Thursday, January 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Place' - Michael and the Humans Learn More About the Actual Good Place in 'The Book of Dougs'

NBC's The Good Place - Episode 3.11 "The Book of Dougs"

Michael's resolve is put to the test. Jason wrestles with his feelings. Chidi surprises Eleanor.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's The Good Place.

"The Book of Dougs" was written by Kate Gersten and directed by Ken Whittingham

These characters have been trying to get into the Good Place for a long time. That has been the momentum of the series ever since the reveal that the humans were actually being tortured in the Bad Place. It's a unifying theme amongst the humans, Janet and Michael though. They all aspire for something better. They know that the system is broken and change needs to occur. They have been fighting for their lives and their sanity. It's finally catching up to them here. This episode actually represents a breather. There is no existential threat to their safety. They aren't being chased by any of the accountants or someone from the Bad Place. They have successfully landed in the Good Place. The gang has finally achieved their goal. And yet, the show limits them to this one specific building. It's essentially the mailroom where new humans are processed before going out to a neighborhood designed for eternal bliss. This marks the first time anyone from the gang has actually interacted with a representative from the Good Place. It was always going to be so telling to see someone from that world appear. There has long been the fear that the actual Good Place may not be as good as everyone is hoping it will be. Here, the show proves that some aspects of that are true. When they arrive, the gang smells whatever makes them the happiest. This isn't a place where any of them are being tortured - at least not on purpose. And yet, everyone here is so completely pleasant without any shred of moral complexion. That proves that only the ultimate moral nerds get to spend their lives in the Good Place. Michael made this journey under the assumption that the Bad Place was somehow disrupting the point system to ensure that they got to torture every single human who lives on Earth. That's been the case for the last 500 years. Chuck from the Good Place sees no problem with that because they've experienced plenty of lulls throughout all of time. It will also take just as long for the Good Place to actually do something about this as well. Michael demands immediate action. Meanwhile, the council in the Good Place would rather spend their time carefully selecting a team of investigators and then conducting a thorough vetting process to ensure that they are objective enough for this responsibility. It proves that no one in this environment can be helpful at all. That's incredibly disappointing to Michael. He doesn't understand what's going on. He wants something that has to be better than this. Instead, he once again has to accept that he has to be the person to fight for the change. He can't expect someone else to fix the problems with the system. Of course, Tahani is the one who helps him see clearly. She tries her best to navigate her way out of the complicated love triangle with Jason and Janet so that they can once again explore their feelings for one another. It's because of those unintended consequences that Michael learns that humanity is doomed simply because of how amoral any action has now become. It ensures every good action has an even more damning negative reaction in the point totals thanks to things people aren't even thinking about. That evidence means he can now present a case to the Judge in the hopes of creating change. The rest of the humans are just along for the ride. Eleanor was the one who actually got into the Good Place when the Judge tested them. And now, she is four oreos away from eternal bliss. Instead, she is weeping with joy by the sight of Chidi in a mailman uniform. That's such a wonderful moment especially considering it means he will continue to wear that outfit for the remainder of the season. That's a perfect gift for Eleanor even though she doesn't get to stay in the Good Place for very long.