‘The Good Place’ S3E8 – “Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By” | TV Recap

November 18, 2018
Oli Buckley 0
Netflix, TV, TV Recaps
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In this week’s The Good Place Michael and Janet are trying to track down the perfect template for entry to the Good Place and don’t exactly get what they bargained for. Meanwhile, Shawn and his demons show up to take Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason to the Bad Place.

This recap of The Good Place Season 3, Episode 8, “Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

From the very opening of “Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By” I was absolutely sold. We open on a hitherto unknown character, Doug (Michael McKean), living a solitary and simple life as he listens to Mama Cass. Any series that is prepared to open an episode with an homage to Lost is alright in my books and that’s exactly what we get here as Doug’s life (Mr) echoes Desmond’s no-frills existence in the bunker.

We later learn that Doug is someone Michael views as a potential template for how a human should live to ensure entry to the Good Place. Janet and Michael head out to the remote woods of Alberta to meet Doug posing as journalists (Michael Scoop, reporter). The central premise is that Doug once ate so many magic mushrooms he somehow managed to get a glimpse through to the afterlife and has been living life to maximise his points total ever since. The only problem is that it turns out living that way has made Doug pretty wound and completely alone, apart from the local kid who shows up to bully him every now and again. I am slightly concerned that Michael McKean will start to get typecast as an eccentric weirdo after his turn as Chuck in Better Call Saul and now this.

When we join the rest of the gang Jason is trying to teach Chidi how to play Jacksonville rules for pool. The rules are there are no rules, you hit the ball with your hands and you make up your own points. It sounds stupid at first (and it is at second) but it does look like a fun game. Jason is a character that is terminally stupid but it never feels like he’s being mocked because alongside being a little further behind than the others in terms of mental capacity we’re also shown that deep down he’s an incredibly caring person. It’s a character that could feel rather mean-spirited but he’s actually one of the sweetest characters on a sitcom at the moment.

Eleanor has finally plucked up the courage to act on what she learned last week and tell Chidi everything about the alternative versions of themselves (that never actually happened) but there’s a slight hitch. As she’s about to confess her love for him Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson) and his demons show up. Isn’t it always the way? You’re about to confess undying love (literally in this case) and a bunch of demons show up. Timing.

Shawn is always good value for money. In fact, Marc Evan Jackson is always good fun in a Michael Schur sitcom, and here’s no difference. He’s drier than a desert during a heatwave and incredibly funny to go along with it. I think I may have also spotted another reference to a beloved property here. As Eleanor is telling Shawn how Janet and Michael will never be found that they’ll blend in and just disappear I got very strong Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade vibes. Anything that references Lost and Indy has got to be good, right?

The episode ends with a climactic fight scene, which is something I never expected to say about The Good Place, that gives D’Arcy Carden yet another chance to show us why Janet is the best thing in the show. She decides enough is enough and begins fighting, and is surprisingly somewhere between John Wick and Kryten from Red Dwarf – robotic, polite but incredibly effective. The episode ends with the gang hiding out in Janet’s void (fnar) so I have no idea what to expect next week. I’m guessing it will be a little weird.


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