Spoilers for The Good Place 4×01: “A Girl From Arizona”
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The Good Place is in its final season and even in the season’s premiere, the show quite literally refuses to pull punches. (Thanks a lot, LINDA.) It’s up to our lovable four humans, an evolved Janet, and a reformed demon, to prove that despite upbringing, neuroses, money, or terrible life choices, people are capable of change for the better. It’s a noble, ethical quest, one that seemed almost achievable for The Good Place protagonists. Even though one of them still remains a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, I still believed it was possible for an Arizona trash bag and her friends to triumph over the shoe scum eating underworld.
That is, until I met Brent.
Brent may directly be a punishment for Eleanor, sent by the Bad Place to challenge her etiquette as a fake Good Place employee, but Brent is actually a punishment for us all. Especially me. While characters like Jason and Eleanor resonate with viewers in an exaggerated manner for the sake of comedy, we all know a Brent exactly as he is. Brent is every smug, white male boss who thinks it’s hilarious to demean women because they laugh out of politeness. Brent is the man who spent an hour arguing, “Batwoman isn’t a real comic book character.” Brent is the college bro who thought throwing bricks at other students at night was an acceptable form of hazing because “most people ducked.” Brent is the guy who still says he’s not racist because he has a <dentist, in-law, employee, etc> who is <insert any non-white race.> Brent doesn’t need exaggeration for the sake of comedy because Brent is a horrible douchebag all by himself and with a single line, thousands of viewers cried out, “I know that guy!”
Tahani’s bad place counterpart, John, won’t be an easy egg to crack and Simone, given her shaky mental state, seems like she’ll throw the biggest wrench into Eleanor’s plans, so Team Cockroach definitely has their work cut out for them. I’m interested to see how they handle each person moving forward since the most difficult task is that at least Eleanor and Jason knew they didn’t belong in the Good Place. There are no such qualms with Brent, John, Simone, or Chidi. They all genuinely believe they’re good enough to deserve being there, except for Simone, who thinks she might be having an existential breakdown in a coma.
Let’s pour one out for poor Linda, who we never really got to know and for me, because I never got to speculate all the reasons why someone like Linda could be in the Bad Place. Looking back, I’m kicking myself that I never noticed and put together that her first question was if the Good Place had a fitness center and it’s a reminder that The Good Place writers are sneaky in all their dealings so I imagine we’ll see a twist in the plot sooner rather than later.
What kind of twist? My guess is that the Cockroaches learn that they’re the ones who are being tallied during these trying times, not the newbies. With Jason navigating jealousy, Tahani facing her past, Eleanor dealing with the pressure of leadership and decision making, and Chidi being Chidi, I suspect the four will realize much too late that they’re still the ones on trial. No matter what happens, I’m sure I’ll be caught off guard and all my theories will be thrown in the trash faster than Blake Bortles. The Good Place is back, baby!
Dead eyes, eat hearts, can’t lose.
The Good Place airs Thursdays on NBC.