DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers galore for Season 2 of The Good Place. If you don’t wish to be spoiled, Team Cockroach, we advise you open Netflix on your nearest browser and binge til your heart’s content.
Fellow fans of The Good Place, here’s the long and short of it. Everything you could possibly need to prepare yourselves for tonight’s Season 3 one-hour premiere. All the comedy, the drama, the romance and cocktail shrimp. All the trolley problems, the clam chowder and yes, frozen yogurt. Alright, I’ll quit dillydallying and get right to it, Team Cockroach.
Now, Season 2 opens with our quartet in quite the pickle – Michael (Ted Danson) has been “rebooting” the neighborhood over and over again. However, every reboot ends with Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and co. discovering that they’re really in The Bad Place. Michael informs Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson) of said rebooting, but fails to mention that he’s jumped over this hurdle millions of times. In the season opener, we see how each of our protagonists fare from their perspective in these reboots. Michael, of course, meddles in their affairs and makes their afterlives miserable.
Of course, we see events from the first season play out multiple times. However, they’re tweaked ever so slightly – Tahani (Jameela Jamil) isn’t the one throwing the opulent neighborhood party at her mansion. Eleanor is crowned the “Best Person” and is urged to deliver a grand speech by Michael. Everyone has different soulmates. Jason (Manny Jacinto) has a best friend who’s also a monk taking a vow of silence. Chidi (William Jackson Harper) has multiple soulmates and is forced to make a decision. We all know how indecisive our Chidi is.
Now, we get to see the demons of the neighborhood conspiring against our quartet, which is something we weren’t privy to in Season 1. Michael hosting meetings with his minions to discuss their collective course of action. Vicky (Tiya Sircar) aka “The Real Eleanor” demands a larger role in Michael’s scheme. We also witness one of Michael’s interactions with Shawn, as the latter reminds the architect that his chances to successfully pull off his torture plan are numbered. Shirt is hitting the fan, Team Cockroach.
Later, Michael enacts more and more attempts to pull the wool over our heroes’ eyes. Every reboot comes crashing down as someone in the group makes the revelation that they’re in The Bad Place. Eleanor always ends up under the ethical wing of Chidi. Somehow, our foursome is always drawn to one another. Eleanor and Chidi have apparently visited Mindy St. Claire (Maribeth Monroe) in The Medium Place 15 times now. Vicky is inserting herself into Michael’s plans, claiming that her own grand scheme would fare much better than his. Vicky threatens to reveal all of Michael’s blunders to Shawn if the latter doesn’t allow her to enact her own plan. Someone has all the ammunition!
Next, the quartet are at Eleanor’s house. Eleanor is putting together the puzzle pieces for the umpteenth time. Michael arrives, and reveals that he wishes to team up with them. Plot twist! Thus, Team Cockroach is born.
Now, Michael tries to recruit his pawns into his scheme to take down Vicky. Initially, they refuse to side with Team Baddie. However, Michael lays down an ultimatum: work alongside him, or Vicky will expose him and they’ll all suffer. No, not like the mild and nuanced torture Michael has orchestrated: true, hellish, painful torture. The group devises a plan to end Vicky. Eleanor offers up one condition, though – Michael must participate in Chidi’s ethical classes. Michael reluctantly acquiesces. Janet (D’Arcy Carden) heartily agrees to join the fray, as she’s there to support the real humans (our foursome).
Later, we learn that Vicky has crowned herself the ruler of The Good Place, rearranging every aspect of the neighborhood to her satisfaction. Michael is undergoing an existential crisis, which is akin to a midlife crisis but on a much bigger scale. Vicky plots to throw a party as a means of upstaging Tahani. Michael sits in on Chidi’s ethics courses with Eleanor and ridicules everything he hears. Tahani and Jason sleep together, and the former begins to develop feelings for the fun-loving Floridian. Team Cockroach inevitably comes together to coerce Michael out of the black chasm that is his existential crisis. Team work makes the dream work.
Next, Chidi introduces the trolley problem to Michael and Eleanor. Michael decides to subject Chidi to realistic simulations of said trolley problem in action, thus forcing the latter to make life-altering decisions. Of course, Michael’s default mode is torture, so the gang has to remind him that they’re on the same side now. Meanwhile, Tahani and Jason seek couples counseling from Janet. Unfortunately, while the duo’s relationship has been improving, Janet is starting to glitch.
Flashback time! We see the origin story of Michael and Janet as we know them presently. Prior to constructing his neighborhood, Michael nicks a true Good Place Janet to make his ruse appear truly authentic. Now, during the present, we see Michael troubleshoot Janet as he attempts to pinpoint the source of her glitching. Should she continue to malfunction, the neighborhood will collapse. Michael comes to the conclusion that Janet is glitching because she isn’t really happy for Tahani and Jason. In fact, Janet is in love with Jason herself. Janet urges Michael to activate her self-destruct mechanism.
However, Eleanor steps in and gives Janet some simple advice – rebound! Rebound all the way, girlfriend! Thus, Janet crafts her own boyfriend – Derek (Jason Mantzoukas).
