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‘The Brainy Bunch’ – The Good Place season 3 episode 2 review

Trevor gets to work splitting up the group, but Janet and Michael are on hand to intervene

SPOILER ALERT!
Serial

The second episode of this third season of The Good Place doesn’t really advance the plot much. At least, not until the final few moments. Instead, it sets about establishing the status quo of this new iteration, spending time hanging out with our unheroic heroes who are quickly falling into their old roles and relationships. The added spanner in these works is Trevor, who has somehow become more diabolical by being much nicer than he ever was in the Bad Place. This Trevor hugs for too long, makes sweatshirts for his friends, sends them incessant “dank” memes and takes them drinking to the world’s worst (best?) themed restaurant.

Are those jalapeno poppers? No wonder Jason looks so happy

To avoid being spotted by the group, Michael is skulking about in a disguise that is somewhere between Inspector Gadget and bad Serge Gainsbourg (or Dick Tracy, as Trevor points out) trying to stop Trevor from tearing the group apart. We’ve all had that off-puttingly over-eager new buddy (never again will I get involved in a WhatsApp group with my neighbours), but Trevor turns it into an artform. I don’t wish to offend Adam Scott, who seems like an incredibly nice chap (listen to his podcast R U Talkin R.E.M. Re: Me? if you’re in any way interested in R.E.M. or what Adam Scott was doing in the ‘80s and ‘90s), but I’ve always found him more effective in roles that play up to his offbeat creepiness (Step Brothers, Big Little Lies) than the nice guy ones, so it’s a joy to have him back as Trevor.

Trevor, the face of pure evil

A powerless Janet ends up as a waitress at the aforementioned world’s worst themed restaurant (Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet) in order to disrupt Trevor’s plans, which include crippling Chidi with a crisis of conscience about hanging out with the subjects of his study, sending Eleanor running for the hills with his offensive niceness and getting Tahani and Jason to hook up so that the shame will force Tahani to leave. Solid enough plan, except Trevor underestimates these lovable losers when he dismissed Michael’s warning that anytime Chidi helps Eleanor, the whole group gets better.

It really is a bit more Inspector Gadget than Dick Tracy

Eventually, Judge Gen catches up with Michael, Janet and Trevor and drags them all back to face the music. Trevor gets abruptly cast into the void, while Janets powers return, bringing with them all the things she tried (and failed) to summon on earth. Michael’s kindness to the doorman pays off in spades as he tosses them the key and Michael and Janet escape, stuck in our world (still not convinced it’s really our world) with the others. This isn’t The Good Place‘s strongest episode to date, but there’s nothing in the past three seasons that deserves a ‘worst’ tag, so let’s just say that it’s not the best but it’s still The Good Place so everything is still bonzer.

The Punderworld

“It’s so nice to hear someone say ‘Eleanor, you’re the reason this is all happening’ who isn’t a judge in small claims court.”

If you purchase the manifest destiny package at the Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet, you can have anyone you want forcibly removed from their table.

Also, the best representation of Montana that the restaurant can think of is Dana Carvey’s Church Lady from Saturday Night Live.

Brexit was caused by Michael interfering with events on earth, as was the success of The Greatest Showman.

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