The Truth Comes Out (Again) in a Tense 'The Good Place' (RECAP)
For Michael and Janet, the jig is finally up.
There’s no more sneaking around or subtly influencing the universe. Now that Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason have seen the door to the afterlife, there’s just one thing to do: tell the truth. But can the humans handle the knowledge that they’re doomed to go to the Bad Place, no matter what? And if so — if their fates are sealed — why does it matter if they spend the rest of their lives being good people?
This week’s episode of The Good Place, titled “Jeremy Bearimy,” wrestles with those questions. It places the four humans directly in conflict with the demons, literal and emotional, that got them sent “down” instead of “up” — and ends, once again, with a totally new plan.
No More Hiding
After they all recognize him as different people (Zack Pizazz, The Librarian, Gordon Indigo), the episode opens with Michael attempting to convince the humans that he and Janet are working for the FBI. When he flubs that excuse, he’s left only with the option of telling them the truth…and after taking all night to explain it, the gang isn’t left feeling great about themselves or their future.
Now, Michael says, no matter what they do they’re going back to the Bad Place. Since they’ve learned about the afterlife and any “good” they do from this point forward could be done to get into the Good Place, they’ll stop earning points. (“That’s our bad, guys,” Janet says).
Chidi’s wondering how they were tortured for such a long time, but little to no time passed on Earth. For Michael, it’s as simple as “Jeremy Bearimy,” an explanation of how time works in the afterlife and not, surprisingly, anyone’s name. Michael explains the concept by writing the name “Jeremy Bearimy” in cursive, and saying time in the Good Place or the Bad Place follows the flow of those letters rather than a straight line, as time does on Earth.
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The dot over the ‘”I” in “Bearimy” proves too much for Chidi to handle — according to Michael, the dot is Tuesdays, July, and sometimes nothing. Eleanor resolves to go back to living life the way she always had been instead of trying to be good, because if she’s going to Hell anyway, what’s the point?
“See you in Hell!” Eleanor says as she leaves, and realizes it’s accurate; she really will see everyone in that room in Hell.
Being a Good (Bad) Person
Eleanor goes to a bar, where she argues with a bartender and claims it’s her birthday so she can get a free drink. She finds a wallet under her chair and starts to take the money, but as hard as she tries, she can’t quite pocket it. Fifty dollars in cab fare later, she ends up at the wallet owner’s house… and the new resident says he moved.
She gives Eleanor more things to pass along to him, and Eleanor racks up an even higher cab fare by going to the new address to make the delivery. When she gets there, the man is very grateful to her; not for returning his money, but for returning a photo his young daughter drew him. He says he hopes his daughter grows up to be like Eleanor, and she starts to cry.
Tahani’s handling things a bit better; she and Jason make a gigantic anonymous donation to an opera house, refusing to attach her name to the money because she infers (correctly) that the reason she didn’t get into the Good Place is her desperation for attention. She and Jason start giving random people large sums of money, and eventually, much to the dismay of the people at her bank, Tahani decides to give Jason all of her savings. They claim it’s impossible for her to do that (“If it’s easier, you can just put it on a Gamestop giftcard,” suggests Jason), but she finds a loophole: marriage. She and Jason platonically marry, so she’s able to give him half her money.
Janet and Michael, resigned to their eventual retirements, write a manifesto that explains everything they know about the afterlife and the point system in the hopes that someone, someday, will be able to finish their experiment.
The New Plan
Of the Brainy Bunch, Chidi’s taking Michael’s revelation the worst. He rants to a drug dealer who tried to make a sale by asking him if he “wants to find God,” he takes off his shirt in public then buys a new shirt, a ton of Peeps, M&Ms, almond milk and other household items, gives the cashier his credit card and car keys, goes off on a Nihilism-endorsing tangent in front of his students and tries to make chili with candy. He’s hit an all-time low, it seems.
That is, until Eleanor shows up! She tells him she has a plan, and asks him to come with her. She, Chidi, Michael, Eleanor, Jason and Janet find a new way to be ethical that doesn’t involve classes; at Eleanor’s suggestion, they decide to try. To try to be good people, and help the people they care about get into The Good Place.
They’re all incredibly excited, but there’s just one catch — Larry Hemsworth. He’s technically still engaged to Tahani, and he walks in at the last moment and asks her if she’s ready to go. Obviously, she’d overlooked that tiny detail.
- Is anyone else feeling exhausted? I love The Good Place, and I used to love its ability to rapidly morph from one show into another. Now, I’m finding myself wishing things could stagnate. Instead of moving straight into another plot point, why not let the story breathe? Why not show the humans bonding with Michael and Janet, instead of telling us they did?
- Why didn’t anyone question Michael and Janet’s explanation? Granted, a randomly-appearing door rebukes much skepticism, but they had been drinking. If I were in their shoes, I don’t know if I could accept that I had died and was alive again and now going to the Bad Place just because two people said so. Maybe the group did question it, but it wasn’t shown on-screen?
- I can’t help but wonder how all of this will affect Simone. Presumably, she’s none the wiser about her friends’ afterlife fates, and they’ll probably need to keep her in the dark about it. Several fan theories have cast Simone as an actual Good Place angel, and I think that would be a neat twist.
- This may have been deliberate misdirection, but I think there’s something important hidden in Michael’s explanation of the “I.” Whether the humans are secretly there and not on Earth, whether they’ll return to the afterlife and find a way to live in the dot on the “I,” I think there was too much time spent on it for it to have no significance.
The Good Place, Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, NBC