The Good Place is back with its fourth and final season, and it doesn’t take long for the Soul Squad to realize that saving the world is going to be one hell of a task—especially with the goobers the Bad Place is sending their way. No one expected an experiment to determine the fate of humanity’s collective afterlife would be easy, but did it really have to involve Brent?
The Good Place is back, benches, and the final season started off in top form. “A Girl From Arizona Part 1" returns us to the latest incarnation of the Good Place, only this time it’s a massive psychological experiment instead of a froyo-filled torture chamber. Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Michael (Ted Danson), and almost the rest of the Soul Squad (sad face) have been given a year to prove whether the Good Place needs to update its scoring system and give humanity a second chance at eternal bliss.
Only problem is their four human subjects are just the worst, hand-picked by the Bad Place to make their lives miserable (with one demonic exception that we’ll get to). We’re already familiar with gossip columnist John Wheaton and Chidi’s ex-girlfriend Simone—who I was worried was going to be predictable, since we already know her, but they forking showed me. Instead of accepting the premise put before her, Simone thinks she’s suffered a traumatic brain injury and is in a coma, so she goes around wearing cheese hats and throwing strangers in pools. It’s a surprising development that not only made sense for her character but also provided some great material: “This is all in my head. I’m going to go eat a knife!”
Then, you’ve got your two new arrivals. There’s Brent Norwalk, a polo-clad dinglehopper of white male privilege who doesn’t understand why the PC Police can’t take a joke anymore; also he’s the least-racist person in the world and really wants to make sure you know that. And finally, we’ve got Linda, an older woman who’s just, like, not that into it? At least that’s what we’re led to think...until she punches Eleanor in the face. Turns out, Linda was actually Chris Baker, Eleanor’s former fake soulmate who kept making excuses to go to the gym. The Bad Place tried to pull a fast one on the team but got caught, so nowthe Judge had decided Chidi will be the fourth human in the experiment. And Eleanor is not happy about it.
One of the best things about The Good Place is how well it moves between the silly and the sincere. Amidst all the hilarious jokes and clever restaurant signs (my favorite this week was Ponzu Scheme) is a heartbreaking story about Eleanor struggling with her pain over losing Chidi, who had his memory erased so he wouldn’t expose the experiment with his Zone of Truth spell. She’s trying to put on a brave face, but there are signs that Eleanor is not keeping it together—even to the detriment of the experiment. For example, she refused to introduce Chidi and Simone because she “didn’t think it’s necessary.” Plus, it was actually Tahani who spotted Linda’s lies, and not her.
Right now, it’s hard to tell whether Eleanor is sad that she doesn’t have Chidi anymore or angry that she’s suffering a burden he doesn’t know about or have to bear. To be honest, it’s probably both.
I completely understand how Eleanor is feeling, and I think her actions make sense. After all, she’s only human, and any of us would do the same thing in her situation. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for it. There’s a lot riding on this experiment and it’s clear that Eleanor is already making some mistakes to protect herself from her own pain. I have a feeling that’s going to come and bite them all in the butt—and by that I mean your mom’s butt. Sorry, the Bad Place is getting to me.
- “Here we go with all the terms we have to learn. Vice President of Helping. Captain Marvel! You know what I’m saying?” Oh, Brent... I so want to hit you with three tire irons.
- Apart from catching Linda/Chris’s charade, Tahani didn’t really have a lot to do in this episode. I understand that Eleanor is leading the experiment, but I hope it doesn’t come to the detriment of the other characters, who all clearly have a lot to give.
- Well, maybe not Jason...who’s not exactly proving his mettle in the experiment this week. He spends his time fighting with Derek because he was jealous of Derek’s literal body-building session with Janet. Now’s not a good time, sweetie. Oddly enough, Derek has evolved since we last left him, becoming seemingly more intelligent and definitely a schemer with purpose. Could the constant reboots by Mindy St. Clair have something to do with it?
- It’s true: 1-800-Kars4Kids is the theme song of hell.
- Did anyone else get that horror movie moment when Janet and Michael boarded the Bad Place train to drop off Demon Chris? “Oh no, don’t go in there!” I could’ve sworn the train was going to jet off with them still inside. The two of them seem to be okay, for now. But I don’t know. That whole scene felt very suspicious to me.
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