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Recap / The Good Place S 4 E 01 "A Girl From Arizona (Part 1)"

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Eleanor and the gang meet the last two human test subjects: Brent, the CEO of a materials-producing company who is egotistical and selfish, and Linda, a seemingly boring and unassuming old lady. Simone, convinced that the afterlife is just an intense hallucination, wreaks havoc on the neighborhood and the humans have to try to convince her that the afterlife is indeed real; Michael mentions he'd met people like that in his Bad Place days and they usually began to realize the truth of their situations after a few torture sessions. As for John, Tahani is determined not to let the Bad Place win and decides to go out of her way to make peace with him.

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Meanwhile, Jason and Derek are in a conflict. Derek reveals that he wants Janet, his "mommy-girlfriend", back and figures running the neighborhood with her is the right way to do it. He taunts Jason, stating that he doesn't have the guts to push the button that will shut him down. Jason immediately pushes it, "killing" Derek while Mindy watches and laughs. Michael tells Jason that he needs to learn better impulse control.

Eleanor and Michael try to get through to Linda, who appears to have very simple tastes and just uses the flying lessons to float a couple feet above the ground. They keep trying to push her to ask for more extravagant things, causing her to snap and start zipping around in the sky and punching the fake residents in the face. The humans discover that "Linda" is a really a demon in disguise, Chris specifically. He was sent by Shawn to pose as a human test subject to sabotage the experiment. When the Soul Squad reveal this to Gen, she is not pleased and tells Shawn in no uncertain terms that if he tries to cheat or otherwise sabotage things again, she will personally severely punish him and reboot the experiment. Chris is sent back to the Bad Place and Gen makes Chidi the fourth subject of the experiment.

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Tropes in this episode include:

  • Angry White Man: Brent Norwalk, one of the four humans selected for the experiment, is a stereotypical middle-aged white male who is confounded by the changes of the modern world, is a firm believer in Political Correctness Gone Mad, and makes all sorts of remarks about how difficult life can be while being completely blind to his own privilege.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Chris, the demon who played Eleanor's fake soulmate back in "Everything is Great!", returns in the guise of an old lady named Linda. Naturally, his shirt comes off when he's revealed.
    • Bambadjan is on the council to decide which four humans will be selected for the The Good Place experiment.
  • Call-Back: In the first season, Michael claims that his favorite color is similar to the feeling you get seeing a soldier coming home from war and seeing his dog again for the first time. Here, Gen threatens to show Shawn videos of that happening if he tries sabotaging the experiment again.
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  • Cessation of Existence: Simone, being a neurologist (and presumably an atheist as well), seems to believe this is what happens to people when they die, so she doesn't believe anything or anyone she's seeing is real. Michael makes mentions of meeting people like that back in his Bad Place days. They usually started to realize the truth of their situation after a few torture sessions.
  • Cliffhanger: Unlike the former two season premieres, this one is not a one-night two-parter, and ends with a "To Be Continued".
  • Cock Fight: While at first it just looks like Derek is ineptly stumbling about, Jason correctly deduces that Derek is purposefully trying to drive him and Janet apart because she is his "mommy-girlfriend", motivating Jason to push the button that shuts him down.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Gen threatens to tear out Shawn's eyelids and force him to watch heartwarming videos of soldiers returning home to their dogs as punishment for trying to sabotage the experiment.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lampshaded by Michael, who calls Jason out for pushing the plunger to kill Derek just because he mocked him, which consequently set off Derek's "I have been murdered" alarm in the neighborhood.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Eleanor defies this even when Chris is standing shirtless right next to her. That said, she doesn't want him to put a shirt on right away.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Despite being heartbroken that Chidi no longer remembers her, Eleanor tells the others not to give her any sympathetic looks or waste any time feeling sorry for her. Tahani insists on comforting her anyway.
  • Dying Dream: Simone wrongly assumes she is currently dreaming due to a near-death experience and will eventually either wake up or die. This leads her to create chaos wherever she goes, for the heck of it.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Chris's shirt comes off with his Linda suit. Eleanor is fine with this.
  • Foreshadowing: Linda wants to know if there's a fitness center, foreshadowing the fact that she's actually Chris, the fitness-obsessed demon.
  • Full-Body Disguise: It turns out that Linda was actually Chris in disguise.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Jason is just as jealous of Derek as he was last season because Derek pursues Janet, whom he considers his "mommy-girlfriend".
    • Derek reveals he feels jealous towards Jason. They both love Janet, and Janet is currently with Jason.
    • Eleanor is reluctant to have Chidi be the one to try and convince Simone the neighborhood is real, due to the two of them being romantically linked last season.
  • Hidden Depths: It is remarkable that Chris, whom Michael characterized as a strong Brainless Beauty, was able to keep up the ruse of being a boring old lady for so long. Maybe his acting skills improved a bit.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: After Shawn accuses the main characters of cheating:
    Eleanor: How is that cheating? You're just falsely accusing us of things you actually did!
    Shawn: No, that's what you're doing!
  • Mangled Catch Phrase: Instead of the normal "I have been murdered" alarm, Derek's starts as "I have been Derek'd".
  • Mundane Wish: After witnessing Janet's abilities to create anything out of nothing, Linda asks for... a peppermint.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Linda appears to be a harmless (and very boring) old woman. After Eleanor and Michael continuously pester her, she finally loses it and starts beating everyone up (including Eleanor and Michael). This is how the Soul Squad finds out that Linda is actually a demon in disguise (Chris, to be specific).
  • No Fair Cheating: Gen is not pleased to learn of Shawn's attempt to sabotage the experiment by sending a demon to pose as one of the four humans sent for the new neighborhood and warns him that he will be severely punished if he attempts it again.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Linda is shown to be boring and not very interested in anything around her. After continually being asked by Eleanor and Michael what she wants, she suddenly starts punching and beating up everyone in front of her. It's shortly revealed Linda is actually Chris.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Brent's reaction to being told that Janet isn't a secretary.
    "Here we go with all the terms we have to learn. Vice President of Helping. Captain Marvel! You know what I'm saying?"
  • Rapid-Fire Descriptors: Angered Eleanor is heard muttering adjectives in rapid fire pace, twice in a row, when Micheal tries to persuade her to use Chidi for the experiment.
    Eleanor: Stupid ethical reasonable argument. I wish you were a cake. Push you over.
    Michael: Are you still muttering?
    Eleanor: No-o! I stopped. Stupid good-hearing reformed demon.
  • Rousing Speech: Both Michael and Shawn give one to their respective parties, Michael's being genuine compliments and Shawn's being insults (which are the equivalent of compliments to demons).
  • Rule of Pool: At the welcome party, Simone walks up to two residents who are standing at the edge of the pool and shoves them in while claiming to be "testing the laws of physics" of her supposed hallucination.
  • Shirtless Scene: Chris, because of course he has to be, after coming out of the Linda body suit. His shirt was stuck in there after all.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Brent's justification for totally not being a racist is that his dentist was black.
  • Take That!: The anthem for the Bad Place is the Kars4Kids jingle.
  • Tempting Fate: Derek doesn't think Jason has the "Dereks" to hit the plunger to kill him. Jason immediately does so.
  • The Unreveal: Eleanor's meeting with Chidi in the office is not seen.
  • Who Shot JFK?: According to the elephant made of pure light that tells you the secrets of the universe, the person who shot John F. Kennedy was Shirley Temple.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Simone assumes that she is comatose and is experiencing a Dying Dream, which leads to her engaging in erratic and often anti-social behavior as she tests the limits of what she believes is her mind.
  • You Have Failed Me: Shawn implies that Chris's punishment for getting caught masquerading as Linda may rise to this level.
    Chris: I told you, I'm not an actor.
    Shawn: And when you get back here, you won't be anything.

Alternative Title(s): The Good Place S 4 E 01 A Girl From Arizona

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