The Good Place is back after what seems like an eternity with a solid but slightly disappointing episode in “The Book of Dougs”. It’s still fantastic fun it but it perhaps just falls short of its own high standards.
This recap of The Good Place Season 3, Episode 10, “The Book of Dougs”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Well that felt like a lifetime spent in the Bad Place. There hasn’t been a new episode of The Good Place since last year! I apologize, that’s a terrible joke; I think I’ve just missed The Good Place so much. This is the first episode since 6th December, which feels like a staggeringly long time, to the point where I had actually forgotten what was going on.
In case you have a terrible memory like me, allow me to bring you back up to speed. Michael, Janet, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason have taken refuge in the actual Good Place in an attempt to put right an accounting error, which has seemingly prevented anyone getting in for over 500 years. The gang suspects that it is the work of the Bad Place (well they are bad, after all) and the only people that can help them are the Good Place committee.
The committee is not all it’s cracked up to be; they’re actually far too nice for their own good and are a bunch of ineffectual bureaucrats. In order to even begin investigating things, they need several hundred years’ worth of focus groups and votes. While all of this is going on Chidi, Eleanor, Tahani and Jason are tantalizingly close to the Good Place but they’re not actually allowed to go through the door. They’re effectively trapped in the post office at the Good Place and they’re more than a little frustrated.
I think under normal circumstances, “The Book of Dougs” would have been an enjoyable episode. It’s very much something to move the plot forward rather than being a brilliantly constructed or funny episode. There are still some great moments and plenty of chuckles but I think it suffers from being the first episode after a long layoff. It almost would have worked out better to stop a week earlier and have episode 9 (Janet(s)) as the returning episode – it’s much more of a statement and a more engaging episode.
Still, even on its weakest days, The Good Place stands head and shoulders above most of the other sitcoms that are out there. There are some nice character moments and the plot has moved forwards, giving us some ideas about what the end of the season might look like. I’m just so happy to have The Good Place back and I don’t want it ever to leave me again.
Oli has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. He has a PhD in Computer Science and he writes articles about TV, film and, very occasionally, science.