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Recap / The Good Place S 4 E 02 "A Girl From Arizona (Part 2)"

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With Chris sent back to the Bad Place, the Soul Squad get down to business to figure out how to get John, Brent and Simone on the path to redemption. Brent is arrogant and generally sees no flaws in himself while Simone is still convinced the afterlife isn't real. Tahani meanwhile decides she'll take care of John by reaching out to him.

Eleanor and Michael decide the best way to get through to Brent would be to kick off a chaos sequence based on things in his life, such as runaway SUVs driving all over the neighborhood, giant golf balls rolling through the streets, a gigantic Princeton mascot knocking over buildings like Godzilla, and having everyone dressed in tacky suits with the Princeton colors, much like how Michael tried to torture Eleanor during his experiment. However, Brent doesn't get the point and believes that this means he belongs in a better place than the Good Place.

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The Soul Squad regroup, feeling like they're stuck at a dead end. No one is sure if Eleanor has what it takes to lead this high-stakes experiment and wonder if they should change leaders. Eleanor overhears them talking behind her back and is hurt and angry, storming off after telling them she quits. Michael goes after her to give her a pep talk. Eleanor is terrified that she'll fail, as she fears she'll doom all of humanity and has never dealt with having this kind of weight resting on her shoulders. Michael reassures Eleanor that she's tougher and smarter than she gives herself credit for and the job of posing as the Architect of the experiment is best suited for a human, because she knows humans better than he himself does. Her spirits lifted up and her resolve renewed, Eleanor declares they're going to succeed.

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The next day, Michael and Eleanor, figuring that Brent is too conceited to see any flaws in himself, decide to play along and tell him that there is indeed a "Best Place" and he can get there by doing more good deeds than anyone else in the neighborhood. While they are aware that he won't earn any points at present because his motive is just to benefit himself, they hope that like with Eleanor when she first arrived in the neighborhood, the good deeds he does will become a habit and he will start doing them out of genuine kindness.

Meanwhile, Jason and Janet have a talk. Janet says that with her being busy running things and being worried that Jason is still too impulsive, she believes it's best that they break up with, saddening Jason.

Eleanor tells Chidi that he is Simone's soulmate, hoping that it'll get her to stop acting like an idiot and accept that she's indeed in the afterlife. Although she's hurt at the fact that she has to lead him into the arms of another woman, Eleanor is determined to make sure the experiment succeeds.

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Tropes in this episode include:

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Brent died because he got drunk with a helicopter pilot in an airplane lounge, and then the pilot offered to let him fly the helicopter.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Chidi uses this philosophy to snap Simone out of her solipsistic funk (in a possible call-back to Eleanor's realization in [1]). He acknowledges that it's impossible to prove that anything that's happening is real, but it's the reality she's stuck with either way, so why not enjoy it and try to be as good a person as possible? Whether the other people there are real or not, they feel real to her, so being kind and engaging with them is still better than cutting herself off and living like nothing matters.
  • Batman Gambit: After it becomes obvious to the gang that Brent is too conceited to see any flaws in himself, they decide to play along and tell him that he can get to "the Best Place" by doing more good deeds than anyone else in the neighborhood. While they are aware that he won't earn any points at present because his motive is just to benefit himself, they hope that like with Eleanor when she first arrived in the neighborhood, the good deeds he does will become a habit and he will start doing them out of genuine kindness.
  • Brick Joke: Chidi tries to summon one of his books from home, but gives up after a few seconds. Moments after he's done talking to Eleanor for a while, a book flies into his head.
  • Call-Back:
    • Upon realizing how big of a nut to crack Brent is, Eleanor and Michael orchestrate a chaos sequence similar to the one meant for Eleanor in the first episode, including everyone's clothes developing jagged stripes. The college motif even comes in to play with orange and black for Princeton. (The original blue and yellow was for University of Michigan, which was Real Eleanor's alleged alma mater.)
    • Chidi again talks about how he spent his life in pursuit of fundamental truths about human nature, just as he did in the first episode.
    • When Eleanor and Michael convinces Brent that he can get into "The Best Place" by increasing his point-total, they compare it to when Eleanor did the same thing, even down to holding the door for people with no point increase due to his corrupt motivation.
  • Cheat Code: Michael installs one in the neighborhood where if he says Jason's name five times, his headache goes away.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Jason asks Michael what he can do after accidentally making Janet's job harder with chaotic and unpredictable antics, so he thinks that orchestrating a chaotic and unpredictable flash-mob will somehow make it up to her. Michael manages to talk him out of it.
    • When Eleanor and Michael orchestrate a chaos sequence centered around Brent, he runs to them and admits that he doesn't belong there in the Good Place... and instead he belongs in a better place than that; "The Best Place."
    • Janet reminds Jason that she had asked for space, so Jason takes a step back from her.
  • For Happiness: Chidi manages to get through Simone's delusional behavior by pointing out that whether she's dreaming or not, there is no harm in being good anyway.
  • Good Feels Good: While still heartbroken over pushing Chidi and Simone together, Eleanor seems proud of their progress, comparing it to donating her old bras to Goodwill.
    • Chidi's argument to Simone. Even if he can't convince her that she's not in a Dying Dream, she'd be happier being kind to the other residents, rather than treating them like hallucinations.
  • Heroic BSoD: Eleanor has one when she hears the gang expresses doubts about her competence as leader, and starts to believe that they're right.
  • High-Five Left Hanging: When Eleanor declares that Chidi is at least missing out on "dat [ass]", she holds out her hand for a high-five. Jason is initially too upset over his breakup to do so, but eventually does high-five her back because it is "the code".
  • Humans Are Special: This is part of Michael's reasoning for why Eleanor must continue playing the role of architect.
    Michael: Human beings, it turns out, are weird, and I will never truly understand what it's like to be one. This is a job for a human. One who's tough, but also empathetic, and has a big heart... and a world-class bullshirt detector. You think you can't do this? Eleanor... you're the only one who can do this.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While a little blunt about it, the gang's concerns about Eleanor's capabilities as the leader are not without merit. After all, her attempts to improve Brent thus far have only made matters worse, and she didn't want to pair Chidi up with Simone, a sure fire way to help convince her that this is not just a dream, simply because she didn't want her ex-boyfriend dating someone else.
    • On the flipside, Eleanor is not wrong when she angrily points out that she never wanted nor asked for the job in the first place, and only got stuck with it because Michael had a breakdown.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: You know Eleanor must really been forking up with her duties as the head of the neighborhood when even Jason calls her out for it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Michael gives a gentle one to Jason after he proposes orchestrating a flashmob to make things up with Janet, saying that he always thinks impulsively and recklessly, which was the whole reason his torture in the original fake Good Place neighborhood was to have him be a silent Buddhist monk.
  • Right Behind Me: Tahani keeps talking about how they should replace Eleanor, oblivious to the fact that Eleanor just walked in the door.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That:
    • Brent becomes convinced that there is a "Best Place" where he really belongs. Eleanor and Michael decide to let him think he's right and convince him that he can go to said Best Place if he does lots of good deeds.
    • Eleanor concludes that Michael's nervous breakdown from the last season's finale was actually all an act, in order for her to get herself together and become the leader of this project. Michael pretends she's right, as he's too ashamed to admit his breakdown was in fact real.
  • Title Drop: When Eleanor questions whether she should lead the experiment, she calls herself just "a girl from Arizona."
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Simone, who is still convinced that this is all just a bizarre coma dream, doesn't even bat an eye at the chaos based on Brent's actions in the neighborhood.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Eleanor Rage Quits after overhearing everyone else discussing replacing her as leader, Michael cheers her up by pointing out that while Humans Are Flawed, they are also capable of great things, codifying her status as The Unchosen One despite just being a trashbag from Arizona.

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