The Good Place S02E10 Recap: 'Rhonda, Diana, Jake, And Trent'

An episode like "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, And Trent" really speaks to how amazingly fully formed the universe of The Good Place actually is. Prior to this week's installment, we had seldom visited Michael's workplace, the HQ of everyone at The Bad Place. Even though this is the first time all of the main characters have the pleasure of visiting it for themselves, it feels just as riched, detailed and lived-in as anything else we've already seen in this show. To say that Michael Schur and his writers have a knack for world-building would be an understatement, as would be saying that that same world-building is a major part of what makes this show work.

After last week's episode, Michael, Eleanor and the gang are on a train to Bad Place HQ, where the plan is to blend in while Michael gets them enough pins to cross a portal to the judge's quarters, where they can make their case for entry into the real Good Place. In order to blend in, they have to come up with alternate identities (which is where the title of the episode comes from), but Chidi's principles make him uncomfortable with lying, so one of the big conflicts is Eleanor trying to convince him that it's okay to lie in this scenario, and she uses philosophy Chidi didn't even have time to teach her to convince him.

But that's not the only philosophical applications in the episode, as we return to the trolley problem from earlier in the season when Michael discovers he didn't steal enough pins, and chooses to sacrifice himself in order to save his friends, which would be the simplest and most moral solution to said problem. Michael has finally proven himself to be a convert from evil, and that should come into place as the season comes to a close in a couple of weeks.

So the gang makes it through the portal to see the judge, Michael is caught, and Good Janet is still hiding out somewhere in Bad Place HQ. This is somewhat of a transitional episode, but a lot happens, and the amount of detail present is ample proof of what makes this show work. Bad Place HQ is rife with the same kind of little details that Michael's Fake Good Place neighbourhood was. We spend a lot of time in a museum of low-grade human offenders, and every one of the exhibits is perfect, from the woman who flossed in an open-concept office to the guy who first uttered the phrase "I need a vacation from my vacation." Or how MIchael goes to see his boss, who immediately orders him to "Axe up" with a new scent based on the feelings evoked by the transformers franchise. And, dear lord, all the different forms of tortured that are detailed. And Dax Shepherd as a demon!

While "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, And Trent" is more about reaching a destination, the detail that's once again present in every single moment of this show is what pushes it to new heights, and it therefore gets 9 children's dance recitals out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • Tahani's Casual Namedrops: Baz Luhrmann, Johnny Depp, John Wayne, Elon Musk (technically that last one is from a mechanical Tahani, but she winds up confirming it).
  • Never mind that he's Kristen Bell's husband, Dax Shepherd as a smarmy demon torturer is perfect casting.
  • I can't decide what i liked more about the episode,the gag with Chidi's lucky bookmark, or the Molotov Cocktail payoff (and subsequent coinage of "JORTLES!")
  • Michael/Jason:"In this IHOP you don't eat the pancakes. It's more like, they eat you." "Okay, I'll get eggs then."
  • Eleanor/Jason: "To be fair, you also once said that about an orange." "They don't make sense. Apples, you eat their clothes. But oranges, you don't!?"
  • Jason: "Anytime I had a problem and I threw a Molotov cocktail, boom! Right away, I had a different problem."
  • Jason: "Take my credit card to the hedge fund. I'll meet you at the martini store."
  • Shawn: "Axe up."
  • Shawn: "It makes you smell the way Transformers movies make you feel."
  • Eleanor: "Jason is stalling by ranking MMA ring girls with them."
  • Eleanor: "How do you smell loud and confusing?"