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- When someone figures out they're in the Bad Place, they go Defiant to the End if given the opportunity. Even Chidi gets in on the act in Season 4, as detailed below. Shawn aptly said that humans won't consciously torture each other, and he is proven right.
- It's implied that Jason was the only human not fooled by the fake neighborhood for three hundred years because he kept suspecting it was a prank show. There's Too Dumb to Fool, and there's Jason Mendoza, Amateur DJ.
- The fact that the whole series happens because Michael was really just trying to do his job. He wanted to impress Shawn and revolutionize torture and uncovers a conspiracy about morality.
- A flashback reveals that when the older Al-Jamils died, her parents left most of their wealth to Kamilah, and gave the rest to "Tahini, like the sauce." Tahani then stands up and says she doesn't want or need the money; she's going to make her own way through the world. She's right; thanks to her investments, party planner work, and trust funds, she's pretty much independent. It was the only moment we see in the prime timeline that Tahani shook off the yoke of her parents' abuse and gave them a posthumous "Fork you".
- "The Eternal Shriek": Eleanor getting up and finally confessing to Michael that she's what's causing the problems in the Good Place. It's an awesome moment of her conquering her fears and helping Chidi out with the stress he's feeling. It also counts as a retroactive moment because by stepping up to the plate and confessing, this was the moment when Michael's plans began to fall apart. That look of shock he has isn't one of his acts, it's genuine!
- Chidi standing up to Michael to get him to stop Eleanor from being sent to the Bad Place.
- "Someone Like Me As A Member": Michael angrily telling Trevor and the other demons to "get the fork out" of the Good Place. After a day of letting these jerks step all over him, it's cool seeing him stand up to them. Obviously, after the reveal this moment becomes slightly less awesome, but it is still cool to see how far he'd take the act.
- "Chidi's Choice": Eleanor declaring that she and Tahani were absolutely not going to do the thing of two women fighting over a guy (in this case Chidi) and instead, manages to bond with her enough that both of them realize they were both projecting feelings towards him because of the turmoil they were going through.
- "What's My Motivation": Even though it wasn't intentional, Jason screws Michael's plans up even further by falling in love with Janet.
- In "Mindy St. Claire", Eleanor gets through to Jason and Janet to go back to the "Good Place" in order to save Chidi and Tahani from ending up in the Bad Place.
- The reveal in the Season 1 finale that we've been seeing the Bad Place all along, with the entire thing arranged purely so that Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason would drive each other nuts for eternity, with occasional prodding from various demons posing as Good Place residents. And despite the group having their memories erased and getting split up, Eleanor manages to hide a note to herself inside Janet's mouth to find Chidi, setting herself up to ask questions.Eleanor: They're never gonna call a train to take us to The Bad Place. They can't, because we're already here. This is the Bad Place.
- Michael's reaction to Eleanor figuring it out. Ted Danson's face goes from his incredulous, innocent expression of What is crazy Eleanor talking about?! to a kind of angry smirk—one of the most amazing pieces of acting in the show.Michael: Oh man! I can't believe you figured it out. Oh, God. You ruined everything, you know that?
- Michael's reaction to Eleanor figuring it out. Ted Danson's face goes from his incredulous, innocent expression of What is crazy Eleanor talking about?! to a kind of angry smirk—one of the most amazing pieces of acting in the show.
- In "Everything is Great," after Eleanor's trick with the note, it takes her one day to put the pieces together after having her memory erased. When Eleanor originally figured out what the "Good Place" really was, it took several adventures, personally getting to know Chidi, Tahani and Jason, days of hiding her secrets, days of learning ethics, and opening up to the others for her to realize what was truly going on. Here, Eleanor doesn't go through any of that, doesn't go through the change in personality she did before, and barely knows any of the others, and yet, she was still able to figure every single thing out in a single day because of one note.
