DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place contains more spoilers than the number of times Jason has fallen prostrate before the Blessed Blake Bortles. Go Jacksonville Jaguars! You’ve been warned. Prepare for the afterlife, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Soul Squad! The Good Place continues to bless our Thursday nights with a plethora of forking shenanigans. This week, our newly christened Soul Squad embarks on a journey to the uncharted waters of Jacksonville, Florida. Their mission? Save the soul of one Donkey Doug, the father of our favorite Floridian Jason. Meanwhile, Janet and Eleanor aid Chidi as he attempts to break up with Simone. Janet jerry-rigs a virtual reality simulation so Chidi can practice his grand break up speech. This is impressive in and of itself, considering what little Janet has to work with on Earth. But, in true Chidi fashion, he panics when faced with the massive obstacle of peacefully severing ties with another human being.
Alright, ready to delve into “The Ballad of Donkey Doug?” Just be sure to mention if you’re a cop to Donkey Doug. If you are, you’re lawfully not allowed to incriminate Doug for any illegal activities mentioned prior to his knowledge of you being a cop. That’s the law.
We open with Eleanor (Kristen Bell) grilling Janet (D’Arcy Carden) for information on the former’s high school classmates. You know, who loved Eleanor and who ultimately despised her. Janet, being a not-robot chock full of information, provides Eleanor with the full scoop (or “tea,” as the kids are saying nowadays) on the aforementioned. Chidi (William Jackson Harper) barges into his own office and informs the pair that, instead of receiving the one-year sabbatical he asked for, he was fired from the university. Apparently having a meltdown in class while concocting a pot of marshmallow chili is grounds for dismissal. He also plans on ending things with Simone, citing that if he were to inform her of the afterlife it may interfere with her own chances of getting into The Good Place. Aw, what a good dude.
Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Michael (Ted Danson) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) are wading through the hallowed waters of Jacksonville, Florida. They plan on saving the soul of Jason’s father, Donkey Doug (Mitch Narito). Yes, Jason refers to his own paternal figure as Donkey Doug. Take that as you will. Soul Squad to the rescue! After taking a massive four-wheeler taxi to Donkey Doug’s crib, our trio meets the infamous soul in need of saving. As it turns out, the apple does not fall very far from the tree.
Next, we see Janet has created a virtual reality simulation just for Chidi, wherein he can put his rusty break up skills into practice. Even with limited resources and lack of powers, Janet still kicks all the ash. During the first run, we see Chidi is sitting in a cafe with Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). He attempts to sever ties but stumbles over his words. Janet yanks him out of the simulation. Well, insanity is essentially doing the same thing multiple times and expecting different results, so time to switch up tactics, my chili baby! Chidi is my chili baby, in case that wasn’t clear…
Then, Pillboi (Eugene Cordero) pops up at Donkey Doug’s place. As it turns out, the duo is collaborating on a new get-rich-quick scheme, one that involves robbing three factories. Jason could understand two, but three? Crossing a major line, even by Florida standards. Looks like the Soul Squad has their work cut out for them! Jason decides that his father may be beyond saving, but Pillboi isn’t.
Meanwhile, Chidi tries several different approaches during his break up simulation. We see a series of scenarios play out, one of which ended in Chidi proposing to Simone. Even Eleanor joined in by pretending to be Simone. You know, for shirts and giggles. She even vowed to be the bearer of bad news for Chidi. However, that simulation almost ended in a snogging session, until Chidi and Janet pulled Eleanor out. Way to be party poopers, you guys.
Now, it’s time for the moment of truth. No virtual reality simulation, just plain ol’ reality. Chidi promptly breaks up with Simone at their favorite cafe by proclaiming “ya dumped,” Eleanor style. Unfortunately, Simone did not take that statement well. A normal human person wouldn’t respond well to that, I should think. Simone storms out.
Later, Tahani pays Pillboi a visit at his place of work – a nursing home. She informs him that Donkey Doug doesn’t want trusty Pillboi participating in the evening’s factory robberies. Pillboi is accepting of this, and doesn’t ask questions. Well, that was easy enough.
Meanwhile, Chidi mulls over his disastrous break up from Simone. Eleanor dispenses some helpful advice – most break ups are seldom clean and injury-free. However, sitting down to talk with her is the next best course of action. Thus, Chidi sets off to give Simone a better explanation beyond “ya dumped.” Go, Chidi!
Next, Jason finds his father Donkey Doug at one of the targeted factories. He explains that Pillboi won’t be showing up, and that he most certainly interfered. The police arrive, and Donkey Doug offers to sacrifice himself so Jason can escape undetected. He even urges Jason to refer to him as “Donkey Dad.” How sweet. Jason flees the scene of the crime as Donkey Doug distracts the cops. Father/son bonding times are the best!
Then, we see Chidi sitting down with Simone for a proper discussion. He divulges that he’s learned of something massive, something that he must conceal from Simone. As much as he wishes to give Simone the full scoop, he must keep this information from her for her safety. Simone agrees that a break up would be in their best interests, especially after my chili baby Chidi says something weird. Saying weird things is really Chidi’s MO. That’s why he’s my soulmate.
Meanwhile, Michael tells Pillboi that the latter must continue to work at the nursing home. He must commit all his energy to ensuring the senior citizens there receive the best care. Pillboi is under the impression that Michael, Tahani and Jason are working with NASA as astronaut spies, which is plausible. He learns that he can’t stay in contact with Jason, so our boys have quite the emotional farewell, complete with a complicated goodbye handshake. Jacksonville Jaguars for life!
Later, Tahani and Eleanor meet up with the rest of our gang in Budapest. Their mission? Reunite Tahani with her family and let the reconciliations begin! However, Eleanor’s world is thrown off kilter when she learns that, while her father is deceased, her mother is still kicking. In fact, Eleanor’s mom faked her own death, in true Shellstrop fashion. Eleanor informs the Soul Squad that she’ll have to sit the Tahani familial reconciliations out, as she must travel back to the States to murder her mother. Well, probably figuratively murder.
The Good Place is forging an unexpected path this season. With our crew’s extended tenure on Earth, I find it difficult to predict just where this series is going. It’s simultaneously intriguing and terrifying (I have a love/hate relationship with the unknown). However, I trust The Good Place Powers That Be to give us the best story arc possible. I’m digging the idea of our gang dubbing themselves The Soul Squad, and dedicating their lives on Earth to altruism. Perhaps their altruistic behavior will be enough to earn them genuine Good Place points.
Do you think Tahani will peacefully reconcile with her sister? Will Eleanor literally murder Mama Shellstrop? Can Chidi survive life without being an ethical professor? Where is Shawn? Join me next week as I recap The Good Place, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Good Place airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on your NBC affiliate.