Leah Peluchiwski’s Final Project

For my final assignment, I chose to write a review of episode 4.05, “Employee of the Bearimy,” which is under the divider below. This was one of the episodes I have most enjoyed this season, which I thought would make it well-suited to take a deeper dive into. There will be spoilers for this episode!

The fifth episode of season four, “Employee of the Bearimy,” opens with the real Good Janet behind bars being tortured by “Michael,” who we quickly learn is actually Vicky attempting to perfect her Michael impression. Throughout its run, The Good Placehas done a stellar job of bringing back old jokes and this episode is no different. Vicky the demon is still an aspiring actress struggling to find her place in the roles she attempts to fill. This time, we get the pleasure of watching her wrestle with Michael’s character. The amusing thing we have to remember is that even though in the world of The Good Place, Vicky is the one pretending to be Michael, Ted Danson is still the one acting this out in our world. Though many moments of this show have highlighted the immense skills of the cast, this is a small but impressive moment as Ted Danson perfectly captures how Vicky would embody his character of Michael. Just from this opening scene, there’s already a sense of how rich this episode is going to end up being.

In the last episode, the audience learned the Good Janet we know and love has actually been captured by the Bad Place and a Bad Janet has been put in her place, which explains some of the chaos from the last few episodes. Every time we think The Good Placehas been telling us the truth, something comes out which causes us to have to shift our entire outlook on the show. After the many twists and turns from the past few seasons, I wasn’t sure how much more the writers had left, but it seems like this season won’t go out with a fizzle and rather still has some life left in it. After the revelations from the previous episode, that meant this episode had to tackle getting Good Janet back while restoring peace to the Neighborhood in the meantime. Michael and Jason went to rescue Janet, allowing audiences a trip back to the retro-styled Bad Place, and Eleanor and Tahani stayed back in the Neighborhood with the four humans and Derrick, which gave Eleanor the chance to prove to the audience how much she has grown throughout these three and a half seasons.

From the start of the episode, there are two quite different missions being carried out, neither one overpowering the other. Starting with Jason and Michael’s journey, they head to the Bad Place, chatting about what they might find when they get there. It was at this point that I realized what an unlikely duo they have made throughout the series. Despite many characters having strong connections, Jason and Michael have always had an interesting relationship. Michael has turned to Jason in times of distress and Jason has occasionally dropped a small, accidently wise phrase in the process, or at the very least has drawn something out of Michael. We get to see another example of this throughout this episode, as well as a deeper look into Michael’s character. As they sneak through the Bad Place, Jason points out a picture of Michael on the “Employee of the Bearimy” wall, which causes Michael to recollect his former position as a demon in the Bad Place. He seems regretful of this, which resurfaces at the end of the episode when Jason attempts to comfort Michael, saying “It’s okay to feel or plead guilty about bad things you used to do, but you don’t have to feel shame about who you were because you’re not a demon anymore, you’re just like a nice weird happy old dude.” Despite some questionable elements from Jason’s character, the sentiment is there: Michael has truly changed for the better and we get to see this more than ever in this episode.

As Michael and Jason are attempting to trick the demons at “Demon Con” while they listen to presentations about the future of torture (an interesting nod to the popular Comic Con, perhaps raising questions about what the writers think about this annual event), they end up getting caught which allows Michael the opportunity to make a speech about how torture is wrong and that humans can truly change, even going as far as to claim that Shaun knows this is true too. Michael’s defense of the humans in front of a room full of demons solidifies all of the hard work he’s put in to becoming a better being.

Throughout this journey, we also get to see Jason and Janet reunite and have a classic moment of Jason calling Janet a “girl” and Janet responding, “not a girl,” which was Jason’s tell for knowing Janet wasn’t actually Janet in the last episode. This was another one of those precious reoccurring moments this episode used that this series is so full of. Janet and Jason bring one more of these into the mix at the very end of the episode when Jason tells Janet about Blake Bortles being cut from the Jaguars resulting in Janet informing Jason of Nick Foles’ drafting and subsequent injury. This final moment was the perfect last piece to show just how far we’ve come with these characters and all of the small intricacies we know about their lives and interests.

Moving on to Tahani and Eleanor’s portion of the episode, we had the chance to see them interact together without the interference of the other main characters, which doesn’t seem to have happened before. The changes Eleanor has undergone since the beginning of the series were on full display in this episode as she takes charge of situations in the Neighborhood and even has to put Tahani back on track at times. Tahani also showed more growth than I expected in this episode, which was a refreshing change. She recognized that most of what she has done throughout the series is throw parties and has the desire to change this and grow as an individual. Though some of Tahani’s efforts to change during this episode were a bit frustrating, it was still rewarding to see her recognize her flaws. Between moments of ridiculousness with Derrick trying to control the Neighborhood, drinking from a champagne glass full of Scrabble titles, we also got to see some deeper moments between characters.

While Eleanor was trying to fix the fact that Chidi didn’t go to the lake house with the other humans, and Tahani promised him a puzzle will give him the answer to the truth about the universe, there was a moment of real connection between Eleanor and Chidi when she asks if he trusts her, to which he responds that he does. It’s these moments between characters that make this series so compelling. We get another of these moments between Tahani and Eleanor when they talk about how their upbringing has shaped who they are today. Eleanor has had to learn to think on her feet, which she demonstrates constantly throughout this episode, while Tahani has cultivated other skills, which Eleanor highlights in their discussion.

The end of this episode makes me excited about what the rest of the season might hold in store, as we’re finally getting the core group of six back together again. Despite this plotline of Janet being stolen away actually being fairly unnecessary in terms of the larger story and just filling time in the season, it presents numerous opportunities for character growth and expression, which is what really ties together a series for me. We got to see Eleanor step up in her Architect responsibilities, we see how much Michael has changed and grown, how Tahani wants to change for the better, how Janet holds the entire neighborhood together, and how Jason sometimes stumbles upon a valuable idea.

Though we didn’t get much of a sense of the direction the series is going to be taking in the next few episodes, this episode served as a good reset to center with all of the characters and their relationships, along with progressing character development in many of them as well. Not only did character shine through in this episode, I also often found myself audibly laughing while watching this episode, which I think had been lacking in some of the previous ones. Although there are many priceless lines from all episodes of The Good Place, I quite enjoyed Tahani’s, “Insert me coach man,” to which Eleanor replied with a questioning and exasperated, “Put me in coach.” I can’t wait to see what this series holds in store in its final season. My attention has occasionally drifted throughout the series, but episodes like “Employee of the Bearimy” remind me why this show is so lovely, funny, and special.