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Recap / The Good Place S3E09 "Janets"

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"There may have been some side effects for the humans."

"We're almost at the end, guys. Just stay here, and keep Janet's heads on straight."

Janet has brought the Soul Squad to her void to escape the demons and the Judge. Now that they're dead again and not in either the Good or Bad Places, this makes them fugitives, so everyone in the afterlife will be after them. Since humans cannot survive in her realm, everyone's turned into Janets, and also share her powers. Eleanor tries to confront Chidi about what she's found out from Michael and begins having an identity crisis out of angst—Chidi loved her in another timeline but iterates that it isn't the Chidi he is now, using the philosophy of the self to prove his points, making her angry. Meanwhile, Tahani and Jason wander off and sift through Janet's memories, learning of the time Janet and Jason got married in the process.

While the void is falling into chaos, Michael and Janet visit the Accounting Department of the afterlife, who are responsible for admittance to the Good Place and Bad Place, including their Neutral Janet and the overworked Matt, to figure out what's wrong with the point system. The head accountant, Neil, cheerfully explains how the point system works and how it's protected from any sabotage. Out of curiosity, Michael asks how many points Doug Forcett has. Neil retrieves the Book of Dougs, a record of all Dougs throughout history, and pulls up the score. Neil's initially impressed by the numbers, but then notices Doug's age and confirms Shawn's assertion that he will also be going to the Bad Place. Michael is stunned and starts asking how many people have gotten into the Good Place recently. Neil's searching reveals that no human has gotten into the Good Place in 521 years.


