The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona, Part 1

“Dead eyes, eat hearts, can’t lose.”

Team Cockroach is back and they’re not doing so great. Michael calls in a rallying cry, boosting everyone up before it all goes to shirt.

The experiment turns out to be tougher on everyone than they expected. Eleanor is visibly pained by Chidi forgetting her, Jason is stressed about the state of his relationship with Derek around, Janet is overworked and overwhelmed trying to take care of the whole neighborhood, and the two new humans that arrived just really, really suck.

With everyone stressed over the new stakes, especially Eleanor since losing Chidi, they fail to realize one of the new humans, Linda Johansson, is really a demon from the Bad Place. Except Tahani, who recognizes something’s off and deserves all the points for that. I was with Tahani on this one. I got major Double Meat Palace, pop-up demon head, attempted-homicide-by-meat-grinder vibes from her (this is a Buffy reference for those people not getting it. And to those people I say, go watch Buffy). Something about the eyes and the old ladyness. So the twist didn’t land quite as well for me as they typically do. Anyway, the bulk of the episode was spent on relationship drama: Eleanor-Chidi-Simone and Jason-Janet-Derek, as if the episode was as distracted from the real problem as the characters were.

If I’m being honest the episode didn’t do it for me as much as most episodes do. It had great comedy beats and it set up the experiment and the plot for the season well, but all the parts didn’t fit together as well as they usually do. I think this was partly due to the lack of a philosophy lesson to tie it all together. Chidi was off being memory-less and pushed away by a crushed Eleanor so we didn’t have our resident philosophy expert. I’m also just not a huge fan of the love triangle so while I appreciate the emotional stakes of the lost relationship between Eleanor and Chidi, I didn’t care too much about the Simone aspect or Derek threatening Jason and Janet’s relationship. Of course, this is just part one of a two-parter, so maybe the next episode will turn it around.

That said, I do have some theories after this episode. It seemed as though the experiment is causing Team Cockroach to slowly devolve. After just the first day Eleanor was avoiding bringing Chidi into help despite how much Simone (who believes she's hallucinating this world while on her death-bed) needed it, everyone was putting too much on Janet without thought and Janet was snapping at everyone in return, and Jason killed someone. That someone was Derek and he reanimates, but still. Mike Shur shows are usually largely warm and hopeful so I imagine they’ll turn this around at some point, but I wonder if this is where they’ll be headed for the next few episodes and what Mike Shur and company is trying to say through that.

Bits and Pieces

According to Eleanor, the pride of Phoenix is a life-sized statue of Alice Cooper made of cigarette butts.

The official bad place song is the "Cars For Kids" song. Appropriate.

The other new human, Brent Norwalk, is a real douche. He sounds like he would have a lucrative career as a demon.

Kristen Bell making emoji faces is adorable. That should be her next role. She should just be making emoji faces for a half an hour every week. I’d watch.

Simone acted super calm this episode for someone who believes she’s slowly dying.

Michael about Tahani: “She was the only one who could talk me out of that goatee.”
Tahani: “Well, I lost that fight with Robert Downey Jr. and I’ll be damned if I lose with you.”

Derek over intercom: “Attention I have been Derek-ed! Murder has been me!”

Three out of Four life-sized statues of Alice Cooper made out of cigarette butts.

7 comments:

Panda said...

I think my main issue with this episode was how it was cut off mid-stream without really saying what it needed to say. Why not air this back to back like they’ve done with previous episodes?

Agreed on the old lady demon twist. It didn’t land for me, either.

Lynda said...

I too got the old lady double meat palace vibe and knew something wasnt right, but i guess thw writers were wanting a way to force Chidi into being the final human in the experiment.

Michael rallying the team and getting to Jason then having nothing to say did make me chuckle. Poor Jason.

Even though it is on Netfllix here, being a network show have to wait a week between episodes to see how this two parter plays out, janet doesnt seem like she will be able to hold eveything together much longer.

I need to go back and read earlier reviews here because im still uncertain whether Simone's woeful attempt at an aussie accent is meant to be part of the joke or just really lazy casting? Worst aussie accent since Meryl Streep in Evil Angels, it's not like Hollywood isnt full of Aussies actors or they couldnt have just made her an expat pom living downunder.

sunbunny said...

Lynda, I think it was just lazy casting. I really like the actress but it seems weird to me to get a non-Aussie to do an Australian accent when, as you say, Hollywood is full of Australian actors. I believe the actress is British, so it seems weird to not let her be British. Kind of like when they remade Broadchurch for the American market and David Tennant did an American accent and sounded like Steve Buscemi. Like we don't have people with Scottish accents walking around the U.S. People immigrate, casting directors!

Lynda said...

Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Simone) is definitely a brit, she has worked with Kristen Bell on both House of Lies and Veromica Mars although using her native accent in those. I like her, i just dont like her fake Aussie accent it is really distracting.

I love David Tennant but they rarely seem to let him use his Scottish accent, even on Doctor Who they made him do an English accent, yet then let Peter Capaldi be Scotiish.

Michal Dvorak said...

Okay, does anybody else think that Michael and Janet were captured and replaced when they went on the Bad Place train? And that that was the actual Bad Place plan - to introduce one really obvious fake so that they could later replace him with two more subtle ones?

Nonei said...

It definitely crossed my mind

Billie Doux said...

This episode made me wish I'd rewatched the first three seasons this summer.