The Good Place: The Snowplow
October 11, 2018 6:01 PM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

An announcement from someone in the group threatens to tear them apart.
posted by numaner (82 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
A whole more year! This show is blazing! So I assume Eleanor keeps getting these mysterious winning lottery tickets? 'Cause $18K doesn't seem like it'll go that long for living expenses, unless Australia is on a completely different scale. Also, I didn't know they also have scratch offs!

I love that Larry was on the magazine last week and now he's actually there! Also, the whole "I won't talk about your brothers if you don't mention my sister!" part was great.

I hope the Australian chapter of the Jags has a better cheer than Jason's.

I wouldn't be surprised if HierBnb is real and we commoners just don't know about it.

The little detail of Michael expecting Eleanor to not remember him at that moment (she might in the next episode when they put all the clues together), and then she, being as selfish as she is, really didn't remember, was greatly appreciated.

Man Simone is just so wonderful... I want more of her but I also can't realistically expect her to last into next season.

I can't help but think they overheard Michael and Janet and definitely heard their names mentioned.

Sooo is Michael gonna tell them the truth about the door? Is the judge gonna come busting through? Ahhhh what a cliffhanger!
posted by numaner at 6:06 PM on October 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Blake Beartles"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:16 PM on October 11, 2018 [21 favorites]


So crazy it just might fail!
posted by jeather at 6:46 PM on October 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


I love how in this show you really cannot tell what the cliffhanger will be until the very last moment.

("Wait, so next episode will take place in Jacksonville?", "Oh, is Michael resetting our Earth year?", "The growing concern on Janet's face! :( I wonder what she's doing, as soon as Michael opens the door." and then of course the Brainy Bunch shows up. All in a hot minute or so.)

I'm glad they're changing course (again), the snowplowing of Michael and Janet was getting a bit too much for my taste towards the end.
posted by bigendian at 7:17 PM on October 11, 2018 [8 favorites]


The little detail of Michael expecting Eleanor to not remember him at that moment (she might in the next episode when they put all the clues together), and then she, being as selfish as she is, really didn't remember, was greatly appreciated.

To be fair, not that she isn't selfish, in this timeline to her Michael is a bartender that served Eleanor a drink and chatted briefly with her, while she was drunk, two full years earlier. The conversation turned out to be life changing, but that wouldn't have been apparent at the time.

In any case, omg you guys - I thought this show ate plot earlier, but it's just going faster and faster. It's thrilling.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:13 PM on October 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


I’m so protective of and enthralled with this show that it pains me to say I’m just not feeling this season. The whole study/Brainy Bunch group dynamics just doesn’t make much sense. There’s a lot of effort to explain who wants what and why. Australia is an inherently less magical and droll setting than the afterlife. It all just feels forced and the one-liners are carrying the whole weight for me.

My hope is we get the whole group reunited and off earth next episode.
posted by argybarg at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2018 [15 favorites]


CA-CAAAW!
posted by mochapickle at 2:36 AM on October 12, 2018 [12 favorites]


Janet is so much more herself when she has the entirety of existence downloaded into her.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:18 AM on October 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


So you can say "dick" at 8:30 now, I guess. Twice.

(What even is the Good Place euphemism for "dick"? Did that ever come up?)
posted by Etrigan at 5:52 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


T-M-Zed is slaying me.
posted by annathea at 6:37 AM on October 12, 2018 [17 favorites]


I think this episode was necessary scaffolding for the season, but if they're leaving earth now, I'm thrilled. The things that make the show especially charming -- the absurdity, the time spent explicitly discussing or showing philosophical problems HELLO THE TROLLEY PROBLEM MY FAVOURITE POOR CHIDI -- have gotten short shrift compared to lightly angsty interpersonal dynamics, deliberate bad jokes (Michael versus Trevor), bad accents, and a certain sitcominess.

But I'm still here for the run.
posted by maudlin at 6:38 AM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


If only Michael had overheard the "Us vs Them" explanation from Simone he might not have freaked out so much, because clearly he's going through the same crisis Eleanor is with the threat of the group breaking up.

So, we've tied into the Pawnee universe with "paunch burger" references, and now we've connected to Kimmy Schmidt with Tahani's reference to trading "blimp hangers".

I'm glad that this latest development might force some kind of turn in strategy/focus. Given the very high bar of the points system (which I'm assuming were valid, given Michael and Janet's current conversations on the system) then all four could become much better versions of themselves or even objectively great people but still fall far short of the criteria for getting into The Good Place. Plus, even if some/all of them did, the Judge could invalidate them because of Michael & Janet's interference.
posted by mikepop at 6:39 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Something I didn't even register, but was brought up on the podcast:

Jason asks Larry "Did Miley Cyrus write the song 'Wrecking Ball' about Chris's brother Liam?"

"Chris's brother Liam" would, of course, also be Larry's brother.
posted by Etrigan at 6:50 AM on October 12, 2018 [28 favorites]


I love Tahani's genteel references to wanting sex, and Eleanor's "I always get it" about all of Tahani's references.

HELLO THE TROLLEY PROBLEM MY FAVOURITE POOR CHIDI

And then Michael forgot everything he learned about the trolley problem when he came up with a fire that would only harm five random strangers.

There is no justice in this universe or any other if I don't get to see Jason receive and cuddle Blake Beartles.
posted by gladly at 7:14 AM on October 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


They aren’t doing Eleanor/Tahani, are they. They aren’t ever doing it.

“It’s called arson!”

SOUNDS RIGHT
posted by schadenfrau at 8:10 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Simone is hardcore from The Good Place. She is always intercepting the group to make sure Chidi and Eleanor and Tahani and Jason all stay together. She calls Chidi the cab to take him to Eleanor when she wants to leave the study, she runs into Eleanor after the engagement party and gently nudges her in the right direction. She is CONSTANTLY on her phone, probably reporting to the Good Place about what's going on. She is sooooo from The Good Place and is interested in the experiment as much as Michael and Janet are.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:31 AM on October 12, 2018 [53 favorites]


Ooh I like this theory.

Also: "(What even is the Good Place euphemism for "dick"? Did that ever come up?)"

Maybe "dink"? I've adopted "ya fat dink" into my mental vocab thanks to this show I know.
posted by rewil at 8:45 AM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Eleanor's "I always get it" about all of Tahani's references.

That crystallized something that's been bugging me about Tahani this season. I feel like she didn't used to be as... obvious? about her references as she is now. Like, previously, she would have just said "...so I introduced him to my friend Gisele." and moved on without hammering it in. I haven't gone back and checked, but does anyone else have that feeling?
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also: "(What even is the Good Place euphemism for "dick"? Did that ever come up?)"

Maybe "dink"? I've adopted "ya fat dink" into my mental vocab thanks to this show I know.


"Dink" is its own insult, and it doesn't track with "dick" in common (American) usage the way Bad Janet tends to employ it.
posted by Etrigan at 8:47 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't know, “I haven’t been this upset since my good friend Taylor was rudely upstaged by my other friend Kanye, who was defending my best friend, Beyoncé” feels pretty obvious
posted by JDHarper at 9:25 AM on October 12, 2018 [11 favorites]


That crystallized something that's been bugging me about Tahani this season. I feel like she didn't used to be as... obvious? about her references as she is now. Like, previously, she would have just said "...so I introduced him to my friend Gisele." and moved on without hammering it in. I haven't gone back and checked, but does anyone else have that feeling?

I did think that this particular instance was a little much, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you look at the context - in previous seasons, Tahani always at least started out from a position of thinking she was in heaven (and thus had finally succeeded in proving the things she had spent her entire life trying to prove). Her insecurities are much, much worse now that she's still alive (wow, verb tenses are hard on this show)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:31 AM on October 12, 2018 [12 favorites]


I don't know, “I haven’t been this upset since my good friend Taylor was rudely upstaged by my other friend Kanye, who was defending my best friend, Beyoncé” feels pretty obvious

Oh, sure, she was obvious about it before, but I feel like she was more matter-of-fact about it, while "Gisele Bundchen, I mean..." was less "name drop" and more "name spike and do a name-touchdown-dance".
posted by Etrigan at 9:31 AM on October 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


And here I had assumed having Larry on the AUS Weekly cover last episode was a throwaway gag. Tahani does seem to be explaining both her name drops and her Britishisms more than previously.

I like that Michael and Janet took the time to decorate their abandoned journalism department for Christmas. Also, Janet's opposition to Tahani and Jason hooking up seemed mostly unrelated to how it would affect the group dynamic.
posted by ckape at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2018


"a different clock land"
posted by xtine at 11:32 AM on October 12, 2018 [17 favorites]


while "Gisele Bundchen, I mean..." was less "name drop" and more "name spike and do a name-touchdown-dance".

