The Good Place, one of the underrated gems from last season, is back for season two. At the end of the first season, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) realized that she was in the Bad Place the entire time! “The Good Place” as she knew it was all a charade and once she figured that out, architect Michael (Ted Danson) wiped her memory, as well as the memories of Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu/Jason (Manny Jacinto). But before he could do that, Eleanor cheated the system by planting a note inside A.I. Janet’s (D’Arcy Carden) mouth.
Now, it’s time to see if “The Good Place” 2.0 can survive or if Eleanor can piece things back together and learn the truth. Buckle up, because creator Michael Schur has an exciting second season in store for us, beginning with Chapters 14 and 15, “Everything Is Great!”
“Doomed to Fail”
The season starts off right after a “previously on” bit that reminds us where we last left off. In “The Good Place” 2.0, Eleanor’s soul mate is hot dude Chris (Luke Guldan). After the title, we find Michael in his office, talking to his boss, Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson). “Project confidence, Mikey.”
Michael tells Shawn that they are keeping a bunch of things all four hated in Version 1, plus new stuff, like having all the coffee in those little pods. He tells Shawn to trust him, but Shawn thinks the whole idea is stupid and “doomed to fail.” He hangs up on Michael.
All the other residents of the neighborhood are still a little confused about how 2.0 will work, so Michael catches them up to speed during a new orientation. The plan is to torture the four of them by giving them the opposite of a perfect life and they aren’t paired as soul mates. The real Eleanor (Tiya Sicar) also wasn’t even the real Eleanor. This time, she’s playing a character called “Denise.”
The first big project is getting Eleanor drunk during the welcoming party to start putting their torture plans in motion. They have to get Eleanor to think she’s in danger of being found out. She will still think she’s in The Good Place when she belongs in the Bad Place. (But she’s really in the Bad Place anyway!) Michael gives everyone a pep talk, telling them all that they are going to work together to find a new way to torture humans.
“People Are Like Nature’s Apps”
Eleanor is in her new home and can’t figure out what the note in Janet’s mouth means. She has to find “Chidi” … whatever a “Chidi” is. She goes out to find Chidi and bumps into some familiar residents. Is there a phone book she can use to find Chidi? Of course not, because there are no phones in the afterlife.
She refuses pizza (who refuses pizza?) so she can go off and do more exploring. She bumps into Jason, who is now back to pretending to be a silent monk and gives her a weird bracelet. At first, Eleanor mistakes him for Chidi, but then Michael jumps in. He starts planting the seeds in her mind that the truth about her terrible life will come out during the party tonight. She was the top-point-getter and she’ll have to wear a sash that reads “Best Person”!
Once they arrive at the dinner, Chris tells her about all the great things he’s done. He runs off to go to the gym (again). Everyone she runs into at the party tries to get her drunk, but she refuses to drink anything. They begin suspecting that something was off. She finally starts to drink – but then overhears someone being called Chidi. “Ha! I knew you weren’t a soup!”
“I Would Never Place You In a Painful Situation.”
Now it’s time to re-start Chidi’s afterlife with the terrible news that all of his favorite philosophers are in The Bad Place. Michael strokes his ego, by telling him that he’s better than all of them. Outside, Michael tells him that he has two soul mates. This is the first way to torture Chidi – he has to chose his soul mates! As we learned in season one, Chidi hates making decisions because he can’t commit to anything.
To decide, Chidi takes each of his potential soul mates on a date. First up is Angelique (Paulina Bugembe). They visit Denise’s pizza place and they learn that they love the same things. Next up is Pevita, who hasn’t actually been anywhere. Angelique would be perfect, but Michael interrupts them just before he is about to make his decision! It turns out that Angelique is supposed to go with another guy and Pevita is Chidi’s soul mate. Poor Chidi, who doesn’t even fight back.
At the party, Denise runs into Chidi. Denise offers a bizarre story, but Angelique shows up and it looks like another plot is in motion. Chidi will try to get Angelique back, even though the “rules” say they can’t be together. At that moment, Eleanor walks up to him.
Eleanor tells Chidi they need to talk. She catches him up to date and shows him the note. It’s evidence that something odd is happening. She notices that everything is off. But Chidi didn’t leave behind any “anchor” from The Good Place 1.0, so he has no idea what she’s talking about.
“A Few Aspects of My Day Have Been Sub-Optimal.”
It’s Tahani’s turn. She’s not surprised at all to learn that she’s in the Good Place. Her new soul made is Thomas, a doctor with the International Medical Alliance. Tahani raised money for his group, so they should be perfect together… until Tehani sees that Thomas is short. After a bungled introduction, Tehani is taken to a tiny home, which is far different from the extravagant home she got in The Good Place 1.0. Thomas even thinks it’s too big.
Next, she learns that Thomas is a big fan of her sister. He also doesn’t plan on dressing up for the party. Since they’re supposed to be soul mates, she agrees to show up in casual clothes. It’s clear that Tahani’s torture is being stuck with a soul mate who is nothing like her. Then Michael shows up, and she lists all of the things she doesn’t like. Michael tells her that the “system is never wrong.” But he tells her that he can still get her anything she wants. However, she refuses the changes. He makes her feel guilty for thinking that life isn’t great.
