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Recap / The Good Place S2E10 "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent"

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"Pass the NASCAR ketchup!"

Eleanor: So you can’t even lie to demons? They’re trying to torture us, man! We’re behind enemy lines!
Chidi: Well, principles aren’t principles when you pick and choose when you’re gonna follow them!
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Michael's plan for Team Cockroach is this — the humans hide out in Bad Place headquarters as Michael attempts to get four pins that will allow their passage through the portal to the eternal judge's office. Unfortunately, their arrival coincides with an event at the Museum of Human Misery, so the foursome must socialize among the demons to keep from being discovered. Eleanor ("Diana"), Tahani ("Rhonda"), and Jason ("Jake") have a relatively easy time of it, but when Chidi is mistaken for a top torturer by a real demon, he has trouble compromising his moral principles and lying his way out of the situation. Janet (masquerading as a Bad Janet) manages to gather the team just as the museum's newest exhibit is revealed...robotic versions of the humans of Neighborhood 1358W.

Meanwhile, Michael attempts to wrangle these pins out of Shawn under the pretense of putting together a team to go to Mindy St. Clair's place, but is unsuccessful — instead, Shawn has already broken the rules and sent a team to the Medium Place, only to realize that the humans aren't there. Realizing that Michael has betrayed them, Shawn finds Michael and the humans in the museum just as the other demons have realized that Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent are the actual humans. Jason makes a Molotov cocktail and the team makes a break for it.

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At the portal, Michael realizes that he was only able to steal three pins. He puts his own pin on Eleanor and pushes her through just as Shawn and his goons catch up to him.

Tropes

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Eleanor chuckles when the museum's Chidi robot questions its own existence and complains its stomach hurts, citing that the real Chidi has actually said all those things before. When the Eleanor robot talks about how it mocks others to distract from the emptiness inside the real Eleanor calls it a "fair hit". Jason likewise finds his own robot hilarious.
  • Ass Shove: Implied by Michael when Tahani decides her character is from the department of shoving hotdogs into people.
    Tahani: Ooh, stuffing people sounds fun. Is that like shoving them into the throats of vegans?
    Michael: Yes... (Beat) Throats.
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  • Bad "Bad Acting": Janet masquerading as a Bad Janet is hilariously terrible, as her insults are lame and she fails at being mean. Justified as a Bad Janet literally cannot act like a Good Janet and the reverse holds true.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Eleanor asks early on if Chidi's anxious because he lost his lucky bookmark. It might sound sarcastic, but when they're stuck at the party, Chidi takes out said bookmark and begins playing with it.
    • Michael puts on a body spray that makes you smell like how the Transformers movies make you feel. Later when Michael meets up again with the four humans, Eleanor recoils and asks "Ugh! How do you smell loud and confusing?"
    • One of the longest setups in the series finally pays off, as Jason has been trying to get out of problems by throwing Molotov cocktails since his first flashback episode, and has repeatedly mentioned that it always worked for him when he was alive. What does he do when Team Cockroach is backed into a corner?
      Jason: JORTLES!
    • In the season premiere, Hawaiian pizza is the food of choice in the fake Good Place, and Angelique rhetorically wonders what pizza they have in the Bad Place. Turns out it's Hawaiian.
  • Call-Back: Michael, pre-Heroic Sacrifice: "I just solved the Trolley Problem."
  • The Cameo: Dax Shepard (Kristen Bell's real-life husband) plays Chet.
  • Character Development: Michael shows how much he's changed due to the humans' influence, the contrast is definitely apparent in this episode when he immerses himself back in the Bad Place. The standout moment showcasing his growth is his Heroic Sacrifice, listed below.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends with the humans having passed through the portal, with Michael and Janet still stuck on the other side in Bad Place HQ, Michael himself having been caught by Shawn and his forces, his ruse exposed.
  • Eagleland: Tahani's American accent is believable, but her disguise falters slightly when she says exaggerated phrases like "pass the NASCAR ketchup" and saying alright like "a'ight."
  • Easy Road to Hell: Best exemplified in the Wing of Low-Grade Crappiness, where there are displays that show things like white people wearing dreadlocks, calling Ultimate Frisbee "Ultimate", and flossing in an open plan office.
  • Frat Bro: Many of the Bad Place male demons act like these.
  • Funny Background Event: When Chet introduces himself at the demon party, a jazzy instrumental version of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is playing in the background.
  • Fun with Acronyms: There's an IHOP in the Judge's zone.
    Michael: No, sorry, uh, in this realm IHOP stands for Interdimensional Hole... of Pancakes. You don't really eat these pancakes. It's more like they eat you.
    Jason: Okay, I'll get eggs then.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted for the first time as the real Bad Place doesn't have the same restrictions as the fake Good Place did, so the words "ass", "bitch", and "hell" are said without any alterations. Eleanor is very happy she can curse again.
  • Groin Attack: Played for laughs. Punching each other in the groin is standard practice among Bad Place douchebros.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Michael is only able to steal three Bad Place pins that will allow passage through to the judge's office. Chidi, Tahani and Jason go through first, leaving Eleanor and Michael at the mouth of the portal with Shawn and other Bad Placers right on their tail. Just as they're about to catch up Michael takes his pin, puts it on Eleanor's lapel and shoves her through the portal.
  • Honor Before Reason: Chidi's rigid belief in his absolutist principles really puts him at a disadvantage in the Bad Place where he will not go against the philosophy that lying is always wrong, even when not doing so means he could be discovered and captured. Luckily, Eleanor snaps him out of this way of thinking by reminding him that this kind of rigidity is what got him sent to the Bad Place.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Implied, a Bad Place black ops team arrives at Mindy St. Clair's place, only to find her (somehow) in the middle of sex with Derek. We only hear their voices, though. And Derek's wind chimes.
  • Mistaken Identity: A demon mistakes Chidi for an old co-worker named Trent. Not wanting to be exposed, Chidi has no choice but to play along.
  • Moral Dilemma: Again, Chidi is forced to confront his hatred of lying despite the danger they are in. Eleanor posits Jonathan Dancy's philosophy of moral particularism as a counter-argument, saying no action is universally good or bad and that the morality of the actions you choose depend on the context of the situation.
  • Non-Answer: Michael tells the humans to hide out in the Museum of Human Misery and Tahani asks where they are. Michael evades the question by saying it's a "place, an area or a location. It's pretty straightforward."
  • Not Helping Your Case: Tahani's Bad Place Museum copy does the exact kind of name-dropping Tahani does all the time, and then mimics Tahani's response for good measure.
    Tahani Dummy: I'm Tahani Al-Jamil, a vainglorious attention seeker with enough jealousy to power Elon Musk's underwater mansion. Which I've been to, by the way.
    Tahani: (under her breath) I have, actually. It's remarkable.
    Tahani Dummy: It's remarkable.
  • Oh, Crap!: Michael's reaction when Shawn reveals A) he's sending a strike team to Mindy's and B) the demons are going to hang out at the museum where the gang are hiding.
  • Poke the Poodle:
    • Janet's attempts at playing a Bad Place Janet come off as this. Her insults are quite tame, and when Janet practices with Michael and Tahani she can't help but fulfilling any requests made to her. After Tahani asks for a glass of water, Janet's voice quivers and she calls her a "dumb person," blatantly hiding a cup of water that she produced on instinct (and a backup glass as well).
    • The part of the museum where Michael hides the humans is dedicated to "low-grade crappiness" like flossing in public. It's a good place to hide since most demons don't come there, finding the parts dedicated to more meaty evils more fun to visit.
  • Russian Reversal: When Jason says he's gonna order the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity in IHOP of the Neutral zone, Michael warns him that in their realm, IHOP stands for "Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes". You don't really eat these pancakes. It's more like they eat you.
  • A Simple Plan: Michael's idea was actually not bad. He had the gang disguised and hang out at the museum where no one visits. He would then head to get four pins, figuring Shawn would be distracted by the long process of trying to "extradite" the humans. Sadly, he doesn't realize first that Shawn has no intentions of adhering to a legal process and instead is just raiding Mindy's immediately. He also doesn't know the museum is about to have a new exhibit devoted to the neighborhood and thus will be packed with demons.
  • Take That!:
    • A jab towards Johnny Depp by name-dropping Tahani: "Well, hang out with Johnny Depp long enough, and you become pretty good at lying. Like, 'No, you're whole thing isn't exhausting at all.'"
    • Negative shout-out to the Transformers movies in the form of an AXE brand deodorant that makes you smell "like how the Transformer films make you feel".
      Eleanor: Why do you smell loud and confusing?
    • As a Freeze-Frame Bonus, there is a film poster for "Pirates of the Caribbean 6: The Haunted Crow's Nest or Something, Who Gives a Crap. Now playing everywhere FOREVER."
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Michael sticks the humans in the Museum of Human Misery's wing of Low-Grade Crappiness, saying it's the least horrifying room. He warns that they not leave the area because they might see things that will haunt them forever.
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