The Good Place: The Worst Possible Use of Free Will
November 8, 2018 6:04 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Eleanor recalls some forgotten events from her past.

heh, a public library in Arizona
OMG SIDE EFFECTS! that was crazy!
"I don't have the capacity to judge if humans are attractive, but no you did not pull it off"
that was the moment he fell in love! i remember from season 2!
pick a magic pet day is what i want every day. "they're real to me too"
of course Eleanor picked a lizard
oh Chidi... you and your indecisions
tarantula squid tarantula squid tarantula squid!
"i made my bed and now i'll bleed in it"
I love that we're getting more scenes of one of the reboots. I've been missing "The Good Place"
"shove it up to wherever's your butt should be" and that stare from Michael!
the mirror centaur is a perfect Tahani, and the caption said her name is T'ahani
THE PENGUIN HAS A JAGUARS JERSEY
HIS NAME IS BLEEK
I love that Eleanor's reaction to most surprises is to literally push them away
yaaaay another first kiss!
awww it's the scene from the video but not through a video, i wonder if that was taped last season or for this one
French cuff shirts are just the right amount of classy for you, Michael
"i can't be mad at a demon for being evil" is so... mature(?) for Eleanor
Hehe basic reality playbook
DETERMINISM omg I love that she's going into philosophy to explain this
I really like that they're actually exploring this, whether all we've seen in the afterlife is not really by chance because of what Michael has architected
"the second we close they use this place to shoot pornos"
oh yay, first time! i remember that scene!
PURPLE SPACE BUBBLE-- haha and wrong one!
oh I remember 445! where he's just so frustrated!
Sam the Eagle from the muppets is very authoritative indeed
WHOA meta torture matrix-- ha! Michael exercising free will!
"happens all the time, usually it's the younger woman doing it to the older guy though"
I saw that "the second we close they shoot porn" line this time a mile away and it was still perfect and hilarious
yay they're using their money for first class
free vest! geez Jason...
"times like this it's fun to remember that we're legally married"
Rihanna wil probably get into the Good Place
someone way cooler than Rihanna??
OOOOO rural Canada! they're going to see Doug Forcett?? (I have no basis for that guess)
Vicky! hahahaha we're way past that
Damn Shaun is using Vicky as a guinae pig?? "ho ho this might be gross!"
man Glenn gets no respect
posted by numaner (80 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Metafilter: The second we close they use this place to shoot porn
posted by Aznable at 6:36 PM on November 8, 2018 [39 favorites]


Michael's file on Eleanor, page 4,815 of 162,342:

Bad Memories

Summer camp GI issues
Lifetime ban from Post Office
Hair-pullings (Her)
Hair-pullings (Others)
Ambien-Hamster Mishap

Family

Mom’s date with Anthony Kiedis celebrity look-alike
In maternity ward, mother introduced her to nurse as “my little sister”
Dad forgot birthday, changed birth certificate so he wasn’t wrong
Dad’s fistfight with entire Arizona State University financial aid office
Mom once made Mac 'n' Cheese with wine instead of milk

Enemies

Rihanna’s bodyguard
Various Rite Aid employees
Barefoot Contessa (Note: One-sided)
Princess Jasmine (Note: One-sided; Fictional)
Neil Degrasse Tyson (Note: One-sided, from his side)

Shames

Mr Peanut tattoo
Love of Barenaked Ladies
Spotify playlist “Forgetting Brad”
“Shrimp Farts”
Problematic Halloween costumes
Can’t remember how to spell “calendar” no matter how many times she learns
Sexual attraction to Sam the Eagle
posted by Aznable at 6:53 PM on November 8, 2018 [30 favorites]


Determinism vs Free Will bottle(ish) episode!

God, I love this 'Philosophy for Dingdongs ...For Morons' comedy show.

Doug Forcett is probably a good guess, numaner.
EDIT: ...but he'd be in his 70s now, no?
posted by bigendian at 7:14 PM on November 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


Tostitos presents a PUBLIC LIBRARY brought to you by GoDaddy

aaaaand I'm helplessly giggling on the floor
posted by palomar at 8:06 PM on November 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


also, let's be honest, who among us hasn't had a weird boner for Sam the Eagle
posted by palomar at 8:07 PM on November 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Determinism vs Free Will bottle(ish) episode!

