The Good Place: Team Cockroach

“The Bad Place is about to be outsmarted by a cowardly traitor, four dumb dumbs, and a robot.”

Essentially, the humans are asked to make a deal with the devil and Eleanor’s BS detector goes way off, as it should.

So, a demon who designed a world specifically for your eternal torture asks to team up, what do you do? Well, if you’re like Jason you agree immediately because said demon is wearing a bow tie. If you’re like Chidi you take a surprisingly short amount of time to think about it before deciding it is your moral imperative to agree in order to continue to work on becoming a better person. If you’re like Tahani you refuse to believe you belong in this situation in the first place. And if you’re Eleanor you’re almost driven crazy by how easily everyone else gives in while you plan your escape.

To make matters even worse, this “Good Place” attempt is only a week long. Meaning the humans barely know each other and are at their most vile (or, to put it nicer, least evolved). So when Eleanor and Tahani basically have to fight the worst parts of themselves to deal with the situation, they don’t have a lot of tools or support to lead them in the right direction.

Eleanor’s always relied heavily on her BS detector. We don’t need another flashback to figure that one out. And it’s helped her out a lot. She needed it when she was a kid with disengaged parents. It’s probably the reason she was able to tell they were in the Bad Place throughout all those attempts. And here her BS detector is saying loudly that Michael isn’t to be trusted, because he isn’t. So she falls back into another habit we’re well acquainted with: she selfishly cuts and runs. Or she almost does.

It can be pretty frustrating to see our characters grow over and over again only to lose their entire memories, but here the various attempts or timelines or alternate realities or whatever you want to call them are really well used by the show. Michael still remembers these realities. And these realities still included the humans, their real selves in different situations. In every one of these situations Chidi never gave up on Eleanor, which is enough for Eleanor to agree to this crazy scheme. She can’t trust Michael, but she can trust the various versions of Chidi.

Tahani also takes her sweet time in deciding to team up with Michael. But, unlike Eleanor, she doesn’t believe she’s in the Bad Place at all. Instead, she thinks this is all some test. To prove otherwise, Tahani gets the flashback of the episode; she sees the way she dies. The flashback doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know (aside from the particulars of her death): Tahani did a bunch of good, but all for praise or fame or to one-up her sister. But it’s worth it to see because it’s new for Tahani. One of Tahani’s core beliefs is that she’s a good person—the best, actually. She has to believe that because she has to be better than her sister and good enough for her parents. It’s hard to break core beliefs. So Tahani seeing herself for who she actually was, believing it, and deciding she wants to actually improve so she can live up to who she thought she was is huge.

In the course of thirty minutes Chidi, Tahani, and Eleanor make huge strides towards personal growth. Chidi actually makes a decision without agonizing over it for an inordinate amount of time. Tahani sees that she needs real growth in order to make it to the Good Place. And Eleanor finally trusts someone, even someone she barely knows. Even Michael manages to tell the truth for a half an hour (or so he says). Team Cockroach is once again evolving.

Bits and Pieces

-- Setting that thirty-minute time-bomb (the amount of time they had to decide whether or not to team up) was a cool trick. It really built the tension, especially in a show where you never really know what will happen.

-- Restaurants in this “Good Place”: A Little Bit Chowder Now, featuring a lazy river of chowder and Pump Up The Clam, featuring a clam chowder fountain. Yes, Eleanor, you really should have known this was the Bad Place.

-- They’ve had 802 attempts. The longest was eleven months, the shortest was eight seconds (“a butt reboot”).

-- Also, Janet was rebooted at every attempt meaning she’s likely the most advanced Janet in the universe, meaning she can bop her head and rub her tummy at the same time.

-- The Medium Place is, in fact, real.

Tahani: “You know, believe it or not, I found myself in a very similar situation a few years ago except in that instance Michael was Javier Bardem and the Bad Place was Vanessa Redgrave’s panic room.”
Eleanor: “Okay, stop talking. Do not talk again for a hundred hours.”

Tahani: “Yes, we shall grill him like the flank of an Iberian piglet.”
Eleanor: “I'm sorry, has it been 100 hours?”

Tahani: “That is utter tosh!” Is that a real British phrase? I don’t know why, but I really like it.

Michael: “Everyone in the Bad Place Bureau of Human Affairs gets randomly assigned a human body so we can get the feel of how best to torture you. I gotta say, it took me a long time to get used to the hanging bits.”
Eleanor: “Gross!”
Michael: “Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, Eleanor. I was talking about my testicles.”

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