I’ll admit to being a tiny bit concerned over the last three episodes. Individually, they were all entertaining and had enough laugh-out-loud moments to keep me satisfied, but there was an unshakeable feeling of stunted momentum, as if the show couldn’t quite figure out how to make the most of its latest reset. But that’s fine, The Good Place has so many wonderful ideas that some of them are bound to be a little less wonderful and some premises might not quite reach their potential. Michael Schur and his incredible writing staff (regular MVP Meghan Amram manning the controls here) have placed themselves in a genius position whereby anytime something stops working or runs out of steam, they can just reset again and come up with something new.
There’s a reset here after the last episode, where Tahani, Eleanor, Chidi and Jason discovered Michael and Janet in the wine cellar with an open portal to the afterlife. My initial thought was “Great! This will liven things up” without realising the gravity of the situation. If our heroes discover Michael and Janet’s real identities, the jig is truly up and they’re condemned to hell. The only way the plan works Is if they don’t know why they’re being better people. As soon as there’s a reward involved, it’s impossible to get into the real Good Place. Hence why Michael tries so hard (and so badly) to convince them that he’s an FBI agent called Rick Justice (Michael comes up with the best worst fake names) with an assistant called Lisa “Frenchy/Double Nickname/Janet” Fuqua and they’re there to protect them from interdimensional ghouls.
Of course, he ends up telling the truth and I have to say, if Meghan Amram doesn’t walk away with an Emmy (watch her actual quest for an Emmy that nearly won her an Emmy here) for this episode then life is as pointless as Chidi ends up believing. Clued into the fact that no matter what they do in life, they’re all going to hell, each of the quartet has very different reactions. Eleanor goes off to drink and continue on her path of not caring about anyone or anything, only to discover that she does care and goes above and beyond to help return a wallet to its wonderfully sweet owner (I swear I had big soppy tears running down my big soppy face when the guy takes out the picture his daughter drew for him). Tahani and Jason go around giving away all her money to needy people on the street and get married so that she can give half of her fortune to Jason.
Chidi, however, takes it the hardest. His life has been all about searching for meaning and exploring the ethical ramifications of every tiny thing, so finding out that nothing means anything and he’s going to hell no matter what brings him to the edge of a precipice. A precipice filled with canned chili, marshmallows and M&Ms, a precipice wearing a t-shirt that says “Who, What, When, Where… Wine”. That it’s Eleanor who brings him back from the brink – Eleanor who finally figured out the importance of doing the right thing all by herself, Eleanor who figured out it’s not about the consequences – is just perfect.
I’m fond of declaring things “the best ever”. It’s one of my most un-critic-like traits and a side-effect of loving film, tv, music, books etc. so much and getting so much joy out of that love. I’m trying to rein that in, but it’s so hard not to rave about this episode. It made me think, cry twice and guffaw countless times in 22 minutes. That’s no small feat. Take from that what you will.
Seeing as Megan Amram wrote this episode, the puns are out of control. The bar Eleanor goes to get drunk at is called Drinking Nemo and the supporting characters are named Gel Mibson, Eeth Kurban, Cat Pash, Mylie Kinogue, Lod Raver, Mark Supial, Gvonne Eoolagong, Nicole Mankid, and Waomi Natts. We should treasure this woman.
One of the best jokes in this whole episode relates to the title ‘Jeremy Bearimy’. Whereas time in our world moves in a straight line, in the afterlife, it curls backs on itself and goes around in circles, ending up less like a line and more like the words Jeremy Bearimy written in cursive script. The dot over the ‘i’ is Tuesdays and July.