I honestly thought, Wow, a bottle episode around the second commercial break. I am not smart.
posted by Etrigan at 8:17 PM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


After Vicky was in that three second flashback, I was a bit disappointed we couldn't have her back for longer.

Then I didn't have to worry about that anymore.
posted by ckape at 8:35 PM on November 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


Dad forgot birthday, changed birth certificate so he wasn’t wrong

that next level negligent parenting. respect.

Neil Degrasse Tyson (Note: One-sided, from his side)

I really need to know the story here
posted by numaner at 9:07 PM on November 8, 2018


it's times like this I'm reminded that it doesn't come on Hulu until 5 am for me to rewatch and I'm very very put out about that
posted by numaner at 9:09 PM on November 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am so happy with this episode! Between the literal flashbacks and the philosophical debate (and finally getting the FX guy something to do), this feels like the Good Place again.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:46 PM on November 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


There was a fairly prominent "WRONG WAY" sign behind Michael in the parking garage as they were discussing the plan to go see the highest point getter. Actual hint, or set dressers messing with us?
posted by damayanti at 4:32 AM on November 9, 2018 [11 favorites]


So they're going to go find a moral savior in Calvary -- er, I mean Calgary?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:17 AM on November 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


also, let's be honest, who among us hasn't had a weird boner for Sam the Eagle

Well he's very authoritative and I find that reassuring.
posted by Aznable at 6:32 AM on November 9, 2018 [18 favorites]


My guess as to which Canadian they're going to visit: Rick Moranis.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:53 AM on November 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


OOOOO rural Canada! they're going to see Doug Forcett?? (I have no basis for that guess)

I think you're right. Otherwise why make it a point to have Elanor ask "who's that guy?" about him in the "Everything is okay" iteration?
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:45 AM on November 9, 2018 [10 favorites]


Gotta be Doug Forcett - although I cant imagine that predicting the afterlife model makes you a high points earner - since any action he takes to earn points don’t count because of a corrupt motivation of believing it will get him into the good place - even if he doesn’t k ow for sure that’s true. He isn’t earning points because he truly believes this is the right thing to do, he’s earning points because he wants to go to heaven and thinks this is the right way to get in.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 7:54 AM on November 9, 2018


"Doug Forcett is probably a good guess, numaner.
EDIT: ...but he'd be in his 70s now, no?"

Well he did manage to predict almost everything... almost like he had it written out on a huge stack of paper. All we need now is some wibbly-wobbly-jeremey-beremey that cuts back on the timeline
posted by ewan at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


PODCAST MINI SPOILER...


One of the guests is the show's animal person, who works for a business that rents out animals to various shows. Super duper interesting inside-Hollywood details here.
posted by k8t at 8:43 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


They said they are going to rural Canada, and at the time of his revelation Doug Forcett lived in Calgary, which is an urban city the size of Milwaukee. (looking at the metro; looking just at the population in the incorporated city, Calgary would be the 9th largest city in the US, just a wee bit larger than Dallas.) I'm totally fine with them making as many dumb Canada jokes as they made dumb Australia jokes -- amped, even -- as long as they don't turn my beloved hometown into a rural area; Sydney got to keep being a city, Calgary can too.

Another con on the Doug Forcett angle is that the dude in the picture is a writer who doesn't even work oh the show, and while a bunch of the writers have appeared, they mostly have tiny roles because they are writers, not actors. (Glenn is writer Josh Siegel, and I think he has the biggest role so far -- previously Jen Statsky was Susan, the waitress in the Mexican restaurant Jason and Pillboi robbed, and multiple Emmy nominee Megan Amram playing the chin guitar.)

