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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Review: Season 2 premiere of ‘The Good Place’ lives up to the twists and turns of the first season

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything Is Fine” Episode 101– Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, William Jackson Harper as Chidi — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

On Sept. 19, 2016, the pilot of comedic fantasy series “The Good Place” introduced us to Eleanor Shellstrop, played by former “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell. Eleanor is a recently deceased woman with a wayward direction in life and initially a less-than-admirable personality. She wakes to find herself in “The Good Place,” an afterlife sculpted to seemingly perfect standards by architect Michael, played by Ted Danson of “Cheers” fame.

Now, a year later, the season two premiere brings us more of Eleanor’s adventures in the afterlife.

In the first season, adjusting to being dead was not a problem for Eleanor. But pretending to be someone she’s not? Different story entirely. Soon after finding herself in the afterlife, she realized she’d been mistaken for another Eleanor Shellstrop — that is, one who had devoted her life to making the lives of those around her better. So, “fake” Eleanor, as she is later referred to, had to live up to the standards of the “real” Eleanor in order to remain in “The Good Place,” or else suffer dire consequences.

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She confided to the “real” Eleanor’s soulmate, Chidi, played by William Jackson Harper, that she is not who everyone believes her to be and urgently requested his help in order to blend in. Chidi, a deceased ethics professor, reluctantly agreed to relay his teachings and moralities to her in order to turn her from bad to good.

In season one of “The Good Place,” we saw Eleanor go through the struggle to blend in and eventually own up to the truth prior to receiving a massive bombshell.

Eleanor was never in “The Good Place.” She’s been in the “Bad Place” the whole time.

What the fork!?

And still, the plot twist continued: Michael confirms Eleanor’s realization that she is in the “Bad Place,” and she and her friends have their memories erased as Michael starts over again, intending to keep up the charade of Eleanor and her friends being in “The Good Place.”

We waited with bated breath for season two, hoping that Eleanor would find Chidi, as she’d written a note to herself prior to her memory being wiped.

The hour-long season two opener, which premiered Sept. 20, did not disappoint.

In the premiere, Michael addresses his employees, and we learn his employees are no longer playing the same roles they played as fellow neighbors and soulmates in the first season. Furthermore, he has introduced a new concept of “individual torture,” which Eleanor and her friends will bring upon themselves.

We are given four different perspectives of “individual torture” from the four main characters. Eleanor struggles with trying to blend in as she did in season one, and she also has difficulties with her search for Chidi and her attempts to communicate with her newly assigned soulmate. Chidi must face his inability to make decisions when Michael purposely gives him two potential soulmates to choose from and then suddenly assigns Chidi to the soulmate he’d liked least. Tahani, played by Jameela Jamil, is another of Eleanor’s friends who had her memory wiped and must face individual torture in the form of short soulmates, small homes and poor fashion. Lastly, Jianyu, who is really a man named Jason (played by Manny Jacinto), must pretend to be someone he is not and deal with an unwanted spiritual companion.

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All four of these perspectives play into the episode’s plot as Michael attempts to re-do his experiment in a new version of the “Bad Place,” aiming for different results from those in season one.

“The Good Place” has taken many twists and turns in its run thus far and has not been short on entertainment. Season two has lived up to its predecessor and kept its audience on its toes, leaving us wondering what will happen next. The show is exciting and unpredictable, filled with plenty of funny quips to boot. Keep watching because the season two opener has proven to be quite promising.

“The Good Place” will air episodes on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on NBC starting Sept. 28. If you can’t catch it live, you can watch them for free for a limited time on the NBC website, or subscribe to Hulu to be up-to-date. The entire first season is also available on Netflix.

This show is more than worth your time, and it will also provide you with a reprieve from any work you may have. The actors, humor, plot twists and so much more will keep you entertained, but there’s also a valuable lesson to be learned, Wildcats: Be good!

Grade: A

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