DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place contains more spoilers than the number of times Eleanor has exclaimed “fork!” Considering things are pretty forking bad right now, that’s a forking lot. You’ve been warned. Enter at your own eternal peril. 

Welcome back, Team Cockroach! Episode 4 of The Good Place saw our protagonists having a heated debate with our antagonist Michael. Well, now he’s the newly acquired fifth member of the gang. Vicky is currently El Hefe Malo. Public Enemy No. 1. Thus, in order to keep his job as the premier architect of his neighborhood, Michael goes out on a limb. He beseeches our gang to pretend their memories were wiped. Go along with Phase 1 of Vicky’s plan. Then, they can construct her downfall in privacy. That should work out, right? I’m sure everything will go according to plan. This is The Bad Place, after all. 

Alright, ready to delve into Episode 4 of The Good Place, Team Cockroach? We need to come up with a better name. Team Shirt? Be prepared for an ethics lesson. Chidi loves to wax profound over anything remotely ethical. 

We open right where we left off. Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) are facing off against Michael (Ted Danson). Then, Michael proposes that he joins their team and they work in tandem to dethrone Vicky. You know, the man who eradicated their memories 801 times. Wiped the slate clean. If they were living mortals, that would cause irreparable damage.  But, the stakes are quite high, friends. Shawn the Eternal Judge only believes Michael is on the second attempt of his Grand Master Plan. Should our villainous architect fail, Michael will be forever tortured with the blazing fury of a billion suns. 

Next, Michael informs the crew that Vicky’s plan is supposed to take root in 30 minutes. Michael has been ordered to erase their memories and reboot our heroes. Then, he must turn the reins over to Supreme Overlord Vicky. However, Michael will surreptitiously allow our gang to keep their memories. That way they can still meet in private to plot Vicky’s demise and take ethics lessons and whatnot. Talk about how much they hate clam chowder, which really is like ocean milk with dead animal croutons. Eleanor, you’re so right. 

Then, Michael reminds the foursome that, should his plan fall through the cracks, he’s not the only one in hot water. They’ll suffer too, more than they have already. Shawn will make forking sure that they’re tortured for all of eternity. Proper Hell torture. Eleanor calls a “human meeting” in her bedroom, sans Michael. 

Pictured (L to R): William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Kristen Bell, Manny Jacinto

Meanwhile, Eleanor airs her concerns during the human meeting. Since Eleanor made her living off lying and scheming, she can smell a liar from 20 paces (I made that last bit up). She knows that Michael is yanking their collective chain. Tahani wholeheartedly believes she was assigned to The Bad Place by accident. She actually belongs in The Good Place. You know, where angels reside and clam chowder probably doesn’t exist. Since in this version of Michael’s plan, the 802nd attempt, our quartet has only known each other for a week, Eleanor is immediately irritated by Tahani. Chidi believes they should ask Michael all the hard hitting questions. Get to the meat of the situation. 

Then, Michael reveals just how many times he’s attempted to enact his devious plan. Jason, believing Michael to be omniscient, asks him football related questions. Eleanor summons Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and asks her to give Jason something shiny to play with. Janet procures a sparkler for Jason’s amusement. Next, Michael reveals that this version of Janet is from the actual Good Place, since he needed an authentic one to make his plan believable. Janet informs the crew that every time she’s rebooted she returns with a more heightened sense of social awareness and abilities. This Janet is the most advanced Janet in the universe! Hooray!

Meanwhile, Michael reveals that The Medium Place and its only resident Mindy St. Clair are the genuine article. He also divulges that The Bad Place demons all chose “human skin suits” to don while enacting Michael’s plan. It has to look real, right? Eleanor is still skeptical. Then, Michael drops a bomb on them, one that could change even Eleanor’s mind. If they successfully aid him in overthrowing Vicky, Michael can take them to the real Good Place. Plot twist!

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So, Michael’s ultimate plan of sequestering our heroes to The Good Place also involves him. He hopes to join them in the home of angels. Yes, devious, villainous Michael. However, if he remains in The Bad Place he’s doomed. Shawn will make sure of that. Eleanor calls another meeting of the human variety. 

Then, Chidi urges Eleanor to go along with Michael’s plan. It’s the only way to ensure their eternal salvation. If Michael can truly get them into The Good Place, they’ll be set for afterlife. Eleanor is still very much the skeptic. Tahani barges over to Michael, demanding she speak to his supervisor. She doesn’t belong among demons and morally bankrupt humans. Next, Michael reveals to Tahani how she perished on Earth. 