Eh, 50-50 I think. After all, she still didn't drop Tom Brady's name, just implied it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:41 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


I thought for sure she was gonna, though.
posted by rhizome at 12:57 PM on October 12, 2018


I love that Tahani's reaction to the lottery ticket.

And that Eleanor was singing happy birthday to Chidi
posted by JDHarper at 4:17 PM on October 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


I was really looking forward to an episode set in Jacksonville.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:54 PM on October 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


So the thought occurred to me while watching this episode: The Wizard of Oz, but all of the characters are on the journey together.

On earth each person is going to teach others their "weakness": Chidi, ethics, then maybe Eleanor teaches everyone not to care so much what other people think, Tahani, class and grace or something, and Jason playfulness. That is, the thing that put them in the bad place is a thing that the others are missing.

Michael gets to humanize himself and learn them all (and maybe thereby becomes a better torturer for the Bad Place), and Janet is tech support/research assistant.

Happy Friday!
posted by rhizome at 5:11 PM on October 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


Welp, the pattern of COMPLETELY CHANGING THE GAME EVERY FOUR EPISODES continues apace....

I love this show so much.
posted by tzikeh at 7:07 PM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Larry thing is both amusing and sad.

So if Eleanor won the lottery (and would a non-Aussie be allowed to win? Just wondering on the rules), how's Jason affording his stay? Just wondering.

Eleanor's moment with Simone was very touching. Why did I do that, indeed.

I look forward to Michael and Janet having to tell everyone they'd better shape up next week.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:46 PM on October 12, 2018


I loved Simone and Eleanor's "me vs us" talk, but ended up distracted by the continuity errors with the leaves in Eleanor's hair.
posted by TwoStride at 10:02 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


My hope is we get the whole group reunited and off earth next episode.

I... do not think they’re leaving earth any time soon. Going through the door would mean hell for all of them. I think they still need to become better people on earth. You know, assuming the Judge is too busy freaking out about everything else to notice that the experiment got spoiled. I think now they have to try to be better people for each other, because they’ve had over a year together, no do-overs, and care about each other in a way they haven’t before.

I dunno, I just don’t think earth is a 4-ep detour.
posted by greermahoney at 10:19 PM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


how's Jason affording his stay? Just wondering

he sleeps in dumpsters and eats the snacks Simone brings to the group
posted by numaner at 10:29 PM on October 12, 2018 [21 favorites]


You know, assuming the Judge is too busy freaking out about everything else to notice that the experiment got spoiled.

I bet the humans get captured and damned, which is what finally makes Janet realize that she has developed literally godlike powers. She's been dragging her feet this season but it seems like she could basically remake the universe at this point, once off Earth.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:07 AM on October 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


So, two years have elapsed on Earth since Michael averted their deaths. That puts them in 2018 now, assuming they originally died in 2016 when the first season aired. This also lines up with the judge's rundown of current events. I expect they will now stop fast-forwarding so much, at least until there are more timeline shenanigans.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:35 AM on October 13, 2018


Timeline shenanigans are the best shenanigans
posted by tzikeh at 8:40 AM on October 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


This has to be the season that they break the points system, right? Or reveal it never existed? I mean, the whole thing is coo-coo bananas.

If the system exists and works sort of like they've described, then of Team Cockroach it's probably only Tahani who has a chance of getting into the real good place, if she starts using her wealth and fame for good with purer motivations. This should be obvious to Michael, Janet and Gen.

I don't get why this seems to be ignored. Or am I missing something?
posted by bjrn at 11:29 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Frankly I had forgotten about the point system outside of those ~two episodes.
posted by rhizome at 11:46 AM on October 13, 2018


I dunno I’m still mixed about this season. I would have loved it to totally switch from fantastical to reality: how do you be a good person when there’s no real (or eternal) reward and the deck is stacked against you? I really didn’t like Michael and Janet’s constant intervening. You have to let the experiment run. Also the writing is missing something, this episode was just a montage of things happening, too much tell no show. I want to see the work. Also the jokes are kinda staid and falling into stereotype.