Now, Eleanor has made a discovery while at Mindy St. Claire’s home – a videotape starring her and Chidi. In said tape, the two have just finished horizontally tangoing. She decides to keep this a secret from Chidi. Derek continues to make a mess of things, and Team Cockroach fear he will blow their cover with Vicky. Tahani and Jason decide to tie the knot, with Janet officiating the ceremony. A row forms between Jason and Derek, ending in Janet absorbing her made-up boyfriend’s essence and disposing of him in her void. Eleanor finally shows Chidi the tape, which changes their current assumptions of each other.
Next, Michael finds Shawn waiting for him in his office. Of course, one would believe Shawn has discovered Michael’s ruse and that he’s not torturing Team Cockroach anymore. However, Shawn is tickled with the success that is The Good Place, and promotes Michael. He demands this particular neighborhood be dismantled, with the human quartet being send to a traditional Bad Place to be tortured for all eternity. Michael pretends to betray the group and throws a huge “roast” for them, in the fashion of a Comedy Central roast.
Then, Eleanor and co. decide to make for The Medium Place via train. Eleanor discovers that the roast was Michael’s way of subtly dropping hints on how to save themselves. He hasn’t betrayed them after all! Shawn notices the train leaving and boards his own train along with the demons to catch the escaping Team Cockroach. However, our quartet was merely hiding under Shawn’s train to avoid detection from Bad Janet. Everyone is saved! Michael framed Vicky for “helping the humans escape.”
Now, with the neighborhood demon-free, our gang is eager to travel to the actual Good Place. Michael invents a hot-air balloon as a mode of transport. Janet reveals that the balloon will only accept those who’ve achieved “self-realization.” Chidi is rejected, which causes him to spiral, naturally. Tahani breaks up with Jason, realizing that she should rely on herself and not others. Eleanor confesses her feelings to Chidi, and he ponders over what might have been if they’d met under normal circumstances. The evening ends with them drinking their sorrows away – they’re all going to The Bad Place anyway. Why not have some fun on their last night of freedom?
Next, Shawn sends a message ordering Michael to finish deconstructing the neighborhood. A train will arrive tomorrow. A conversation breeds a new idea as the gang learns of a Judge that decides on cases such as theirs – disputes between The Good Place and The Bad Place. Of course, the only way to gain access to the portal leading to said Judge is through The Bad Place. Fork it, they say – time to head to the true Bad Place!
Later, our crew arrives in The Bad Place with assumed aliases – Rhonda, Diana, Jake and Trent. Chidi struggles with lying, even though this literally could save them from eternal hellfire. Michael makes a pit stop by Shawn’s office to save face. Shawn reveals that his team is currently at Mindy’s house in The Medium Place, and the humans should be captured shortly.
Meanwhile, the remaining members of Team Cockroach are at a shindig at the Museum of Human Misery. Everyone is playing a part in pretending their demons in The Bad Place. We see a new exhibit being unveiled, one containing models of our human foursome. Michael reunites with Team Cockroach at the party and hands them the pins they need to see the Judge. Shawn arrives with his lackeys, having discovered that the humans were under his nose all along. Jason, as a means of distraction, ignites a Molotov cocktail to set a fire.
Next, our crew begins traveling through the portal to the Judge. Michael rummages for his own pin but come up short. He decides to sacrifice himself to Shawn and ushers the remainder of Team Cockroach through the portal. Someone has become more human (hint: it’s Michael)!
Later, our crew winds up in the Judge’s headquarters. They come face to face with a burrito, and assume that it’s the Judge. Suddenly, the true Judge (Maya Rudolph) appears. Back in The Bad Place, we learn that Good Janet has been reduced to a marble, so she won’t be able to aid Michael in any way. Shawn plans to torture Michael for his insolence.
Meanwhile, the Judge enacts a series of tests for our heroes, to prove they belong in The Good Place. Shawn locks Michael in a room for all eternity, with nothing but a stack of New Yorker magazines for entertainment. Suddenly, the Bad Janet is revealed as the Good Janet in disguise. Good Janet traps Shawn in the room, allowing her and Michael to flee to safety. Success!
So, after each member of Team Cockroach goes through their respective tests, the Judge reveals that they all failed. There was never the option for them to wind up in The Good Place, regardless of the test outcomes. Everyone prepares to say their goodbyes until Michael and Janet are flung through the portal from The Bad Place.
Then, Michael and the Judge craft a solution – the quartet will be sent back to Earth. Should they lead lives worthy of The Good Place, the case will be properly solved. We see Eleanor almost biting the dust until a mysterious human swoops in to save her. After this brush with death, Eleanor strives to be a better person. However, her desire to be good is thwarted by her inability to continue doing good works. Michael appears as a bartender and attempts to encourage her.
Later, Eleanor watches a speech on ethics administered by none other than Professor Chidi. She travels to Sydney, Australia where he resides. The season ends with her entering his office and introducing herself. Cliffhanger!
Well, that’s all I wrote, messy benches. The Good Place Season 2 outperformed Season 1, which I never thought was possible. This series is one of the most innovative, creative shows to date. Not to mention it packs a hysterical punch with every episode. Oh, and the series makes you think, which earns it bonus points. My decree is thus: The Good Place is good.
Alright, Team Cockroach, don’t forget to tune in TONIGHT for the one-hour Season 3 premiere. Also, keep your eyes peeled for my season recaps, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Good Place will air its one-hour season premiere Thursday September 27th at 8pm on your NBC affiliate.