But the pro arguments are that he is presumably much older and could be played by anyone and could have moved to someplace much more befitting the descriptor "rural" with a stupid name, like Dead Man's Flats, or Cereal or Hughenden, or even somewhere in another province, like Moose Factory ON, or Climax SK, or Stoner BC, or Meat Cove NS or Dildo NL. And they did seem to highlight the Doug Forcett picture the way Michael's office was framed.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:16 AM on November 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Someone on Twitter described this episode as the Eleanor-Chidi fan-fiction we've all been waiting for. YES! More Elidi (Cheleonor?) love!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:00 AM on November 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


I am still ashamed of my squishy shipping heart, but this totally felt like confirmation that Eleanor and Chidi, though perhaps not true soulmates, are meant to be something to one another. I love how the show handles it without "will they/won't they" shenanigans. Simone wasn't a villainous hurdle to be overcome; there's no dumb, out-of-character misunderstandings delaying their eventual love. They're inevitably good for one another, whether they're in love or friends.

Probably because of my squishy shipping heart, I did love this episode. But, I really love the relationship that's developing between Michael and Eleanor. Their friendship strikes so many sweet notes.

And, yay! The Bad Place clevers their way back to relevance.

Gripe: Where did Eleanor's ice-tea hair go in the parking garage? Boo!
posted by gladly at 10:35 AM on November 9, 2018 [7 favorites]


Gripe: Where did Eleanor's ice-tea hair go in the parking garage? Boo!

Arizona will do that to you. I honestly do not towel off after showers when I'm visiting my parents in Phoenix -- step out of the shower, brush my teeth, and I'm dry.
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on November 9, 2018 [15 favorites]


After Vicky was in that three second flashback, I was a bit disappointed we couldn't have her back for longer.

Then I didn't have to worry about that anymore.


It didn't spoil it for very long, but they had Marc Evan Jackson in the end credits a few seconds before the Bad Place bit actually started, so I was distracted trying to remember whether Sean had been in any of the flashbacks.
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Shanagonye?

I really liked the past two episodes. The early part of the season was kind of wobbly in spots and it feels like they are finally getting back into form.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's psyched to maybe meet Doug Forcett. I mean, he's pretty famous, we're very lucky to have him on.
posted by Query at 10:55 AM on November 9, 2018


Doug Forcett is probably a good guess, numaner.
EDIT: ...but he'd be in his 70s now, no?


All we know about Doug Forcett is that he had his famous trip in "the 1970s". He could be in his 50s, if he were a teenager in 1978.
posted by Etrigan at 11:07 AM on November 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Gripe: Where did Eleanor's ice-tea hair go in the parking garage? Boo!

Arizona will do that to you. I honestly do not towel off after showers when I'm visiting my parents in Phoenix -- step out of the shower, brush my teeth, and I'm dry.


Confirm. I only really use towels in the winter, and then mainly because it’s chilly to stand around damp for the few minutes it takes to air dry.
posted by Superplin at 11:09 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


haha why can't we ever remember his name is spelled Shawn
posted by numaner at 11:37 AM on November 9, 2018


I wanted much more time with Jason's penguin. And I don't think I've ever awwwwwed at this show before last night.
posted by wellred at 12:16 PM on November 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


Arizona will do that to you. I honestly do not towel off after showers when I'm visiting my parents in Phoenix -- step out of the shower, brush my teeth, and I'm dry.

Confirm. I only really use towels in the winter, and then mainly because it’s chilly to stand around damp for the few minutes it takes to air dry.


You lucky desert dwellers. I'll bet you never have frizzy hair.
posted by gladly at 1:05 PM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


OMG
posted by rewil at 1:13 PM on November 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


Was lil'Sebastian in the background of "Pet Day"?! Will have to look on re-watch.

Great episode; my record for predicting what an episode might cover remains perfect (0/27).
posted by mikepop at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