The trick with this season is, where’s the tension and what’s the goal? Season 1 goal was to get Eleanor to earn her spot, season 2 goal was to find the good place, now season 3? They’re back on earth, trying to make it through life like the rest of us schmucks, no real eternal reward... based on her convo with Simone I thought she was going to start therapy or something, that it would turn more conventional in her personal growth.

Anyways I’ll stick with it because the plot can go anywhere, it’s just so open ended right now. Being a good person is an open ended activity I guess.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:26 PM on October 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


I am now all in on Suffocating Kitty's theory of Simone being from The Good Place. Maybe TGP is in a state of crisis because nobody's there? The algorithim is so messed up, they're getting like one person per year? So they've got their own reasons for wanting to know if "bad" people can turn it around and qualify?
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


If a good-according-to-the-algorithm person got into the good place and found out about the bad place, wouldn't they feel awful and try to do something about it? So what if everyone in the real good place has to be constantly rebooted and mindwiped just to keep them appropriately blissful?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:16 AM on October 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


The trick with this season is, where’s the tension and what’s the goal? Season 1 goal was to get Eleanor to earn her spot, season 2 goal was to find the good place, now season 3?

I think it's about the basic idea that Earthly life is a lot tougher to manage, with a lot more variables, than a neighborhood where everything's under control. That was the mistake Michael and Janet made, repeatedly, across the season, and ironically it's telegraphed by Trevor's utter failures to screw up the group. Chapter 3/episode 2 made it pretty clear that the Brain-y Bunch were perfectly capable of looking out for each other, and it's Michael and Janet who keep screwing things up.

Before they show up, Eleanor is reaching out Chidi, and Jason makes sure Tahani gets home safely rather than end ing up in a tryst. This episode, their snowplowing is actually just coddling: Simone calls Eleanor out on a temper tantrum, but it's Michael and Janet who have infantilized her (and by extension, the group) to the point that the first thing they can't "snowplow" away leads to some colossal backsliding for Eleanor.

At the same time, it's all the Earth stuff Michael and Janet can't set up that allows the group the most progress: Simone, most prominently, is an outside factor and, interestingly, brings neuroscience into the mix, suggesting an entirely physical account of moral behavior. Michael's line that there are only four people that matter at all is belied by Simone and by Larry. It's rushed past, but we see that Tahani and Larry have helped each other, with Larry working on his self-confidence and finding a new identity in his relationship with Tahani, to the point of seeking to take her last name.

The afterlifers' experiment has proven something: that people can learn from each other and become better under the right circumstances, and that context and companions matter a great deal. But all the afterlife characters really seem to be learning is that their various methods of control and judgment are safe. They're turning out to be less capable of understanding what they owe to one another, and more deeply self-centered, than any of the humans they profess to oversee, judge, and punish or reward. Notice that Gen was introduced as a being who'd been, essentially, alone for countless aeons; Michael and Janet didn't start to break out of their routines until they bonded with some humans; and the Bad Place demons (like Eleanor's awful Arizona friends, Tahani's sister, and Jason's Jacksonville cohort) seem to encourage one another's worst traits.

The inhuman entities the show keeps giving us bear responsibility for the initial situations of Earth people, for those around them; that's the permissible, fruitful additional intervention of Michael and Janet on Earth, and it's also the thing that Gen (right now) can't see and the Bad Placers (including Michael) utterly fail to understand.
posted by kewb at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


I enjoyed the series of understated callbacks in this episode. Eleanor eats a bunch of shrimp, gives a speech, and ruins a party hosted by Tahani.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:58 PM on October 14, 2018 [37 favorites]


Completely apart from who my favorite characters are, I usually identify with Chidi's issues the most, as a fellow anxious person - but I don't think I've ever identified with a person on this show more than when Eleanor asks Simone "why did I do that?" I mean SAME.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:09 PM on October 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


So true. "Why did I just do that?" moments from years ago amount to about 3/4 of the stuff that keeps me awake at night.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:53 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Did I catch a throwaway line about no-one knowing the humans' points totals except for "The Accountants"? That sounds a lot like something they will pick up in a future episode.
posted by Paragon at 5:36 PM on October 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


I wasn't crazy about this episode but this show is so great because even though it was a blah episode to me there was still a ton of stuff going that was interesting or callbacks or foreshadowing, etc.,
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:10 PM on October 14, 2018


Different strokes for different folks, I haven't been loving the first few episodes this season (last episode felt particularly off), but loooved this episode, first time this season I wanted to just rewatch after it was over.
posted by skewed at 7:14 PM on October 14, 2018


kewb: Michael's line that there are only four people that matter at all is belied by Simone and by Larry.

