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The Good Place

‘The Good Place’ Review: “Everything is Great!” Indeed

The Good Place
Season 2 Episode 1 & 2: “Everything is Great!”
Original Air Date: September 20, 2017

The Good Place starts off its sophomore season strong as it weaves the storylines of the four humans and Michael together. The decision to tell the story from each character’s point of view indicates that The Good Place has shifted to an ensemble show.

The Good Place – Take 2

After his first failed attempt, it is time for Michael to “Take Two” on his innovative torture design. This is Michael’s last chance to make his brainchild work, and if it fails a second time, he will be forced into early retirement, which does not involve playing golf in Florida for the rest of your life.

The Good Place

Michael gathers together his staff/actors/demons (I am not sure how to refer to these guys) to inform them of the changes in this second attempt. Using the valuable knowledge from Version 1, he expects this second try to exceed all expectations. While Michael’s end goal is still to have these four humans torture each other until the end of eternity, they are going to start it off slowly by focusing on each person’s individual torture and assign each human a new soul mate. Michael’s insistence on making The Good Place work introduces a philosophical theme of physical vs. psychosocial torture. Its mere creation suggests the Michael believes putting humans in situations that cause emotional distress is a more powerful form of torture than, say, throwing someone into a vat of acid. To me, that proves that Michael really doesn’t understand humans at all.

Eleanor

Eleanor is alone in her clown filled living room staring at the mysterious “Find Chidi” note that Janet handed her. She doesn’t know what a Chidi is, but she recognizes the handwriting as her own. With her newly assigned soulmate at the gym, Eleanor decides to take a stroll around town and investigate this mystery for herself.

She journeys outside to the sunny Good Place and asks the first couple she sees if there is a phonebook in this place (presumably so she can look up Chidi) but quickly learns that there are no phones in The Good Place. Michael quickly intercepts Eleanor and informs her that as the “Number One Point Getter” she will have to give a speech at tonight’s welcome party.

Eleanor: “How can I say no. Can I say no? It doesn’t feel like I can say no. But if I can, Michael, I’m saying no.”

Michael hopes that the anxiety of being singled out as “Best Person” in addition to being forced to publicly speak will create great material for the following day’s chaos sequence.

Eleanor senses that something is off when she arrives at the party. Red Flag #1: When she tries to talk to her soulmate, he rips off his shirt and runs to the gym again…in the middle of a party. Red Flag # 2: literally everyone she interacts with tries to shove drinks down her throat.

The Good Place

Eleanor turns down the drink offers because she learned the hard way that alcohol and speeches don’t mix well. Here is yet another example of Michael underestimating humans, and their ability to learn and change.  As Eleanor’s insecurities about being a fraud continue to build, she almost gives into the temptation of liquid courage but stops herself when she hears someone say “Chidi” in the distance.

Chidi

Michael informs Chidi that there was a malfunction in the algorithm, and he has been assigned two soulmates. Chidi must now decide which of these two women will be his soulmate (aka Chidi’s hell). One of the women, Angelique, is Chidi’s ideal mate: she is worldly and travels, she is soft spoken and kind, and the title of her philosophical dissertation was longer than this review. The other woman, Pevita, is well, basic AF.

Just as Chidi begins to announce his decision to everyone, Michael runs in to announce that the Soulmate Algorithm has been fixed and that Pevita is Chidi’s true soulmate. The only problem is that everyone heard Chidi say he chose Angelique, making this whole situation 100 times more awkward.

This seemed like the least thought out scenerio of the bunch. Chidi chose Angelique, and even questioned the algorithm for placing him with Pevita, indicating that he was confident in his decision. What Michael should have done was make both of them perfect for him in different ways, making the decision impossible. Then, once he made the choice, make Chidi think he did not choose correctly.

Tahani

Since all of the human’s memories have been reset, we are back to “Day One” self-absorbed Tahani. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tahani, but I love her after she realized she was incredibly stuck up and gained some self-awareness. Truthfully, Tahani’s pompousness should have made all of us realize they were in the bad place just in the pilot alone. In this version of The Good Place Michael has decided to take everything that Tahani values, and shattered it to pieces. That big house she thinks she deserves, those beautiful clothes, the adoration she expects, all gone. Instead, she is paired with a very very short humanitarian soulmate who only wears cargo pants and the pair live in a one-room bungalow in the woods. To add salt to the wound, Michael taps into Tahani’s biggest insecurity, the success of her sister, by hanging a huge poster of the said prodigal sister in the house.

