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Recap / The Good Place S3E02 "The Brainy Bunch"

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"God, I'm just so happy to be here...if that makes sense."

"It's gonna take a lot more than that to break up this group."

Trevor has joined Chidi and Simone's study, posing as an unlikable and overeager test subject in order to drive Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason away from each other. Michael and Janet are determined to stop him. After a few tests in Simone's MRI machine, Trevor drags the group to an America-themed restaurant where he insinuates that Chidi being friends with his test subjects will skew the results, correctly predicting that Eleanor will get disheartened when she seemingly fails to dissuade him. He also schemes to get Tahani and Jason to hook up so Tahani will leave the group in disgust. However, these plots fail when Tahani is actually charmed by Jason's behavior and stays, while Chidi goes to Eleanor's motel room, admits that they're friends, and brings her back to the study group.

Gen orders Trevor, Michael, and Janet to return to her chambers, expressing anger and disappointment at Michael's continued meddling in human affairs. Trevor tries to kiss up to her, which annoys her enough to get her to banish him into the void with a wave of the hand and forbids Michael and Janet from returning to Earth, saying that now the humans will have to get into the Good Place on their own merit. However, all the items Janet attempted to summon back on Earth appear and block her way; this distraction (and Jeff the Doorman handing them the key) allows Michael and Janet time to escape through the portal down to Earth.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to Gen, Michael's meddling on Earth has caused a ripple effect including things like Brexit, The Greatest Showman grossing $400 million, and the Jacksonville Jaguars becoming good!
    Michael: Impossible!
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Trevor gets Jason and Tahani drunk at the bar and attempts to have them hook up, hoping for something embarrassing to happen (like Jason taking advantage of her). The next day an embarrassed Tahani starts grumbling about the night before, leading Trevor to think his plan was successful... then Tahani continues and it turns out all that happened was that Jason got her home safely. Tahani was just complaining about herself being drunk and felt bad for burdening Jason and everyone else with this apparently boorish behavior.
    • When Gen lists the bizarre things that happened due to Michael and Janet interfering with the timeline, it seems as though she's building up to telling them about Donald Trump getting elected President, but she never brings that up and instead finishes off with the Jacksonville Jaguars making it to playoffs.
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  • Bare Your Midriff: Janet's outfit when posing as a waitress on Earth is rather fanservicey, since it shows off her waist.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The Doorman lets Michael and Janet escape to Earth because Michael made small talk and brought him a frog mug from Earth.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While on Earth, Janet tries summoning several things to see if they'll kill Trevor.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Trevor posits himself as an annoyingly overeager study participant as part of his scheme to separate the four humans.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Janet doesn't have any powers on Earth, unlike in the afterlife. While she retains her perfect knowledge of all human affairs, it does not update in real-time anymore, and she cannot summon objects.
  • Captain Obvious: Jeff the Doorman enlightens Gen to the fact that Janet and Michael have escaped to Earth. Gen snarks a "thank you" back. At least he wasn't banished to the outer darkness like Trevor was.
  • Chekhov's Gag: At the American-themed restaurant, Janet attempts to summon a round of beers, a dictionary, spaghetti, a jet-ski, and a giraffe. When the massive pile of items finally appears at the end, all of those things can be spotted among them.
  • Chekhov's Gun: On Earth, Janet attempts to summon things like she usually does, except she can't use her powers so nothing turns up. At the end of the episode, all of the things she attempted to summon appear all at once when she and Michael are about to be taken to the Bad Place by Gen. The various objects block Gen's way, allowing Janet and Michael to escape to Earth.
    Jen: Janet, stop that!
    Janet: I don't think I can. I'm like a printer when the print queue suddenly starts processing all the unprinted documents.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Michael dons a very obvious trench coat and a fedora when trying to look inconspicuous on Earth. Trevor compares him to Dick Tracy.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: When listing Transformers, the ever so ditzy Jason associates the other three humans with Autobots, and Trevor with Megatron, unknowingly getting their roles down pat.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Trevor, a mighty demon in charge of an entire section of the Bad Place, gets casually tossed into the outer darkness by Gen.
  • Description Cut: Michael calls Trevor "the most dangerous creature in the universe." Cut to Trevor cheerfully offering the group lemon bars.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Michael and Janet did violate Gen's terms of the experiments, but sending them back to the Bad Place and certain death is beyond harsh.