- "Dance Dance Resolution", where Michael is forced to go through over 800 iterations for his Good Place simulation, because no matter what he does (even without any prearranged clues), Eleanor eventually figures it out every single time. note Finally, Michael is forced to ask them to team up against his superiors as it's the only way any of them can win. Then the next episode reveals it never once took her even a year to do it, with Word Of God stating that it was usually just around four months.
- In "The Trolley Problem", Eleanor's ability to figure out when she's being tortured strikes again when she realizes Michael is using the Trolley Problem as an excuse to torture Chidi. Also, Chidi's refusal to let Michael squirm out of facing consequences for causing trouble again. First by kicking Michael out of the class, followed by throwing his present in the trash, calling it out as bribery so he can avoid apologizing.
- In "Leap to Faith", Michael quickly comes up with a way to keep the team safe when Shawn arrives to shut the neighborhood down, and leaves thousands of clues under the nose of every demon there in the hopes that the humans will at least be able to pick up a few. He even manages to get Vicky out of the way in the process.
- Tahani ends up being the one to come up with a solution for their problems. Eleanor jokingly says as they're drinking the night away that Tahani would complain to a manager. Then Tahani gets a "Eureka!" Moment and says that's Actually a Good Idea; she tells Team Cockroach that they should plead their case to the Judge of all humanity. Michael comments that it will be risky, but Eleanor points out they have nothing to lose: they're already dead and condemned to torture.
- "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent": Michael solves the Trolley Problem. The answer is to sacrifice yourself. He gives Eleanor his pin to allow her to visit the Judge. And he does this all within the view of a hundred demons.
- Chidi is able to masquerade as Trent, a master torturer, and informs his supposed colleague to really torture a guy by giving him ethics books. He seals the deal with a Groin Attack and briefly becomes a Large Ham.
- Shortly before that, Jason gives the group an opening to escape from the demons when he fashions a Molotov cocktail out of a nearby bottle of liquor, lighter, and his own pocket square.
- "The Burrito"
- As Michael is about to be put into his eternal punishment, the Bad Janet who's been following them around reveals herself to actually be the good Janet, who's gotten a lot better at her acting. She then lifts Shawn off the ground with one arm, and sends him flying into the wall with a single kick, twice.
- The group are all given tests to see if they've overcome their fatal sins enough to get into the Good Place. Eleanor is the only one who passes, and then even claims she also failed just so the others won't feel bad. In the same episode, Tahani finally works up the courage to call her parents out for treating her as The Un-Favourite, even if she did fail the test in the process.
- Even if they failed, they all did show incredible growth. Chidi did make a choice, even if he dithered and agonized over it... which is understandable, considering it was a choice given far more weight than it deserved. Tahani skipped over all the superficial trappings of her life, walking past them all; it was only the one opportunity where she could have had her parents actually acknowledge her where she faltered, and even in faltering, she got precious closure that she desperately needed. And while Jason failed the hardest, even he ultimately did what the Judge told him was always an option - not play. To find him in the room, trying to meditate, is a moment of growth in itself. Eleanor may have shown the most growth, but they all did prove how far they came.
- "Somewhere Else":
- Despite her being an all-powerful, omniscient being that is way more powerful than him or even Shawn, Michael stands up to Gen and tells her he doesn't care if the system says the main four belong in the Bad Place—they're good people, and they deserve to go the Good Place. He then goes on to say that if the system was wrong about these four, it was certainly wrong about others, too, and that millions of people have probably gotten tortured without deserving it. Eleanor's been saying from the start that the system is totally forked-up, and it's really satisfying to hear someone else agree with her.
- Michael giving the group a push in the right direction by going to Earth and saving them all from their deaths. When he sees Eleanor's faltering in her self-improvement, he gives her a little nudge so she finds Chidi, starting the process of getting them all to meet each other. Despite orders to not interfere. Janet goes along with the deception.
- Chidi stops coming up with excuses and kisses Eleanor. One of the few decisions Chidi has made without overthinking it, and he nailed it.
- Chidi giving a talk on morals for three hours and it holds Eleanor's attention pre-Character Development. When he's not caught up in his own flaws, he's actually very well spoken.
- "Everything Is Bonzer!"
- The way that Michael saved Tahani in the second timeline. With Chidi, Eleanor and Jason, he simply had to be there at the right time; Tahani was close to being bludgeoned. As everyone is standing apathetically while Kamilah's statue comes down, Michael does a Diving Save to get a Deer in the Headlights Tahani out of the way of impact, at the risk of being crushed as well.
- Michael tries to get Jason to Australia by offering him a street-dancing job. Jason turns him down, because he has been having a bad year and is trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Jason is being introspective. It's quite possible he would have eventually gotten his act together even if Michael hadn't intervened.
- We find out Tahani wrote a book that became a bestseller, showing that she's a good writer and earned the accolades with her own skill. Then she gives it up when Michael gives her a push to attend Chidi's study.
- The Bad Place's response to the new status quo? Hacking into a feed of Earth and sending Trevor to corrupt Team Cockroach back to the Bad Place.
- "The Brainy Bunch"
- After Tahani and Jason begin to drunkenly flirt, Trevor, who has infiltrated the group, calls a cab for them, assuming they'll hook up and that the resultant shame will send Tahani on the next plane home. Instead, Jason gets her back to her hotel room safely and spends the night sleeping in a dumpster (having forgotten where his own room is). Yet again the demons fail to calculate for the possibility of human decency.
- Gen refusing to put up with any of Trevor's shit and sending him flying into the abyss with a wave of her hand.
- Jeff the Doorman helping Michael and Janet escape was an incredibly gutsy move, considering that Gen isn't exactly the merciful type.The Doorman: (smugly) They escaped.
Judge Gen: (bitter sarcasm) Yeah thanks, Jeff.
- "Jeremy Bearimy": The group eventually learns the truth about the afterlife — and that, because they know, they will never be able to get to The Good Place. Do they give up? For a while, but then Eleanor convinces the group that even if they can't get into the Good Place, they can help others to get there.
- "A Fractured Inheritance" has Tahani and Eleanor have the courage to confront their childhood abusers and forgive them.
- "The Worst Possible Use Of Free Will": Although it sends Eleanor into Heroic BSoD in the present, in one timeline she and Chidi learned that they were in the Bad Place and were deeply in love. Despite having a haven with Mindy, she proposed a threesome and so they returned to confront Michael. Was this a bad idea? Maybe, considering he wiped their memories. Was it awesome when both Chidi and Eleanor declare that they'll handle whatever he tosses at them, because they're soulmates? Yes.
- The entire final act of "Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By."
- Despite the fact that the demons are holding them hostage and she doesn't remember Shawn, Eleanor goes Defiant Captive. She lies to Shawn that she doesn't know where Michael is, and the man is planning a counterattack against his former boss.
- Rather than indulge Shawn's gloating, Janet immediately throat chops him and takes on the entire squad of demons. While largely depowered, she easily takes down Bambadjan, breaks Vicky's arm, and completely decimates one demon with a pool triangle. Then the demons try to shove her into a portal on their own... only for that to reactivate her powers and let her kick them across the room. Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have been proud.
- Villainous example: the demons have learned their lesson from the end of Season 2, and defuse Jason's Molotov cocktail before he ever gets the chance to throw it.
- Michael using the afterlife button to tag-team with Janet and shove the demons out of their way. Even better, he sends them through the portal to the Judge. Given what she did to Trevor, we can only imagine what she'll do when she's suddenly met by a bunch of demons who have a lot of explaining to do.
- Tahani quickly makes use of a pool cue as a fencing sword to save Eleanor and Chidi from Chris.
- After copying Janet's Shawn throat punch, Jason manages to save her by weaponizing his version of pool against Val.Jason: Jacksonville style, baby! Two thousand points!
- Eleanor's casual Offhand Backhand of Vicky in the middle of her Love Confession to Chidi.
- And in the end, Michael disposing of Shawn.Shawn: And do you know what else I have a hunch about?