rewatching with pausing capabilities from Hulu

I love that Tostitos and GoDaddy in the library's name are the actual brand logos
Jeff Foxworthy book of poems: Roses Are Red... and So Is My Neck!
on the back: Shall I compare thee to a Summer's Daytona 500?
Michael's grocery bag: Coyote Joe's Marketplace
motivational poster behind Michael when they're sitting says "Gratadude", but I can't make out the small text below
I do like sleeping and chewing a lot
Tahani: "I haven't had a pet since Barbra Streisand gave me one of her cloned Siamese cats, and it killed itself." -- so much to unpack in one sentence
If only I believe in myself like Jason believed in penguins as a mythical creature
Oh i got the Mirror Centaur's name wrong, it's T'Hania. And she's the Goddess of Beauty.
"You are going to show me how thoughtful and caring I am, or I'm gonna rip off your demon head and shove it up whatever's where your butt should be." -- I'm glad I revisited this quote because it's a delight *chef's kiss*
omg hot pink peacock
So that lizard clambering all over Kristen Bell's head in that scene was not trained to do that (because you can't really train a lizard) and she loved it and rolled with it. And someone also noticed the stare down between it and Tahani
Eleanor: "You didn't have like a stable full of horses growing up?"
Tahani: "Oh, of course, but they just pulled our carriages, or performed in our horse ballets. They weren't so-- what's the word? Judgemental."
I definitely didn't notice on first watch that T'Hania sparkles all the time
Eleanor regretting her joke pick of the lizard when Michael says "you can do whatever ilizards do" is a great face
who the golden flowers on Eleanor's dress is also super shimmery
I'm going to assume the penguin's full name is BLEEK BORTLES
One of the restaurants in the scene by the pier is "Kabob Patch Kids", 119 must be the reboot with all kabob places. Next to it is "---- Cheesecake Factory". The first word is obscured by trees but I'm going out on a limb and say it's also kabobs.
When Chidi gets pushed into the water he yells out "WHYYY??"
the Bible is the only book the library has in the Sex Ed section
"I'm incapable of love. Eh, it's not biggie. Do you wanna get burgers?"
just noticed she's sitting completely crossed legged on that library chair. super relatable.
The basic reality show playbook line described almost all reality shows I've seen that wasn't a family or competition show
The "...for dummies" books in real life should all say "for dingdongs" to sell better
the librarian's name is Scott Fupple
the restaurant they go to after is The Sandy Spoon
they have something called the Arizona Junk Breakfast! on the menu
Just realized 445 says "Everything is okay." real downer, Michael...
a private shame not listed in the electronic book about Eleanor: she doesn't wash her feet in the shower, and although it says "Love of Barenaked Ladies", Michael says they were also her first concert
Again, the meta-torture idea that Michael is being tortured has been discussed before, and I love that they're addressing it kinda
Super intelligent tarantula-squids! Eleanor really wants to see them!
Michael thinks exercising his free will to pour iced tea on Eleanor is the coolest thing he's ever done, even more than stealing a magic door between afterlife and Earth
"We're the only truely free beings in the universe, because we actually know what's up with the afterlife." truer words...
Also, call back: Rihanna in Las Vegas is the same concert for which Eleanor ditched dog-sitting for her friend and the dog ate all the food she left out and got super fat and had to be pulled on a wagon. Also probably the reason why her and Rihanna's bodyguards are enemies.
Just realized that present day Chidi didn't have any lines!
"You have missed a lot. Now go through that makeshift portal. See if you explode." oh Shawn...
posted by numaner at 1:26 PM on November 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Was lil'Sebastian in the background of "Pet Day"?! Will have to look on re-watch.

yes! at the very start of the scene where Tahani asks Michael about the Mirror Centaur, the wide shot shows a unicorn in the immediate background, but further to the left you can see a couple looking at a miniature horse while a lady is holding its reins.

then when Chidi is talking to Eleanor about the puppies and bends down on the bench and says "you're right, the black one, that was my first impulse", the same lady walks the miniature horse by in the background, out of focus

when they're staring at the empty puppy baskets and Chidi says "and I will now suffer the consequences" the same couple from earlier (i think) is in the background for a split second with the same horse but you can only see its back half. When Eleanor is chanting "tarantula-squid" you can see them clearer in the background with most of the horse.
posted by numaner at 1:34 PM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Centaur Tahani is Peak Tahani.
I honestly don't know which was funnier, the lizard crawling up Eleanor's head or Tahani's reaction to the lizard crawling up Eleanor's head.

I too think we are going to meet Doug Forcett next week.

FWIW, next week's episode is written by Mike Schur himself. It is titled: Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By, also the title of a song recorded by Mama Cass Elliot in 1970, lyrics by Ferlin Husky. (His real name believe it or not.)

