The Good Place S02E08 Recap: 'Leap Into Faith' [Midseason Premiere]

Just when you thought things had settled down on The Good Place, they went ahead and blew up the premise yet again. The beloved NBC show from Michael Schur returned on Thursday, picking up right where it left off in the midseason finale a few weeks ago, proving once again that it's just as delightful, hilarious, well-written and surprising as it was the first time it surprised us early in season one.

As we saw in the last episode, Michael returns to his office to find Shawn sitting at his desk, going over his reports. But Shawn hasn't figured out Michael's lies, as that scene in the last episode implied. Instead, it turns out Michael's ruse worked. Shawn believes that the first reboot of the neighbourhood worked, and it's earned both him and Michael promotions. He's there to deliver the good news and oversee the dismantling of the neighbourhood before returning with everyone to the Bad Place for a final report.

Much of "Leap Into Faith" is spent shrouded in mystery, as the gang wonders whether or not Michael's betrayed them when he and Shawn "reveal" to them the truth they already know and their supposed fate (they're to be dissected, with their removed brains to be used as beach balls, ostensibly). To be honest, it was kind of obvious that Michael was still on their side. The show wouldn't have gone through all the trouble of trying to turn him into a good guy over the better part of seven episodes only to have him turn on them the first chance he got. Plus it wouldn't really have made sense for him to turn on them, Shawn would have figured out the truth one way or another and he'd be screwed anyway. Michael had to remain a good guy. In that sense, the faux mystery of the episode is kind of frustrating and unnecessary, a rare misstep for a show that usually has this kind of thing figured out.

But there's still a lot of great stuff in "Leap Into Faith", and it's less about what's going on and more about the how. How Michael plans to get his new friends out of the predicament they're in, and how far he's willing to go to ruse the likes of Vicki and Shawn. And, to be fair, it leads to a couple of good moments, as the secrecy surrounding what Michael is doing leads to an Ocean's Eleven style of reveals where we find out everything that was happening beneath the surface; the clues Michael was leaving the gang in his "roast", what he was whispering to Drunk Janet, Derek's role in the whole thing. And it all leads to a great moment where Michael breaks down into tears when he finds out that his friends are okay.

While I appreciate that the show once again found a way to successfully blow up its own premise for the umpteenth time, to be honest, it was probably the weakest iteration of that so far, the one that required the most amount of exposition and a bit too far of a leap, if you'll allow the play on the title, into the disbelief of Michael's uncertain status. The episode is more about the gang learning to trust him, but from a plot perspective, there's too much focus on whether or not he's actually betrayed them, and it sort of hurts the episode.

But overall, I'm glad to have The Good Place back and "Leap Into Faith" is still a good episode with a lot of great lines and a great twist, and for that, it gets 8.5 of the squiggliest eyeball corkscrews out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • The most satisfying thing in this episode is how Mindy St. Clair finally gets her duffel bags full of cocaine!
  • Drunk Janet is the best Janet so far.
  • At the demons' going away party, the show comes up with the two worst songs of all time, appropriately: "She Hates Me" by Puddle of Mudd, and "Grandma Got Run over By A Reindeer."
  • Tahani's Casual Namedrops: Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe, Pippa Middleton
    Shawn: "Can't you tell? I'm basically squealing like a birthday girl."
  • Tahani & Jason: "At some point we should finish discussing yesterday's events." / "Do you mean us almost getting married? And then finding out I was married to Janet? And then Janet making a boyfriend to forget me and then Janet getting rid of that boyfriend? Or do you mean when we saw that cool cloud?"
  • Jason: Yo, Chidi. You wanna year about a cool cloud I saw?"
  • Eleanor to Chidi: "It's so hard to be your friend."
  • Jason: "I never thought I'd be the one to say it, but this is getting out of hand. I think we need to go to the cops."
  • Drunk Janet: "This is the best summer ever, you guys!"
  • Derek: "Maximum Derek!"
  • Michae, to Drunk Janet: "Something something Vicki something something."
  • Derek: "There are wind chimes where my ding dong should be."