Flashback time! Tahani is sitting down for an interview with Veronique (Joanna Sotomura). Tahani hopes to discuss her mission trip to Haiti. However, Veronique only cares to pester Tahani with questions regarding her sister Kamilah. Tahani is visibly annoyed. 

Later, at a decadent party dedicated to Kamilah (Rebecca Hazlewood), Tahani gives her sister a piece of her mind. Kamilah feigns to not recognize her. Thus, Tahani storms off in a rage. Her eyes light upon an erected statue of her sister. Tahani conjures the bright idea of attempting to pull it down. Said statue does fall; however, Tahani is underneath it when it collapses. Ouch. What a way to go. 

Back to the present! After Tahani learns of how she died, Michael reminds her that while she did perform charitable works on Earth, her motives were askew. She was simply out to best her sister Kamilah. Tahani wanted all the attention to be diverted to her. 

Then, Tahani hops aboard Team Michael, hoping that if they succeed she can become the person she wanted to be. So, that leaves Eleanor. Our girl continues to argue that Michael is pulling the wool over their eyes. Chidi ushers her aside and reminds her that Michael is giving them the best chance to improve themselves. Eleanor takes his words into account, and steps aside by her lonesome to contemplate. Well, when I say “contemplate” I really mean “summon Janet to get her on the next train to The Medium Place.” She even requests a bag full of cocaine as a present to Mindy St. Clair! How thoughtful. 

Pictured: Kristen Bell, D’Arcy Carden and a creepy as shirt clown.

Chidi catches Eleanor as she attempts to escape, white handed (only because of the bag of cocaine). Eleanor reminds him that they don’t know each other that well. She would rather live out the rest of her eternity in a beige house with a coke head then submit to Michael. Chidi bids her farewell and leaves her be. But, since Chidi and Eleanor are much closer than they realize, Eleanor stays. She asks Michael about her relationship with Chidi. Michael informs her that they always help each other out when in a pinch. Aw, long live Eledi! Cheleanor? I’ll come up with a better ship name. 

Then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Eleanor is finally on Team Cockroach. She informs Michael that the gang is “all in.” Time to set plan “Take Down Vicky” into motion. However, now Eleanor presents Michael with an ultimatum. Our evil architect must take Chidi’s ethics classes with them. He must strive for moral improvement as the rest of them are currently doing. The moment Michael betrays them, Eleanor will barge into Vicky’s restaurant and reveal all. Michael reluctantly agrees to uphold his end of the bargain. 

Next, Vicky (Tiya Sircar) is standing before the crowd, donning Eleanor’s “Best Person” sash. Not surprising that her grand plan involves her being the center of attention. Later, Michael informs Team Cockroach in secret how Vicky hopes to torture our gang at the neighborhood shindig. Essentially, it’s identical to what Michael did eons ago. Eleanor gets inebriated, hoards all the cocktail shrimp and antagonizes Tahani. So, everyone is going to play their part, with no one the wiser. Jason will go back to being the silent monk Jianyu. Lastly, Team Cockroach brings it in for a huddle, preparing for whatever the night will bring them. Time to get drunk and gorge on shrimp!

Pictured: Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, in Take 802.

Week after week, I’m always floored by the creativity shown in The Good Place. This episode was quite simple, but it also revealed a smattering of little nuances. Nuances, if you don’t know already, are my jam. Every joke was well executed. Not to mention, the chemistry between all the core characters was sizzling, like the fires of Hell where they technically reside. The Good Place has taken a direction I wasn’t expecting, and I always love when a show can keep me on my toes. Now, I’m excited to see Michael suffer through Chidi’s ethics classes. Also, how Team Cockroach’s first outing as fully aware party crashers unfolds when Vicky’s plan continues. 

Do you think Michael is lying about his capability to get our heroes into The Good Place? Will Michael be true to his word and sit in on Chidi’s courses? Can Jason stay silent as Jianyu and not muck up their plan? How much shrimp can Eleanor possibly hoard? Join me next week as I delve into another episode of The Good Place, here at Geek Girl Authority. 

The Good Place airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on your NBC affiliate. 




Melody McCune

Melody McCune

Before moving to Los Angeles after studying theater in college, I was born and raised in Amish country, Ohio. No, I am not Amish, even if I sometimes sport a modest bonnet. I also work publicity for WhedonCon, a convention celebrating the works of Joss Whedon. I love cheese. I love geek. I love lamp.
Melody McCune

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