‘The Good Place’: Will the Real Michael Please Stand Up? (RECAP)

The Good Place - Season 4
Spoiler Alert
Colleen Hayes/NBC

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Good Place Season 4 Episode 4, “Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy.”]

The Good Place is calling the identity of one of its central characters into question.

That hooded intruder traveling on the train tracks? It’s Glenn (Josh Siegal), from Bad Place HQ. Apparently he’s having some second thoughts, and he wants to help the good guys. As if that wasn’t weird enough, he drops a terrifying revelation on Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her pals… Michael (Ted Danson) isn’t Michael. Or is he?

Claiming that their friend is, in fact, Vicki in a Michael suit, Glenn insists the Bad Place is sabotaging the experiment. In “Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy” it’s up to Eleanor and her human pals to decide whether Michael is who he says he is—the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

Colleen Hayes/NBC

Magic Pictionary

As the episode opens, the “test” humans are playing a game of “Magic Pictionary.” It goes horribly wrong when Chidi (William Jackson Harper) draws Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste)’s childhood pet and the lopsided monstrosity comes to life. Lamenting the team-bonding’s failure, Eleanor retires to Mindy’s, where she says they need to come up with another plan. Surprisingly, Michael’s relaxed about the whole thing, which sparks Eleanor’s suspicion.

That suspicion becomes a full-blown fire when Glenn shows up. They bring him back to Mindy’s, where he makes his bold claim that Michael isn’t Michael. Usually such an outlandish claim would be laughable, but Michael has been acting odd. As such, Eleanor separates Michael (Vicki?!) and Glenn, and tries to figure out her next move.

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Demon Lie Detector

Michael comes clean about Shawn’s plan to have suit-Michael torture the group in the Bad Place, which was the real reason he had a breakdown. After hearing about all of Michael’s lies, Eleanor’s faith in him is shaken. She asks Janet (D’Arcy Carden) to create a demon lie-detector, and the not-a-girl gets to work.

Meanwhile, Eleanor gets Glenn to talk. He says the whole thing with Linda/Chris and the train was a distraction to swap Michaels. He also says the demons were celebrating upon Chris’ return, which is abnormal to say the least.

Colleen Hayes/NBC

The Fire Squid

The obvious answer is for Michael to show his true form, but when Eleanor asks him to do so, he won’t. He’s ashamed for his friends to see his real self (he’s a 6,000-foot tall fire squid, or so he says). Thankfully, Janet comes through with her lie detector, which turns blue if the demon is telling the truth, red if he’s lying. They try to test it on Glenn, but he blows up into piles of nasty blue goo.

Michael tries to smooth this over, saying everything’s okay, but Eleanor gets upset. “You’re either Michael, and you lied, or you’re Vicki in a Michael suit!” she snaps. To calm herself down, she goes to eat nachos with Chidi.

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Jason to the Rescue

After chatting with Chidi (and downing a whole plate of nachos), Eleanor returns to her friends and says they need to call the Judge. She’ll reset the experiment, but they’ll know whom they can trust. Shockingly, Michael says he has a better way: He’ll blow himself up. That way, they can continue with Chidi as one of the subjects, and he’ll be “out of their hair” for good.

Except—at the last moment, Jason (Manny Jacinto) puts Janet in magnetic handcuffs, and she turns into a Bad Janet. The “spy” wasn’t Michael, it was Janet! The Bad Place brought two Bad Janets on the train when they came to pick up Chris, and while one distracted them, the other marble-ized the real Janet and walked out of the train as her. “I had you fart-knockers fooled for weeks!” she says. Much of the sabotage over the past few weeks was due to her treachery.

With that, Jason declares he’s going to “punch Shawn in the mouth and get Janet back!” Michael goes with him, and they, along with goo-Glenn, head to the Bad Place. Seems like that’ll go well…

Colleen Hayes/NBC

Other Observations

  • Did anyone else feel like this episode was largely treading water? I think there were other ways they could’ve realized Janet wasn’t Janet and still moved the experiment plot forward.
  • That said, how awesome is it that Jason figured it out? I’ll also compliment the writing and say that while this episode wasn’t my favorite, this was an excellent twist that I didn’t see coming (I, and I assume many others, chalked Janet’s weird behavior up to stress).

The Good Place, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC