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The Good Place Recap: Welcome to the (Brand New) Neighborhood

The Good Place Season 3 Episode 12 Michael

Need to catch up? Check out our previous Good Place recap here.

Michael went back to the Good Place drawing board this week — and did the Jason-Janet-Tahani love triangle just get a fourth (very dumb) side?

Michael shoves Janet and the four humans into the IHOP, aka the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes — a surreal environment that’s a little like floating in a blue lava lamp — where he’s confronted by a furious Judge Gen. (She does like Chidi in that mailman outfit, though.) Michael presents his case that life is so complicated these days, it’s impossible to be good enough to get into the Good Place. The Judge just thinks humans needs to start making better choices — but after she zaps down to Earth for a test run, she sees how rough it is down there: “Earth is a mess, y’all!… Also, I guess I’m black? And they do not like black ladies down there.”

The Good Place Season 3 Episode 12 Eleanor ChidiShe zaps them into a boardroom to negotiate with Bad Place boss Shawn, who still thinks humanity is irredeemably terrible: “Limp Bizkit. Slavery. The prosecution rests.” But Michael insists that these four humans got demonstrably better when given a second chance, and Chidi gets up to throw in his two cents… and promptly falls through an interdimensional portal which shrinks him into a tiny flying insect. (They’re still in the IHOP, you see.) When he returns, he’s badly shaken: “I just saw a trillion different realities folding onto each other like thin sheets of metal forming a single blade.” That’s just the Time-Knife, Michael casually replies: “We’ve all seen it.”

Chidi manages to stammer out that their ethical progress in Michael’s neighborhood was easy because they didn’t have to deal with the harsh realities of the real world. So Judge Gen brokers a deal: They’ll form a new fake Good Place neighborhood, bring in new humans, and give them real-world challenges to see if they can improve. (They borrow Mindy St. Claire’s Medium Place backyard to house it.) Michael is gung-ho at first, with Janet helping him build a new neighborhood from scratch and birthing a series of new residents. But he gets rattled when Shawn calls to taunt him — and to show that he’s built a “Michael suit” that the Bad Place demons will wear while they torture Eleanor and the humans, if he fails, just to twist the knife. He’s so rattled, in fact, that when the first new human arrives, he collapses in panic… and it’s up to Eleanor to pick up the pieces.

The Good Place Season 3 Episode 12 DerekOh, and Jason confesses to Janet that he’s starting to “catch feelings” for her again, and they agree to go out on a date. But at Mindy’s place, they run into Janet’s ex Derek, who’s newly sophisticated, wearing a tux and sipping Martinis. (He’s gotten progressively smarter after half a million reboots — but he’s still kind of a moron.) Janet reassures Jason that Derek doesn’t mean anything to her anymore… but Derek does offer her some help in birthing all the new Good Place residents. Is Jason and Janet’s perfect romance doomed? And how is next week the season finale already???

The Good Jokes:

* Michael: “If you eat anything in this IHOP, you will literally explode.” Jason: “I know, it’s IHOP.”

* Jason, to Janet: “If I don’t double-die in this IHOP, and if the judge lady doesn’t turn you into a marble, do you wanna try being boyfriend-girlfriend?”

* Jason pausing mid-rambling anecdote to note that “possession of a non-fried vegetable is a felony in Jacksonville.”

* Eleanor underlining Michael’s point about unintended consequences: “There’s this chicken sandwich that, if you eat it, it means you hate gay people. And it’s delicious!”

* Shawn, after being summoned from the Bad Place: “I was just in the middle of torturing William Shakespeare by describing the plot to the Entourage movie.”

* Janet explaining Derek to Jason: “I made him, so he’s more like my son. Although I did make him because I was jealous of you and Tahani, so he’s kind of my rebound booty call.”

* Derek’s goofy Martini shenanigans: blowing bubbles in it, drinking a glass full of olives, and then just a glass with a lemon in it.

* Judge Gen stipulating that the new humans have to be no worse than the original four: “no serial killers, no dictators, no one who managed a boy band.”

Got thoughts on tonight’s Good Place? Drop ’em in a comment below.