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Recap / The Good Place S3E12 "Pandemonium"

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"Time means nothing. Jeremy Bearimy, baby. We'll get through this, and then you and I can chill out in the dot of the 'I' forever."

"What's that thing you humans say when you're playing chess and you trap your opponent into an inescapable position? Oh, right. Eat butt, you ding dongs!"
Shawn
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Michael is too incapacitated by his anxieties to properly fulfill his role as the neighborhood architect and welcome the first human test subject, so Eleanor steps in and takes over to pose as the Architect of the neighborhood. She welcomes the new resident, John, a seemingly ordinary, if flamboyant man, and introduces Michael as her assistant. She gives him the "Welcome to the Good Place" speech and a tour around the neighborhood before letting him go off to explore it further for himself.

As John explores the neighborhood, he runs into Tahani, and it turns out they knew each other. In life, John ran a sleazy gossip blog that wrote a lot of disparaging things about Tahani and generally served as a source of annoyance and misery in Tahani's life. Tahani relays this to the others and they realize that the Bad Place picked out people that could potentially torture the Soul Squad themselves and undermine the experiment's chances of success. This is confirmed when the next new human to arrive is Simone, Chidi's ex-girlfriend.

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Eleanor and the others contact Judge Gen and Shawn and say this isn't fair, asserting that having the human test subjects be people who knew the four will mess the experiment up. Shawn is unrepentant, and Gen says it's technically not against the rules, but she'll allow Michael to erase Simone's memories of Chidi so it's not a problem.

After the call is over, Chidi says he won't be able to work with Simone as he should, as their past would always be in his mind, but Michael just says to ignore her for now. Eleanor gives Simone the welcome speech and shows her the neighborhood. Simone is pleased by what she sees, but believes that it's probably just an intense hallucination caused by her dying brain releasing chemicals before she officially truly dies and ceases to exist.

Eleanor and the others assemble in the office, and Chidi's problem is serious. He knows he won't be able to act normally around Simone without possibly jeopardizing the experiment. He asserts that the only solution is for Michael to erase his memories starting from his death, which means he'll forget all of his friends of the afterlife, including his love for Eleanor. This is not a welcome message to anyone, but nobody else can think of an alternative and Chidi had thought about this for a long time, so he's confident in his decision.

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Later that night, Eleanor and Chidi spend the evening together reminiscing about the evolution of their relationship, with Michael showing them a montage of their romantic moments in his fake Good Place neighborhood. Chidi reassures a tearful Eleanor that things will work out and he has faith in her, promising her that once this is over, they'll be free to be together for however long eternity goes.

The next day, Michael has reset Chidi's memory to just after he died, and he wakes up in the waiting room. Eleanor opens the door and invites him in to welcome him to the "Good Place".


Tropes:

  • Bittersweet Ending: The season finale is more emotional than the previous two thanks to the tragic circumstances behind Chidi's memories having to be reset. However, he and Eleanor have hope that they'll rekindle their relationship again like they've done in all their previous encounters.
  • The Bus Came Back: Simone, who was last seen in Australia after breaking up with Chidi, turns out to be one of the people the Bad Place chose for the experiment.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Near the start of the episode, John asks what the weirdest celebrity hook-up was and Janet reveals it to be Drake and Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. Later in the episode, Tahani then reveals that it was she who set the two up in the first place.
    • Eleanor tells Chidi, "That's why everyone loves moral philosophers", playing off the Running Gag of everyone saying that they hate moral philosophers.
  • Call-Back:
    • Eleanor's introduction of John to the Good Place is very reminiscent of how Michael did so to her when she first arrived.
    • Right before Chidi is rebooted, Michael plays for him and Eleanor a video montage of clips of the time they spent together, both in the original fake Good Place and on Earth.
    • In "Derek", Eleanor gives Janet a pep-talk that helps her process her complicated emotions in regards to her feelings for Jason (despite both of them not remembering the source of those emotions). Here, Janet is the one giving a pep talk to Eleanor who is struggling to find an upside to Chidi's memories getting erased.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Team Cockroach is formally complaining to Gen about how problematic Simone being there is, the problem Jason brings up is that she is unconscious at the moment and that it would be really hard to make her a better person if she's asleep the entire time.
  • Consummate Liar: Eleanor acknowledges that she's made so much progress with becoming a better person, that she had forgotten what a magnificent liar she is and her surprisingly impressive job posing as the neighborhood architect to John has reminded her.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: When Michael has a breakdown over the pressure of his experiment, Eleanor quickly takes on his role as the Architect to keep up appearances while Michael plays the part of her assistant. After collecting himself, Michael acknowledges that it might have been a good move as it allows him to better observe and manipulate the Neighborhood from a distance while Eleanor becomes "the Face" of the operation.
  • Evil Is Petty: Shawn deliberately picks humans whom the main four knew on Earth just to mess with them so they'll be too anxious to think clearly and the experiment will fail. Two are revealed in this episode: John, a gossip columnist who made Tahani miserable; and Simone.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Invoked by Michael, who wants to have a brainstorming session to find another solution that doesn't involve erasing Chidi's memory, hoping that eventually someone will say something innocuous and he'll get to say "Wait, say that again!"
  • The Jailbait Wait: John's blog The Gossip Toilet invented the countdown to when Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen would turn eighteen.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Chidi opts to have his memories rebooted so he won't have to deal with the anxiety of seeing Simone, even if it means forgetting his friends. Simone similarly has her memory wiped to the point before she conducted the study.
  • Loophole Abuse: Shawn is allowed to choose the subjects for the new experiment, but there ain't no rule saying he can't choose humans who had a connection to the original four — so he does. The gang picks up on this, and Gen acknowledges it to be a dirty trick and allows them to wipe Simone's memories of the four humans.
  • No Body Left Behind: Averted. John mentions that Tahani died in Canada, which implies that the physical bodies of the Brainy Bunch remained on Earth instead of being erased when they entered Janet's void.
  • Noodle Incident: Michael allows Eleanor and Chidi to view a Clip Show of their previous experiences during the hundreds of Bad Place experiments. Many of them are touching moments, with several taken from previous episodes and others being self-explanatory. Two particular scenes however involves 1) a llama in Eleanor's home and 2) Eleanor teaching Chidi about the Kardashian-Jenner family tree, and neither are given any meaningful context.
  • Oh, Crap!: Everyone's response to Simone showing up, especially Chidi's.
  • Playing Cyrano: Michael compares the situation — Eleanor being the face of the plan while Michael plans from behind the scenes. However, Eleanor doesn't get the reference.
    Michael: Like Kris Jenner.
    Eleanor: Oh, totally.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Gen admits that she never said that Shawn couldn't use humans who had a connection to the main four, but at the same time notes it was a dirty trick, so she rules that Simone's memories can be wiped so she doesn't remember Chidi or the others.
  • Relationship Reset Button: Chidi's memory wipe also means that his relationship with Eleanor is erased.
  • Romantic Rain: As a parting gift to Eleanor and Chidi, Michael makes the two love birds watch a movie that is comprised of their romantic moments together. They watch themselves on the big screen, cuddling, as they have a picnic in the rain, smiling, dancing together and kissing while it rains and they're getting wet but look really happy.
  • Sequel Hook: The episode ends with Eleanor introducing a new rebooted Chidi to the neighborhood.
  • Shout-Out: Eleanor mentions Paradise Lost as one of the books Chidi had her read for her ethics studies.
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    Shawn: What's that thing you humans say when you're playing chess and trap your opponent into an inescapable position? Oh right. Eat butt, you ding-dongs!
  • Species-Specific Afterlife: Parodied. Eleanor makes up to John that Michael's behavior is because he used to work in "Dog Heaven" and is not used to working with people.
  • Take a Third Option: Subverted. Michael hopes that a discussion among the group can lead to one of them discovering an alternative to their current dilemma with Chidi, much like it has for dilemmas they've had in the past. Chidi sadly reveals that he's thought about it hard and that memory wiping is literally the only choice they have.
  • Title Drop: In the final discussion of the season, Eleanor decided to "embrace the pandemonium".
  • The Triple: Eleanor lists the times she might run into her exes: at the mall, at the dentist's office, when she drunk-texts them and asks them to come over...
  • Undignified Death: Parodied. John says that Tahani dying in Canada is "the nip slip of deaths."
  • The Unreveal: The other two humans chosen for the experiment are not revealed in this episode.
  • Wham Episode: Michael cedes the role of architect to Eleanor, since Shawn's mind game destroyed his confidence. To twist the knife further, Shawn decided to send up humans who knew the main four on Earth, betting that the four will crack under the anxiety and botch the experiment — including Simone. Chidi opts to have his memories rebooted to avoid Shawn's mind games.
  • Wham Shot: Simone sitting on the couch outside Michael's office.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Asked to Chidi by Shawn regarding Simone's death. While Shawn (presumably) did not kill her, he did select her for the experiment specifically to torment Chidi and according to him her death was "hilarious".

 
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