Tahani then sees Eleanor run off to talk to Chidi. She then drinks all of the shots Eleanor poured after a garbage man tells her they are wearing the same pants.
So it turns out that Tahani got drunk at the party instead! She interrupts Eleanor during her big speech. Michael tries to get Eleanor to knock her off the stage. But Tahani keeps going on, and they start arguing. Tahani falls backwards, knocking over a table and lighting the shades on fire. Michael is delighted. “I got her off the stage!” Eleanor says.
“What the Fork Is Happening?”
It’s Jason’s turn to hear about The Good Place. Michael once again tells him that he’s a Buddhist monk who took a vow of silence. Jason agrees to remain silent and is introduced to his soul mate – Ken Luang (Hayden Szeto), another monk who won’t say a word. They are practically identical people.
Once they go out to see the world, Jason realizes that he can’t have too much fun. So he pranks Ken by unscrewing his bike wheel. Then, Eleanor shows up and asks him if he’s Chidi. Jason doesn’t say a word – he just hands her the gear. (Yes, it turns out that the mystical object was just a bike gear.) Michael then jumps in, as we saw before. Jason returns to the bike and rides off without Ken. Even though Ken’s bike is without a wheel, he still gets home before Jason.
At the party, Michael introduces Jason to Janet. He orders her to get them yak’s milk. Jason sees Eleanor making her drinks and spits out his milk.
Then we see the events from before through Jason’s eyes. He sneaks out after Tehani already fell over. She’s crying over finding shrimp in her cargo pants. “What the fork is happening?” Michael wonders.
“You Don’t Keep a Ferrari in the Garage”
After speeding through everything we’ve seen in the last 30 minutes, we catch up to the party from Michael’s perspective. Denise pulls Michael over to the side and complains about getting a bit part in The Good Place 2.0. Michael tries to tell her that she has a great part.
Denise tries to make her case, insisting that she was the one part of The Good Place 1.0 that worked well. She was so good at torturing Chidi, but now that role is up to Angelique. She’s a Ferrari and you don’t keep a Ferrari in the garage. Michael tells her that there’s a great character arc for Denise in about 80 years or so (we should all hope that this show lasts that long). This involves Chidi accidentally killing her cat. She really wants some special part for her character, and convinces Michael to let her have a limp (even though the world is supposed to be perfect).
Michael checks in with others, who are concerned about Eleanor not drinking. Then, we fast-forward through Tehani lighting the room on fire. Chidi pulls Eleanor to the side during the chaos.
Chidi realizes that the page the not was written on was called What We Owe To Each Other, which he somehow knows! He used to teach the book in his real life, but this seems to be a hint that they know each other from some place. “That definitely sounded like a pick-up line and I’m definitely not not interested, but we need to figure this out first,” Eleanor says.
Later, Michael has a meeting with the other demons and tells them everything that went wrong. They couldn’t build a “chaos sequence” out of Tehani’s speech. Michael thinks they can solve this crisis, but Eleanor, Chidi and Jason are all gone. It turns out that all the demons are idiots who are still obsessed with traditional torture. He orders them all to find the four humans.
At Eleanor’s home, Eleanor tells Chidi that she doesn’t belong here. This leads Chidi to think that maybe the reason why they know each other is because he doesn’t belong there either. They have no idea what to do about all this. “But we better figure it out soon, or we’re all doomed!”
“This Guy Can’t Hold a Candle to Pillboy!”
Outside, Jason finds Janet. He comes clean to her, telling her all about his life on earth. He wants to go to Janet’s home because he feels lonely. But he can’t because she lives in a boundless void. Instead she shows him to a different place. They hug because they are now friends. (Woah… is Jason going to want to marry Janet again?)
Back at Eleanor’s, Michael interrupts her and Chidi. He’s going door to door to apologize for what happened at the party. He offers to escort Chidi back home, but Tehani shows up to return the sash. Eleanor says she deserves to keep the sash, but Tehani refuses because of all the terrible things she did. Thomas then shows up, along with Pevita. Then Janet shows up with Jason because he wants to speak with Eleanor about something.
Ken then arrives and Michael tells Jason to go off with him. But Jason has had enough. He starts talking much earlier than Michael planned. Ken is a terrible match for Jason, since he’s nothing like his real friend, Pillboy of Jacksonville. And then Chris shows up… before he promptly “goes to the gym.”
Eleanor then lets the cat out of the bag. She realizes that Michael is “forking” them. She then takes out her note, which impresses Michael a great deal. This surprisingly makes him relieved because he knows where he screwed up. Eleanor shoves the piece of paper in her mouth, but this won’t save them. Michael snaps his fingers and everything goes white.
“Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?” – The Monkees
Michael decides to go with this whole Good Place torture play again, even though it hasn’t worked. During the orientation, he’s asked if he told Shawn about The Good Place 2.0 not working. He pretends that he did. Denise raises her hand to ask another question, but is ignored.
In his office, Shawn calls Michael. He lies about the “Chaos Sequence” working. Shawn wishes him good luck and tells him there will be no attempt number three. The episode ends with Michael telling Eleanor to come into his office… again.
That was a great season premiere. It’s the first new episode of the show we’ve seen since January and the wait was worth it. We only have to wait until next Thursday to see the next episode thankfully.