The Good Place S02E11 Recap: 'The Burrito' & The Eternal Judge Revealed!

Ever since last week's episode of The Good Place, the internet has been running rampant with speculation over who the show might cast as its eternal judge. Considering Mike Schur's thick rolodex of people he's worked with across The Office, Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the possibilities were endless. At the end of the day, while I don't think the person revealed to be said judge in "The Burrito" is as crazy as some of the names that had been suggested, but it's as pitch-perfect a choice as a show like this could make.

The episode begins with our heroes arriving at the judge's chambers, only to find a burrito sitting upon their desk. They come to the conclusion that the burrito itself could be the judge, so Eleanor begins to address it as such, only to find that the true judge, played gleefully by the incomparable Maya Rudolph, is standing behind them, wondering why they're talking to a burrito.

Rudolph, who plays Gen (named after Hydrogen, because that as the only thing that existed when she was created), is as good as we could have asked for. She's not as "obvious" for lack of of a better term, as someone like Tina Fey or Amy Poehler, not as outlandish as a Bill Murray or an Oprah or a Paul Rudd, who you'd almost wonder if they'd have to just play themselves or a likeness of themselves to be believed. Rudolph chops, her acting style, just work beautifully in the setting of such an upbeat, positive, chipper show. That's exactly how she plays it too; she's just a cool gal who cracks jokes and manages to see positives even whilst judging people in the face of eternal damnation.

Judge Gen doles out tests to the gang, each designed to see how far they've come in their attempts to become better people. Jason is instructed to play Madden football, only he has to play against the Jaguars. Tahani has to walk down a hall without being tempted to walk into one of the rooms, each of which contains people from her life discussing her. Both wind up failing, Jason because, obviously he can't even wrap his head around the very nature of the test, and Tahani because she's too tempted by one of the doors. But instead of it being one filled with celebrities or service workers she may have wronged, it's her parents she decides to confront. She eventually decides to simply with them the best as she realizes that she was never going to be good enough for them. That does indeed show she's come a long way, but unfortunately, it's not far enough for the judge's test, as she was instructed to avoid all doors except for the exit at the end of the hall. Chidi's test actually made me laugh aloud the most, as he's told to choose between two hats. Clearly it's a test to see if he could make a simple decision, but yet it takes him nearly a full 90 minutes.

Eleanor's test is arguably the most nefarious, as she's paired with what turns out to be a fake Chidi, and told that they've automatically passed and have been granted entry into the Good Place, but Tahani and Jason can't join them. She eventually figures out that this is the test when Chidi rejects his ethics and decides that they should take the deal. Eleanor is actually the only person to pass the test, but she lies to the group and tells them she failed, so that they wouldn't raise a fuss or feel bad. Seeing as they decided to be graded as a group, they're all set to go to the bad place, until Michael and Janet, recently escaped from Shawn's clutches, show up to stop it from happening.

While "The Burrito" is a lot of set up for what's to come in next week's season finale, it's still filled with some great stuff and, as usual, a lot of great jokes. The hallway of Tahani's nightmares is as good as anything this show has done, in terms of sight gags, and Chidi picking hats will stay with me for a long time. I can't wait to see how this show blows itself up yet again next week. "The Burrito" gets 8.5 Fergies-a-plenty out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • Tahani's Casual Namedrops: So most of these are just on the nameplates in the hallway, but I figure they still count, and she actually says most of them. The besto one is by far Paul McCartney, which is actually implied through a parody of "Hey Jude". The rest include Blue Ivy Carter, North West, Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince, Quevenzhane Wallis, Stephen Hawking, the Fergies (the duchess and the Blacked Eyed Pea), Winston Churchill and Freddie Mercury.
  • Michael's escape from Shawn is pretty straightforward, as he tells Shawn what happened and uses Janet, posing as Bad Janet, to escape. The best part is Michael's punishment to-be, which involved him sitting in a nondescript room for eternity with only a never-ending stack of New Yorker magazines to distract himself with.
  • Judge: "Keep talking, I am like, obsessed with your accent."
  • Tahani: "To paraphrase a song written by my godfather, 'Hey judge, don't make it bad, take a sad group and make us better.'"
  • Judge: "Say aluminum."
  • Shawn: "Who taught you how to turn a human inside out by reaching down their throat and grabbing their butt by the inside?"
  • Jason: "We all need to be able to cheat of Chidi. "Ooh, that's why your name is Chidi, I get it now!"
  • Michael: "Frankly this is on you. A lot of those details I just took directly from Stephen King novels and episodes of Pretty Little Liars."
  • Shawn: "Fair is the stupidest word humans ever invented. Except for staycation."
  • Eleanor: "Oh no, that was your moral quandary grimace! Which is different than your gas pain grimace, and different from your 'someone said from whence it came instead of whence it came' grimace."
  • Eleanor: "Why can't one part of the calculation of our eternal fate be easy?"
  • Tahani: "Quevenzhane Wallis AND Stephen Hawking in the same room, discussing ME? Guess they must have made up."
  • Tahani: "I died dressed as someone in the service industry. I shagged a Floridian. I even ate a Cheeto!"
  • Jason: "We gave it our best shot, guys. I say we go through the portal, get a good night's sleep, come back fresh in the morning, try it again."
  • Eleanor/Jason: "Oh Jason, I feel like you always understand about 20% of what's happening." "Thanks!"