Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for Season 3 Episode 4 of ‘The Good Place.’
Welcome to Season 3, Episode 4 of The Good Place. The humans have overheard everything! How will they react to the Truth? Well, they stop caring. I mean, what would you do if you were irrevocably condemned to the Bad Place?
We start out in the wine cellar. Michael and Janet are caught and there’s no way they can avoid the humans any longer. Michael and Janet come clean, confessing to meddling in the humans’ lives and telling them about their lives in the afterlife. This essentially condemns the humans to the Bad Place; every Good act the humans make will be tainted with bad intent since they know about the point system. After the humans learn they died, they want to know how Michael managed to reincarnate them without any time passing. Michael explains the concept of ‘Jeremy Bearimy,’ the loop in which time moves in the afterlife which happens to look like the name ‘Jeremy Bearimy’ in cursive (Tuesdays and July occur on the ‘i”s dot). This is why the humans spent roughly 300 years in the fake Good Place while no time passed on earth.
I think this concept will come back again later on in the season. I’m pretty sure, if the humans die by the finale, Michael and Janet will use the concept of ‘Jeremy Bearimy’ to reverse the show’s timeline and try to get the humans into the Good Place through some elaborate scheme. The humans take their eternal damnation poorly. Chidi is broken and Eleanor wants to revert back to her pre-Good self because it doesn’t matter if either of them is good anymore. Contrarily, Tahani believes she can still get herself into the Good Place if she stops using her benevolence as a way to be famous and she takes Jason, who’s as clueless as ever, with her.
Tahani and Jason take to the streets to give money to those in need (a.k.a random strangers). Jason’s really happy they did this since there were so many times he could have used the money. So, Tahani decides to give Jason her entire fortune to help him (even if her bank tries to stop her).
Eleanor goes to a bar, where she tries to drink her problems away. After she goes on a drunken tirade about why she only cares about herself, she finds a wallet under her bar stool. Her natural instincts tell her to take the cash inside, but for some reason, she can’t. As much as Eleanor wants to revert back to her old, selfish self, I don’t think she’ll ever stop listening to the little voice in her head telling her to be a good person.
Eleanor decides to find the wallet’s owner to return it. When she finds the owner, he’s relieved to have his wallet back, which contains a precious piece of his daughter’s artwork. Eleanor realizes that maybe she shouldn’t live life completely for herself. Committing small acts of kindness doesn’t actually harm you, it seems.
Chidi, on the other hand, has a full breakdown. He decides that nothing matters anymore. He makes M&M and Peeps Chili during his philosophy lecture while his students watch, disgusted.
This probably the funniest part of the episode since we all Know when our professors are ‘going through something’ (it’s when they make horrible chilli and passive aggressive comments about their personal lives while not telling us what’s on the final).
In an effort to teach his students something, Chidi tells them about Western Philosophy’s three main theories on how to live an ethical life:
Virtue Ethics, which is what Tahani was trying to live by when she wanted to be generous; Consequentialism, which what Tahani and Jason were trying to do when they gave out free money to make a difference in strangers’ lives; and Deontology, which is the strict code of ethics that drove Eleanor to return the wallet. I like how this episode clearly demonstrated these theories before Chidi actually explained what they were. It made the episode feel tied together and made the character’s actions more understandable in hindsight.
However, Chidi hasn’t followed any of those systems; rather, he’s followed nihilism, the belief that nothing matters so do whatever. Eleanor finds Chidi and talks him down from his nihilistic meltdown. Then, they find Michael and Janet.
As Eleanor tells them that group has accepted their fate, Jason bursts in and delivers some big news. He and Tahani just got married so Tahani could transfer all her money to him. This isn’t like the previous season, in which Tahani and Jason’s romance spelt disaster for the group, it’s purely platonic. But, this move had me wondering the whereabouts of Tahani’s actual fiance, Larry (the lesser known Hemsworth brother with self-esteem issues). How’s he going to react when he learns about this (I’ll bet Eleanor’s already recording the reaction)?
It turns out, the team has one move left: they can try to be good. They decide that even if they aren’t getting into the Good Place, their actions can still positively benefit others and help them get into the Good Place.
I think this episode has a wonderful message about nihilism. It’s easy to stop caring about your actions because we’re all going to die and nothing matters in the long run. But, you need to recognize that your actions can have a positive impact on others. To truly live an ethical life, you need to be compassionate. Your actions have the power to do good, even if we’re all going to die someday.
In my opinion, this episode was one of the funniest episodes the season. We are about a third of the way in and I’m interested to see what happens in the future episodes. How will each character react to something that’s slightly against their true nature? Will this be Tahani’s time to shine since she has done the most “charitable work” out of the four humans?
I still believe there’s a chance for these characters to get to the Good Place. However, I still think there is a long way to go. I really hope this show doesn’t lose momentum in the coming episodes because there’s still so much more room for character development. I’m really interested in seeing Jason and Janet’s relationship develop since they were previously together in the previous seasons.
I can’t wait to see how everything plays out. The next episode, “The Ballad of Donkey Doug,” airs Oct. 25 on NBC at 7/8c.