Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Good Place 1.12-1.13: “Mindy St. Clair” and “Michael’s Gambit”

“We can’t let Chidi and Tahani go to the Bad Place, they’re our friends. We literally owe it to them.”
- Eleanor

It’s the finale, folks. We’ve finally made it! And so, it appears have Eleanor, Jason and Janet. Or at least they’ve shown up in a desert where Mindy St. Clair lives. Once they find her (gardening naked), they learn that she was kind of a terrible person most of her life but did one great thing before she died so the Good Place and the Bad Place compromised and put her in a neighborhood of one. She and Eleanor chat about what happened to Mindy and we see Eleanor kind of flashing back to the day she died and being kind of retched to her co-workers. I have to admit I don’t particularly like Mindy. She tries to make Eleanor forget about Chidi and her other friends in the Good Place (she even brought photos and an ethics book Chidi gave her). Jason is pretty much just focused on trying to find a way to have sex with Janet.

Elsewhere, Michael, other Eleanor, Chidi and Tahani are trying to convince the judge to let Eleanor stay. Which is all well and good except every time someone gets emotional, the judge closes up in a cocoon. Very weird, indeed. Next up, they review Eleanor’s memories from when she was alive. Yes, she was a pretty horrible person back then but as we’ve seen, she’s changed and become somewhat better. She’s by no means perfect but none of the people in the Good Place really are. They’ve all got their faults and flaws. But the judge ultimately decides that both Eleanor and Jason belong in the Bad Place and he uses Bad Janet to reach Good Janet and deliver a message: return to the neighborhood so they can be sent off to the Bad Place, or Chidi and Tahani will be sent in their stead!

It takes Eleanor telling Jason about her crappy parents and how she used their bad parenting as an excuse to be a crappy person all her life to convince him to go back. They arrive just after the timer has ended, though. The judge decides that our group of four will decide which two get to go to the Bad Place. Michael is kind of freaking out about everything falling apart (we see him flash back to when he was told he got to design his first neighborhood on his own) so he goes off and hides in Eleanor’s room. We also see him coming up with a “Bold New Plan” for the Good Place (which is also in quotes hmm). After some deliberation (including Chidi being vexed by who he actually has feelings for), Eleanor and Jason agree to go to the Bad Place … until the other Eleanor comes in and says she’s taking one of the spots. Her rationale is that she’s already been there and she recognizes that Chidi doesn’t love her so this will never really be her Good Place. Now that just leaves them with the decision of which other person is taking the second spot.

This all devolves into a giant argument about who is going to go to the Bad Place until Eleanor comes to a very strange revelation that I’m still not sure how she figured out. All the fighting she says is like torture and so they aren’t going to take anyone to the Bad Place because they are already in it. Michael then turns into kind of a creeper. Seriously, what the hell? Hell, indeed. There is still a Good Place but Michael isn’t an architect for it. He’s one for the Bad Place. We see him pitching the idea to purposely make Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason torture each other. He bets he can do it for 1,000 years, although the judge says it will only work for 6 months. As we’ve seen it only worked for a few months at most. The other Eleanor was actually just another being like Michael. Everyone but Janet in the neighborhood actually was. And Jason and Janet’s feelings were real.

Michael decides to try again and erase all of their memories and spread them out because as Eleanor points out, they figured it out because they were all together and worked as team. So, Michael is going to give them different soul mates and spread them out. Eleanor tries to rouse the gang into action but they are all sitting there dumbfounded. We did learn that Chidi pushed everyone he cared about away with his constant indecision. And Tahani’s charity wasn’t very charitable in the end. She just wanted to stick it to her family. See, I knew they all had faults and flaws. In the end, Eleanor writes a note to herself and puts it in Janet’s mouth. Just as Eleanor is telling Michael to fork himself, he snaps his fingers and resets everything and everyone. We get a rehash of her finding out she’s dead and going through orientation. She meets her hot new soul mate but before she can admit she’s not supposed to be there, he takes off for the gym and Janet shows up with the note (which reads “Eleanor, find Chidi”). Janet disappears before Eleanor can ask what (or the proper question of who) is “Chidi”.

Okay, I was honestly expecting the gang to head to the Medium Place together to escape Michael’s dastardly plan but this was an interesting way to end the season, I’ll admit. I’m not sure I like where it’s going. It feels almost like our gang has lost their character growth and any season 2 will just be a rehash of what’s already been done. I don’t want to retread old ground. I want to see our quartet find each other, remember what happened and live and hang out together. And maybe find a way to take Michael down.

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