‘The Good Place’: The ‘Diamond Elite’ Resident of Eleanor’s Nightmares (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Good Place Season 4 Episode 2, “A Girl From Arizona, Part 2.”]
As if the sabotaging of their experiment wasn’t bad enough, now Eleanor (Kristen Bell) has to deal with the resident who might be the worst Bad Place selection.
While Eleanor might not have really had nightmares about Brent, it’s clear that he’s there to torment her in “A Girl From Arizona, Part 2.” Everything he does gets on her nerves, and he derails her plan in the worst way possible. Meanwhile, all her friends are questioning whether she’s fit to lead. What’s a girl from Arizona to do?
The Best Place?
Chidi (William Jackson Harper)’s now the fourth member of the experiment in Linda’s absence. That’s good for the group, so much of this week’s installment is devoted to figuring out Brent. The goal is to get him to seeking help as he understands he doesn’t deserve to be in The Good Place.
There’s just one problem with that plan: Brent thinks he’s the best person in the whole neighborhood, and nothing fazes him. Not a segment on a talk show with guests who are better than him, not a storm driven by his speech that day. He eventually reveals his line of thinking to Eleanor and Michael (Ted Danson)… he’s convinced there’s a “Best Place,” and he belongs there, which is a hilariously wrong assertion.
That’s when times get truly grueling for the “architect.” Eleanor walks in on her friends discussing whether she should be replaced as lead on the experiment, and she berates them and storms out the door. “I quit,” she says. “Shellstrop out.”
Thankfully, Michael goes to talk to her and offers her advice. He reminds her that she beat him more than 800 times, and that because he’ll never understand what it’s like to be human, the experiment needs a human leader: her. “You think you can’t do this?” he says. “Eleanor, you’re the only one who can do this.”
With that, Eleanor gets a new idea. Guys like Brent, she says, never like to be wrong… so she’ll tell him there is a “Best Place.” She and Michael use that concept to get Brent to do good deeds, since, as she informs him, only the top point-getters get to go.
They look on as Brent holds the door for other residents and contemplate his motivation (he’s doing good things for selfish reasons), but Eleanor says they have to hope he’ll start doing good out of habit. She also figures out that Michael didn’t have a nervous breakdown on Day 1—he faked it so that she would take over. “You tricky devil!” she tells him. “Very clever.”
A Necessary Sacrifice
Later, she takes the step of introducing “soulmates” to the neighborhood… by persuading Chidi he and Simone are destined to be together. This’ll get Chidi to help Simone—he says he already has some readings in mind for her—but it’s definitely not fun for Eleanor. At least Simone is making progress, since by the end of the episode, she accepts Chidi’s help.
The group, including a very sad Jason (he and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) are “taking a break” in the fallout of Janet’s stress and Jason’s bad decision-making), meets back at Mindy’s. They agree Eleanor took the right step in making Simone and Chidi “soulmates,” but Michael argues Eleanor might have given up even more than Chidi because she remembers the relationship they shared and he doesn’t. “But we know what he gave up,” Eleanor says, “dat a**.” She and Jason (Manny Jacinto) high-five, and the episode ends.
- No cliffhanger ending! A surprise, considering almost every episode has ended with one. Can’t help but wonder what kind of chaos that masks for episode 3.
- They’re going to have to deal with the gossip columnist soon, probably even in next week’s episode. I’d all but forgotten he was there—it’s been a while since he’s shown up.
- Michael wasn’t wrong: Jason does need to learn to control his emotions. It’s interesting that while the goal is to get the four “experiment” humans to improve, Jason might end up improving himself, too.
The Good Place, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC