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Recap / The Good Place S3E03 "The Snowplow"

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"What the hell is that?"

"Let's get peeping!"
Janet
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Michael and Janet are stuck on Earth, not daring to go back to the Judge's Zone as they're afraid of Gen's wrath. With nothing else to do, they decide to hide in an abandoned part of the university Chidi works at and continue to monitor the four humans' progress. They get Eleanor a winning lottery ticket to give her the funds she needs to stay in Australia, and set Tahani up with her ex-boyfriend Larry Hemsworth in order to stop her from hooking up with Jason.

About a year later, Tahani announces that she and Larry are now engaged, and that they'll be moving back to England. Chidi and Simone acknowledge that this is a natural stopping point for the study. Upset about losing the first group she's ever connected with, Eleanor lashes out at Tahani's engagement party, but a talk with Simone puts it into perspective. Eleanor goes back inside to apologize to the rest of the Brainy Bunch, and they resolve to continue staying in touch and reunite once every year.

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All this time, Janet and Michael have been attempting to manipulate events to keep the group together, to no avail. Frustrated that the group is breaking up, Michael resolves to sneak back into the Judge's chambers and reset the timeline despite Janet's protests. However, before they can go, Chidi, Jason, Eleanor, and Tahani find them opening the door and demand to know what's going on.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Once again, Michael's perfectionist nature manifests itself to his detriment. Having learned nothing from his 800 failed fake Good Place experiments, he goes from gently nudging the four in the right direction to trying to micromanage them so they never leave Australia. Predictably, life doesn't work like that—especially in the real world, where they are surrounded by other humans. Janet tries to talk some sense into him, but he refuses to listen, instead believing he needs to reset the timeline. Luckily, he doesn't make it that far.
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  • Birds of a Feather: It seems one of the reasons Tahani and Larry Hemsworth bond is that they both are deeply frustrated by living in the shadow of their siblings.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Larry Hemsworth, the non-famous Hemsworth brother Tahani mentioned dating, appears in the flesh.
    • Michael suggests using his bad Australian accent again. This time, Janet suggests maybe not using it... only for Michael to do so anyway.
  • Call-Back: Eleanor punches a hole into a cake, this time in a fit of anger rather than to purposefully ruin Tahani's party.
  • Continuity Nod: Eleanor's love of shrimp is acknowledged (and used against her) again when Michael, dressed as a caterer, offers some to her while trying to give her advice.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: Tahani receives a very large diamond ring from Larry when he proposes. Eleanor jokingly wonders how she's even able to raise her hand with it on.
  • Fake Static: Michael pretends his conversation with Gen is breaking up when she mentions she'll be waiting for them in the afterlife to give them their punishment. Gen isn't fooled.
    Michael: Sorry, Judge, I think you're breaking up. [He and Janet put their hands near their ears as if they can't hear Gen]
    Gen: That's impossible. It's a magical key, you dick. [Michael not-so-subtly starts stepping on key to try end the call] What are you doing? I can see you.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Janet casually mentions to Ken the convenience store clerk that the woman he thinks is his aunt is actually his mother.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Gen promises Janet and Michael if they ever return. Originally she was just going to have them go back to the Bad Place. But their escape made her so furious she's ready to throw them into the abyss like she did with Trevor.
  • Forged Message: Michael writes a not-so-convincing email under Trevor's name to make an excuse for his sudden absence (as he was dragged back to the afterlife and flung into the void by Gen in the last episode). The email says, "I'm sad to inform you that I am too ugly and stupid to be in the study and I'm going home to my mommy."
  • Freudian Slip: Janet declares she'll go deal with Jason, except she first calls him "Sweet Cheeks" and then repeats herself with "Jason's butt" before finally correctly saying his name.
  • Fun with Homophones: Tahani finds a place for her engagement party on "Heir B&B", which sounds like "Air B&B".
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Michael is so busy freaking out about the plan failing that he misses the group deciding to meet yearly, which would have most likely worked in his favor. Had he not then tried to go back to the Afterlife in a desperate attempt to redo it, the group wouldn't have found him out.
  • Hollywood Homely: Parodied. Larry Hemsworth is extremely handsome, in great shape, and is a pediatric surgeon, but since his brothers are more famous and renowned for their good looks, he considers himself fat, ugly and a loser, to the complete bafflement of everybody else. invoked
