DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place episode “Help Is Other People” is rife with more spoilers than the number of knowledgeable tidbits floating around in Janet’s not-a-robot brain. Our favorite not-a-girl-but-also-not-a-robot knows literally everything about everything. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, messy benches! The Good Place aired a pivotal installment in its final season this week. The game-changer to end all game-changers. Shirt hit the fan, things got all forked up and ashes were on the line. “Help Is Other People” presented the final day of our Soul Squad’s human morality experiment. Were they able to successfully save humanity from eternal damnation? Did they prove that humans are capable of moral growth and significant ethical progress? Well, that answer may be uncovered in next week’s episode. For now, let’s get down to brass tacks for this week.
Alright, ready to delve into “Help Is Other People?” Just be sure to really nail down the London black-tie formal wear for Tahani’s shindig. It’s crucial for your social standing.
We open with Eleanor (Kristen Bell) in a video presentation celebrating the conclusion of Year One in paradise. Of course, we know that that’s code for the finale to our Soul Squad’s morality experiment. We see that our gang is watching said video presentation in the Medium Place. Tahani (Jameela Jamil) has orchestrated a lavish party for the neighborhood to take place that very night. Michael (Ted Danson) hopes to unveil his new human magic act, “The Magnificent Dr. Presto.” However, Eleanor puts the kibosh on it, much to Michael’s chagrin.
Later, we see Tahani and Jason (Manny Jacinto) mingling with Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), John (Brandon Scott Jones) and Brent (Ben Koldyke). Simone reveals her suspicions regarding the past year – that Eleanor and Michael have been conducting an elaborate experiment on them. She’s been collecting evidence of this in secret. John lets the Jianyu-sized cat out of the bag – that Jianyu is not a monk retaining an eternal vow of silence but Jason from Jacksonville, Florida. This revelation contributes to Simone’s theory, and she’s more determined than ever to get to the bottom of it all. Way to go, John! Tahani attempts to put out the figurative fire to no avail.
Next, Chidi finds Simone rummaging through Eleanor’s office. She discovers Eleanor’s dry-erase board displaying her photo alongside Chidi, John and Brent. Bingpot! Chidi attempts to half-glass-full this scenario, but finds himself slowly siding with Simone. He reveals to his girlfriend that Eleanor believes they’re soulmates.
Then, the opulent Year One party is underway. Michael is standing with Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and attempting to wow the neighborhood with his human magic act. Unfortunately, the afterlife is already rife with authentic magic, so Michael’s petty tricks pale in comparison to the real thing. Suddenly, a sinkhole forms inexplicably. Brent falls into said hole. Of course, we know that this is part of the Soul Squad’s last-ditch effort to save the experiment. If any one of the crew saves Brent, an immoral human, then perhaps humanity truly is capable of change. We see that Simone, John and Chidi stay behind while everyone else flees.
Meanwhile, the Soul Squad convenes in Eleanor’s office. They are closely monitoring the situation unfolding outside with the subjects. Jason proffers coherent advice in the form of football analogies to pump up our group. No one is more stunned than Tahani by Jason’s coherence. My baby is smart, but in his own way!
Next, we see the group outside debating the merits of saving Brent. Simone thoroughly believes that Brent isn’t worth saving, that if the tables were turned Brent wouldn’t hesitate to flee. Chidi remains firmly in Team Save Brent. Thus, a figurative rift forms between the lovers. Simone and John decide to leave the scene.
Later, the Soul Squad heads outside to find Chidi hanging on for dear life within the sinkhole alongside Brent. Chidi was attempting to save Brent but failed to do so.
Then, Eleanor and Michael usher Chidi and Brent into the former’s office. They pull the big Season 1 finale twist on their subjects – that this is the Bad Place, and this is an elaborate scheme meant to enact torture. Seeing Eleanor and Michael laughing maniacally in tandem was the cherry on top for this episode. However, we know that this is merely a lie, and the Soul Squad is hoping that this bombshell will change Brent for the better.
Next, we see Chidi and Brent sitting with the revelation that they’re in the Bad Place. I love all the parallels to Season 1 in this episode – Simone gathering evidence, Chidi realizing they’re in the Bad Place, etc. Chidi tells Brent the blatant truth: that the latter is really and truly a bad person. We see Brent mulling over Chidi’s words. He appears to be taking them into consideration. Then, just as he’s about to genuinely apologize to Chidi, the pair freeze in place, thus signifying the conclusion to the experiment.
Meanwhile, the Soul Squad is still observing the duo in Eleanor’s office. When Chidi and Brent freeze, Janet reappears with a margarita glass and the remaining mix in an even larger glass. Eleanor downs the larger glass in one fell swoop. Nothing is more iconic than Eleanor Shellstrop and her margaritas.
Now, in my humble opinion, “Help Is Other People” is the best episode of Season 4 thus far. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Season 4, the story progression has felt stagnant. Simone’s revelation, the sink hole debacle and the experiment coming to a close really propelled the story forward in a crucial way. Brent’s narrative has actually made the most impact – to me, his character evolved critically within the confines of said experiment. He was even about to proffer a genuine apology right as time ran out for our Soul Squad. This episode was also rife with excellent jokes – overall, it encapsulated everything The Good Place stands for.
Do you think our gang will get a favorable ruling from the Judge? Did they successfully save humanity? Will Jason continue to string coherent sentences together? Join me next week as I continue to recap The Good Place, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Good Place airs Thursdays at 9pm on your NBC affiliate.