The Goodcast Episode 1: "The Good Place" recapped

Jan. 9, 2020, 5:12 p.m. | By Vivian Li, Shifra Dayak | 4 years, 4 months ago

A summary of seasons one to four

Hi everybody, and welcome to The Good Podcast. We're Shifra and Vivian, SCO's resident Good Place geeks, and we're here just in time for the show's final four episodes starting this Thursday, Jan. 9 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC! If you haven't seen the first three and a half seasons of "The Good Place," we highly recommend you watch, because it's a real treat. But for those of you without much time or a good memory, no worries. There will be spoilers, so don't say "oh fork!" when we reveal any big twists. We're here to give you the scoop — of frozen yogurt — on all things Good Place, so sit back and relax! 

A summary of seasons one to four Video courtesy of Vivian Li and Shifra Dayak.

Here is a full transcript of the episode:

Let's jump right into it. Season one opens when Eleanor Shellstrop wakes up in the afterlife and meets Michael, an architect and heavenly superbeing. Michael explains that Eleanor did so many good things in her lifetime that she'll spend the afterlife in the Good Place, in a neighborhood that he designed. On her first day, Eleanor discovers that cursing in the Good Place is impossible, and meets Janet, an all-knowing AI assistant. She's then introduced to other human neighbors including Tahani, an uppity British socialite; Jianyu, a silent monk; and her supposed soulmate Chidi, an anxious ethics professor. Despite slight annoyance and disagreements, the four spend lots of time together. 

All seems well, but there's one small problem — Eleanor isn't who the residents think she is, and she quickly realizes she was probably sent to the Good Place by mistake. Wanting to stay, she reveals her secret to Chidi and asks for his help to become a better person. One night, Jianyu secretly tells Eleanor that he's also not supposed to be in the Good Place. In fact, he isn't even a monk — he's Jason, an ex-DJ from Florida. 

Meanwhile, each time Janet is rebooted, she also becomes more sophisticated, eventually developing human feelings. Jason appreciates her kindness because she answers questions and pulls things out of thin air, and the two get married. 

Disaster soon strikes in the neighborhood, and Michael, assuming it's his fault, decides to retire (which, for superbeings, means being eternally tortured). Eleanor is determined to save him, so she confesses that she's supposed to be in the Bad Place. Upon hearing that Eleanor is unwillingly causing the chaos, Michael calls the demons from the Bad Place, who show up bearing the actual good Eleanor, who was accidentally sent to the Bad Place. They demand that the Good Place give up one of the four humans.  

Eleanor, Tahani, Jason, and Chidi enter a long, self-sacrificial argument in which they each essentially claim that they'll go to the Bad Place to spare the real "good" Eleanor. 

Plot twist! During the argument, Eleanor has an epiphany and things start to get messy. She isn't actually in the Good Place — the neighborhood she lives in is actually the Bad Place disguised as the Good Place, and the four humans were set up there to annoy each other for eternity. When she accuses Michael, he comes clean and reveals that he and all the other residents are actually Bad Place demons. Even the actual good Eleanor is a ruse — she's actually a demon named Vicky. Upset that his secret experiment didn't last, Michael gets permission from his boss to reboot the neighborhood, erase the four humans' memories and try to fool them once again. 

Onto season 2! After the experiment is rebooted, Michael modifies the neighborhood, but the humans quickly realize that they're in the Bad Place once more. He reboots the experiment for the third time, only to fail again. And again. And again, for a grand total of 802 failed attempts. Among these, Mindy St. Claire, a woman who lives alone in a Medium Place separate of the Good and Bad Places reveals that Eleanor has escaped to her house 16 times, often falling in love with Chidi. 

Vicky the demon soon threatens to expose Michael, who was never supposed to get a third chance. Michael offers to join the humans' side and get them to the actual Good Place, saving himself from eternal damnation as well. Eleanor agrees to his plan on the condition that Michael participates in Chidi's ethics lessons. 

Jason's memory has been wiped of his marriage with Janet, and he develops feelings for Tahani. When they struggle with their relationship, Janet, who still vividly remembers, becomes their couples counselor. Her jealousy about Jason causes her to malfunction, leading to errors that threaten the neighborhood. Eleanor encourages Janet to create another human to be her rebound boyfriend, so Janet comes up with Derek, who is extraordinarily primitive and infantile.

Shawn congratulates Michael on the success of his mental torture neighborhood, and Michael claims to send the humans to the Bad Place for physical torture the next day. However, he then frames Vicky for letting the humans escape on a train, and the six— Michael, Janet, Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani— are safe and alone in the neighborhood. The plan succeeds, but Michael still has no plan to get the humans into the Good Place. They travel through the Bad Place to get to Judge Gen's office, where they decide to test the humans' self-improvement by wiping their memory, saving them from their initial death and tracking their points thereafter. 

And now for season 3! Against the orders of the judge, Michael remains on Earth and sneaks into the lives of all four humans to ensure that their paths intertwine. In Australia, Chidi is working with Simone, a professor, to conduct research on people who have faced near-death experiences. At Michael's urging, after narrowly escaping being hit by a truck, Eleanor looks up one of Chidi's ethics lectures to learn how to become a better person. Her interest piqued, she goes to Australia to meet Chidi and is then convinced to join his experiment. While she's there, she urges Chidi and Simone to confess their romantic feelings for each other. Tahani and Jason also end up going to Australia and joining the study after their own near-death experiences, and quickly bond with Chidi and Eleanor.