  • Implausible Deniability: When Simone spots Eleanor lurking outside the Heir B&B after leaving the party, she asks to confirm it's her. Eleanor, who has evidently been drinking, replies instantly with "no."
  • Informed Deformity: In-Universe, Larry Hemsworth (the fictional least well-known of the famous brothers) constantly complains about how dull and ugly he is. He claims to have a forgettable face, is considered the "chubby" one at least according to his mother, and he rants about "only" being 6'4'' and barely having an 8-pack. As he is almost a Parody Sue with how good-looking and successful he is, the characters are dumbfounded by his exaggerated self-deprecation.
  • The Matchmaker: Not wanting Tahani to get together with Jason as it could potentially do damage to the group, Michael and Janet arrange things so that she runs into her ex, Larry Hemsworth, and have them hit it off. It works so well they become engaged a year later and plan to move to Britain, which actually worsens Michael's plan to have the group stay together.
  • Misery Builds Character: Inverted: lack of misery fails to build character. Keeping the gang away from their problems ultimately leads Eleanor to throw a temper tantrum, and she needs Simone's help to be able to actually examine why she did what she did.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Michael's plan to re-reboot the timeline. First, he plans to sneak back into the judge's office, knowing full well Gen is waiting for him and Janet to come back (since it's her office) and is still massively pissed at them. He has no idea how to actually reboot the timeline beyond "poke around and hope I find what I need," in the hope this will get things back on track.
  • New Old Flame: Tahani reconnects with once-mentioned ex-boyfriend Larry Hemsworth as part of Michael and Janet's scheme to stop her from getting with Jason.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Michael tries to stop Tahani and Jason from becoming a couple (again), instead hooking her up with Larry Hemsworth... which slowly begins to disintegrate the group. It also has the unintended effect of undoing Tahani's Character Development as she's paired with a soulmate who only encourages her neurosis; when she was with Jason she slowly began to lose her snobbery.
    • Michael's advice to Eleanor backfires spectacularly, as Eleanor's heartfelt plea to keep the group together doesn't work. So she lashes out. Luckily Simone is there when she needs it most, giving her a much needed pep talk, which gives Eleanor the courage to apologize. This leads Tahani to propose that they compromise and do yearly reunions.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Simone asks Eleanor if she's ever really identified with a group before, Eleanor mentions having joined the Girl Scouts. Under a fake name, so she could steal cookies.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • When Michael and Janet use the old "we're breaking up" trick to hang up on Gen after she calls them through the frog key, she calls them both dicks, something rather profane both for her and the series in general.
    • After suggesting that Eleanor's behavior is is the result of how she never really learned to sublimate her own desires and become part of a group, Simone suggests the alternative is that Eleanor is "just kind of a dick."
  • Punny Name: The retail worker that sells Janet the lottery ticket is called Ken. His surname in the credits is listed as Garoo, making his full name Ken Garoo—hilariously appropriate for the current Australian setting.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Larry Hemsworth sees through Michael and Janet's attempts to disguise themselves as caterers, though not because of Michael's awful Australian accent. He just assumes they're journalists trying to get at him.
  • Running Gag:
    • Tahani name-dropping celebrities and Eleanor informing her she gets it.
    • Janet using her omniscience to inform people about things they didn't know about their lives.
    • Larry Hemsworth grumbling about his supposed lack of status and/or attractiveness, in full defiance of objective truth.
    • A fancy party is once again dampened by the antics of a drunk person.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Parodied with Larry Hemsworth, who, despite being a classically handsome pediatric surgeon with "almost an 8-pack," is hilariously insecure about not being as famous as his actor brothers. This is something he and Tahani have in common.
  • Time Skip: The episode has multiple skips. The first two are three months each and the last one is six months. Quick montages of these timeskips show the study group making smooth progress and celebrating events such as Chidi's birthday, emphasising how much time they've spent together and making it harder for Eleanor when the study group is about to break up.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Downplayed, but still very much in evidence. Michael tries to act as a "snowplow," moving obstacles out of the way so that the group can stay together in Australia. He ends up covering their every need, almost commits arson, and is fully prepared to reset the timeline so he can try again.
  • Wham Shot: The episode ends with Michael opening the Judge's door... and the main four seeing it.

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