DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place contains more spoilers than the number of times Jason would take out flamingos. Hey, we all have peculiar hobbies a- I used to go to Walmart when I was bored. You’ve been warned. Prepare for the afterlife, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Team Cockroach! Season 2 of The Good Place came to a close this week, much to my chagrin. If only we could be blessed with weekly episodes consecutively for the year. A girl can dream. Anyway, the Season 2 finale took an unexpected but very welcome turn. Michael urges the Judge to send our heroes to their own respective Medium Places, a la Mindy St. Clair. He will personally monitor their progress while conjuring a more concrete plan of getting them into The Good Place. Next, we see Eleanor live out her days after she narrowly escapes death by shopping carts/semi truck. A “what if” scenario plays out, where Michael supervises her fabricated life to see how she adapts, and if she is indeed good enough to deserve entry into The Good Place.
Alright, ready to delve into “Somewhere Else?” Just be sure to save some margarita mix for Eleanor. My girl can put those away.
We open right where we left off – Michael (Ted Danson) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) arrive at the Judge’s (Maya Rudolph) headquarters. Michael tries to persuade the Judge to give Team Cockroach a second chance. They did the impossible – they progressed into morally sound individuals after they died. Incredible, really. Michael surmises that perhaps the method by which they judge humans might need to be tweaked a bit. Maybe good people sometimes fall through the cracks, as they tend to do in real life with our own justice system. The Judge applauds Michael for his eloquent speech, but seems fairly set in her decision. Save them, Michael!
Later, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) have some good ol’ fashioned lady bonding time. Eleanor compliments Tahani on how much she’s grown since they’ve known each other. Tahani cites Eleanor’s friendship as a big motivator for her good deeds. Aw, I love it when ladies lift each other up.
Meanwhile, Janet confesses her love to Jason (Manny Jacinto). He returns her love in kind. Who knows how long they have together? Especially if Michael fails in getting them into The Good Place. Janet and Jason make so much sense as a pair, and it tickles me to see them together again.
Next, Chidi (William Jackson Harper) marches up to Eleanor and lays a smooch on her of blockbuster film proportions. “Hot diggity dog,” Eleanor and I both said at the same time. Seriously, this might be one of my favorite TV kisses.
Then, Michael and the Judge usher everyone together for the final verdict. Michael proposes they be sent to their own respective Medium Places for further monitoring. Meanwhile, Michael will continue to conjure a more concrete and intricate plan to grant them entry into The Good Place. The catch? They can’t be together. Of course, this is most upsetting to Eleanor since Chidi just laid one on her. I feel your pain. Michael will supervise everyone’s progress in the meantime, which could last a few months or a few million years. Give or take. As Eleanor is about to protest, however, she’s zapped back to the last moments prior to her death on Earth.
Now, remember when Eleanor was insulting Joe (John Hartman), the environmentalist guy? Well, she’s back at it, insulting him. Then, instead of the inevitable horde of shopping carts ramming her into the speeding semi truck, she’s saved. Yes, a mysterious hand pulls her away from the oncoming destruction. What once was a death experience became a near death experience.
Later, Eleanor returns to the apartment she shares with Madison (Angela Trimbur) and Brittany (Meryl Hathaway). She divulges her near death experience to them, but they both seem uninterested. Eleanor decides then and there to refocus her life on becoming a better person. She starts by waltzing into her job and telling her boss Wallace (Seth Morris) that she quits. Eleanor also chastises him for scamming on old people.
Next, she heads back to the grocery store and apologizes to Joe. He takes her to his environmental group and gets her involved in their work. Meanwhile, back at the Judge’s headquarters, Michael and Janet are monitoring Team Cockroach’s progress in their respective Medium Places. Michael notices an uptick in Eleanor’s progress, and is pleased with her growth. You go, girl!
Later, after months of working with the environmental group and growing exponentially as a human being, Eleanor goes out for dinner with Madison and Brittany. Eleanor decides to take the high road. She confesses that her and Brittany made those “Dress B***h” shirts of Madison and sold them for profit. Madison, furious, kicks them both out of the apartment. Hey, the truth does have consequences.
Then, we see the days crawl by for Eleanor. She doses off at work. A woman sues her for bumping into her car. Her and Brittany are living in a much smaller apartment. Eleanor finds it more difficult to do good. Being a good person is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. Joe stops by her apartment and asks her why she didn’t show up for work. Meanwhile, Brittany urges her to attend a concert with her. Eleanor decides to blow off work and enjoy the concert. She even returns to her old people scamming job. No, your eternal life hangs in the balance!
Now, Michael notices the plummeting of Eleanor’s progress. He decides to take matters into his own hands. While Eleanor is out partying for her birthday, Michael shows up as a bartender. They talk morality and inherent goodness. Whether one should do good simply because they crave a reward, or because it’s the right thing to do. Eleanor becomes increasingly drunk as they converse, but Michael plants the seed of motivation in our girl Shellstrop. Oh, Michael. How I love you so.
Later, Eleanor wakes up and stumbles on a video of Chidi giving a lecture at his university. She watches a total of three hours of him speaking on the concept of being good with rapt attention. She decides, on a whim, to travel to Sydney, Australia to meet Chidi in person. We see her enter his office at St. John’s University and introduce herself. She explains how she wants to discuss Chidi’s lecture with him. Michael is elated they met, and notices Eleanor’s progress rise once again.
The Good Place gave us one forking stellar Season 2. Season 1 was already an incredible collection of episodes, but Season 2 really knocked it out of the park. It explored the concept of goodness and humanity while managing to push boundaries. There was always an emotional core, a heart at the center of the comedy. The Good Place has an ample amount of heart. Not to mention, Ted Danson’s Michael had a brilliant evolution this season. Michael truly became human. The dialogue was as sharp as ever, and it never ceased to make me laugh aloud. This is, without a doubt, one of the best comedies on television right now. You better forking believe it.
Do you think Team Cockroach will end up in The Good Place next season? Will we see how the other three are progressing in their Medium Place scenarios? What will happen if Shawn finds them and attempts to drag them back to The Bad Place? Will we be blessed with a second Jason and Janet wedding? There’s only one way to find out – wait patiently until Season 3 premieres! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be incessantly binge watching the first two seasons until The Good Place returns.
The Good Place will return for Season 3 in fall of 2018.
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