  • Eagleland: Trevor takes the group to an American-themed restaurant that exemplifies all the negative stereotypes—a tacky Western-style accentuated with pop culture decor, an allegedly horrible Florida table that smells like a swamp, a "Manifest Destiny" package where you can kick anyone out for $30, and available tables being announced by (apparently real) guns going off. Even Eleanor calls it the "world's worst restaurant."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Trevor really misjudges the main four, failing to account for how they've changed since he last saw them.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: One hand wave by Gen and Trevor is hurled screaming into the infinite darkness surrounding the walkway to Earth.
  • For Want of a Nail: According to Gen, ripple effects from Michael and Janet's interference in the human world somehow caused Britain to leave the EU and made The Greatest Showman a hit.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • After Chidi's sleepless night, he manages to misspell "Plato" on his board, so now it says "Palto".
    • By freeze-framing, you can see that among the things Janet attempted to summon while on Earth were a tractor, a filing cabinet, a turtle, a military tank, a hairdryer, an enormous barrel of poison, at least three shopping trolleys, a billboard reading "Trevor Stinks - Janet", a rolled-up carpet, a drive-thru diner, and a cactus.
  • Friendship Moment: The doorman helps Michael and Janet escape to Earth at the end rather than see them killed.
  • Lame Comeback: Michael tries throughout the episode to come up with a good retort to Trevor's Your Mom crack at him, and never comes remotely close. As they continue to meet up, Trevor goes from amused at Michael's repeated incompetence to mildly annoyed with it.
    Michael: Hey, Dick Tracy called. He said that I was right about Eleanor and Chidi having an unbreakable bond.
    Trevor: I don't think you understand how that joke works.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The more outraged and agitated Gen becomes, the more she starts waving her hands around in an exaggerated manner.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Jeff the Doorman takes a moment while on Earth to watch a faucet go off.
  • Noodle Incident: Chidi apparently got a socket wrench on the way to Eleanor's motel room, but he's too sleep-deprived to remember how.
  • No Sympathy: Gen is perfectly aware that sending Janet and Michael to the Bad Place will get them executed, but since they disobeyed her explicit instructions not to meddle she's not particularly teary-eyed.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Gen is usually a chipper and bubbly individual even during the most serious of moments, only being a trifle annoyed or defensive at her worst. This is the first time we've seen her legitimately angry, which makes it clear that Michael and Janet interacting with the humans more than they were permitted to is not acceptable.
  • Overly Long Gag: Gen's raspberry noises when doing her thumbs down to indicate the humans will go to the Bad Place if they don't redeem themselves on Earth goes on a lot longer than one would normally do for a standard raspberry.
  • Poisonous Friend: In order to break up the group, Trevor attempts to be the new best friend that secretly sabotages everyone's good progress by having them doubt themselves or get on bad terms with each other. Luckily, his not-so-subtle obnoxious demeanor works against him, as none of the others, especially Eleanor, can really stand him.
  • Reality Ensues: Gen was bound to discover Michael and Janet's meddling with the gang by the second episode. As inattentive to universal affairs as she is, someone sneaking out so many times in a row in a such a short time span won't avoid detection too long.
  • Schmuck Bait: Michael agrees to shake Trevor's hand even after having been told just a moment ago that Trevor likes covering his hands in toilet water.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title, and Trevor's group nickname and sweatshirts, are one to The Brady Bunch.
    • Trevor compares Michael's getup to Dick Tracy.
    • Trevor asks the group if they think that Disney making more Star Wars sequels will eventually lead to a Spaceballs sequel.
    • Jason brings a spider to the MRI machine, thinking that the radiation will give him superpowers like Spider-Man.
    • Gen complains that Michael's interference caused a ripple effect that caused The Greatest Showman to somehow make serious bank at the box office.
    • Among the pile of objects that Janet summoned is a "Paunch Burger" brand bucket of soda, a popular fast-food chain from Parks and Recreation (another comedy series by Michael Schur).
  • Smug Snake: Trevor is really sure that he'll be able to make the group fall back into old habits and that they won't be able to resist his charms. In reality, they just find him annoying.
  • Stupid Evil: Michael points out to Trevor that after Shawn found out about the experiment and what he was doing, he could've easily ratted him out to Gen, who would end the experiment and send the four back to the Bad Place. Trevor retorts that sabotage is just much more fun.
  • Take That!: The Australian-run American-themed restaurant has fun with a broad view of oddly American things. However, it directly makes fun of chains like Outback Steakhouse which claim to be Australian but are nothing like the real country's cuisine.
  • Wham Episode: Gen finds out about Janet and Michael's meddling on Earth and Trevor's attempts to counteract their meddling. She ends the experiment but lets the four humans continue living, giving them a chance to earn their place in the Good Place for real. She decides to send Janet and Michael back to the Bad Place for disobeying her instructions, but the two choose self-imposed exile on Earth rather than meet the grisly fates that await them in the Bad Place.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Michael and Janet are effectively banished from the afterlife, as they aren't safe in the Bad Place nor in the Judge's Zone.


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