But that's not what he says; he says they're the only four people who matter to him.
posted by tzikeh at 10:14 PM on October 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just rewatched, and a couple more Easter eggs:
1. The bottle that Eleanor carries out of the party is Lagavulin (aka Ron Swanson's favourite drink)
2. There's a character in the credits called the Baroness von Thurn und Taxis. Thurn und Taxis is a noble family, but also a board game about medieval German postal networks. No idea why that would be relevant, but it's pretty neat.
posted by Paragon at 1:23 AM on October 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


The line about Sydney being a vibrant international city was the best Australia joke so far!

...yes, I'm posting from Sydney.

Fwiw, my headcanon for how Jason has gotten by, his DJing and dancing is seen as groundbreaking here, and he squats in Marrickville having become an integral part of the warehouse party scene.
posted by other barry at 3:14 AM on October 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


And Eleanor never drank wine out of a bag even once! Come on, you know she would have had a stack of Fruity Lexia boxes.
posted by other barry at 3:39 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


But that's not what he says; he says they're the only four people who matter to him.

True, but given that he's actively scheming to reset time and meddling in Earthly affairs, he's behaving as if they're the only four people who matter at all, with little care for global or personal consequences to others. "The only four people who matter" to an entity that's basically like a guardian angel, or even a limited but still interventionist deity may as well be the only people who matter at all.

It's sort of funny that Eleanor and Tahani, who both had emotionally neglectful parents, now have pseudo-parents who wish to coddle and protect them. Likewise, Chidi and Jason have two friends who will take up the decision-making process on their behalf and channel their possible range of choices so that only good outcomes are possible (for a certain definition of "good.") But a Janet suggests to Michael, they're not so much guiding the four people who matter to him so much as denying them the moral choice that makes up the whole purpose of the "experiment."

This seems to me to reflect the limits of the Trolley Problem, where the main actor is actually the only entity with true moral agency. Identifying self-sacrifice as a solution was a big step for Michael last season, but now he can't give up that sense of absolute moral agency. And Janet simply wants to make everyone happy by providing them whatever they desire, which also isn't working well.

Again, I think the theme of this season is the complexity of living a moral life in the real world, and thus far the show has foregrounded the idea of unintended consequences. It's also about Michael and Janet learning that adult humans aren't there to be cared about ands that there's more to the moral universe than one's in-group. Simone hammers this home by noting that human beings are "still working on" this moral problem.

I do agree that the show seems to have neglected the underlying "awful points system" problem in its premise, which means it does seem more "sitcommy" than it has in the past. However, I have some hope that the latest episode's twist will put the four humans in position to argue against that system from a different perspective.
posted by kewb at 5:48 AM on October 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


Fwiw, my headcanon for how Jason has gotten by, his DJing and dancing is seen as groundbreaking here, and he squats in Marrickville having become an integral part of the warehouse party scene.

That, and/or the other two Jacksonville Jaguars fans in Australia are so thrilled to have someone actually from Jacksonville in town that they're letting him stay at their place and eat all their party snacks.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:46 AM on October 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


I still think my previous theory still holds true. I am expanding it now to say that agents from The Good Place have a vested interest in helping souls along and place angels like Simone throughout the moral evolution process to get them to the good place OR Simone was one of those people that got into The Good Place either immediately after death because of the points system or through this evolution/purgatory process and chooses to come and help others on their journey to become better people. Since the types of people in The Good Place wouldn't be the sort to sit around and relax knowing they could be spreading more good. Also, we have absolutely no first hand evidence that anyone is actually tortured in The Bad Place. The closest we come is the emotional torture of neighborhood 12358W and "torture accounts" by demons like Vicky, Trevor, and Michael. Even in the hall of "low grade crappiness" it just shows crappy behavior and none of the ironic punishments. It all could just be for show (and Michael's growth is part of the purgatory process too - remember, this was his first time designing a neighborhood and stepping into the "real world" of the afterlife.).
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 9:34 AM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


But I also swore up and down that they were in a simulation of life on Earth, when Michael Shur definitively said they rebooted the timeline and are actually back on earth , so i'm 0 for 1 in my theories.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 9:35 AM on October 15, 2018


When they rebooted the timeline, what happened to all the other souls who died and went to either the Good or Bad Place? Were they ripped out of their respective afterlives and returned to exactly where they were, or were they replaced by simulacra?

