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The Good Place: Leap to Faith

“Oh, Kierkegaard is so great! Have you read Fear and Trembling?”

I love Shawn. His deadpan giddiness makes him a comical Ben Linus. And his power over Michael makes him a fascinating authority figure—one who plays perfectly against Team Cockroach.

The opening scene of this episode, in which Shawn and Michael tell our heroes that they’re in the Bad Place, is one of the best in the show. Michael must pretend he’s still on Shawn’s side, the humans have to figure out whether or not they’re supposed to feign ignorance, and Michael has to communicate his loyalty to the humans without letting Shawn figure out.

Eleanor’s attempt at seeming na├»ve was perfect, mostly because Kristen Bell’s delivery of “We’re in the Bad Place?!” was so unconvincing to us—but convincing enough to a powerful demon who hates emotions and doesn’t pay much attention to humans. Tahani’s “Sorry, why are you telling us this now?” was even better. It’s exactly the question the humans wanted to know, after all.

It all gets resolved, of course. Michael is still a part of the team. But it takes us a while to get there, and getting there is most of the fun: the comedy roast—an art form invented by demons—was both brutal and filled with lovely clues and Blake Bortles shoutouts. The party, with the worst songs ever, the leaping background giraffes, drunk Janet, and streaking fire-rock demons, was beautifully composed.

That’s not to diminish the emotional impact of all of this on the humans, of course. They felt betrayed. Tahani had Ben Affleck flashbacks. (Bafflacks?) Chidi was hoping for, at best, a reduced torture sentence. Even Eleanor, who demonstrated her personal growth by trusting Michael for so long, had a moment of doubt. But that’s what it all boils down to, sometimes: a leap of faith. (Although it’s more accurately translated as a leap into faith, as both Chidi and Michael inform us.)

The result of all this madness is what appears to be a massive game-changer: the demons are gone from our neighborhood. Michael’s secret is out now; the demons will quickly realize that he’s been playing them. Derek, unboxed but still wind-chimed, is now at Mindy St. Clair’s house. And our heroes are on the lam with nothing but a rogue Janet and a scheming demon.

A Sit of Doubting:

• Shawn: “The four of you will be brought to the real Bad Place, where your brains will be removed, studied, then batted about a stadium like beach balls. Your arms will be peeled like bananas. That part’s just for fun.”

• Eleanor: “I know it’s crazy. But if it weren’t crazy, they wouldn’t call it a ‘leap of faith.’ They’d call it a ‘sit of doubting.’”

• Michael: “You know, humans make a lot of mistakes when they’re horny.”

• Michael: “Knock, knock.”
Chidi: “Who’s there?”
Michael: “You died alone because you couldn’t commit to anyone.”
Jason: “You died alone because you couldn’t commit to anyone who?”

• Even Tahani is disappointed by Ben Affleck’s Batman.

• Janet drunk on magnets. ‘Nuff said.

• Vicky in a cocoon. It’s gooey in there!

Four out of four background giraffes.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

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