Did you ever lie and listen to a rainbow
Did you ever own a homemade apple pie
Did you ever watch a child while he was prayin'
Just don't let the good life pass you by

Did you ever hold a hand to stop its tremblin'
Did you ever watch the sun desert the sky
Did you ever hold a woman while she's sleepin'
Friend, don't let the good life pass you by

Man was made for lovin', not for buyin'
Gold can't get the things we really need
Just look, my friends, there's happiness in livin'
Somewhere between broke and bein' free

Did you ever see the funny side of losin'
Did you ever sit right down and have a cry
Did you ever take the time to help a neighbor
Just don't let the good life pass you by

Well, man was made for lovin', not for buyin'
Gold can't get the things we really need
Just look, my friends, there's happiness in livin'
Somewhere between broke and bein' free

Did you ever see the funny side of losin'
Did you ever sit right down and have a cry
Did you ever take the time to help a neighbor
Just don't let the good life pass you by
Friend, don't let the good life pass you by
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
posted by pjsky at 2:55 PM on November 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


Did flashback-Eleanor say "holy crap" when she realized Chidi skipped flying like an owl to help her find her lizard? What does that meeeeeeean?
posted by basalganglia at 3:19 PM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Something occurred to me while belatedly watching the last episode, and I think it still holds up:

The gang decided/were told by Michael and Janet that the moment they learned the true nature of the universe, they were auto-damned because their motivations to do good had become corrupted. But then, once they decided "even if we're going to hell, maybe we can save other people," didn't that decision serve to un-corrupt them? They don't think that any good actions on their part can save them now, but they're doing them anyway. That's the definition of selflessness.

If this is true, my big question is whether this loophole has already occurred to anyone in the show. After this episode, I'm inclined to say it hasn't occurred to Michael. But Janet might have figured it out, and the Judge might have, too.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:31 PM on November 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


"I didn't want you to see how cruel I used to be. Plus, I wore a lot of French cut shirts back then. I thought it made me look classy. It's all embarrassing, but I'm different now, I promise. I'll swear on a Bible, like you humans do. I can grab one right now, it's the only book they have in the Sex Ed section."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:37 PM on November 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


showbiz_liz, what you said is what I suspect is the endgame for this show. If people know that they're doomed and still try to improve and help anyway, THAT JUST MIGHT GET YOU INTO THE GOOD PLACE.

it's times like this I'm reminded that it doesn't come on Hulu until 5 am for me to rewatch and I'm very very put out about that

I work all night Thursdays and I seriously get up at fucking 5 to watch the show.
This isn't quite as deliberate as it sounds because I am in a shitty "why am I waking up this early when I don't need to at all" body space these days, but even before that I do get up earlier on Friday mornings to watch this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:31 PM on November 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


If people know that they're doomed and still try to improve and help anyway, THAT JUST MIGHT GET YOU INTO THE GOOD PLACE.

I was kinda hoping for a more humanist message like "it's up to us to make The Good Place for each other." I suppose that could end up being the metaphorical message even if The Good Place is a real place on the show.
posted by Justinian at 5:03 PM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


I will not be satisfied with any ending short of Team Cockroach harrowing the Bad Place, leading the freed prisoners from the land of butthole spiders and penis flatteners to the actually Good Place, and destroying any entity that stands in their way, no matter how divine said entity might be.

In my headcanon, Janet isn’t God. but she will be.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:26 PM on November 9, 2018 [16 favorites]


> If this is true, my big question is whether this loophole has already occurred to anyone in the show. After this episode, I'm inclined to say it hasn't occurred to Michael. But Janet might have figured it out, and the Judge might have, too.

Well but also if this is the loophole through which they will crawl, it’s of vital importance that they don’t themselves think of it, or start believing it’s possible.

This might be one reason that it’s a bad idea to meet Doug Forcett...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:43 PM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


If only I believe in myself like Jason believed in penguins as a mythical creature

I hope you won't mind if I channel the wise man:

ITS OKAY BUCKAROO YOU TAKE YOUR SELF DOUBT AND SEND IT TO THE VOID BECAUSE LOVE IS REAL AND IF THE DEVILMEN WON'T LET YOU SEND IT TO THE VOID THATS OKAY BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN YOU THAT MUCH AND MORE
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:21 PM on November 9, 2018 [7 favorites]


OOOOO rural Canada! they're going to see Doug Forcett??
My guess as to which Canadian they're going to visit: Rick Moranis.

