Honestly, I really wondered how the writers of The Good Place will be able to top the previous episode, which felt like a great midseason finale episode, but then, lo-and-behold, they give us Janet(s), an episode that’s both insane and brilliant. This episode is not only the best episode of the season, but it might be my new favorite episode of the entire series, that’s how good it is.
Episode 309: Janet(s) (written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan and directed by Morgan Sackett)
With Janet’s help, Michael hatches a plan.
The episode picks up pretty much exactly where the previous episode ended, with Janet (D’Arcy Carden) having brought Michael (Ted Danson), Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto) into her void with her. The only thing is that the four humans are now stuck looking exactly like Janet as their physical forms were disintegrated when they were transported to her void. So, pretty much the whole episode is just a bunch of D’Arcy Cardens on screen talking to each other and it’s great. Most of the action in the void is between Chidi and Eleanor as they try to come to grips with Eleanor’s confession of love to him from the previous episode. As they do this, and Chidi refuses to talk about his feelings, Eleanor starts to lose sight of who she is as a person – as she’s now chasing after a boy who doesn’t seem interested in her, something she swore she’d never do – and her uncertainty about her identity leads to Janet’s void beginning to break down. But, more on that later…
Meanwhile, Michael and Janet have traveled to the Accountant’s office to speak to the Head Accountant, Neil (Stephen Merchant), about some discrepancies in the official point totals. Michael thinks that the Bad Place has been able to hack into the number totals and tries to prove it to Neil. Ultimately, they find no trace of any tampering, but Michael does uncover the fact that nobody has made it into the Good Place in over five hundred years. Neil doesn’t think that’s an issue, defaulting to his belief that the numbers are failproof, but Michael, showing a whole lot of character development compared to where he started the series off, believes that it’s not right that nobody has made it into the Good Place in such a long time and that that’s symptomatic of something majorly wrong with the way the points are tallied. At first, he doesn’t know what to do or who to turn to and feels dejected, but then Janet suggests that he be the one to change the system since nobody else will. It’s a touching moment between these two characters that really shows just how far they’ve grown over the course of the series and it sets up the rest of the season’s arc in a brilliant way.
But we’re not done, yet! Didn’t I mention how Eleanor’s existential crisis was causing Janet’s void to break down? Well, in order to snap Eleanor out of her crisis, Chidi ends up kissing her, for real, (finally!) and it’s such a cute moment that zaps them both to looking like their human selves. Eleanor, filled with insecurity, asks him if he meant it, and so he kisses her again and it’s the cutest dang moment of the whole show. At that moment, Janet senses that the humans are back to looking like themselves, which is making her feel ill and causes her to vomit them all up into the office of the Accountant. As the four humans are being hunted, alarms go off and Michael quickly ushers them into Neil’s office where they all journey up a tube that takes them to the real Good Place. And that’s how the episode ends, with Eleanor exclaiming, “Holy forking shirtballs, we’re in the Good Place!”
All in all, Janet(s) was an utterly brilliant episode of The Good Place. After the previous episode, I really didn’t see how this season could have a better midseason finale, but I was proven wrong. This episode was just fantastic! It perfectly moved along the overarching plot while giving us time to explore the relationships between our characters (in interesting ways as Eleanor and Chidi argue about their love for each other, while both looking like Janet, and Tahani and Jason discover a wedding album from Janet and Jason’s wedding (from the first attempt at the Bad Place neighborhood) elsewhere in the void) and continuing to flesh out the world of the show. D’Arcy Carden gives such a stellar performance as she’s essentially playing five different characters in the episode and frequently has to act opposite herself. She’s a powerhouse actress and this episode works as well as it does largely due to her performance. I adored this episode so much. It’s my favorite of the season and probably my favorite of the whole series. I’m so excited to see what happens to our heroes now that they’re actually in the Good Place when the show comes back in January. This is just brilliant.
5 out of 5 wands