable to Millennials and to younger generations, who had a chance to grow up with the original series of children’s books and who might relate to the program more easily, despite the fact that the erstwhile Doogie Howser MD plays a lead character.  Yet, in the end, no panelist regards the viewing of this delightfully original if adapted series to be a waste of one’s time, which might not chalk up to be a fortunately ringing endorsement but can be construed as a CPU! Official Endorsement ™, nevertheless.

In addition, while our ASOUE coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time. In the meantime, from our Unfortunate panel of Cake-Sniffers to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing reviews of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which now officially come to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

Image result for the end a series of unfortunate events netflix
Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton, right) meets Beatrice II over root beer floats in “The End” of ASOUE, Season 3
Who can tell what’s more Unfortunate? The Series of Unfortunate Events or our panel, having to say goodbye to you all (unfortunately).
Our ASOUE panel: Nick (left, moderator); Kelsey (top); Selene (right); Kristen (center); Jenn (on the laptop, being technical, and featuring her vocal cat, Duke)

CPU! LIVE! @ Blue Bridge Games – “A Shiny Look Back at Firefly” (MAJOR SPOILERS)


In honor of the tabletop and role playing gaming industry, which respects a good show when it sees it by adapting excellent TV concepts and transforming them into awesome games, CPU! visited our former Grand Rapids Comic Con sponsor, and our current episode sponsor, Blue Bridge Games, a new game store in Grand Rapids, Michigan! There, we took a “Shiny Look Back at Firefly” and also totted out one of our spicy feature formats, “Top 5,” though we had a few false starts, given that some of our panelists were new to the feature and were less than prepared for the spicy constructs contained therein.  Listen as our six resident Browncoats – Chief Couch Potato/Moderator Kylie, Sarah, Spencer, Kelsey, Selene, Christian, and special guest Margaret – enter into a “gorram” reminiscence about one of the greatest “gone too soon” tragedies of television history while attempting to rank our most favorite aspects of said series – when we can finally agree on one of four (more or less) prepared topics to debate.

This podcast was recorded live on March 31, 2019, with associated video; this is the audio recording of the event! As always, if you have not watched any of Firefly, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Audio/Video Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Social Media Marketing and Graphics: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville