The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona, Part 2

“The only one who could save humanity is a girl from Arizona.”

That was much better. This episode reminded me just how much I’m going to miss this show. Why does it have to end again?

Team Cockroach are still trying to figure out what to do with their horrible humans, the fate of the world resting heavily on their shoulders. The line-up now consists of Chidi (lovable, memoryless nerd), Simone (also lovable nerd, thinks she’s hallucinating), John Wheaton (Perez Hilton-type), and Brent Norwalk (epitome of the deckhead misogynist).

Eleanor and Michael focus their efforts on Brent, but he hilariously evades their efforts to show him he doesn’t belong in The Good Place because, well, he’s a huge deck. They try using a game show format (That Was Your Life) to unleash a not-a-woman who “saved” all the ducks (and horses), but only manage to make Chidi feel inadequate, which is really like shooting fish in a barrel. Later, they try to use the “chaos sequence” on Brent, which finally makes him believe he doesn’t belong in The Good Place, he belongs in the best place. It’s hilarious and it shows just how far gone Brent is. Can you imagine being in essentially heaven, surrounded by people who saved two entire species, and believe the “angels” underestimated your goodness?

So Eleanor’s feeling pretty defeated at this point and returns to Mindy’s place only to find the rest of Team Cockroach staging a coup. They’re now seriously questioning Eleanor’s authority and want a new team captain. Eleanor does what Eleanor always does: she quits. It’s terribly hard to change a behavior you’ve been engaging in for years, to rewire the brain, especially when the stakes are so high and the pressure is on so it makes perfect sense that Eleanor would fall back on old bad behavior. But Michael’s right, it is important she change and stick it out because the stakes are so high. I love the conversation they have. Kristen Bell and Ted Danson do it such justice. Eleanor’s been holding in her insecurity and pain for so long, trying to be what she thinks a leader looks like. Michael tells her she’s the perfect leader because she’s human. This may be a story about a girl and a demon trying to save all of humanity from eternal damnation, but Eleanor’s fear and Michael’s faith are so relatable. By the end, Eleanor’s ready to make take her thousandth and first attempt after all the other mistakes, a really clever solution: tell Brent he is one of the select few who might belong in The Best Place. He just needs to beat the rest in a competition of good deeds to prove it. Eleanor admits his motivation is corrupt, but hopes eventually he’ll start doing good out of habit instead of for reward.

As I was watching this episode I was struck by how nice it is to see characters be there for each other. So much TV is centered around watching good people become increasingly corrupted, or watching horrible people do horrible things. It's rare to find a show where the characters are not only trying to do good, but also trying to understand what it really means to do good. I thought this while seeing Jason prove he has self-control by giving Janet the space she needs and then later seeing the two engage in an amicable break-up despite their hurt feelings, seeing Tahani comfort Jason by telling him she doesn’t know what he should do now, but whatever it is they will all be there for her. Eleanor puts Chidi and Simone together as soulmates to help them find their way, Chidi uses his philosophy prowess to tell Simone that yes, this might be a hallucination, but on the off chance it isn’t maybe she should try to be good to others. Because treating people kindly certainly can’t hurt. And definitely creates great television that I am going to miss terribly.

Bits and Pieces

-- Philosophy lesson of the week: solipsism, believing you’re the only one in the world who’s real. I definitely had moments when I was little when I briefly considered this. Guess I was being juvenile.

-- I think Michal Dvorak from the season four premiere review’s comment section might’ve had a point in saying The Bad Place might’ve replaced Michael and Janet with fakes when they went on the train to return the demon spy. Eleanor wonders why The Bad Place would try something so obvious and Michael quickly turns the idea down. Sketchy behavior, maybe?

-- It was so sad when Chidi told Eleanor he’d never been in love. For both of them. He doesn’t remember something he’d always wanted to experience and she’s still experiencing that love that she knows he’s forgotten.

-- It was also so sad when Janet told Jason Bortles was cut from the Jaguars after breaking up with him. Talk about adding insult to injury.

-- PSA: There is a web series on the NBC website and youtube channel called "The Selection" about The Bad Place selecting the humans for the experiment.

Brent, on getting into Princeton: “No hand-outs, by the way, I earned my spot there just like my father and his father before him.”

Brent: “If this is heaven then where are my guys? Where’s Scotty and Schultzy and Porcupine. Where’s White Guillermo and where is Mexican William? And what about Squirt Man?”

Brent: “I was diamond elite, I swear. One time I did shots with this pilot in the lounge, the guy let me fly his helicopter.”
Michael: “We know, that’s how you died.”

Tahani: “I used to have a breakup routine when a relationship ended. Champagne and Alanis Morissette. Oh, not the actual singer. I’d just listen to her albums at my friend Adele’s house.”

Eleanor: “Maybe all of humanity can be saved with good old Jacksonville carnival.”
Jason: “I mean we could try. All I’d need is some bounce houses, some ninja stars, and a bunch of ambulances.”

Three and a half out of four fun game shows meant to make you feel unfit to be in heaven.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

It really is lovely seeing them supportive of each other, although they get a few negative points for saying that Eleanor needs to shower. I also really enjoyed the flying and chaos callbacks.

Nick said...

That whole scene with Michael and Eleanor just made me tear up a tad. Kristen and Ted are just sooo good there.

Lynda said...

A solid episode, i am going to miss this show.

Kristen and Ted play off one another so well. Ive even learned to appreciate Jason.