DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place contains more spoilers than the number of times Eleanor has utilized alcohol to solve her problems. She actually becomes more of a problem solver with a little help from her liquid friends. You’ve been warned. Prepare for the afterlife, and enter at your own peril. 

Welcome back, Team Cockroach! The Good Place continued its streak of solid installments with a delightful second episode of the season. “The Brainy Bunch” shone a spotlight on the formidable Trevor and his grand scheme to drive a wedge between Team Cockroach. Of course, Michael and Janet did all within their power to thwart his plan. Janet even tried her hand at waiting tables! Unfortunately, she learned rather quickly that her abilities are null and void on Earth. Oh, and the Judge became privy to Michael’s incessant trips to Earth. Hey, the afterlives of our quartet were at stake and Michael has morphed into a better demon. He deserves some Good Place points in my humble opinion, as well as a never ending supply of prime Dick Tracy jokes. 

Alright, ready to delve into “The Brainy Bunch?” Just be sure to burn the sweatshirt that Trevor gives you. Who knows what he, ahem, rubbed all over it…

We open with Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and Michael (Ted Danson) making the terrifying discovery that Trevor (Adam Scott) is on Earth with the human faction of Team Cockroach. He even has lemon bars! Only a truly evil person/demon would distribute a tasty treat such as lemon bars under false pretenses. Trevor cites Eleanor (Kristen Bell) as a proponent in bringing the brain study group together. He attempts to weasel his way into the group, proposing they do everything together now under the guise of bonding. Unfortunately, everyone falls for his act. 

Pictured: D’Arcy Carden and Ted Danson, nbc.com

Later, we see Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) explaining how they plan to go about their first round of testing. Simone will reveal a series of images linked to each person’s unique near-death experience. Team Cockroach will undergo an MRI scan in conjunction with said imagery, and Chidi will study how the two are linked. You know, the brain and the imagery. Jason (Manny Jacinto) inquires as to how much radiation they’ll be exposed to as he holds a spider in his hand. Oh, Jason. You sweet, sweet idiot. Tahani (Jameela Jamil) ponders over whether her golden brazier will interfere with the MRI machine. She’s so fancy!

Meanwhile, Michael and Janet arrive on Earth and interact with the dastard Trevor. He, naturally, launches into a series of “your mom” jokes, leaving Michael powerless to generate any decent comebacks. Our favorite pair vows to defeat Trevor. Michael reveals that, while Trevor may plan to drive the group apart, Eleanor and Chidi’s bond is stronger than anything. 


Next, Eleanor approaches Chidi and asks if they can continue their one-on-one sessions. Chidi tells her that unfortunately his calendar is full. His thesis along with teaching classes on campus will devour all of his time. Trevor barges in on their conversation and proposes the group dines out together. Bonding time to the max! 

Later, we see Trevor taking them to the finest American establishment that Sydney has to offer. It features skyscrapers and cowboys, along with a Floridian table that reeks of swamp stench. Sounds very American to me! Now, our group finds a table where Janet is the waitress. Janet to the rescue! Unfortunately, she realizes that her powers are nonexistent on Earth. She can’t summon beer as per her usual, so she must use the taps…like a normal person. Uh oh. 

Meanwhile, Trevor gifts the group with sweatshirts boasting the name “The Brainy Bunch.” He christens the quintet as such. Huzzah! He also toasts Eleanor for bringing everyone together. Eleanor becomes increasingly uncomfortable and irritated by Trevor’s antics. This was the evil demon’s plan all along. Then, Trevor broaches the idea of everyone chipping in on a house. Perhaps this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Eleanor? Chidi ventures away from the group when he fears that he’s becoming too friendly with everyone. He wouldn’t want to tamper his research with any biases. 

Pictured: Manny Jacinto and Jameela Jamil, nbc.com

Now, Janet is struggling to pour beer from the taps. Michael reappears, donning his Dick Tracy-esque disguise. He decides to assuage Chidi’s nerves by pretending to be the helpful librarian again. Everyone loves a helpful librarian. 

