REVIEW: The Good Place S3E1 – “Everything is Bonzer”

There be spoilers here.

After 7 months and 26 days, which is 7 months and 25 days too long, The Good Place is back on our television screens and it couldn’t have come at a better time. As you may recall (and if you didn’t the episode quickly fills you in), at the end of season 2 our four humans were sent back to Earth and given a second chance at life. Michael’s intention is that if they survived they would then be inspired to become better people, as they did in the afterlife. Initially he’s right, and our favorite humans (ok, everyone but Jason) do make strides in bettering themselves. Unfortunately, they inevitably regress to their old selves, leaving it to Michael to ensure his experiment succeeds, bending and breaking the rules along the way as Michael tends to do. The key has always been getting the four humans together, as Michael realizes. So once again the group is together by the episode’s end via Michael  (they’re like Snow and Charming from Once Upon A Time). While this is occurring Sean is obsessively trying to track the four, for reasons unknown. This leads to a surprising twist in the last five seconds.

Just like in season two, season three opens on a soft reboot of the show and its characters. Somehow though, it manages to feel fresh and progress the show’s storylines and characters. This season’s premiere reminds us just what a joy this show is and has always been. The only slight negative is how Jason managed to get to Australia with the other three. He had no money or resources nor the wits to force his way on the plane.

Highlights include:

  • Seeing Chidi (for once) be confident and decisive was a really good look for the character and I would hope the show returns to it.
  • Eleanor being Chidi’s wingman (which is an interesting choice, given that the show ramped up their romantic connection in season two).
  • Tahani’s Vogue-esque interview with 582 questions instead of 73.
  • Tahani and her inability to not namedrop.

In terms of the season as a whole, my personal hope is the show realizes that its biggest strength is the ensemble (at the least the four human characters) together, instead of mass separation. Last season forgot that for a spell, placing the cast in two groups of three, to its slight detriment. They tried course correcting with Eleanor and Tahani having an intimate moment (purely platonic) in the finale, but it rang false because they had no real interactions that season unlike in season one, and the same could be said for all other combinations of characters. My other wish is that Vicki comes back this season. She’s always been entertaining to me.

All in all, in today’s world comedies are perhaps more necessary than ever, and The Good Place doesn’t disappoint. It remains a pleasant and optimistic show despite the dark origins and deep subject matter. Welcome back show, I look forward to the new season.