‘The Good Place’: A Familiar Face Turns Earth Into the Bad Place (RECAP)
Talk about an unexpected return!
Adam Scott’s Trevor hadn’t shown up on The Good Place since Season 1, when he was tasked with bringing Eleanor to the Bad Place (which we now know was a ruse). This week, the determined, sarcastic, fart joke-cracking demon resurfaces in the guise of an overeager, overbearing companion who’d do just about anything to be friends with Eleanor and the rest of the gang — including making some truly gaudy sweatshirts.
Of course, his true motive is to derail the study behind Chidi’s new thesis and Judge Gen’s experiment — and even with Michael’s continued meddling in the lives of his favorite humans, it seems he might just succeed.
Dank Memes and Demons
The episode opens with Trevor offering his intended buddies some “sinful” lemon bars, and thanking Eleanor for being “the reason all of this is happening.” He gives her a long hug; then, when her back is turned, he gives her a truly demonic look.
The human-demon has been making aggressive attempts to bond with Eleanor through outdated “dank memes” (which are probably pretty popular in The Bad Place), but she’s not responding. As the experiment starts, Trevor goes into the hallway and finds Michael returned to Earth…again. They bicker, with Trevor explaining that the Bad Place wasn’t going to sit idly by while Michael illegally messed with the experiment. He ends up making a pretty decent point: Michael can’t participate, because the humans have already seen him.
Later, Eleanor works up the courage to ask Chidi if they can continue their one-on-one ethics lessons. “I feel like last week I had my own personal ninja master, and now I’m taking tai chi with a bunch of farting housewives,” she says. Shockingly, Chidi turns her down. Is Michael’s plan totally forked?
The Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet
Trevor suggests the group should go sightseeing. Jason is the only one who responds enthusiastically to this idea, and a dejected Eleanor says she’ll go to a bar and go to bed. Trevor jumps on this with a truly Bad Place-worthy solution, and they end up at the Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet — “The perfect place for homesick Americans!” according to the human-demon.
It’s an eatery worthy of hell, with a “Manifest Destiny” package that allows new arrivals to remove anyone at a table and working guns for pagers. Trevor’s made the group “Brain-y Bunch” sweatshirts, and thinks they should come up with nicknames. Their server pumps the brakes on Trevor’s party — this pigtailed, plaid shirt-wearing waitress is none other than Janet!
Trevor’s shaken upon seeing Michael’s assistant, and Janet’s shaken when she realizes she doesn’t have her powers. She tells Michael her knowledge stopped updating when she went through the portal, which has been almost as hard for her as having to get things herself.
Things aren’t going much better with the “Brain-y Bunch.” Eleanor’s annoyed to the point where she leaves the table. Chidi, at Trevor’s suggestion that being friends with his test subjects might contaminate his study, has also left the table. Janet spills a beer on Trevor, who then suggests a drinking game to the two remaining humans.
Michael and Janet are exasperated, considering Eleanor and Chidi are the cornerstones on which their experiment rests. Jason and Tahani are drunk. Eleanor’s trying to talk some sense into her former professor, who isn’t having it. He nearly has a nervous breakdown at her suggestion that they were almost friends, and she leaves to get him a hot tea. Poor Eleanor!
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In his librarian disguise, Michael tries to talk to Chidi and convince him it’s okay to hang out with the team, but Trevor needs to go. Eleanor comes back with a microwaved root beer — the closest thing the restaurant has to tea — and reminds Chidi he’s the reason she came to Australia. Chidi doesn’t seem reassured and continues his quest to put distance between them.
Michael and Janet confront a smug Trevor in the bathroom. He seems to have the upper hand: Eleanor and Chidi aren’t anywhere close to being friends, and Jason and Tahani might hook up, which would mortify her into leaving. The ethics train appears to have gone off the rails.
Much to Trevor’s shock, the next day in class, it becomes clear Jason and Tahani didn’t hook up; he simply took her home. But Eleanor isn’t there, and the demon tells Chidi she might quit the study. This prompts an exhausted and emotional Chidi to go talk to her, telling her she’s the reason he’s close to understanding why his whole life has been “a torture chamber of indecision.” Reluctantly, she agrees to come back.
Again, Michael and Janet confront Trevor. The demon’s nowhere close to giving up, but Michael has faith. Suddenly, a portal appears behind them and the doorman steps through. He tells the trio the Judge wants to see them.
The Judge brushes off Trevor’s attempts to suck up to her and throws him off the railing, then proceeds to tell Michael and Janet that the humans are on their own. She also says they’ll both be sent back to the Bad Place, which will result in Michael’s retirement and Janet’s marble-ization. Things are looking pretty grim until a tray of beers materializes in Janet’s hand. Everything she tried to summon on Earth is appearing between them and the Judge! Taking advantage of this opportunity, Michael and Janet turn back toward the portal, and the doorman gives them the key.
They go through just in the nick of time, and the doorman tells an angry Judge “they escaped.”
- Best quote of the episode: “These four humans are all I care about in the universe, and there is nothing — I mean nothing — that’s going to come between me and them.” Michael’s character development is truly incredible, and probably the best on this show.
- It’s interesting that this season has somewhat flipped the premise of the first. Instead of Eleanor trying to convince Chidi to teach her ethics, he’s trying to convince her to stay.
- I saw Janet’s trip to Earth coming, but didn’t think she’d arrive as a waitress at the restaurant. I wonder why Michael didn’t have her participate in the study?
- Seeing how enthusiastically Jason responded to all of Trevor’s suggestions was hilarious. If Jason had been the key to everything, rather than Eleanor, the Bad Place would have won.
- Where do Michael and Janet go from here? They don’t have money, and clearly, Janet doesn’t have a promising career in front of her as a waitress. The group knows Michael individually as completely separate personas. Will Michael have to come clean to them about who he really is? Will he show them footage of him saving their lives?
The Good Place, Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC