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Recap / The Good Place S2E02 "Dance Dance Resolution"

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"...Which obviously never worked, because you're here, and you're back, so, good luck."

"I was a member of a sixty-person dance crew in Jacksonville. We were called "Dance Dance Resolution: We Resolve to Dance". One day, Donkey Doug and I got into a fight, because I'd framed his girlfriend for boogie board theft. So he started a new dance crew called "Hashtag Doug Life" and immediately challenged us to a dance-off. He said, "Meet us inside the abandoned orange juice factory at midnight." That night, as the clock struck twelve, me and my crew came together with a determination we had never shown before... and slashed all their tires. It was dope. The end. By Jason Mendoza."
Jason
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Michael reboots the neighborhood to try torturing Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason again. However, no matter what he does to modify it, Eleanor eventually figures out its true nature, over and over again (and during Attempt #649, Jason figured it out). Michael grows more frustrated as time goes on, even hitting rock bottom during Attempt #484 where he gorges himself on junk food and alcoholic drinks, but refuses to give up.

Michael launches Attempt #802. He goes outside to a neighborhood meeting, and nobody is there except Vicky, who says he's lost control of the experiment and the demons have gone on strike. Vicky complains that everyone is sick of the constant reboots, they often can't remember what their jobs are, and she herself is still upset about the size of her part. They have a list of demands, and Vicky says Michael will have to fit them into his system. Hers is to take over the next reboot and be a "main character". Michael is outraged, but Vicky threatens that if he doesn't comply with this, she will reveal the 800 reboots to Shawn.

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Meanwhile, Eleanor is taking ethics lessons from Chidi again. She's bored and suggests they go outside, where they notice the town streets are empty. They notice a strange burning smell and follow it, finding a group of demons (including one lava monster named Todd who isn't wearing his human skin-suit) complaining about the constant reboots and of Michael's version of the Bad Place in general. Eleanor and Chidi are horrified to learn that they've literally been put through hell hundreds of times and got their memories erased and try to figure out what to do. They use Janet to escape and she takes them on the train to the Medium Place, where Mindy St. Claire greets them.

Mindy reveals that this is the sixteenth time Eleanor has come by here with Janet and some other human and is frustrated that they've forgotten to bring cocaine again. She explains that Eleanor, Janet and one or two of the other humans (usually Chidi, but sometimes Jason and/or Tahani) will come to the Medium Place to escape from Michael, but they would eventually end up going back to rescue whoever was left behind. Chidi says they need a plan, but everything he or Eleanor suggests is repeated back to them by Mindy. She pulls out a board consisting of a list of all the things they've tried before to defeat Michael, which include trying to seduce him, outright attacking him, or trying to psychologically screw with him.

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Chidi and Eleanor try to go over their options. Chidi is discouraged and says it's pointless - they're trapped in an endless loop and they lose their memories every time they try to break out of it. Eleanor gets upset with him giving up and goes to complain about him to Mindy. Mindy is tired of her complaining, and says Eleanor and Chidi have it bad for each other. Eleanor denies this, but Mindy shows her a video she recorded from the sixth time they were at her home, showing Chidi and Eleanor in bed together professing their love for each other. Eleanor is stunned by this; from her perspective, they've only known each other for a few days and she considers Chidi to be an uptight and humorless dork but Mindy asserts there's a reason why they keep coming back to each other. Eleanor calls Janet and Chidi over to announce they're leaving and takes the tape back with her.

Michael is standing on a bridge, and Jason comes calling for anyone, so Michael takes him aside to bounce ideas off of, as he feels he's caught between a rock and a hard place - he's certain Vicky's plan would be a failure, but if he doesn't go along with them otherwise, she'll rat him out to Shawn. Jason then relays the story of how he and his old friend Donkey Doug were in a dance team, and then they got into a fight due to Jason framing Donkey Doug's girlfriend for stealing a boogie board, so Donkey Doug organized a rival dance team and challenged Jason's dance team to a dance-off, so Jason's team went there and slashed their tires. From something in there, Michael gets an idea.

