‘Everything Is Fine!’ As ‘The Good Place’ Reboots For Season Two

Senior Television Writer
09.20.17 11 Comments

NBC

The Good Place is back for a second season. I offered the vaguest possible review of the new season yesterday, and I have specific thoughts — with spoilers — for the premiere coming up just as soon as I fire up the old penis flattener…

When the season one finale revealed that Eleanor and friends were really trapped in the Bad Place, and that Michael was going to wipe their memories, reboot Janet, and start over, it seemed at once a brilliant twist and a dangerous one. Yes, Michael and all the other neighbors being evil drastically raised the comic potential and gave the show more focus than it had for much of an amiable but at times lightweight first season, but it also ran the risk of robbing the show of stakes altogether. Were we really about to watch the same scenario play out again, and then maybe again, and again, and again, with Eleanor and Chidi never learning anything because Michael always has the ability to hit the reset button on their memories? Were we really going to spend the better part of a season, or more, on Eleanor deciphering the unnecessarily cryptic note she scribbled to herself in the moments before Michael wiped her mind in the finale? Was there any endgame at all, or just a nasty narrative loop?

The two-part “Everything Is Great!” isn’t my favorite of the episodes I’ve seen, but it’s very necessary, and smart. It shows Michael’s new master plan unraveling in less than a day, rather than the centuries he had hoped, and it makes clear that the show isn’t going to run in (The Bad) place while the audience grows bored waiting for the characters to catch up to where we at home are in the story.

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