'The Good Place' Ends Eleanor's Experiment With a Nail-Biter of a Plot Twist (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Good Place Season 4 Episode 7, "Help is Other People."]
Remember in the first episode of Season 4, when it seemed like Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) would be the thing that made the whole experiment go wrong?
Yeah… as it turns out, that assumption is still accurate.
Rather than improving like everyone thought she was, Simone’s been keeping tabs on everyone and everything throughout her time in the Fake Good Place. Based on her observations, she’s concluded that something is very wrong. Her revelations in "Help is Other People" set in motion a chain of events that cause utter chaos with only hours left in the experiment, and the humans' actions afterward might prove that most people aren’t capable of change.
Figuring It Out
Simone presents her findings to Brent (Ben Koldyke), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Jason (Manny Jacinto) and John (Brandon Scott Jones) just before the neighborhood party, when the group’s hanging out in Chidi’s apartment.
“There are 300 people in this neighborhood, and somehow, they spend all of their time talking to the six people in this room!” she exclaims, standing in front of the bulletin board she used to track everyone. When Tahani accidentally lets it slip that “Jianyu” can talk, John does the rest of the reveal for her, finally unveiling his “hot goss” about Jason’s identity.
Simone starts working through more of the cracks in the Fake Good Place façade; encouraged by her work, Brent tells the group that Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Michael (Ted Danson) told him he belongs in the “Best Place,” so this Good Place is inherently a lie. With that, the group adjourns, and Tahani and Jason break the news to Eleanor and Michael that the humans are on to them.
The experimenters meet in Mindy’s house, where Michael says he has a plan… and it just might be the only way to get everyone where they need to be before the end of the experiment.
Meanwhile, Chidi and Simone break into Eleanor and Michael’s office. The moral philosopher suggests that maybe the inconsistencies are just tiny flukes, the result of this being Eleanor’s first neighborhood. Simone questions why Chidi would believe her, and Chidi says Eleanor told him other things he wants to be true… “Something about us,” he says. Of course Simone, thinking logically as usual, doesn’t believe in soulmates. As Chidi prattles on, she finds the whiteboard with the humans’ photos on it, and Chidi’s forced to admit something’s wrong.
A Sinkhole Hail Mary
Michael’s big plan is to put on a human magic act that goes wrong. It opens a sinkhole that swallows Brent, and Eleanor, Michael, Tahani and Jason leave to “fix it remotely with some… eternal being stuff.” Eleanor tells John, Chidi and Simone to wait there. Simone and John want to leave, but Chidi insists they need to rescue Brent. He says they have a duty to help him because he’s a person and he’s in danger, but Simone reminds him that if the tables were turned, Brent wouldn’t do the same for him.
“We’ve given Brent a thousand chances to be a good person, and in one of them he was so awful you punched him in the face!” she says. Chidi holds fast in his morals, so Simone simply says, “I respect your position,” and leaves. John follows suit, departing in Brent’s Cadillac.
When Team Eleanor returns to the sinkhole, they find Chidi has fallen in the hole, too. They get the humans out, and Michael and Eleanor have a meeting with Brent and Chidi in their office. This time it’s not Eleanor, but Chidi that gets the series’ iconic breakthrough: “This is the Bad Place.” Eleanor and Michael, mimicking that scene from Season 1, start laughing and taunting the humans. They tell them the real Bad Place will be picking them up soon, and, with minutes left, they leave the duo alone to wallow in their misery. “Let’s hope this works,” Eleanor says.
And it almost does. Chidi and Brent start talking, and Chidi breaks the news to Brent that he is, in fact, a bad person. Brent starts having a breakdown, and with just seconds left, he appears to have a breakthrough. “Chidi, whatever happens next, I just want to tell you I’m s—“ he says, but doesn’t get to finish his apology before the experiment ends.
- Is it possible The Judge will call the experiment a draw? Simone and John, at least in these last moments, didn’t appear to have changed. But Chidi and Brent (if we’re counting Brent’s apology, which is a breakthrough for him) do appear to have made progress. With two humans changing and two remaining the same, will the whole thing be nullified?
- That said, Simone not staying to help Brent doesn’t mean she didn’t improve. It all probably depends on whether she revealed the “truth” to help everyone, or if she simply did it so that she could be right… which it seems like was why she ended up in the Bad Place to begin with. It’ll be interesting to see how she’s evaluated.
- Jason’s coherent observations about football and throwing a hail Mary were hilariously applicable to the situation. Jason’s often at his best when he’s making sense and not realizing it. “Jason, that was coherent!” “Oh, sorry.”
The Good Place, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC