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The Good Place: Best Self

“We did it, guys. We won. We’re going to the Good Place. In a frickin’ gold balloon.”

Fresh off of their escape from Shawn, Team Cockroach is ready to catch the bus to the Good Place. Of course, there’s an obstacle.

Each person must be the best version of themselves to enter the hot air balloon to the Good Place. For Chidi, this unsurprisingly presents an ethical quandary. Now, I think I’ve owned up to this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not exactly a philosophy expert. My strongest memory of Intro to Philosophy (which, lest you think I enjoy 8:00 am Friday classes, was a requirement at my school) was willing myself not to give in to my first hangover and throw up.

For us mere mortals, I’d like to say that we’re always the best version of ourselves, because we’re always growing and learning and evolving, but hey, I’m an optimist. For Team Cockroach however…I mean they’ve had nearly a thousand different incarnations. Chidi is right that maybe the them from version 116 or 284 was better than they are currently. I would argue that they were probably the best in the version they were in the longest, which definitely hasn’t been this one.

Ultimately, that philosophical conversation is rendered unnecessary when Michael concedes that he was just trying to slow the team down because (drumroll please) he can’t get them to the Good Place. I want to acknowledge that his method of delay can once again be seen as torturing the humans. This time, however, it’s clear he takes no pleasure in it. Yay Michael! (Right?)

With no way of achieving their goal, Team Cockroach does what the Shellstrops have always done: ignore their problems and drink heavily. Tahani breaks up with Jason. Eleanor admits her feelings for Chidi, and Michael gets a human starter kit, which, aside from Tahani’s ballooning outfit, is my favorite part of the episode.

But then, Tahani, despite being drunk and in fear of an eternity spent in the Swiss Alps (during autumn!), has a brilliant idea. Shawn may not be the real judge of everything, but that being exists, why not take it to them? Michael rains on her parade when he explains that the portal to get to the judge would mean they would have to walk through the Bad Place to get there. Eleanor, who, as Tahani says, is their unofficial leader, decides that they’re going to risk it. Exciting!

The show gets points for me for slowing down. While season two has been relatively fast-paced, this episode grinds the show to a stop while we hang out with our characters and find out what they think their heavens and hells would be, we watch them get drunk and celebrate/commiserate and just hang out. Shows, especially high concept shows, don’t do that a whole hell of a lot. Everything is plot driven. Have to get to the next thing, and the next, and the next. But this episode really says, “Wait, let’s get back to basics.” It almost has a bottle episode-like feel. The only characters we see (besides a brief cameo by Bad Janet) are our main six and the majority of the episode occurs in one place. It’s a good episode. Really solid. And it proves that the show doesn’t need crazy twists and afterlife hijinks every week to keep our interest. Now that we’ve fallen in love with our characters, just seeing them chill can be enough.

The Good Quotes

Chidi: “How do I know that this version is the best version of myself? How do I know it’s not version number 85 or 322 or 558?”
Jason: “Or 69 or 420!”
Eleanor *high fives Jason*

Michael: “Kissing is gross. You just mash your food holes together. It’s not for that!”

Janet: “Love isn’t a triangle. It’s a five-dimensional blob.”

Michael: “You humans have so many emotions! You only need two: anger and confusion!”

Eleanor: “I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.”
Michael: “Oh, come on, everyone knows that’s worse!”

Tahani: “You know, my whole life, whenever I encountered any obstacles, I would simply say, 'I would like to speak to your manager.'”

Jason: “What do you guys think the Bad Place is going to be for you? I’ll probably go to a Skrillex concert and I’ll be waiting for the bass to drop, and it…it’ll never come.”

Michael: “All I’ve really ever wanted was to know what it feels like to be human. And now we’re going to do the most human thing of all: attempt something futile with a ton of unearned confidence and fail spectacularly!”

Three and a half out of four Ten-Headed Dog-Spiders


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