Thursday, October 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Place' - Eleanor Has Doubts About Her New Leadership Role in 'A Girl From Arizona, Part Two'

NBC's The Good Place - Episode 4.02 "A Girl From Arizona, Part Two"

Eleanor, Michael, Janet and Tahani have their hands full when the new residents begin to show their true colors. Jason receives some unsettling news.

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. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's The Good Place.

"A Girl From Arizona, Part Two" was written by Andrew Law & Kassia Miller and directed by Drew Goddard

Michael believes that Eleanor is the savior that the afterlife needs. He was always thwarted by her. She always figured out his grand scheme. She was also the member of the core group of humans who was proven capable of change and earned her spot in the Good Place. As such, she is perfect to lead this new experiment in the hopes of re-working the rules of the afterlife. However, that is a lot of pressure that is now placed onto her. Michael believes she has earned it. And yet, everyone is plagued with doubts about her because of the mistakes she's made in the early going. It's also apparent that there is the impulse to tell this narrative the same way that Eleanor and company have experienced it previously. Michael carefully planned his experiment. He knew that Eleanor would come to the realization that she didn't belong in the Good Place. That was his specific torture for her. He can articulate the various reasons he made in order to confine Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason to their fates in this afterlife setting. That expertise can be used to help run the new experiment. And yet, the scenario is incredibly different now. The judge may have ordered the Bad Place to pick humans with similar scores to the original humans. However, the usual tactics are no longer effective in trying to prove their thesis as correct. Brent is a monster who doesn't really feel remorse about any action he has taken in his life. Meanwhile, Simone continues to believe that all of this is just some elaborate simulation she has concocted in her brain as she dies on Earth. This isn't actually the afterlife at all. And yes, it is a fantasy to an extent. There are only a select group of people who know what's going on. There are only four humans who are being tested to see if they can improve. Right now, it remains difficult for Eleanor. Janet has the statistical evidence to prove that the odds are against the team for succeeding in this endeavor. Eleanor's leadership has only made things worse. That plays into her own doubts about her role in this experiment. She believes she's simply a girl from Arizona. The fate of the afterlife shouldn't rest solely on her shoulders. She isn't alone in this experiment. She has friends and allies who want to help her succeed. They have a vested interest in the outcome of all of this as well. However, they aren't expressing any opinions that she doesn't share too. Sure, Tahani may feel bad for suggesting a change in management. Eleanor may not be the right person to lead the experiment. However, Michael trusts her completely. He understands that a human is the right person to judge and advocate for humanity in the afterlife. He has long envied humanity as well. He aspires to be human while accepting that he will never fully understand what makes them tick. They are fundamentally weird. They are never as simple to figure out as these immortal beings would like. There would always be something unexpected that happens. Eleanor may be better equipped to know how to approach the new simulations of prompting people into becoming better. She knows that she has to play to Brent's ego. He is a man who always believes himself to be right even though he's awful and doesn't belong in paradise. A Best Place doesn't exist. However, he is now doing good deeds given the likelihood that it could. That may corrupt his motivation to be a better person. However, that may also put him on the right path towards success. Meanwhile, Eleanor has to accept that she has to let Chidi go and meet Simone so that they can both improve in this new world. It's scary because she loves him and he made a huge sacrifice. He has a happy stomach ache here. That is different for him. It's exciting though. He and Simone are very charming together. It just comes at the expense of Eleanor's own feelings. She has to remain objective and focused on the task at hand. But again, the human failings of those in the know can easily compromise this experiment at any moment in time. Jason remains a distraction to Janet after all.