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Recap / The Good Place S3E01 "Everything Is Bonzer!"

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"You and Simone had some real professor dork vibes flowing."

"Can I ask you something? Why are you helping me?"
Eleanor
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Michael, Gen, and Janet begin their experiment with Michael saving Eleanor, Jason, Chidi, and Tahani from their deaths. A year or so later, Michael and Janet are dismayed to find that Eleanor has returned to her old ways, Chidi has again regressed to being extremely indecisive, Tahani is back to being a self-centered celebrity, and Jason has returned to a life of crime.

Michael intervenes by getting Eleanor to meet Chidi in Australia, and he agrees to help Eleanor become a better person because he too had a near-death experience. This led to him meeting Simone, a neurologist, who helped him become more decisive. This stuck until Chidi encouraged his friend Henry to get in shape, only for it go badly wrong when Henry broke his legs and caused Chidi to regress. Michael, as part of his second trip to Earth, appeared as a librarian to encourage Chidi to help the next person who asks for it. In the present, Chidi explains this next person was Eleanor. As Eleanor and Chidi continue their philosophy lessons, Eleanor helps Chidi to ask Simone on a date, and Michael becomes convinced that the best way to get the experiment to succeed would be to get the four main humans together, returning to Earth again.

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Meanwhile, Shawn and some other Bad Placers try to hack into the Judge's systems to find out what Michael is up to. Michael's reentry to Earth gives them an in.

Chidi eventually has an epiphany for his thesis topic—a collaborative study with Simone about how near-death experiences affect a person's brain and ethics. He puts up an advertisement for the study. Three weeks later, Tahani arrives in Australia and recounts the events that led her here. After Kamilah took the credit for saving her life, Tahani resolved to rid herself of her worldly possessions and joined a Buddhist monastery. While she genuinely appeared to have been content there, a reporter offered to cover her new life. This led to her publishing an extremely well-regarded self-help book about it and regressing back to being vain and out-of-touch. Frustrated, Michael posed as a sleazy investor, which shocked her enough to participate in Chidi's study.

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Later, Michael posed as a talent scout and approached Jason, offering to let him head a dance crew in Australia. Jason declines, recounting his year of failures in amateur hip-hop dance following his near-death experience. He returned to petty crime after the dance crew ran out of studio rent money. Michael advises him to find a new "crew" that would help him become a better person.

With the Judge still none the wiser, the humans are reunited in Australia. However, just as they begin, Chidi introduces the study's fifth participant—who is none other than Trevor, sent on a mission by the Bad Place to sabotage Michael's efforts.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • And I Must Scream: Demons cocooned by Shawn are apparently still aware of what is going on outside.
  • Bad Boss: Shawn has a habit of cocooning his underlings when they so much as question his motives. Or approve of his treatment of those who question his motives. Or who successfully do exactly what he instructed them to do without complaint.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Jason is shown proposing to a woman. She turns out to be a police officer arresting him.
    • After his near-death experience, Jason looks at a board of posters, the viewer's eyes being drawn to the one for Jacksonville Community College. Jason leans in... and rips off the one for a dance competition instead.
    • Shawn (or maybe Vicky) is who the audience is likely expecting as the fifth "participant" of Chidi's experiment, but instead, he sends Trevor.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Chidi and Simone, in the second half.
  • Brick Joke: The Doorman drinks decaf antimatter, and likes frogs (the Key to Earth is on a frog keychain). On his last trip to Earth, Michael gets the doorman a frog-decal thermos for his antimatter.
  • The Bus Came Back: Trevor returns after about a season and a half of absence.
  • Call-Back:
    • As part of his efforts to change, Chidi dumps his 3600 page book on ethics in the trash, just as he did back in "Tahani Al-Jamil".
    • Michael and Jason again meet on a bridge and one offers advice like in "Dance Dance Resolution", only this time it's Michael giving Jason advice.
  • Cassandra Truth: Janet warns Michael he's taking unnecessary risks by going back down to Earth; she's proven right when the multiple trips allow Shawn to find out what he's doing and send Trevor down to ruin it.
  • Comically Missing the Point: An air conditioner nearly falls on Chidi's head because he's being ridiculously indecisive. He takes it as a sign from the universe that he should stop using air conditioners.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Chidi states he's a native French speaker in the first episode of Season 1. Despite this plot point being seemingly forgotten in flashbacks and the last episode where he speaks fluent English, this is still confirmed to be true when he and a colleague briefly converse in French, confusing Eleanor who's just arrived in Australia. Chidi explains to her that while French is his first language he also learned English when studying in America.
    • Chidi's reaction to the air conditioner, that they are harmful to the environment and that's the problem, mirrors his previous assumption he'd been sent to the Bad Place for continuing to drink almond milk despite knowing it's bad for the environment.
    • Tahani shows up at the monastery wearing cargo pants, which she'd previously whined about in "Everything Is Great!"
  • Failed a Spot Check: Jason didn't seem to bother properly double-checking the rules of the first dance competition, with one of them stating the maximum number of people allowed on stage is eight—and his team had 40.
  • Failure Montage: Jason's near-death experience motivates him to dedicate his life to competing in dance competitions without committing petty crimes to get ahead. Cue a montage of his crew losing competition after competition.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The camera crew that finds Tahani in the Buddhist monastery works for "Squalor", but the font and layout of their card is a dead ringer for Vice.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The brief glimpse of Tahani's phone shows a bunch of celebrities she's friends with, like Taika Waititi and Taylor Swift.
  • The Gadfly: Simone tells Chidi there is a way to see what's wrong with his brain. Which involves peeling his head back and sticking needles in his brain, while he's un-anaesthetized. She then admits she's joking.
  • Gilligan Cut: Eleanor swears she's going to drop Chidi and Simone's relationship. Cut to her kickstarting their relationship while Chidi's in an MRI machine and unable to protest.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Parodied. Tahani at one point claims to have been a total tomboy in high school, and shows off a photo of herself... looking and dressing as feminine as usual, but holding a basketball.
  • Hidden Depths: Out of Team Cockroach, Jason is the only one who's fully aware he's backslid into his old ways throughout the year alone and is ready to make a change by the time Michael approaches him.
  • Hope Spot: In the first competition, when the winning team was about to be announced, it seemed to be setting up for Jason's team to have won and hit it big... then the announcer states his team's disqualified for having far too many people onstage (and trying to hijack his car).
  • How We Got Here: Early in the episode viewers briefly see not just Eleanor but also Chidi, Tahani and Jason being like their old selves with not much context (Chidi having a breakdown over choosing what to eat, Tahani flaunting her house to a TV reporter, Jason getting arrested by the cops). As the episode progresses it's shown what happened to the each of them after their lives were saved and how they got to those points (specifically how they improved themselves and then downgraded again).
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Chidi's encouragement of his friend to get in shape leads to a humiliating accident at the gym that gets taped and put on the Internet. 62,000 views and counting.
  • It Amused Me: Shawn's reason to cocoon an underling who had done exactly as ordered: "I'm a demon. It's fun."
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": After Chidi wrote "Aristotle" down on a board, Eleanor draws a burrito because it reminded her of Chipotle, then considers whether it should be pronounced "Chipitottle".
  • Jerkass: Kamilah, no surprise there. She shows no regard for the fact her sister nearly died, and when everyone assumes she saved Tahani, just smugly basks in the adulation rather than correcting them.
  • Jerkass Realization: Invoked through the humans' near-death experiences to inspire them to change their ways.
    • Chidi realizes his indecisiveness is a pain to himself and those around him.
    • After Tahani's relapse when her journey to shed a need for affirmation becomes warped into a publicity tour, Michael then shows up posing as an overt charlatan who praises her "scam", which causes her to realize that she has come full circle.
  • Land Down Under: Most of the episode takes place in Australia, as evidenced by the Australian accents of several supporting cast members, the Australian flag in Chidi's office... and the jars of vegemite on the muffin cart.
  • Moment Killer: After Simone and Chidi joyfully kiss, the student she's currently meeting mentions that his grandmother died. Eleanor lambasts him for not reading the room.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Michael, after his trip down to Earth, regales the Doorman and Janet with some of the human items he sampled while he was down there.
    Michael: I saw this place that was at once a Pizza Hut and a Taco Bell! I mean, oh! The mind reels! A Pizza Hut and a Taco Bell!
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Michael's constant trips to Earth allow Shawn to hack into the Judge's zone see what's going on and send Trevor to Earth to ruin it.
  • Omniglot: Chidi was previously established as fluent in English and French. Here he also notes that he speaks German, Greek and Latin ("In case it comes back").
  • Once More, with Clarity!: We see Eleanor's near-death experience from the previous episode, showing it was Michael who pushed her out of the way of the trolleys.
  • Only Sane Man: Glenn points out Shawn is being obsessive over the humans, and asks why he's investing so much energy into getting back at four people. He gets cocooned for his troubles.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Michael's Australian accent is shaky, to put it mildly. He is convinced that he nailed it.
  • Parody Sue: Proving Kamilah isn't the only one who can have a go, Tahani's book becomes so successful that two writers declare they'll quit writing because they'll never equal what Tahani's written.
  • Potty Emergency: Jason realizes that the vicodin Pillboi gave him was actually a laxative only after he took it.
  • Reality Ensues: Eleanor wasn't the only one who suffered a relapse; they all did, and Michael, in turn, sneaked back down to Earth to set them on the right path.
  • Redemption Failure: Chidi, Tahani and Jason's stories show that, like Eleanor, their attempts to be better people were brief, which led them to go back to their bad habits. Michael had to return to earth to "nudge" each of them back in the right direction like he did with Eleanor in the last episode.
    • Chidi tried to be more spontaneous instead of dragging his friends around with his indecisiveness and obsessiveness, which seemed to improve his relationships and interactions with other people as well as his confidence. However, after his friend hurt himself as a result of this (by taking Chidi's suggested new exercise program way too far), he started to revert to his grating indecisive ways.
    • Tahani strayed from the spotlight and was successfully embracing a more simple life of meditation and humility, only to give in to her self-centered ways when she encountered a reporter who helped her become a big-name socialite again.
    • Jason sincerely avoided crime and ordered his dance crew to follow suit (even though it resulted in a couple of disgruntled members leaving) while they participated in several dance shows in hopes of making it big. After multiple losses and running out of money, Jason reluctantly went back to his crooked ways.
  • Rule of Three: After the first dance competition, three more scenes of the dance competition winners being announced (and hence Jason's team losing each time) are shown. The winners were Panther Blood, Suck Monsters... and nobody, because all the teams got disqualified for violence.
  • Running Gag: The sentence "This is why everyone hates moral philosophy professors" shows up again.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Half of Dance Dance Resolution quit on the spot when Jason says they can no longer commit crime.
  • Shipper on Deck: Eleanor works really hard to get Chidi and Simone's relationship going. Michael, who's rooting for Eleanor and Chidi to be together like before, is disgruntled, but Janet is also enthusiastic by Chidi and Simone's relationship (and their hypothetical children).
  • Spousal Privilege: Jason seems to have an extremely confused understanding of how this works since he believes that he can avoid jail by marrying his own arresting officer.
  • Stupid Crooks: Jason, as part of his relapse, winds up getting busted by the cops, and tries convincing the arresting officer to marry him, so he can't be convicted. In doing so, he manages to confess that he's committed the crimes they're busting him for. He then wastes his One Phone Call trying to prank the police.
  • Sue Donym: Chidi reports receiving an email from a previously unknown professor named "Charles Brainman," who was almost certainly Michael.
  • Take That!:
    • "One of them [Chidi and Simone's possible children in Janet's prognostication] is hot enough to be on The Bachelor... and smart enough to never go on The Bachelor!"
    • Shawn orders some terrible music to be played to motivate the demons. Cue "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Chidi talks his friend into working out, asking what's the worst that could happen. Cut to his friend in the hospital with severe injuries.
    • Just as Michael confidently declares Eleanor and Chidi are back together again and nothing can break them up... cut to Shawn and his demons hard at work.
  • Up to Eleven: Tahani's phone address book not only includes the phone numbers of both Bono and The Edge, but also "The Edge's secret phone number that even Bono doesn't have."
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Invoked: when Tahani goes on tour to promote her book on letting go of a need for self-affirmation, Michael poses as a sleazy promoter of the same sort of self-help philosophy and he openly praises her "scam". This causes Tahani to realize that she has regressed right back into the same sort of self-centered behavior that she tried to escape after her near-death experience.
  • Wham Shot: The episode closes with a fifth member joining the group—Trevor!

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