The Good Place: 3.08 Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By
The group makes there way to Canada with the intention of finding Doug Forcett, the man whose picture was in Michael's office in his 'Good Place'. The story goes that Doug got high on shrooms in the 1970s and saw what the afterlife was really like. As such, Michael plans on using him as a blueprint for helping people get to The Good Place. However, he and Janet end up leaving disappointed, because as 'good' as Doug may be, he is also miserable.
This gives an interesting comment on when being 'good' goes too far. Doug lives a reclusive life with no friends, unsatisfying meals and drinking his own filtered piss. Is there a point at which living the most ethical life possible, never upsetting anyone, becomes less important than living a life that is fulfilling and happy?
Then there is Sean's comment at the end of the episode that, despite his lifestyle, Doug will still end up in The Bad Place. Begging the question of whether or not the tedious life that he has lived was even worth the bother if the thing he was trying the avoid is going to happen anyway. However, one thing that this episode doesn't take into account is that Doug, by knowing about The Good Place, is in the same boat as the rest of the humans. You can't score points if you're only being good so that you can be rewarded in the afterlife. I'm not sure if this will be addressed in the next episode, but if it isn't, it is a pretty big plot hole, even in a show as out there as The Good Place. After all, them not being able to get into The Good Place is the groups entire reason for trying to help others be better people.
I overall enjoyed Doug being part of the episode, it made me think about the extent to which a person can or should give up their own happiness in order to be a better person, and if being really lovely, but completely miserable, would be worth it.
While Michael and Janet are dealing with Doug, the humans are at a bar, where Eleanor is deliberating over whether or not to tell Chidi about their romantic past. Chidi, for his part, is completely out of it because of the jet lag from travelling so much over the past few episodes. This leads to some amusing interactions between him and the rest of the group.
For me this amusement was two fold. Firstly, because he was spouting complete nonsense. Secondly, because I have been there. Jet lag can turn even the strongest of minds to soup and I have felt that on multiple occasions, so it was very funny to see it in someone else and remember my own instances of plane addled gibberish.
Eleanor eventually decides to tell Chidi everything, but is interrupted by a group of demons who have come to Earth through Sean's new door. After an epic battle sequence, where Janet shows some of her super skills, the entire group begins a journey back into the afterlife in order to interrogate The Accountant, the one who calculates everyone's points.
I am both happy and sad about this development. On the one hand, it was inevitable that the group were going to go back to the afterlife at some point, and this means that the narrative is going to keep on moving forward. But on the other hand, I was enjoying their Earthly antics. One thing that this episode does prove, it that The Good Place will only reach its full potential if it has a finite and succinct story. It isn't going to be able to just go on and on like so many other US genre shows and sitcoms. But that isn't a bad thing. It is okay to put quality over quantity when it comes to television.