Please let it be Wolverine with Hugh Jackman making a surprise guest appearance

Please oh please

(yes I know it won't be and also Logan is not exactly Good Place material)

(maybe)

Wolverine
posted by tzikeh at 6:30 PM on November 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


Bad Memories... Ambien-Hamster Mishap

Just in case anyone is looking for a $5 sock name....
posted by tzikeh at 6:31 PM on November 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


And also re: a $5 sock name, the episode's title would be a very meta sock name.
posted by tzikeh at 6:34 PM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


And now from the Oh Man, How Did I Miss That Callback department, the A.V. Club notes:

"Nice mirroring in how Chidi’s choice to forego the potential experience of flying like his (mean-spirited) owl in order to help Eleanor reflects Eleanor’s early series choice to cheat her way out of cleaning-up duty so she could fly."
posted by tzikeh at 6:43 PM on November 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


The fact that Chidi's startle response is to scream "WHY" was my first belly laugh of this episode.
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:06 PM on November 9, 2018 [20 favorites]


Flashback good place food puns!

Satay Day Night Fever
Kabob Patch Kids
Luncheons and Dragons

I'm still laughing about the pet tortures being so spot on, with Tahani's insult centaur and Chidi's owl attack and Eleanor's lizard climbing her hair. That mythical penguin seemed ok tho!

Has Michael ever called anyone a dingus before?
posted by mochapickle at 11:51 PM on November 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Post-podcast follow up on the "WRONG WAY" sign behind Michael as they discuss going to Canada:

Mark Evan Jackson mentioned it, the writer went "Hmm, yes, that was there" and they moved on. Basically a "We can neither confirm nor deny that we intentionally put that sign there."
posted by damayanti at 5:03 AM on November 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


After a fairly lackluster start to the season, this episode felt like a return to form. Delightful!
posted by merriment at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Theory: they are going to see Benton Fraser.

And if they're not, someone needs to write me the fanfic where they do.
posted by nonasuch at 7:36 AM on November 10, 2018 [12 favorites]


After a fairly lackluster start to the season, this episode felt like a return to form.

Because we went back to scenes in The Neighborhood for the bulk of the episode, so it kind of literally was a return to form.

Jameela Jamil keeps telling interviewers that this is the best season they've done. I am always interested by which actors can separate themselves from the material, and which can't tell if something isn't as good as something else because *they* enjoyed *making* it.
posted by tzikeh at 9:16 AM on November 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Michael's file on Eleanor, page 4,815 of 162,342

Hello, Lost numbers! Nice to see you on a much better show.
posted by phatkitten at 10:36 AM on November 10, 2018 [31 favorites]


"You can't expect me to walk around in these flats all day like some common glue factory hobo horse"

Tahani's mirror centaur was SUCH a good joke. I loved this episode.
posted by simonw at 11:13 AM on November 10, 2018 [9 favorites]


This was a great episode. I haven't been commenting in these threads, because my comments would have mostly been negative, and that's no fun. This season has been middling, where dialog is just cliched one-liners and characters are the flattest version of themselves, especially Janet. It's been too zany and madcap for the emotional beats to breathe and land, and I've gotten serious premise fatigue. If the characters and their relationships were stronger, they could carry the premise bouncing around from here-to-there. As it's been, each episode has felt one moment away from falling apart. (Though, the recent episode written by Megan Amram was good. Feel like I need to give her credit, too.)

This episode landed for me. It felt so dang good to be back in the Neighborhood, and to have the episode's core color in a reboot we already knew of, but not about. The earlier seasons used flashbacks smartly, so it was satisfying to have the show employ that structure again, but this time in the opposite direction, going from earth to afterlife. The pace of Eleanor's emotional growth stretched the entire episode, both in how she and Chidi fell in love, and present-day Eleanor struggling to learn something new about herself. And! The return of the Bad Place crew! Finally.