Michael: No. [kicks him through the portal]
- "Janet(s)": After trying time and time again, Michael is forced to realize that no one is going to have the answers on how to fix the afterlife system and get everyone to the Good Place. Except, as Janet notes, one more person: him. So he finds a way to do exactly that, telling off the head accountant Neil (who doesn't care at all that no human has gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years) by ruining his slice of cake, steal the Book of Dougs, and get the humans to safety by breaking into the Good Place.
- "Chidi Sees the Time Knife": After Michael's explanation about the problems with the point system doesn't faze Gen at all, Jason is the one who comes up with a way to get through to her. He tells the story of his friend, Big Noodle, who was constantly late to dance practice sessions due to being busy working three jobs to support his family and thus, would never have had time to consider all of the ripple-effect consequences that the points system now judges humans for. After hearing the story, Michael even admits that Jason was right.Jason: The point is, you can't judge humans 'cause you don't know what we go through.
- Making this more awesome is that in the past, Jason has helped others to reach a genuine "Eureka!" Moment through his insane stories, but mostly by accident, with no actual understanding of the situation and the story usually isn't relevant. This time, for the first time, Jason manages to tell a (still insane) completely relevant story and appears to understand why it applies to their situation.
- "A Girl From Arizona, Part 1": After discovering the Bad Place tried to sabotage the experiment by sending in a disguised demon as one of the human test subjects, Gen tells Shawn he is no longer allowed anywhere near it and if he even so much as gets close, she will personally tear his eyelids off, tie him to a chair, and force him to watch heartwarming videos of soldiers reuniting with their dogs for eternity. After watching Shawn be such a slimy and smarmy Smug Snake for the whole series, seeing him actually squirm under her is deeply satisfying.
- "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy": Jason actually saves the gang from Shawn's plan to smuggle in an undercover Bad Janet, as the one thing he truly knows is the not-a-girl he's in love with, and twigs to her failure to correct that error just in time to stop Michael from sacrificing himself. He follows it up with a Rousing Speech about how he's going to do the only thing bullies understand and punch Shawn in the mouth.
- "Employee of the Bearimy": Michael and Jason successfully rescuing Janet from the Bad Place's clutches.
- Michael gets two Badass moments where he uses the 'demon exploder' to protect his friends, one of them being Vicky in disguise as him. Michael basically gets to confront his own inner demon and destroy it.Vicky!Michael: You might think you've changed, but inside you're still just a demon. Vile, cruel, capable of so much darkness. And now...you're home-
Michael: *blows Vicky up*
Shawn: OH COME ON!
- Michael gets two Badass moments where he uses the 'demon exploder' to protect his friends, one of them being Vicky in disguise as him. Michael basically gets to confront his own inner demon and destroy it.
- "A Chip Driver Mystery": Brent finally gets called out on his shirt by Tahani and Simone. When he starts getting aggressive, Chidi punches him.
- "Help is Other People"
- Simone's cork board, using logic and scientific analysis to figure out something is up. It figures Eleanor and Michael couldn't fool her for long.
- Also, Simone didn't do what Eleanor and the others did: confront Michael about this being the Bad Place. She had the presence of mind to gather the humans whom she felt she could trust and come up with an escape plan. Yes, it backfires because they aren't in the Bad Place, and it compromises the experiment, but it proves Simone would have done better under Michael's torture at staying undercover.
- The fact that Jason came up with the last-ditch plan, explaining it as a "private run" in football terms. Sure it fails, but his logic made sense: if the new humans had really changed and bonded, they would save someone they hate. Chidi is the only one who passes the test, which is a moment of awesome for the usually indecisive Chidi.
- Chidi being the one to confront who he thinks are demons, and finally giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Brent about him being a terrible person. Yes, Simone told him, but it was still very brave of him to break the masquerade and not know what's coming next.
- Eleanor's Hail Mary play to ensure the experiment's success: when Chidi says, "This is the Bad Place," Eleanor goes along with it, with the camera movement and her Evil Laugh mimicking Michael's big reveal at the end of Season 1. This is what finally breaks Brent, makes him realize what a terrible person he's been, and gets him to apologize to Chidi. Tahani gives Eleanor a quiet So Proud of You about it since Eleanor doesn't want to torture Chidi but needs to save humanity.
