I’m a little worried about The Good Place. There was a minor wobble last week, but this episode is the first time that it has felt like the show was short on ideas. This isn’t ever more obvious than in the extended bar fight sequence that finishes up the episode. Now, I’m not against a bar fight or two (I’m Irish, after all), but this isn’t Roadhouse and the whole sequence just goes on too long and without enough flair to justify its existence.
We’re in rural Canada, as promised last week, where Michael seeks guidance on living the best life from none other than Doug Forcett, the stoner whose dalliance with shrooms led to him figuring out the afterlife (or 92 per cent of it, at least) and getting his picture on every wall in the great beyond. It’s a joy to see another comedic great (Michael McKean following on from Andy Daly’s guest turn last week) popping in to say hello, although Doug turns out to be a big disappointment, living a doormat-like miserable existence of radishes, lentils, extreme guilt and utter compliance (so, Catholicism then). Just like Eleanor, Tahani, Jason and Chidi, enlightenment hasn’t helped Doug one bit. He’s so paralysed by trying to live up to impossible standards that he’s become a ‘Happiness Pump’.
While Michael and Janet (posing as reporter Michael Scoop and his photographer sister Janet Scoop, continuing Michael’s superb run of aliases) are discovering Doug’s life of recycled waste water and raw radishes (a combination that adds an unpleasant meaning to the phrase ‘the circle of life’), the others are holed up in the aforementioned bar. Eleanor is trying to work up the courage to tell Chidi that she loves him, while the jet-lagged object of her affection is discovering the joys of Jason’s version of billiards (no rules, arbitrary scoring). Their fun is interrupted by the arrival of Shaun and his crew of demons, which could have set up an entertaining face-off, instead of a slightly tedious smackdown. The good news is that we’re back into the afterlife and a showdown with the “accountants”, guardians of the points system that has us in this mess to begin with.