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Recap: This Week, ‘The Good Place’ Turns Human Again

Lillian Cohen ‘21 / Entertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers from seasons one through three of The Good Place.

On NBC, The Good Place isn’t always a good place.

In season one, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) wakes up from her death to find herself in what’s explained to her as “The Good Place,” her own personal hell. Her usual rude and careless persona is revolted by kindness and the inability to swear. And, the more she sticks out from the others there, the more things go wrong and she risks discovery. But this glowing little town is not what it says it is. Demons dressed as righteous dead people are her neighbors. Jianyu (Manny Jacinto) is not a monk, but instead a not-so-intelligent guy from Florida named Jason. Tahani (Jameela Jamil) only started charities to be better than her famous sister. And Chidi (William Jackson Harper) never decided on anything in his life, driving those around him mad. It’s the perfect set-up for disaster, until Eleanor discovers the trick: they’re not in The Good Place. They’re in The Bad Place.

In season two, the jig is up (802 times to be precise). Michael (Ted Danson), creator of their neighborhood in The Bad Place, reset the neighborhood again and again to prove himself and his new idea of what The Bad Place could be to his boss. But, being around the four actual dead people while trying to ruin their afterlives teaches him about the human experience and the five of them secretly study ethics together while waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, when leaders of The Bad Place come to take Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason away, Michael leads the humans to the judge of the universe, who gives them a second chance at life (at the cost of their memories), the ultimate experiment for if people can really change.

But, being human is harder than it looks. After Michael saves their lives, they change for a moment back on Earth, but ultimately fall back into the same bad patterns as before. And that’s where this season picks up.

Photo courtesy of NBC.

Michael, originally having been a demon from The Bad Place, still has a hard time adjusting to following the rules. Despite the judge’s condition of their agreement for him not interfere with Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, or Jason’s development, he goes back two more times to push the four of them together, hoping that they will better each other like they did in The Bad Place. It’s bit cheesy and deep for the first episode of the new season, but that can be overlooked.

Eleanor, after quitting her job raising money for charity and insulting her boss, flies to find Chidi and have him teach her about ethics. Chidi studies definitive science for a bit, meeting Dr. Simone Garnett (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), a neurologist who studies his brain and, by the end of the episode, kisses him. He goes back to ethics after a friend of his gets injured due to Chidi’s advice. Tahani becomes a monk and then joins Chidi’s study on how near-death experiences change people after seeking out fame for her supposed righteousness. In true Jason style, he looks right past a poster for enrolling in Community College towards an audition poster for a dance crew and eventually gets thrown out of it for a fight, resorting his team back to robbery for money. He at last gets a tip from Michael to move to Australia to be in Chidi’s study.

But, something Michael didn’t account for was Trevor (Adam Scott). Throughout the episode, The Bad Place officials had been looking for the four escapees. And in the final scene, Trevor joins the study, saying he almost got hit by a train (a cheeky reference to how the humans got rid of him when escaping Michael’s neighborhood in season two). Trevor has infiltrated the group on Earth and things are bound to hit the fan.

This season of The Good Place is bound to be interesting, with connections from all the realms of good, evil, the ruling courts, and maybe in-between (hey, Mindy St. Claire). And in true The Good Place fashion, one can only imagine in what dimension they’re going to end up at the end of it.

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