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Recap / The Good Place S2E03 "Team Cockroach"

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"Oh, let's not get all caught up on who lied to whom or which one of us created an entire fake reality in order to cause eternal misery for the others; that's ancient history."

"The Bad Place is about to be outsmarted by a cowardly traitor, four dum-dums, and a robot."
Eleanor
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Michael seeks to form an alliance with the four humans, revealing to them his plan—he will reboot the neighborhood but secretly leave their memories intact, and they will feign ignorance to throw the other demons off. If they refuse, Michael asserts they will again detect the ruse, Vicky will expose him, and the humans will be remanded to traditional, hellish torture, while Michael himself will be forced into retirement. Furthermore, Michael promises that he can get the four into the real Good Place.

Chidi agrees quickly, accepting that his work on ethics in life was unsuccessful. Jason is oblivious, but Michael's bow tie earns his trust. Tahani insists she belongs in the Good Place, but concedes after Michael helps her remember how she died: she was crushed by a statue of her sister Kamilah that she pulled down in a fit of jealousy at having been upstaged by her again, demonstrating Tahani's self-obsession.

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Eleanor, however, plans to flee to Mindy's house, but accedes to Michael's plan after Michael informs her that Chidi never refused to help her when she asked for it. She adds a condition: Michael must participate in Chidi's ethics classes. Even though Michael sees humans as "cockroaches," he agrees. The neighborhood is rebooted, with Vicky taking on the role of the top point earner and honorary mayor. The newly christened "Team Cockroach" meet in secret and are joined by Janet, whose programming compels her to make humans happy; thus, she will support the only real humans present.

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Tropes:

  • Appropriated Appellation: Michael contemptuously refers to the humans as the equivalent of cockroaches. At the end, Eleanor proudly refers to the group as Team Cockroach.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Exploited. When Jason is asking dumb questions, Eleanor tells Janet to give him something shiny to play with. She gives him a sparkler.
  • Bottle Episode: Other than Tahani's flashback, the entire episode takes place in Eleanor's house. It also fits the trope by having no special effects and a plot that just consists of the six main characters having a conversation.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After remembering her death, Tahani is more embarrassed by the fact that she died in Cleveland than anything. Lampshaded by Michael:
    "I don't think that should be your biggest takeaway from that story."
  • Deal with the Devil: Mentioned by Eleanor as what they are about to do if they agree to go with Michael's plan.
  • Death by Irony: Tahani, who spent her entire life trying to get out of her sister's shadow, was killed because the statue of Kamilah she had been trying to topple fell on her.
  • Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter: Parodied.
    Michael: I gotta say, it took me a long time to get used to the hanging bits.
    Eleanor: Gross.
    Michael: Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, Eleanor. I was talking about my testicles.
  • Insult Misfire:
    Michael: I'm an immortal being with abilities you can only dream of.
    Eleanor: Yeah, and we're an Arizona dirtbag, a human turtleneck, a narcissistic monster, and literally the dumbest person I've ever met.
    Jason: And who am I? Describe me now!
  • Jerkass: Kamilah wasn't exactly a great sister, admitting that she barely even thinks of Tahani (when not considering her an embarrassment, that is).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The questions the protagonists ask of Michael in this episode seem to be aimed at addressing the fandom speculation following the Season 1 finale:
    • While Michael is certainly a liar, he tries to tell the truth as much as possible so as to make his lies more convincing - thus, we don't need to second-guess everything we've been told about how the afterlife works.
    • Mindy St. Claire is a real person who was genuinely sentenced to a Medium Place when she died, not a demon playing a part.
    • Tahani's flashback addresses the fans who felt that raising billions for charity should've gotten Tahani automatically sent to the Good Place (even if her motivations weren't entirely pure) by showing that her jealousy of Kamilah literally got her killed.
  • Loophole Abuse: Janet can't lie, but since she's designed specifically to help humans, she can do just that to the demons.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Michael laughs when Jason asks him if the Jacksonville Jaguars won the Super Bowl the year before. Until he realizes that it was a serious question.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: Eleanor mentions that she is in the room with the dumbest person she ever met. Jason looks around and asks who that would be.
  • Sleeping Dummy: According to Chidi, Eleanor prepared one for herself before trying to sneak out and leave to the Medium Place.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: The background music stops when Chidi catches Eleanor trying to sneak out the back door.
  • Team Hand-Stack: The group does one to seal the Deal with the Devil.
  • What Would X Do?: Eleanor agrees to join Michael because it's what Chidi would do. Chidi himself is discomfited by them talking about him like he's not in the room.

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