‘The Good Place’ Leaves Earth Behind in ‘Janet(s)’ (RECAP)
Dare I say it? Holy motherforking shirtballs, what an episode.
Picking up where the previous episode left off, the humans are now safe in Janet’s void. “Safe” might not be quite accurate, though; everyone’s hunting them down, and there have been some complications with the trip. Michael and Janet go to the accountants to take a look at the point totals and determine whether the Bad Place is messing with them, and Eleanor, Chidi and the human gang stay in the void — of course, “staying in the void” comes with its own set of challenges.
Simply put, The Good Place has done it again. Delivering a half-hour filled with humor, heart and the twists for which the show is known, it showed a very, very important location at the end of an episode that was every bit as intense as some of the show’s most harrowing installments.
As the episode opens with a white background, Michael celebrates and congratulates Janet on saving them. “Janet, you did it! You brought us into your void!”
While the two inter-dimensional beings aren’t affected by the shift, the humans certainly have been. They’ve all been turned into Janets! All of them freak out in turn as they realize they’ve turned into their favorite helpful AI as a result of being transported into her void. Eventually, Janet changes them into different clothes in order to tell them apart and explains what happened to change them — she says their bodies dematerialized when they entered the void, and they’ve recomposed as Janets.
Janet creates a sofa and living room for them to keep them comfortable, and they hatch a plan. Michael says Janet’s void has a back door to the accounting department, and the humans will stay in the void while Janet and Michael go talk to the head accountant. When Tahani asks why they can’t go with him, Michael explains that the group are interdimensional fugitives because they haven’t gone to the Good or Bad Place, the judge is still looking for them and the Bad Place is still looking for them, so needless to say, it’s safer for the humans where they are. Janet and Michael leave to talk to the accountant and, hopefully, talk him into letting them get a look at the books of point totals.
In the void, Chidi laments that he has a stomachache. Eleanor conjures him a dog to make him forget his troubles, and they discover they have Janet’s powers! The real Janet shows up and tells Eleanor she can’t randomly conjure objects or she might shatter the void. “Stop it!” she yells.
“Everything okay?” Michael asks Janet when she returns. They wait for the accountant and see a wanted poster on the wall for the four humans.
“Nope!” Janet says, giving him a thumbs up.
Neil, the head accountant (portrayed by Stephen Merchant), comes out to see Janet and Michael. Michael tells him he’s concerned about anomalies in the point system, and says he thinks the Bad Place has been tampering with the point system. The accountant says that’s impossible, and Michael asks to see how the system works.
Chidi’s happy with the dog, and Eleanor tells him she knew exactly what kind of dog he wanted because of their shared past as soulmates. She wants to continue their discussion in the bar before they went into the void, but Chidi says there isn’t much to talk about; that wasn’t part of his life, he says. He maintains that the concept of the self — of who he is — means that the soulmate she had isn’t the same as the Chidi he is now. Eleanor gets angry and tries to “unboop” his puppy, but she ends up conjuring even more on accident. Uh-oh.
In accounting, Neil shows them the computer that controls and tracks point totals and where humans go. It lights up with an undefined action, which the accountant explains as something that hasn’t been done before. So, he says, accountants examine the action done, the use of resources for the action, et cetera. After more analysis the score is double-checked by 3 billion other accountants. The numbers are official, according to Neil, and any other person who does that action will receive the same number of points; the system is supposedly flawless and the numbers are accurate. Unconvinced, Michael asks to see the file on Doug Forcett.
Back in the void, Eleanor is upset Chidi doesn’t want to know anything about their past. Chidi teaches them about the concept of the self with a chalkboard he conjured, arriving at the philosophy-based conclusion that no matter if the memories happened or not, if he can’t remember that part of his life, it’s not part of him — they must have happened to a different Chidi. Eleanor gets upset and tells him to just admit he’s embarrassed that he fell in love with an “arizona trash bag.” Meanwhile, Jason conjures a hot tub and Pillboi, which the real Janet promptly erases.
Michael looks at the file, and the accountant declares Doug Forcett, at his point total and for his age, isn’t going to get into the Good Place. Michael gets upset and asks how it could be possible for Doug not to get in when his whole life is centered around doing good. The accountant, firm, says the math is indisputable. Michael asks him to look at a file for someone who has gotten into the good place in the past year; Neil can’t pull one up. The past three years; Neil can’t pull one up. As it turns out, no one has gotten in the past 521 years. As the scene ends, Janet’s essence begins to splinter as a result of the humans misbehaving, and light begins to shine through her wrist.