Michael is horrified and outraged at this discovery, and is especially livid that no one seems to have noticed or even cares, as Neil still refuses to believe that something is wrong with the system. As Michael laments over these revelations, Janet gives words of encouragement and tells him that he must be the one to change the system if no one else is willing. She is also slowly falling apart, as Eleanor's increasing psychological breakdown is destabilizing her void and will kill the humans and Janet herself unless she calms down. Before Michael marbelizes Janet, however, Chidi finally gets through to Eleanor with a motivational speech and kisses her. The humans turn back into themselves, but can't stay in Janet's void anymore and are ejected, landing in the middle of the accountants' office, which trips the alarm. Michael, with a renewed resolve, tells Neil off and steals the Book of Dougs, and the group escapes through a pneumatic tube that takes them to the real Good Place.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • All for Nothing: Neil confirms Shawn's claim in the previous episode about Doug Forcett getting into the Bad Place. While Doug's score of 520,000 points seems impressive at first glance, when Neil discovers he's 68 years old, he says that it isn't nearly close enough for Doug to be on track to enter the Good Place. This would make Doug's punishing "happiness pump" lifestyle (which he'd gone through purely to have a chance to enter the Good Place) all the more worthless.
  • An Aesop: Don't hope that somebody else will fix the problems in the world; do it yourself.
  • Alien Geometries: Played for laughs with Janet's void. Chidi freaks out over the featureless void and asks where down is, and Jason answers it's up where he's standing upside down from.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Despite Michael's suspicions and Shawn's gloating, it's never confirmed if the Bad Place hacked the accountants' system, if the system itself is just inherently flawed, or both.
    • Also, Neil mentions one of his coworkers turning 39 million "again", but it's unclear if this is because she's lying about her age or the nonlinear nature of time in the afterlife.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Discussed by Chidi using philosophical arguments of identity as discerned by the retention of memory. He uses this to rationalize that the feelings of the Chidi who fell in love with Eleanor in the reboots are not his own because that Chidi had different experiences and memories that led to said feelings that he does not share.
  • Badass Boast: Michael declares that he'll save everyone and change the system himself since the accountants won't do anything about it. He makes good on it too.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The humans' bodies dematerialize and their essences are all put into Janets when they enter her void.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Chidi snaps Eleanor out of an identity crisis by giving her a dramatic kiss, also confirming his feelings for her.
  • Big "NO!": After remaining completely chipper in the face of the flaws of his system, it's the loss of his slice of cake that finally gets Neil.
    Neil: The last corner piece! Noooooo!
  • Black Comedy: A morbid joke is that one accountant named Matt, who is in charge of tallying points with regards to "Weird Sex Things", casually and regularly files requests for suicide. When Michael asks for a paperclip from him, Matt asks back "what are you going to do with it?!" in a scared tone.
  • Blank White Void: Janet's void is completely white and empty, unless she (or the humans in Janet form) summon something.
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: When Chidi points out the weirdness of being in a white woman's body, the other humans remind him Janet's not a woman.
  • Call-Back: "Digital Getdown" - the song Jason and Janet danced to after their wedding - plays when Tahani and Jason access Janet's wedding album.
    • Eleanor's exclamation when she realizes they're in the Good Place, "holy forking shirtballs", from her first realization that they were in the Bad Place (although there, it was "motherforking").
  • Casting Gag: Stephen Merchant in a cubicle purgatory.
  • Catchphrase: Neutral Janet ends her conversations with others by saying "End of conversation."
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The accountants are in charge of keeping track of humans' actions on Earth and determining whether they go to the Good or Bad place. They are a vast army of number crunchers; the fact nobody has gotten in the Good Place in over five hundred years doesn't bother them in the least.
  • Character Exaggeration: In-series, Eleanor and Jason briefly pretend to be each other as Janets which results in them playing up each other's personalities. Eleanor acts stupider than Jason normally is ("Oh dip! What are numbers?"), and Jason's idea of impersonating Eleanor is to flirtatiously talk to Chidi in a high-pitched voice (yes, even though he's a Janet and doesn't even need to) and call himself "Arizona shrimp horny".
  • Dare to Be Badass: Janet tells Michael that he's got to be the one to change the system if no one else will.
  • Easy Road to Hell: No one has gotten into the Good Place for the last 521 years. Apparently, the point goal is so high it's practically unreachable. "Happiness Pump" Doug Forcett has accumulated 520,000 points, and that's still not even close to enough for his age.
  • Emotionless Girl: Neutral Janet has a completely blank facial expression at all times, speaks in a flat Machine Monotone, and has a personality that is much more robotic compared to how both the Good and Bad Janets operate.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Neil first walks in, he's holding a mug that says "Existence's Best Boss".
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Neil mentions a "committee" of some kind who apparently run the actual Good Place, whom he tells Michael to direct his complaints to.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: All the humans in Janet form are given different outfits to wear that are characteristic to them (for example, Tahani-Janet in a floral dress and Chidi-Janet in bookworm clothes) so that everyone can tell who's who.
  • Internal Reveal: Jason and Tahani learn that Jason and Janet were married in the first Bad Place experiment attempt.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Eleanor has an identity crisis because she's confused over how she and Chidi could fall in love with each other during their time in the afterlife and whether they're still the same people as before, especially in light of her own growing feelings for him that he's apparently not reciprocating. This causes her to turn into random people and Janet's void to break down.
  • Insanity Immunity: Chidi doesn't provoke the Phlebotinum Breakdown due to his being unsure of his own identity crisis due to nerve-wracking self-questioning being who he naturally is.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Subverted. Apparently, all three billion accountants get the exact same point value for every moral action, even calculated individually... which hides from them the glaringly obvious fact that something is seriously wrong with the points system.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Jason-Janet is excited to discover that he has breasts.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The first act of human altruism was a primitive man giving his boulder to another. This was met with him getting his head bashed in with said boulder.
  • Noodle Implements: During the tour of the accountant bureau, Neil points out someone inventing a new action involving a hollowed out eggplant filled with hot sauce and nickels. Apparently, the man intends to use it for a "Weird Sex Thing".
  • Out of the Frying Pan: After the four humans stabilize Janet's void.
    Michael: And they're safe... (alarm goes off) from the old scary thing. Now there's a new scary thing.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: Janet's void wasn't meant to hold humans, so having four of their essences really strains it. Them using her powers or having emotional breakdowns that screw up said powers makes it more unstable and risks destroying her and the void both.
  • Precious Puppies: Eleanor conjures up an adorable puppy to calm Chidi down. While Janet scolds them for using their Janet powers within the void, she still manages to coo at the puppy while doing so. When Eleanor attempts to get rid of the puppy, several more show up instead and she grumbles that she wants to make the place less cute.
  • The Reveal:
    • After being mentioned in many episodes, we finally get to see what the inside of Janet's void looks like - it sure is a void. Apparently, any humans present suffer from side effects, like turning into Janets.
    • The last person to get into the Good Place died 521 years ago.
  • The Rule of First Adopters: It's outright stated that 99% of new acts by humans are "Weird Sex Things".
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Tahani seems indifferent to the fact that she's in somebody else's body, but is shocked to be wearing a vest. Then she sulks about wearing a sleeveless dress, something Eleanor rags on her for.
    • Neil refuses to consider the possibility that something is wrong with the point system, being much more concerned with getting a corner piece of a coworker's birthday cake, and he lets out a Big "NO!" when Michael destroys his cake after telling him off.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Michael and Janet initially have trouble determining which Janet is which human. Then one of the Janets gets giddy over having breasts. Michael immediately knows that one is Jason.
  • Spotting the Thread: Jason-Janet tries to get Chidi-Janet to open up about his feelings towards Eleanor in a typical Jason-manner, and starts telling a related story about his 80-person dance crew in Jacksonville... only for Chidi-Janet to point out that his dance crew has 60 people, not 80. It's then revealed Jason-Janet is actually Eleanor-Janet pretending to be Jason-Janet (they swapped outfits).
  • Squick: In-Universe. One accountant named Matt is in charge of having to record and evaluate all of humanity's new weird sexual acts. The poor guy has been repeatedly asking Neil for permission to commit suicide because he really can't take it anymore.
  • Take That!:
    • The head accountant reads off a couple's decision to have a destination wedding as being -1200 points. Then he sees that it is a theme wedding, putting it at -4300. Then he sees that the theme is The Lord of the Rings, meaning that they are doomed.
    • Matt, the accountant tasked with reviewing all of humanity's weird new sex acts, suddenly gets a giant stack of new files on his desk. Turns out Burning Man 2018 has started, meaning it's going to be a long week for Matt.
  • Twin Switch: Eleanor-Janet pretends to be Jason-Janet to get Chidi-Janet to spill the beans to her about his feelings. It doesn't last long since Eleanor-Janet forgets the number of people in Jason's dance crew, blowing her cover.
  • Wham Episode: After three seasons (including two seasons of actively trying to get there), the group actually ends up in the real Good Place... as well as being the first humans to do so in over 500 years.
  • Wham Line: "Where the fork are we?"


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