‘The Good Place’ 3×01/3×02 Review: What We Owe to Each Other

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HOLY FORKING SHIRT BALLS. We’re back! And with that I mean not only is the show back, but the team is back together again! It only took a one- hour premiere and some pretty crazy spirals and ups and downs for absolutely every one of our “humans,” but we’re here and ready for another season of …

Who the hell knows? This show always manages to surprise us, so let’s just internalize, from the start, that we probably have no idea where this is going and just get comfortable and enjoy the ride.

Since it takes our favorite characters a while to come together, we’re going to take a moment and examine their individual journeys as they try to re-learn lessons from two whole seasons (and considering all the reboots, a medium of around 250-300 years), in one episode.

But, just in case this episode doesn’t make it clear, let me just hammer the point once more: what these people need, what Michael and Janet need, to be better, is each other. What we need to be better is to not be isolated. That’s, at the same time, the beauty and the hardship of being human. We come into it alone, but we can’t get through life alone.

We need people. Our people. And life is a journey to find those souls, because once we do …well, everything is possible.

Sappy moment over, let’s get into what these characters go through in “Everything is Bonzer!”

ELEANOR

This episode we get an approximation of the best version of Eleanor. I mean, she’s not exactly there yet, but she’s letting her best instincts guide her, and she’s not being selfish as a rule, and as we all know, that’s Eleanor’s biggest thing.

It seems sometimes the secret is to ask for help.

Of course, we all know that it can’t last, because the Eleanor we’ve known for two seasons – and remember, those amount to about 300 years – is in love with Chidi. She always ends up in love with Chidi. Why would this time be different?

And, considering Simone, this time, that’s going to cause trouble. Especially because, well, Chidi is still Chidi, even if Eleanor’s presence does seem to help him.

Color me not excited. Love triangles suck hairy balls. Do something different, The Good Place. You always seem to. Don’t let this be the exception.

CHIDI

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything is Bronzer! Pt. 1” Episode 301 — Pictured: William Jackson Harper as Chidi — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

I’m not sure what it is about Eleanor that brings the best in Chidi, but that’s always been the case. Perhaps, it is as Michael said, perhaps the secret is to help someone else. I would, however, like to think that it’s more personal than that. Some people just bring out the best in you, even if they’re not, themselves, at their best, and as strange as it sounds, that’s what Eleanor is for Chidi.

“It’s not impressive to guess that I’m scared, I’m scared of everything,” he tells her at one point in the episode, and the thing is, Eleanor gets him, she gets him right away. It would seem to us, sometimes, that Chidi is not a complicated man, but Simone doesn’t truly get him, and neither do his friends.

Eleanor does, and she helps him get over himself enough to go after what he wants. It’d be beautiful to see, if we didn’t know this is going to blow up in their faces at some point in the season.

JASON

Did Jason get deep or what?

I mean, at this point, where else could they go with Jason if they wanted to keep him interesting? And yet, at the same time, wow. His whole spiel about realizing there might be more to life actually kinda touched me, in a completely Jason way.

And I think that’s the best thing about the journeys we saw this episode. Everyone grew, but everyone did so in ways that didn’t seem out of character. When we get growth we want growth we can believe in, growth that feels real, and that episode managed that and then some.

So let me just say again – bro, JASON GOT DEEP. Finally.

TAHANI

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything is Bronzer! Pt. 2” Episode 302 — Pictured: Jameela Jamil as Tahani — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Tahani goes through the journey I think we all wanted for her, and then, of course, goes back to being Tahani, because the journey of shedding your need for external validation is not an easy one, but just the fact that she can accurately identify and express what it is that made her into the person that would deserve the Bad Place is a step in the right direction.

What she needs now is, in a way, what Eleanor also needed, to learn to put someone else before Tahani. That’s the first step towards maybe looking at the world and realizing there’s so much good that can be done by actually, you know, caring about what happens to others.

One thing I’m certain of, though, is that Tahani is absolutely in the best place to earn that lesson. As I said in my intro, what she needs – what they all need, is each other. Now it’s time to learn.

MICHAEL

I recently re-watched the entire series, and God, it’s like this is not even the same Michael we met in Season 1. You want to talk journeys? While everyone is focusing on Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason, the person who’s grown the most is, without a doubt. Michael.

He’s risked everything, and he keeps doing it. Why? Because he cares. He absolutely cares about these humans. He found a new crew, and they didn’t help him re-discover something, no, they basically taught him what being human was like. They showed him that absolutely everyone can be better.

Even a demon.

And hey, isn’t that a comforting thought?

JANET

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything is Bronzer! Pt. 2” Episode 302 — Pictured: (l-r) Ted Danson as Michael, D’Arcy Carden as Janet — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

We got precious little of Janet this episode, except for the reminders that yes, she’s still into Jason, and apparently, she’s evolved to the point that she – a supposedly emotionless robot – is starting to care, not just about one thing, or one person, but many, many things.

Though, in a way, we already knew that. Janet cares about these four humans. She might even love them. It’s just that she doesn’t know what that is, or how it feels like. But sometimes, you don’t need to understand to feel.

God, I just gave myself feels. I need a second.

Other things to note:

  • Wherever you go
    Whatever you do
    I will be right here waiting for you
  • God, that actually DOES sound creepy. Now I can’t never listen to that song again.
  • Thanks for nothing, Mike Schur.
  • ADAM SCOTT! Oh, boy, this is going to be bad. I can’t ever see you as anything other than Ben from Parks and Rec.

The Good Place airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC. It aired on a special hour tonight.

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