And, it was so dang funny. The mirror centaur was just so fantastic.
posted by missmary6 at 1:11 PM on November 10, 2018 [6 favorites]


To be honest, I watched the first two seasons for the first time in about three really (otherwise) depressed days, just before this season started, and I went into this one presuming it would be the last. I know that's not how TV works, but I couldn't really see anywhere else for the show to go, and sending them back to their lives felt like a logical endpoint. I've really enjoyed this season (I did think the Trevor episode was ...not great), but I'm not at all sure how it can continue. It obviously will, and I'm here for it, but...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:24 PM on November 10, 2018


> I've really enjoyed this season (I did think the Trevor episode was ...not great), but I'm not at all sure how it can continue. It obviously will, and I'm here for it, but...

We haven't seen the Good Place yet. We've seen one alleged representative of the Good Place in Marie St. Claire's intro video, but that's it. There are places for this show to go.

Moreover, the main Chekov's Gun of the series has yet to go off: in the first episode, we were introduced to a "points system" that makes it brutally difficult to enter the Good Place, and we're told that the Bad Place is an unrelenting eternal nightmare wherein butthole spiders and penis flatteners count as one of the minor torments.

Moreover moreover, we've been learning over the course of three seasons that even if we agree with the utilitarian logic behind the points system, and even if we agree with the brutally high standards required to enter the Good Place, ultimately the main determining factor behind one's final point total has less to do with one's inherent goodness or badness and more to do with being lucky enough to fall into good company. Narrowly speaking, Eleanor around Chidi is a wonderful human being; Eleanor without Chidi is a wounded animal who lashes out at everyone around her while getting swallowed up by her own pain. And Chidi with Eleanor is a goddamned saint, while Chidi without Eleanor is the apotheosis of wasted potential. More broadly speaking, the points system metes out massive individual punishment for societal problems. It's a crime against humanity, the most thoroughgoing crime against humanity possible.

The reason we fear that the show is stuck is that attacking that all of that head-on means leveling direct arguments against... well, nearly every sacred cow in contemporary American culture, which is something that the show can't really do without losing its gentleness and/or getting canceled. There's a scathing Swiftian satire hiding behind the show's gentle goodheartedness. So far the show has managed to maintain its light touch, but I think we're all afraid it's going to either do something that's going to cost it its lightheartedness and fundamental humanity, or else wuss out about addressing the serious issues behind it all.

I am solidly on team "season 3 is just as good as season 2 and season 1," but everything about this show seems so delicately balanced that it requires a tremendous leap of faith (... leap into faith?) to hope that the writers can keep pulling it off.

Notice how the resolution of each new plotline on the show ("can Eleanor pull off pretending she belongs in the Good Place?", and then "can the gang escape Michael's sinister machinations?" and then "can Team Cockroach successfully evade Shawn's watching eye?" and then "can the gang petition The Powers That Be for entry into the Good Place" ... and so on and so on) involves posing a question. But the resolution never involves answering that question, not exactly, but instead involves redirecting the viewers toward a new, more significant question that lurks behind the original question. We're all afraid, though, that eventually they're going to run out of space to build new showy dialectical syntheses out of opposed theses and antitheses. The main thing that keeps me hoping is that the showrunner has explicitly said that they've got seven seasons planned. If that's true, we're not even halfway to the bottom yet.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2018 [34 favorites]


"At times like this, it's fun to remember we're legally married"
posted by some loser at 9:16 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]


It's so great to see Michael's happy, deeply touched face whenever Eleanore calls him her friend. His character interests me because he is the one that broke the mold in the Bad Place that started this whole ball rolling in the first place. I mean here's this demon (!) who's been a demon for thousands of years and he's....becoming good? Breaking even more rules? Making human friends? It's great to watch. Also funny when Eleanore says "you can't help doing what you're doing, you're a demon, it's in your nature" but he's not doing demon-y things right now. That refutes her determinism argument right there.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 1:37 AM on November 11, 2018 [11 favorites]


"At times like this, it's fun to remember we're legally married"

THAT IS FUN.