Michael gets to Eleanor's house, where she, Chidi and Tahini are, and Jason joins them; Eleanor says they keep figuring out the puzzle of the "Good Place", so they're winning and he's losing. Michael says, actually, they're on the same page and he wants to team up with them.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In Michael's various attempts to reboot the neighborhood, Eleanor calls Chidi "Chibi," "Chili," and "Cheeto."
  • Aesop Amnesia: Since Michael can easily erase their memories, any Character Development the humans achieve gets undone.
    Chidi: We are experiencing karma, but we can't learn from our mistakes.
  • Amnesia Loop: The four humans and Janet spend half the episode trapped in one of these as Michael wipes their memories every time he reboots the neighborhood, forcing them to rediscover the truth of their situation every single time.
  • Bee Afraid: During one of the reboots, Chidi is in the background being chased by a swarm of bees while Eleanor is in the foreground figuring out yet again that they're actually in the Bad Place.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mindy considers Chidi and Eleanor's bickering to be this, as they've hooked up several times before.
  • Blackmail: Vicky gets Michael to let her run the show by threatening to tell Shawn about the 800 do-overs.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Drowning My Sorrows: During Attempt #484, Michael is a mess and resorts to drinking as he rants to himself about how Eleanor keeps figuring out the truth behind the "Good Place".
  • Enemy Mine: Michael realizes that the situation has gone completely out of his control and the only thing that might save him is to team up with the humans.
  • Epic Fail: Attempt #108 represented a really bad failure for Michael, as Eleanor walked into his office while he was recording his thoughts and figured out she was in the Bad Place before her orientation even began! He also regards the one reboot where Jason pieced it together an especially painful failure.
    Michael: Jason figured it out? Jason?! (looks sick) This is a real low point. Yeah, this one hurts. Ow.
  • Eternal Recurrence: Chidi calls their situation a "warped version" of this and name drops Nietzsche himself.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: This episode gives us a montage of these as Michael keeps putting the humans into different scenarios and yet each time Eleanor figures out that they're actually in the Bad Place. Even Jason figured it out once. That one really hurt Michael.
  • Failure Montage: A good chunk of the episode is a montage of the various attempts, and how the humans figured it out that time. Michael's pride is in shreds by the end.
  • Foreshadowing: When Mindy was first introduced, she was shown to be walking around naked because she was completely alone until then and wasn't expecting anyone to be coming by. When Eleanor, Chidi, and Janet see her here, she's fully clothed, meaning she's been expecting them to come back.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: All the different resets have different themed signs for the neighborhood's restaurants. There is also the poster of all the plans the main four have tried, including "Stab with large knife," "Find Doug Forcett," and "Try to stuff Michael back into his magic lamp".
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The constant reboots serve as this, with Eleanor realizing over and over again that they're in the Bad Place.
  • Humiliation Conga: Michael is subjected to one in this episode, as the humans keep on realizing they're in the Bad Place... at least 800 times.
  • Noodle Incident: Several scenes from the Failure Montage are this, such as the one where everyone is inexplicably hiding from a clown and the one with Chidi being chased by bees. Many of the plans written on Mindy St. Claire's board qualify, too.
  • Off the Rails: The main foursome consistently manages to figure out the deception, resulting in Michael becoming desperate to keep things together and the other demons to become exasperated with having to go through the process again.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: It's quite mind-boggling to realize how much effort must have gone into creating the dozens of blink-and-you'll-miss-it gags in this episode.
  • Post-Stress Overeating: In addition to drinking, Michael does this during Attempt #484.
  • Pun-Based Title: Take a wild guess. It's the name of Jason's dance crew.
  • Right Behind Me: One of the failed attempts has Eleanor tell Janet that Chidi sucks while he's standing behind them and can hear everything she says.
  • Seen It All: Mindy, whose memory isn't being wiped with the reboots, is no longer surprised when the humans and Janet show up at her house. If anything, she's just frustrated that they never remember to bring her cocaine.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mindy has become one for Chidi and Eleanor.
  • Ship Tease: This episode lays it on thick for Eleanor and Chidi, who've hooked up in various previous reboots and even confessed their love for each other once. Played for Laughs in Attempt #218, where Eleanor and Tahani are made into each other's soulmate.
  • Spotting the Thread: No matter what Michael tries to do to keep them oblivious, the humans kept figuring out the truth. At one point, some relatively minor details managed to tip off Jason.
  • Take That!: Eleanor does not have flattering opinions on clam chowder.
  • Time-Compression Montage: An episode-long example, compressing hundreds of years' worth of action into the regular 22 minutes.
  • Title Drop: Jason's sixty-person dance crew on Earth is revealed to be called "Dance Dance Resolution."
  • "Too Young to Die" Lamentation: Jason wails about this during the reboot where they're presented with an obelisk that will transport them to the Bad Place.
    Jason: I'm too young to die! And too old to eat off the kids' menu! What a stupid age I am!
 
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Jason figures it out

Attempt #108 shows just how big of a failure Michael's neighborhood is when Jason - an idiot who has no idea what is going on half the time - manages to figure out that they're in the Bad Place.

How well does it match the trope?

4.48 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / EpicFail

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Main / EpicFail

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