No One Else Can Fix It
Jason, still appearing as Janet, tries to give Chidi some advice. He tells him if he doesn’t like Eleanor, he should just tell her. Chidi says it’s not about Eleanor, but rather, he “can’t take one more thing.” He got into philosophy to try to make sense of the universe, but now nothing is making sense and it’s too much. When Jason makes a factual error in the story he tries to tell, Chidi figures out it’s Eleanor, and not Jason, in the Janet in front of him. Jason-Janet reveals she’s Eleanor and freaks out, questioning why she’s chasing after a guy who isn’t into her. As her mood worsens and she keeps yelling, Chidi watches as she changes from a Janet into a completely different person. “This isn’t good,” Chidi says.
Eleanor keeps changing people as the world crumbles around them. Janet shows up and says Eleanor’s sense of self is crumbling and taking the void down with it; if Eleanor doesn’t start acting like herself, the void will keep falling apart. Meanwhile, Jason and Tahani explore a little and find where Janet stores all of her information — of course, Jason calls it a “flat screen.” Jason starts yelling at the screen – it starts playing love music and playing a photo montage of Jason, and Tahani figures out that Jason and Janet were married in a past life. Jason guesses, in true Jason form, that this flat screen must have been a wedding present. (Inaccurate, but cute).
Michael is enraged with the accountant and declares that the Bad Place has hacked their system. The accountant tells them they have to go to the Good Place and take it up with them if he and Janet are upset. Michael has a bit of a crisis at the latest twist in their situation, because…if the accounting department won’t fix the obvious bias in the totals, who will? Janet has some advice. She tells him he has to fix it, and no one else can. “You’re the only one who can fix whatever’s wrong with the afterlife,” she tells him. Right now, it’s certainly looking to be true.
Holy Forking Shirtballs
Janet tells Michael to marble-ize her and get them to somewhere safe in order to stop the friendly AI from essence-fracturing, but the pair don’t know what’ll happen to the humans if Janet turns into a marble. Meanwhile, Chidi tries to talk to Eleanor to get her to remember herself as she keeps changing identities, and as he talks, he demonstrates how much he knows her. He tells her she saved his life, and overcome with emotion and affection, he kisses her. They both turn back into themselves and the void stops crumbling! “Nice work, bud,” Eleanor says. She asks him if he meant what he said or if he just did it to save her, and he adorably fumbles a little on his words (he finds out saying the word “sexy” isn’t very sexy). Eleanor leans in and kisses him again.
The humans are regurgitated by Janet in the accountant’s office as themselves – apparently they couldn’t stay in the void as themselves, not Janets. As they look around, all safe and happy to be together, red alarms start flashing in the office. Neil introduces himself and calls them inter-dimensional fugitives, making it clear the humans will have to be turned in for their crimes. Michael tells his friends no one’s coming to save them, and they have no plan. He steps forward and says he’s going to save them, glaring at the accountant. He then takes the accountant’s book of Dougs, and sends Jason through a portal to the Good Place, then sends the rest of the humans, Janet and himself there in turn.
They come out in an office not dissimilar to the one Michael once had, and Michael tells them they’re in the good place. Eleanor, ready to argue with him and bring up how often Michael has lied to them in the past, realizes she can’t say “fork,” “shirt” or “shirtballs.” They finally made it. They’re in the Good Place!
- What a midseason finale! Season 3 might have started off a little shaky, but it sure found its footing. The suspense in this episode felt real, and the stakes felt high.
- Though many had theorized the Good Place wasn’t real, it was nice to see it’s an actual location, even if almost no one actually ends up there. This’ll help The Good Place expand its world even further, and that’s an exciting challenge for the narrative. Might we get another episode similar to Season 2’s classic “Rhonda, Diana, Jake and Trent”?
- Props to D’Arcy Carden for her fantastic acting this episode. She had a lot to handle with everyone as “Janets,” and she pulled off each of her cast members’ trademark sayings and mannerisms expertly. Bravo!
- Chidi and Eleanor are so forking cute. It was a little jarring to see Chidi fighting his feelings rather than being simply indecisive about them — he almost seemed like he was sure he didn’t want to be with Eleanor — but it was great to see he finally decided they do belong together. Would have been interesting to hear his reasoning behind that change of heart, though.