From The Good Bad Place to the real Bad Place to the Judge to the Earth to The Void, the #SoulSquad has finally found itself in The real motherforking Good Place. After the shocking revelation that not one human has made it into The Good Place in over 500 years, Michael, Janet, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason used a magical mail tube to transport themselves to The Good Place, or rather a small corner of The Good Place. Now, armed with nothing but the Book of Dougs (conveniently the title of the episode), Michael is ready to change the system in the name of humanity.
Spoilers for the mid-season premiere of The Good Place are below. You have been warned.
Once the Soul Squad finds themselves in The Good Place correspondence center (basically a big mailroom), they split up into different storylines. Like the three locations in the afterlife, this recap comes to you in three parts.
Part One: Tahani, Jason, and Janet
Back in the void when Tahani and Jason were walking around, they came across the Janet search engine which also happened to include her thoughts and feelings. When Jason talked, it pulled up photos from the past of Janet and Jason getting married and her… affectionate feelings for him. Since then, Jason has felt unsure about how to handle the situation. He does not want to hurt Janet, but he does not have the memories or feelings for Janet that she has for him. And, on top of everything, he and Tahani are married, which only complicates things more.
Jason decides to tell Janet (who is trying to disguise herself as a “neutral-Janet”) what he saw, and she is immediately embarrassed. She tells him she does not want to discuss it, because neutral Janets cannot show feelings, and it is just too much to process. Tahani does her best to try to help, but it is continually to no avail. She tries to mediate, but due to her being married to Jason, it makes Janet feel worse. She tries making a “Death did us part” certificate, nullifying their marriage, but that also makes Janet more upset, so she rips up the certificate and runs away. Tahani goes to Michael and explains that she keeps trying to help but only makes things worse, and how helpless she feels.
Finally, Tahani confronts Janet. She apologizes for hurting her and ends up crying because she loves Janet so much. This in turn makes Janet cry, something unusual and new for a Janet to do, and she realizes her emotions are leaking out of her eyes instead of her butt, as she previously assumed. Finally, Jason comes up and joins them in their tear-fest, simply because he likes being a part of things. Their dynamic has a bit of a road ahead of it, but overall their friendship continues to be the most amazing thing.
Part Two: Chidi and Eleanor
They are in love!!! After two and a half seasons of will-they-won’t-they, Chidi and Eleanor had a big kiss in Janet’s void in the last episode and finally admitted their love to one another. Unfortunately, that does not stop Eleanor from somewhat spiralling in The Good Place correspondence center. Gwendolyn, The Good Place mailwoman (played by Nicole Byer), tells the Soul Squad that right in front of them is a door directly into The Good Place, but that they cannot use this. This really upsets Eleanor, and she explains to Chidi that it’s just a door, and it can’t be more than four Oreos thick, and therefore they are just four Oreos away from Heaven. After Eleanor tries to throw a lamp at the door, Chidi takes this as an opportunity to show how much he cares and take her mind off things. He decides to take her on their first proper date, right in front of the door, filled with champagne and all.
Shortly after, he decides it would be a good idea to dress as a Good Place mailman to cheer up Eleanor. However, this just sends Eleanor into an even more intense emotional spiral, as she has just had enough of this afterlife mess. Chidi sits besides her and tells her, “What if we don’t worry about what comes next?” There’s a quote from Tolstoy, “There is only one time that’s important. Now. It is the only time when we have any power.” And what do they do with that time? Sneak upstairs and get it on. Can’t really blame them, though. They do not appear again until the last scene, which brings us to part three.
Part Three: Michael and The Good Place
The once handsome, man-about-town demon, now a handsome, man-about-town human champion, has tasked himself with fixing the entire afterlife system. To do this, he has brought the Soul Squad to The Good Place in order to meet with actual Good Place employees and try to work with them to fix the system. In the correspondence center, Michael uses a magical Good Place phone to contact a committee of Good Place workers to hear his case, and they are… obscenely nice. He shows them Doug Forcett’s file and explains that if even he cannot get into the Good Place, the system must be wrong. They agree that it should be investigated but then tell Michael that it will take 400 years just to form the committee, and then another 1,000 years to verify that the committee will work. That is when Michael realizes that those in The Good Place are not necessarily the “good guys.” “The committee is a bunch of ineffectual dorks in fleece vests. The titanic is sinking, and they’re writing a strongly worded letter to the iceberg,” Michael tells the Soul Squad. It is then he decides that his only course of action is for the squad to turn themselves into the Judge and let her decide, as she is the only one who seems willing to enact actual change.
The episode ends with the squad entering a portal to IHOP – the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes – to meet the Judge. Though it is the most dangerous place in the universe, they must go, Michael insists, “to save humanity.”
The Good Place returns on Thursday, January 17 at 9:30 p.m. EST on NBC.