It’s hard to run The Good Place without Good Janet, so last week Michael and Jason decided to go on a daring mission to bring her back from the Bad Place—leaving Eleanor, Tahani, and, yes, even Derek trying to keep their struggling experiment afloat.
In “Employee of the Bearimy,” our four subjects take a backseat so we can spend some time with the folks trying to save their souls. As Jason and Michael head to the Bad Place, going undercover at a demon con to trick Shawn and save Janet, Eleanor and Tahani work hard to keep Chidi and the others ignorant that “single father” Derek is haphazardly running the show.
These situations prove stressful for Michael and Tahani, as they’re both forced to confront what they see as the weakest parts of themselves. Tahani is frustrated that Eleanor keeps putting her on “party patrol,” wanting to do something more useful to help the experiment, so she tries taking matters into her own hands. This does not go well, as Tahani keeps changing things around in ways that Eleanor has a hard time getting a grip on.
I did get a little frustrated at Eleanor (not the first time), who was acting a bit controlling and bossy toward Tahani. But on the other hand, they were facing an unprecedented situation, with Good Janet gone and Derek on the verge of a breakdown, and it may have been a time where Tahani needed to take one for the team. But you could see the line the two of them have trouble crossing, regarding class and circumstance, even if they eventually came to a mutual understanding.
Then there’s Michael, who’s spent the past couple of episodes dealing with something he hadn’t really faced before: shame over who he was and what he had done. We saw this last week when he refused to take off his skin suit, not wanting his friends to see him for the “monster” he truly was. Now, back in the Bad Place with Jason, Michael is face-to-face with, well, his own face on the wall for Employee of the Bearimy. He knows that he’s not that demon anymore—he even tells the other demons during a convention that they have the ability to self-improve, too—but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s ashamed of his past, carrying it around like baggage.
A moment of clarity comes, once again, from the most surprising of places: Jason Mendoza. He gives Michael a heartfelt speech about how being a different person now doesn’t mean you have to hate or be ashamed of the person you were back then. It’s something I think we can all appreciate...even if, once again, Jason’s talking about arrest records. The episode ends with a great call-back to the Jaguars bit from earlier, when Janet tells Jason that quarterback Nick Foles has taken over for Blake Bortles. Of course Jason was thrilled! At least until he found out Foles had broken his clavicle. Oof.
- There was a moment when Janet came face-to-face with Jason, who was pretending to be Glenn in a skin suit, where I was worried we were going to get another irritating “I’m lying to you to protect you” scene. But of course that’s not what happened. Instead, Janet immediately saw the truth in Jason’s apology (because he called her “girl”) and leaned into their scheme to get her out. I’m glad their love broke through the trope.
- “I love a movie with gentle magic.” John, you’re still my favorite. You quoted Simply Irresistible! Never change... except please do change because the future of humanity depends on it.
- If Vicki only embraced the fact that her “acting method” is the worst form of torture, she’d have an amazing career ahead of her.
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