(I'm just about certain it's Doug Forcett who we're going to see next week.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:06 AM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Good job they didn't decide to give Eleanor a sloth, or they'd never have got any filming done at all.
posted by Grangousier at 1:03 PM on November 11, 2018 [23 favorites]


i actually had a dream last night where Doug Forcett's picture was on a table and Michael picked it up as if about to show it to somebody...then i woke up.
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2018


I know that's not how TV works, but I couldn't really see anywhere else for the show to go.... I'm not at all sure how it can continue.

We've all thought this after multiple episodes every season, and yet here we are. I trust Mike Schur & Co.
posted by tzikeh at 1:13 PM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


I would like to leave this timeline and live in the Schurrniverse, please and thank you.
posted by cooker girl at 1:23 PM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Eleanor aftet the first three second memory.

I was in hysterics.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2018


This is the first episode of the season that has FELT like the good place.

Also--Rufous-headed Towhee heehee you nailed it:

"But the resolution never involves answering that question, not exactly, but instead involves redirecting the viewers toward a new, more significant question that lurks behind the original question."
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:47 PM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


Has Michael ever called anyone a dingus before?

YES! He called Chidi a dingus in the S1 finale when Chidi was going on about being in The Bad Place because he used almond milk. In fact, I totally expected Michael to say "dingus" in that moment.
posted by dry white toast at 8:59 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Michael's full character arc was on display in this episode. You could see traces of the demon he used to be in the way he talked to Eleanor. I don't mean that he sounded like he was about to relapse, but he was direct and honest in a way that made you register how far he had come. I also like that it was obvious he was trying to avoid Eleanor seeing what Michael used to be, but they resolved that in a quick straightforward way where he wasn't looking for forgiveness or absolution for it.
posted by dry white toast at 9:03 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


I’ve really enjoyed all of this season. It’s brilliant. But I think this is the first time this season that I’ve started to cry. I just teared up when Michael gave his little speech before leaving the diner. It was so good.

YES! More Elidi (Cheleonor?) love!

Elenidi? Chideanor?
posted by greermahoney at 9:54 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


> Also--Rufous-headed Towhee heehee you nailed it

also rufous-headed towhee heehee’s critically-acclaimed novel Gravity’s Rainbow lived up to the hype, although maybe it had more dick jokes than were strictly necessary.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:18 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


So I can't find the answer to this. The new episodes on Hulu show up for me on the Friday after they air on NBC. I have a friend who says they have to wait a week for new episodes. What gives?
posted by cooker girl at 5:54 AM on November 12, 2018


Are they in a different region? I also get them Friday at 5am (US).

I did a quick sketch of our penguin friend, Bleek Bortels.
posted by mikepop at 6:23 AM on November 12, 2018 [11 favorites]


Nope, they're in the US, same city as me.
posted by cooker girl at 9:52 AM on November 12, 2018


Have they checked recently? I think it used to have a longer air-to-stream time.

Also, are they on the paid tier or the free?
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on November 12, 2018


... lyrics by Ferlin Husky. (His real name believe it or not.)


Today in bizarre coincidences, after I read this I was looking through my music collection sorted by genre, and I clicked on "unknown" to see what had escaped my recent efforts to tag everything, and there was "Lonely Christmas" by Ferlin Husky.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:38 PM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Jameela Jamil, Marc Evan Jackson, and Maribeth Monroe (Mindy St. Claire) are guests on the latest Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins...available in most places you get podcasts if you're into that sort of thing. (earwolf.com refuses to connect for me right now so I'm not linking.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:01 PM on November 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Where you been? Ferlin Husky sold more records than Elvis in the 50s!
posted by rhizome at 3:12 AM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


This season reminds me a bit of the final seasons of Parks & Recreation where (most of) the cast of misfits and incomptents transform into better versions of themselves (except for Jerry, who turns out to have been fine just the way he was, in spite of the abuse he got). Given how much this show borrows from The Divine Comedy I wouldn't object if this show had a similar three-act structure. I'd much rather see a series with definite entry and exit points than one that goes on forever.

Anyway, I'm really loving the "let's talk about nihilism" or "let's talk about determinism" themes of this season as the cast work out their personal and existential damage.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:36 AM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]




Also, are they on the paid tier or the free?

Ah, we might have the answer. Does this make a difference? We do the paid tier but I bet they're on the free one.
posted by cooker girl at 8:49 AM on November 13, 2018


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