- "The Funeral to End All Funerals"
- The experiment worked! After going through all kinds of trouble and close calls, including the Bad Place's repeated attempts at sabotage, the Soul Squad are able to prove to the Judge without a shadow of a doubt that the points system is flawed and humans can get better with the right factors.
- Janet taking the Judge's existence rebooting button and hiding it in her void. Even better, the newly reformed Bad Janet reappears, reveals that she has come to agree with the Soul Squad (while telling Shawn to go fork himself), and has delivered Michael's manifesto to every Janet in existence, who then come out of a bunch of portals to aid the Squad, hiding the button amongst themselves.
- Youve Changed, Man
- The heroes all working together actually create a reasonable new way to determine morality in the afterlife, by putting everyone through the same experience as Team Cockroach in repeatedly getting their memories wiped and put in different tests, though the advice they get after their failures will stick as a vague memory so they can actually learn from them. Eventually the people who deserve to be in the Good Place will get there, and as for the rest, the eternal failure will be a perfectly suitable Bad Place with the demons getting to be fulfilled by testing them in different ways.
- When Shawn still rejects their proposal just because he wants Michael to lose, even with the offer of getting to torture Team Cockroach themselves for eternity, Michael breaks him by simply refusing to act defeated, depriving him of any satisfaction until hes forced to admit he doesnt want the fun to stop.
- Mondays, Am I Right?"
- Vicki standing up for herself against Michaels obvious petty reasons for keeping her off the new torture team. Michael in turn swallows his pride enough to stage her kicking him out and taking over so the other demons will respect her. 1.6 Jeremy Bearimys later, the new system is like a well-oiled machine.
- Jason, of all people, pulling a Batman Gambit on Chidi, forcing him to admit that just because he and Eleanor are very different, it doesn't mean their relationship can't last.
- Once its clear that the new system is actually going to work, Gen gives Team Cockroach a free pass into the Good Place without having to go through the tests themselves. Note that they had no expectation of this and never asked for it, which is precisely why they deserve it.
- Michael being made a Good Place architect...before the Good Place committee completely dissolves itself and literally runs off. But it's the thought that counts.
- Hypatia of Alexandria (AKA "Patty") having enough presence of mind to tell the Soul Squad that the Good Place is seriously forked up and needs to change. It's established by then that The Good Place wears you down with constant happiness and good feelings, and she's been subject to its effects for thousands of years. Considering she was one of the founders of modern mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy, Patty was just that smart enough to fight back.
- The Soul Squad finally reach the Good Place...only to find everyone there is numb from centuries of getting anything they want, turning them into "Happiness Zombies". The group is horrified, since they have a ton of new souls ready for entry, but they can't subject them to an eternity of this. While ruminating on the problem, Eleanor muses, Every human is a little bit sad all the time because you know youre going to die. But that knowledge is what gives life meaning. They realize that's what the Good Place is missing; an ending. They set up a door and tell the denizens of the Good Place they can leave any time they want. You'll never be pressured to go, it'll just be there, and if you decide to go through, It will be peaceful, and your journey will be over. Everyone in the Good Place erupts in joy, with their afterlives finally having meaning along with their actual lives.
- "Whenever You're Ready"
- Tahani considers going through the door, but eventually decides on something else; training to be a Good Place architect. She wants to spend her afterlife helping people for real. Even Shawn eventually becomes impressed with her.
- In the end, the new system works. Even Shawn clearly agrees even if he'll never admit it, and ultimately Gen retires the whole supervisory council because the whole thing is such a perfect machine that there's nothing for them to do anymore. There's even one more unexpected benefit as the remains of all the Good Place souls who go through the final door return to Earth, and make anyone they touch just a little bit better.
- The fact that the gateway to Earth, which was formerly a barren black landscape, is now a bright, bustling intersection with multiple pathways.