After seeing some worrying events among the humans, Michael and Janet up their control over the humans, setting up a surveillance room and intervening whenever things get the slightest bit messy. 

Soon, Chidi and Simone decide that it's time for the study to end. Michael is upset that the humans may not ever interact again, so he decides to sneak into Judge Gen's office and reset his own experiment in hopes that things will go off without a hitch. But as he and Janet are opening a portal to the afterlife, the humans show up and see them, and obviously, have thousands of questions. Michael has no choice but to come clean and explain everything to them. He also sadly tells them that, because they now know about the system, their motivations have been ruined and none of them have a chance of making it to the real Good Place. 

The humans decide to use their new knowledge to help others lead good lives. Thus begins a wild adventure of traveling all over the world. Jason goes to Florida and gains closure with his father, who once inspired his life of crime. Tahani reconciles with her competitive sister. Eleanor goes back home to Arizona and talks to her mother, who has changed for the better since Eleanor's childhood. 

While on Earth, Michael and Janet decide to go visit Doug Forcett, a seemingly angelic human who is famous in the afterlife for correctly predicting everything about the afterlife while high. However, after a trip to the accounting branch of the afterlife, they find out that despite Doug's perfect life, he won't make it to the Good Place. This leads Michael, Janet, and the four humans to the realization that the world has changed so much that a number of outside factors make it almost impossible for a person to actually lead a good life on Earth. 

They meet with Judge Gen in the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes to beg for the chance to set up a new neighborhood experiment that will help them prove that people can become better without the influence of outside factors. Gen agrees, on the condition that the Bad Place demons get to choose the test subjects. Simultaneously in the IHOP, Jason and Janet begin dating again.

The four humans officially become Michael's assistants in the afterlife. However, as they set up the new neighborhood and meet their test subjects, the humans quickly realize that the demons chose test subjects specifically to torture the original four. One of them is Simone, Chidi's ex-girlfriend from the Australian study. Chidi makes a grim decision that in order to not skew the experiment, Michael must wipe his memory and treat him as an ordinary resident of the neighborhood. 

In season four, the new, year-long experiment also brings new test subjects— Simone, privileged and conceited Brent, ever-gossiping John, and Linda, later discovered to be a Bad Place demon disguised as an old woman. In response to the Bad Place's illegal interference, Judge Gen officially makes Chidi the fourth test subject.

Eleanor, Jason, Tahani, and Janet are hard at work to help the test subjects become better people— Tahani overcomes her contempt for John, who used to write insulting articles about her on Earth and Eleanor comes up with a plan to help Brent, who already believes that he's too good for even the Good Place. 

However, the situation turns for the worse as Janet breaks up with Jason and convinces the others that Eleanor is unfit for leadership. Despite being heartbroken, Jason realizes that Janet isn't acting herself— she's really a Bad Janet who swapped places with Good Janet on the afterlife train. Jason and Michael imprison the bad Janet in a void and set off to the Bad Place to rescue the real Good Janet. Months later, to her surprise, Michael releases Bad Janet instead of killing her. He also giving her a copy of the Manifesto documenting his and Good Janet's journey so far.

All the subjects seem to have made significant personal improvement with the team's efforts, except for Brent. As the year of the experiment ends, Michael opens a sinkhole in the neighborhood and causes Brent to fall in, with the hopes that the other members will save Brent and receive a point boost, but only Chidi stays to help. In the last moments of the experiment, Chidi realizes that they're in the Bad Place, leaving Brent sputtering and regretful, and he apologizes to Chidi for the first time just as the timer is up.

After the experiment, Michael and Shawn both make their cases to Judge Gen, who rules that the system is unfair and needs to be adjusted. But there's a catch —ut her proposed solution is to wipe Earth's memory and start from scratch, redoing the entire universe. In an attempt to avoid this, Janet hides the reset button for the universe. Bad Janet, swayed by Michael's manifesto, arrives on the scene with an army of Janets. They bounce the reset button between their voids, but time is running out as Judge Gen checks each void and marbelizes each Janet. Eleanor believes Chidi is the only person in the universe ethical enough to determine a better ruling system for the afterlife. With seconds left, Michael reinstates Chidi's memory all the way from birth.

A lot has happened so far, and there's sure to be even more to dissect as the series comes to a close! Be sure to keep up with us at and @mbhssco on Twitter, and look out for the upcoming episodes of The Good Podcast. We'd love to have you follow along as we share our thoughts on the last few episodes of "The Good Place!" Comment down below with any thoughts or TV series you'd like to see in the future! Thanks so much for listening. 

Last updated: Jan. 9, 2020, 5:17 p.m.

Tags: tv NBC entertainment podcasts the good place

Vivian Li. Hi! I love all things journalism, art, and the environment. When I'm not working on an article, I enjoy browsing fashion, baking, running, and reading. I'm a huge health nut and I love researching new recipes. At Blair, I'm on the debate and DECA team … More »

Shifra Dayak. Hi, I'm Shifra! If I'm not writing articles or doing homework, I'm probably making music, browsing through dog pictures, eating Thai food, or napping. More »

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