Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Good Place 1.07: “The Eternal Shriek:

“You just killed Janet. We have to flee your crime scene. Run!”
- Eleanor

Talk about depressing. This week’s episode opens with Michael going on about all the things he did that he thinks caused all the problems in the neighborhood. So he’s going to retire. Tahani thinks she’ll throw a party for him to honor him but it’s going to be tough to celebrate his retirement when he describes just how horrendous his retirement would be. So while Tahani changes the gathering to a more somber affair, Eleanor tries to convince Chidi to help her come up with a plan to keep Michael from leaving. It turns out Janet operates the only exit strategy (a train). So Eleanor thinks it is a great idea to kill Janet so they can save Michael from a horrible fate while also keeping Eleanor’s secret.

We finally get some flashback for Chidi this week and he’s kind of super annoying. He lies to a fellow professor about liking the guys’ garish boots and then spends two days lamenting the fact he lied to his girlfriend. She’s just annoyed he keeps bringing it up and suggests that if Chidi is so upset by the whole thing, he should just come clean. Too bad when he tries to do this, his colleague gifts him an identical pair of boots. Something tells me this isn’t going to end well for our ethics obsessed friend. It apparently takes Chidi three years and the near death of his colleague for him to come clean. He doesn’t even tell the guy when he’s going in for emergency surgery. Chidi waits until he’s on the mend. He seems super relieved but I kind of can’t believe he held that in for so long. I know he’s supposed to be the one that is teaching Eleanor how to be a better person but no one is 100% ethical all the time. We are all shades of grey and that’s the good thing about people. It would be way too boring if everyone was always 100% ethical and conscientious all the time.

The party ends up being super awkward as Tahani tries to give a speech about how much Michael meant to everyone. It just ends up making him more miserable and he goes on a bit of a rant about all the human things he hasn’t gotten the chance to do yet: highlights include getting his hair wet, pulling a hamstring and eating saltines. Well, Tahani helps him out with the last one (his verdict: too dry and salty) before he decides he’s just going to leave the party. Eleanor drags Chidi off with Janet to find the button that turns off (read: kills) Janet. It’s on the beach which is an odd place for it to be but whatever. There’s just a giant pole with a button on top of it and hitting said button will kill Janet. But there’s a failsafe: whenever anyone gets close to it, Janet bursts into begging for her life. It’s pretty convincing and even makes Eleanor back off. Of course, Jason shows up and in his idiot want just wants to press the button. Chidi goes to stop him (by tackling him) and accidentally hits the button. Janet keels over face first into the sand and then a message starts playing in the sky of Janet saying she’s been murdered.

Chidi is not handling the guilt of what he’s done well at all. In fact, after Michael kicks everyone out so he can reset Janet (she pops up out of a casket and asks him for his 4-digit pin), Chidi decides he’s going to confess to what he did because he just can’t take the weight of keeping the secret for all eternity. Eleanor points out that she once lied about having a terminal illness to meet a celebrity. Not her best moment, I’m sure. Things take a decidedly interesting turn as Michael addresses the gathered members of the neighborhood to try and get any information on Janet’s murder. I honestly wasn’t expecting Eleanor to stand up and admit that she thinks she’s the problem and that she doesn’t belong there but that’s exactly what she did at the end of the episode. She just stood up and confessed the truth about herself, much to Chidi’s amazement. After all, he was totally ready to admit that he killed Janet. I suspect that’s going to also come back to bite them.

We all knew it had to come out at some point, I just thought it would be a little bit later in the season. I’m glad it’s out in the open now so we can start to really figure out what is going on in the neighborhood. Will Jason also come clean about not being in the right place? And how will that make Tahani feel? This turn of events really opens up an interesting avenue for really starting to explore these characters in more depth. I can’t wait to see how Michael handles Eleanor’s “betrayal” as I suspect it won’t be a simple matter of kicking her out to the “Bad Place”. After all, as the architect, he’s going to want to know how he screwed up because bringing her to the Good Place was definitely on him. I’m still thinking that perhaps everyone in town has some part of them that isn’t so good and that none of them are supposed to be there but that inadvertently Michael saw they needed a place and brought them all together. I won’t say that this is the best comedy I’ve ever seen (Kristen Bell’s performance still makes me miss Veronica Mars with a passion) but it does have its interesting points and I like that we are going to get a conclusion by the end of episode 13. I wish more shows were able to structure their seasons like a book with a defined beginning, middle and end point to the story each season. It would really provide for some tight storytelling.

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