What is happening in our world? Who is doing what? what is going on now? These are questions that will be answered. Enjoy.
The Good Place Season 3 Episode 3 Michael Theory
As Eleanor plunged her hand into her own cake head on this week’s The Good Place, I couldn’t help but think that another twist was on its way. This week’s episode saw the team jump a full year ahead, and while it tracked a year of Chidi and Simone’s successful neuroscience study, it spelled doom for Janet and Michael’s plan to reunite Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason. If anything, it emphasized the purpose of The Good Place: humans have free will and manipulating that free will is counteractive to the system humans are judged upon in this world. Technically, with their free will manipulated, the authenticity of the core four getting to the actual good place is compromised.
But that made me think—are Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason really the ones being tested? After 30 chapters and countless ethical dilemmas, the character who seems to have developed the most isn’t human at all, or at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe. While anything goes in The Good Place, there’s something particularly interesting about the demon-turned-good’s experience with ethics that’s making me think that Michael’s assignment to torture Eleanor and friends might be his own (possibly human) journey to the good place. And if this episode is any indication, he’s moving in the right direction.
After a year of light manipulation to get the main four characters to stay in Australia, Michael and Janet hit a wall. Their “ethical manipulation” led to Tahani rekindling an old relationship and getting engaged, capping off her time in Australia with one final party. The whole event was supposed to culminate in Tahani heading back to London, but in one last ditch effort, Michael pushed Eleanor to tell her friends that she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them either. But with Tahani and Chidi pushing back, Eleanor’s first (human) attempt to keep her friends together failed. Eleanor immediately reverted back to her old ways, destroying a cake adorned with a picture the foursome, and mocking everyone as she exited.
From a distance, it looks like The Good Place has gone insane. And if anyone is feeling that heat, it’s Michael and Janet. Their failure means that they’ll return to the bad place, where Janet will be marbleized and Michael will be retired. But as Michael panics to a perfectly stoic Janet, it becomes clear that he’s on his own moral journey, and the real tip off is when he says, “I think I figured out a plan where they stay in Australia and only five random bystanders get hurt.” It’s almost a direct reference to the Trolley Problem discussed in previous seasons where you save one person but hurt five others. That’s right—be it on his own or along with the four, Michael is developing his own set of ethics.
Of course, that journey is not complete. Michael is still suggesting that he and Janet break the rules and reset Earth’s timeline again, but it’s all because “this is all we have, Janet. We have Chidi and Eleanor and Tahani and Jason and that is it. If we can’t get them enough afterlife points to get them to the good place, then there’s no point in us being here.” At the end of last week’s episode, Janet states what will happen if she and Michael return to the bad place, but marbleization and retirement isn’t the excuse Michael turns to: he wants to protect the four people he was once destined to torture.
It’s at that point that Janet (who I have some wild theories about, but we’ll hold off on those for now) agrees that it’s worth trying. They’re interrupted by Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason, which almost guarantees a reset of the timeline, but this week’s installment definitely signals a shift for The Good Place. This journey isn’t just for the core four humans anymore, if it ever was to begin with.