The Good Place is known for throwing in small digs at certain serious issues in society, but this week’s episode revolved around bigoted behavior.
Last week’s episode ended with Michael (Ted Danson) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) rescuing Janet (D’Arcy Carden) from the bad place, and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) showing Tahani (Jameela Jamil) that she’s important to the experiment.
This week’s episode follows Michael’s story to bad place Janet, who is imprisoned in Janet’s void. He tells bad place Janet about what’s going on with the humans and what he believes the answer to their debate of “Are people good or bad?”
At first, things seem to be going well for the humans in the experiment. They’re bonding, everyone is happy and Brent (Benjamin Koldyke) is actually starting to showcase better behavior. However, that’s when things start to hit the fan.
Brent tells Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) that he wrote a book and wants them to read it. He also asks Simone if she will introduce him at his book release party, and she reluctantly agrees.
However, when the group reads the book, they find it to be extremely racist, sexist and all-around bigoted, and even realize Brent had based some of the characters on them. Tahani takes the worst of it, with her character being named “Scarlett Pakistan” and being ridiculously objectified.
Eleanor and Michael try to figure out a way to make Brent realize how wrong his actions are but struggle to break through to him. Eleanor agrees with Simone and Tahani that they shouldn’t have to forgive his behavior and that he should answer for his actions.
Meanwhile, Chidi is struggling with what to do about John (Brandon Scott Jones), who just found out that Jason isn’t really a monk. John wants to gossip about it all over the neighborhood, but Chidi teaches him how to truly support a friend.
All of the conflict comes to a head at Brent’s book signing party, where Simone tries to hold her tongue but ends up calling him out for his behavior. Brent tries to apologize but gives the fake apology of “I’m sorry if it offended you,” which none of them regard as a real apology.
Brent gets fed up with being called out for his actions and calls Simone a “bench.” Chidi steps in to defend Simone, offering to teach Brent a lesson in ethics, but Brent gets physical with him, and Chidi ends up punching him in the face.
Eleanor, Jason, Tahani, Michael and Janet all believe hope is lost until they figure out a way to get the experiment back on track.
Michael, telling bad place Janet the story the whole time, tells her what he believes the truth about good and bad people to be.
“For months, you and I have been debating are people good or bad,” Michael said. ”But as I have watched those three people pick themselves up and dust themselves off, I realized we’ve been asking the wrong question. What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday. You asked me where my hope comes from. That’s your answer.”
He decides not to marbleize bad place Janet, but instead, to let her go back to the bad place. Even though she doesn’t decide to be on the good place’s side permanently, Michael knows it’s the right thing to do to let her go and leaves her with a manifesto about the humans’ progress. He hopes she’ll somehow learn for herself.
This week’s episode tackled a lot of issues regarding bigoted behavior and was really interesting to watch, especially when the women stood up for themselves against Brent.
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The Good Place airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.