The simulation theory doesn't have those issues, but so far the show is really trying to sell the idea that they're on Earth, unless... Unless Gen has actually been testing Janet and Michael along with the humans this whole time?

Gen would have to be able to mess with Janet's encyclopedic knowledge of everything, but we've already seen that it's a remote database that Janet can be disconnected from. She can't access the database when she's on "Earth", after all. So maybe Gen tampered with the database so Janet wouldn't know that "Earth" was a simulation. Or maybe Janet knew but couldn't tell anybody. Either way, it's just like the first season where she either didn't know or couldn't tell anybody that the Good Place was fake.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:46 AM on October 15, 2018


I mean, maybe i am being naive, but Michael Shur said with 100% absolutism they were back on earth and not in a simulation when asked the question during The Good Place Podcast. If they didn't want to define that thoroughly, they wouldn't have asked the question.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 11:02 AM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


If I have learned anything at all from the first two seasons of this show (besides some nifty philosophical theories), it is this: Trust Mike Schur. He has an arc for this season that we have not seen yet. By this point last season, it looked as if Michael was simply going to reboot the four humans over and over until he got it right, and then everything changed. I have enjoyed this season so far, and I have faith that Mike Schur knows what he's doing.

I'm also totally onboard with the theory that Simone is a Good Place Agent. In addition, my wife is convinced that Michael himself is a fallen angel, and doesn't remember it. He doesn't really fit in with the other Bad Place folks, and it took to ethical behavior relatively quickly (after a few early hiccups). Michael's attempts to help the humans is a vestige of his own forgotten past, and he will be welcomed back into the Good Place when he succeeds.

I'm starting to be convinced by that as well. This is a stretch on my part, but one of my favorite movies is Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire. In that movie, angels wander the streets of Berlin while wearing trenchcoats. Well, Michael was wearing a stupidly conspicuous trenchcoat during the first two episodes!

Coincidence?!?! ...Well, yeah probably, but it's fun to speculate.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:06 AM on October 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


In addition, my wife is convinced that Michael himself is a fallen angel...

I'm beginning to wonder if Michael is in some form of purgatory himself
posted by nathan_teske at 11:15 AM on October 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


If a good-according-to-the-algorithm person got into the good place and found out about the bad place, wouldn't they feel awful and try to do something about it?

This is Mahayana Buddhism in a nutshell. I really think the whole show will end up being an allegory for sangha, karma and reincarnation, and enlightenment, and maybe one day Eleanor will be assigned some hapless soul to help.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 4:21 PM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


an entity that's basically like a guardian angel

He's a demon who's gotten a little reformed. He's very much not like a guardian angel.
posted by kenko at 5:11 PM on October 15, 2018


The bottle that Eleanor carries out of the party is Lagavulin (aka Ron Swanson's favourite drink)

Now that they have linked these two show-universes with this and the Paunchburger, we need a comic book tie-in set in the future (for whatever that means on this show) after Leslie and Ann die of natural causes in old age. Leslie is sent to the Good Place and makes it her mission to rescue Ann from the Bad Place. Along the way there could be much analysis/unravelling of the points system, and there will be copious flashbacks that reveal what took place in their remaining time on Earth.
posted by mikepop at 6:43 AM on October 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


Thurn und Taxis

Given Cones of Dunshire in Parks and Rec, I think it's safe to say that Michael Schur is a board gamer to some degree. This was almost certainly a little easter egg for board game fans.
posted by explosion at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


If it's very definitely not a simulation, then I my question about what happened to all the other souls when the timeline got rebooted applies in a serious way.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:59 AM on October 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


When they rebooted the timeline, what happened to all the other souls who died and went to either the Good or Bad Place? Were they ripped out of their respective afterlives and returned to exactly where they were

You're trying to apply temporal logic to a timeless eternity?

I assume you mean the souls who died after Our 4 but "before" the timeline was rebooted? But there isn't necessarily any such time period (unless the showrunners said there was, I guess). Even if hundreds of years have passed in The Bad Place, that doesn't mean any time has passed on Earth.