Meanwhile, Trevor starts up a drinking game with Tahani and Jason after Eleanor leaves to find Chidi. Trevor hopes alcohol will help bring Tahani and Jason together. You know, horizontal tango wise. Thus, this will force Tahani to flee the group out of shame. Eleanor attempts to bring Chidi back into the fold while the latter panics over his relationship to the study group. Now Eleanor’s becoming a confidante! That simply will not do!

Later, Tahani begins nuzzling Jason as the duo showers each other with alcohol-infused compliments. Michael, as the wizened Aussie librarian, grants Chidi some priceless advice. He reveals that there’s only room for one male in an academic study, and to keep the first guy that joined. This, of course, would be Jason. Such specific advice, oh Wise One! After his meeting with Michael, Chidi tells Eleanor that they can’t be friends. He must keep some separation between them if the study is to go off without a hitch. Eleanor is heartbroken by this. It would appear Trevor’s plan is working. 

Next, we see Chidi conferring with Simone in his office the following day. He only received seven minutes of sleep the night before, and not consecutively. Simone urges him to rest, but the show much go on. We see everyone is present except Eleanor. Tahani and Jason didn’t actually sleep together. Jason was a “perfect gentleman,” but we already knew this. Take that, Trevor! However, Eleanor’s lack of presence proves that some part of Trevor’s plan is working. Chidi is crestfallen by this, so Simone convinces him to take a car out to the South side to find Eleanor. 

Pictured: William Jackson Harper and Kirby Howell-Baptiste, nbc.com

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Meanwhile, Eleanor is munching on snacks and browsing through gossip rags. Chidi knocks on her door, and Eleanor ushers him inside. He tries to convince her to come back to class. Chidi asks her as a friend to give him three months. The only reason his thesis came to fruition was because of Eleanor waltzing into his office. Eleanor reluctantly acquiesces. However, she’s driving him back to campus. Chidi’s sleep deprivation might get them legitimately killed. 

Later, Trevor vows to Michael and Janet to continue “chipping away” at the study group until said group disperses. Suddenly, the door to Earth materializes and the Doorman (Mike O’Malley) appears. He informs the trio that the Judge wishes to speak with all of them. Uh oh. This won’t end well. 

Next, we see the trio are wearing their traditional, non-Earth clothing. The Judge (Maya Rudolph) approaches the bench, reminding Michael that she only granted him permission to travel to Earth one time. She orders that the trial is extinguished, and the humans will live their lives unimpeded by Michael. They must earn their points like everyone else in order to get into The Good Place. Meanwhile, Michael and Janet will be sent back to The Bad Place. Michael will be forced to retire and Janet will be “marbleized.” The Judge uses her mighty powers to dispel Trevor off into the dark void surrounding them. Take that, Trevor! 

Suddenly, everything that Janet tried to summon on Earth appears before them. Buildings, couches, signs, you name it. A blockade of said items forms between our duo and the Judge. Michael and Janet use this opportunity to escape. Thankfully, the Doorman sides with the pair and allows them to flee back to Earth. After the Judge removes the unwanted blockade, the Doorman feigns innocence and informs her that Michael and Janet escaped. Oops!

The Good Place really should be renamed “The Exceptional Place” because it is, for lack of a better term, beyond good. Season 3 acts as a reboot of sorts, and the possibilities really are endless as far as story line goes. I’m curious to see if Team Cockroach will somehow end up in The Good Place or Bad Place by season’s end, or if they’ll continue to live out their lives on Earth. Now that Michael and Janet are essentially wanted fugitives, this may be the case. Perhaps they’ll pretend to be humans with near-death experiences and insert themselves into Chidi’s study group. Regardless, I can’t wait to see where this season takes us. 

Do you think the Judge will find Michael and Janet? Where is Shawn in all this? Will Trevor return to Earth and continue his scheme to dispel Team Cockroach? Join me next week as I recap The Good Place, here on Geek Girl Authority. 

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


Melody McCune
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