Tahani struggles to balance her disappointment and disgust with her afterlife accommodations with keeping up her outward “Perfect Person” persona that she has carefully curated. This is the first time that she has been confronted with the contradictions that exist in her notion of being a selfless person. So, when her soulmate suggests that they not “dress up” for the party, she reluctantly agrees to attend in cargo pants.

The Good Place

Tahani: “I’m not used to dressing like a plumberesse”

Tahani’s frustration with The Good Place becomes too much for her to handle and she starts to down the four shots of tequila that Eleanor previously abandoned.

Jason

Jason is still Jianyu, the silent monk, in this reboot, but this time he is without his private Bud Hole. Jason now lives in a Yogurt (Yurt for short) with his soulmate, another silent monk. His soulmate never leaves his side. They eat together, make stone art together, and bike together.The Good Place

This becomes too much for Jason to handle so Jason disassembles his soulmate’s bike, hands Eleanor the bike gear, and bikes away on his lonesome. His grand plan doesn’t work though because when he arrives back at his yogurt, his soulmate is there waiting for him.

The Party

It is at the party that the humans’ storylines really begin to collide. After Eleanor hears Chidi’s name she pulls him off to the side to discuss the note. While Chidi feels sympathetic towards Eleanor, he can’t help her while also dealing with his own problems. This is very un-Chidi like. For a man who analyzes the ethical repercussions of everything, he gave very little thought to the idea of helping Eleanor. With Chidi gone, it is now time for Eleanor’s speech. She looks down at the metal gear and prays that its magical powers can get her out of this. And get her out of the speech, it does. Just as Eleanor begins her speech, she is abruptly interrupted.

Eleanor: “The dictionary defines “best” as…”
Tahani: “Oh, god. BORING.”

And with that, a drunk Tahani takes the stage and airs all of her grievances with The Good Place. Eleanor attempts to calm Tahani down, but instead of calming down, Tahani falls backward while stealing Eleanor’s sash and starts a fire. With all of the commotion, Jason is able to slip out of the party without his soulmate noticing, and Chidi pulls Eleanor aside to discuss the note further.

Michael

After Tahani’s fiasco, Michael calls a meeting among his star actors to try and regroup. It is then that he learns 1) all of the humans are missing and 2) Eleanor’s soulmate has used the “I’m going to the gym” excuse 9 times in less than 24 hours.

The Good Place

He finally finds Chidi and Eleanor together at Eleanor’s house trying to understand the meaning of the note and their connection. Next, Tahani comes to apologize to Eleanor, and return the sash, followed by Janet and Jason, and each human’s respective soul mate. Then, in less than a day, Eleanor realizes they are actually in The Bad Place. No version of heaven would include Jason, or pair up Tahani with a man that short.

Even though Michael has failed yet again, he when Eleanor tells him about the note she wrote to herself.  That was how Eleanor figured out she was in The Bad Place so quickly. This is something that he can ensure doesn’t happen in the next reboot. The reboot that he was forbidden to do. The reboot that he is about to lie to his boss about. The reboot that he is going to do anyway without permission.

And next up: The Good Place, Take 3.

Other Things

  1. I absolutely love Vicki (aka The Real Eleanor/ Denise) in this episode. See, she took this job because playing Real Eleanor was her chance to shine and show her acting chops. She got to break Chidi’s heart, she was a main character and involved in the action. Now she is just Denise, the owner of the pizza place Hawaii-5 Dough, and that is not going to cut it. She tries to insert herself into the narrative every chance she gets, and creates a backstory of her getting a limp while working as a trapeze artist in an illegal circus in Bangladesh.
  2. I don’t really understand why after this speech, Janet brought Jason to Eleanor’s:

    Janet: “What you’re saying is there are certain aspects of your existence here in The Good Place that are confusing for you and your searching for someplace to go where you feel less lonely. I know somewhere you can go.”

    Why did she think that Eleanor’s house would give Jason answers? Does Janet know they are human?

About Alyssa Berkowitz

Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa likes long walks on the beach, Greek food, talking about television, watching a good sunset, and girls who wear glasses . Wait, this isn't a bio for OKCupid? Alyssa got her start recapping in college when her friends got tired of her constantly talking about TV and suggested she start a blog. The idea was if she wrote about TV she would talk about it less. Well her friends succeeded in one of their goals...she started writing about TV.

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