And even if you want to think of both experiencing linear time in a 1:1 relationship with each other, you're still sort of asking "What happened to Bob Johnson, 1st lieutenant in the Tech-Com, when Skynet and Connors rebooted the timeline? Was he ripped out of his and into a new life?" No, he just never had that life.

You can sort of imagine that someone who died in 2140 is in The Good Place but the timeline changes induce them to make bad decisions so when they die in 2140 they go to The Bad Place. Nobody gets ripped out of The Good Place; it wioll haven been the case that always this person went to The Bad Place. Even if that wasn't true "before," "now" it always has been true.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:26 AM on October 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Does it even mean anything to reset the timeline if no time on earth has actually passed, though?
posted by tobascodagama at 9:33 AM on October 16, 2018


Sure; it means that they're not dead.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:26 AM on October 16, 2018


thurn and taxis are also referenced extensively in the crying of lot 49.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:17 AM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


> But I also swore up and down that they were in a simulation of life on Earth, when Michael Shur definitively said they rebooted the timeline and are actually back on earth , so i'm 0 for 1 in my theories.

I wonder what the exact wording here was. because it strikes me that "they are definitely actually back on earth" doesn't necessarily mean that it's therefore not a simulation.

ted danson: the friendliest basilisk
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:05 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the exact wording here was.

From a Rolling Stone interview:
The audience seems split between those who think Eleanor and the others have been brought back to life and those who believe it’s another simulation. Would you care to tip your hand about which? Does it matter?
Normally I don’t like to just flatly state what’s going on, but here I don’t see the benefit of people experiencing ambiguity: The four of them are straight-up back on Earth, in a new timeline where they didn’t die.
posted by Etrigan at 9:18 AM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


If a good-according-to-the-algorithm person got into the good place and found out about the bad place, wouldn't they feel awful and try to do something about it?

Boy does this question ever come up a lot in Christian theology.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:39 AM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I just wanted to share somewhere that I started watching season 2 of this show and it's retroactively making me like or appreciate the first season and now I look forward to this third one. Season 1 felt to me really milquetoast and safe in terms of jokes and humor, plus the "twist" was pretty obvious way too quickly. Season 2 is doing a much better job with the concept so far, just three episodes in. They're also kind of still doing what you think will happen, but it's the kind of development that's exciting and funny to see. It also is going against my broad assumption for what the season would go before I even considered watching it. I hope the season 2 keeps me hooked through to the third, I already like the directions they can go with this and as long as it isn't god's or michael's secret way to put demons through their own type of bad place, I'll be good.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:23 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I like the idea of Michael as modern day archangel...and well, he's got the name.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:40 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


She's been dragging her feet this season

her soft feet.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:16 PM on October 18, 2018


The four of them are straight-up back on Earth, in a new timeline where they didn’t die.

What happened to the non-Brainy Bunch souls when the new timeline was created, though? Are souls divisible? Is everybody else in their new timeline half a soul now? If someone would have gone to the Good Place in the original timeline, but the new timeline causes them to go to the Bad Place, do they automatically get sorted into Mindy's Medium Place?
posted by tobascodagama at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2018


ALSO, DID YOU KNOW that another name for a shopping cart is "shopping trolley"? Literally, what if Michael pushing Eleanor out of the way of the shopping trollies caused someone else to die?
posted by tobascodagama at 4:37 PM on October 18, 2018 [9 favorites]


> thurn and taxis are also referenced extensively in
> the crying of lot 49.
posted above by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon
Have we reached peak eponysterical?
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:22 PM on October 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Also, regarding the "Thurn and Taxis" reference -- as a new listener to the Good Place podcast I'm playing catch-up. Earlier today I listened to the podcast for the first season finale. The podcast guest was Mike Schur and he states directly that he is a Pynchon fan, so I would think it likely that this was a The Crying of Lot 49 reference.

Damn it, now I'm going to have to check any WASTE bins seen in public shots to see if there are dots between the letters..
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:15 PM on October 19, 2018


how's Jason affording his stay? Just wondering

he sleeps in dumpsters and eats the snacks Simone brings to the group


A lot of dumpsters have food in them, that got thrown away. Some of it is even okay to eat still (no bets on Jason being able to tell the difference). It's like a free bed and breakfast!
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:32 PM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I heard that (except for the parenthetical) in Jason's voice.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:53 AM on October 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


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