TV

‘The Good Place’ Is Back And All Is Not Great In The Afterlife Again

The first episode of the fourth and final season gets back to the show's roots: goofs and ethics.

The Good Place season 4 episode 1recap

Friends, The Good Place is back for the fourth and final season, and it’s GOOD to be back where it all began — a shitty facsimile of heaven created by weirdos and lunatics.

Episode one of new seasons of The Good Place are traditionally longer — but with season 4, they’ve decided to split it into two parts. This makes a lot of sense — season 2 and 3 were basically revisiting the world after (literally) resetting the entire universe. There was always a burden on exposition on this first episode before we can get into the meat of the season — which eventually led to the problems inherent in season 3, which had an unfocused, overly confused plot.

But season 4 manages to cut through a lot of this bullshit by bring it all back to the very beginning, back to the titular Good Place. Once again there are humans to bamboozle and fool with the concept of a perfect afterlife.

And boy oh boy, it’s automatically so much stronger.

Of course, this isn’t the same Good Place from season 1 — now Eleanor is the boss, and Team Cockroach are now the people pulling the strings, conducting a grand experiment that will hopefully prove (for the benefit of all mankind) that people are capable of becoming… better.

In terms of stakes, it’s extremely The Good Place, and it’s pretty grand.

The Mommy Girlfriend Of It All

We’re immediately served up a bunch of spanners that are gumming up the current Good Place experiment for the Soul Squad, such as The Bad Place sending them a bunch of really shit humans, designed specifically to annoy people.

We’ve got the gossip columnist, the MRA, Chidi’s ex Simone, which we’ll talk about more later, and a dour Norwegian lady, who ends up being an actual demon. All of these things provide some very real hurdles.

But — as has always been the case with The Good Place — the real hurdle is a bad case of annoying and consistent humanity, and one of the most human things in the world is to fuck everything up because of love.

Obviously the major love-issue here is the recent wiping of Chidi’s memory.

It’s pretty traumatic to watch Eleanor have to pretend to not know him, and deal with him forgetting her name. And already it’s causing her to make mistakes, such as hesitating to solve the problem of Simone’s existential crisis by introducing her to Chidi.

Elsewhere, Jason and Derek are competing for the attention of Janet, resulting in Derek being murdered, which further leads to his giant face up in the sky screaming “I’ve been Dereked! Murder is me!” putting the entire project at risk, again.

And the person suffering the most from all these shenanigans? Janet, whose full concentration is needed, or The Good Place and everyone in it will explode and die.

Simone Is The Star

There were a LOT of funny lines in this episode, and a lot of comedy favourite characters — Derek and his cocktail glasses full of onions? Mindy St Clair?????? A Bad Place version of the iconic Friday Night Lights slogan: “Dead eyes, eat hearts, can’t lose”?

That shit is all my jam.

But the unexpected winner of this episode was Simone, played by the wonderful Kirby Howell-Baptiste. When she was alive and on Earth (btw it’s still sad that she’s dead), she unfortunately had to play the straight character to everybody else’s weirdness.

But, since dying, she’s decided that The Good Place is actually just her dying brain conjuring illusions — she is a neuroscientist after all. So, she has a full existential snap, singing Third Eye Blind songs and pushing people into pools, and it’s deranged and funny.

I’m Suspicious!!!!

The reveal in this episode was that The Bad Place tried to substitute the muscly shirtless demon as one of the humans — but that’s a VERY swift resolution.

We also know that they invented a Michael-suit to help torture Team Cockroach in a past season, a fact that was re-pushed to us during the episode summary. It’s my theory that Michael has either already been substituted with a Bad Place demon, or has been in this episode. Perhaps when he put Muscly Demon Chris on the train.

It would be one of the easiest ways to de-stabilise the team, and also resolve the kind of uneasy mentor/ mentee relationship between Michael and Eleanor.

I’m SUSPICIOUS!!!!!

All in all, I’m extremely excited for the next episode, and for a season that has simplified things back to the best parts of The Good Place: goofs and ethics.

The Good Place season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix. We’ll be recapping it weekly.


Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.