Season three of “The Good Place” is still good


photo by Lukas Goodwin

Premiering on Sept. 27, season three of NBC’s “The Good Place” jumps right into the action, following up on season two’s cliffhanger. The quartet of main characters, Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell), Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), have returned from the dead in an experiment ran by their friends, a demon named Michael and an Artificial Intelligence named Janet.

This season returns with the same exceedingly clever humor, which, with its compelling plot, keeps viewers consistently entertained. The premise of the third season is structured around where season two left off: the four humans must be able to use their second chance at life to become better people and earn a chance in the “Good Place.”

While it sounds simple enough, this leads to an interesting tension, as the humans’ memories of the afterlife have been erased, leaving them completely oblivious to the dangers they are prone to. It becomes a race between whether Michael and Janet can coerce them into working toward finding each other to get into the Good Place before the demons steal them back to the “Bad Place.”

The main characters are excellently written and relatable to viewers. Eleanor’s dry sarcasm, Chidi’s constant anxiety over everything, Tahani’s excessive pompousness and Jason’s dim-wittedness, all bounce off of each other in hilarious ways. Michael  (played by Ted Danson) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) add an extra level of quirkiness to the humor with their inability to understand people, and their unrelenting efforts to save the humans are endearing.

All of the episodes are riddled with miniature twists that help keep things fresh and maintain interest. Roughly halfway through the season, there is a major plot twist that shifts the dynamics and goals of the characters. This is especially appreciated, as without the constant additions of new story elements, it would be easy for the show to become dull.

The only major blunder of season three seems to be the question the entire cast keeps asking: why do the demons care so much about these particular four humans if they already have billions of others to torture? This seems unclear throughout the show, as the demons chasing after the humans only waste all of their time and energy trying to capture them. However, the question is also brought up so frequently by Michael and the others that it seems like the show is either calling itself out on its plot holes, or secretly has an explanation not yet revealed.

It also becomes somewhat irritating how this season teases at the two love interest couples in the show: Eleanor and Chidi, and Jason and Janet. It is hard to tell whether the baiting will continue up until the series finale, which could frankly be multiple seasons away, or if they will pair up again soon, only to be split apart due to some other alteration of the timeline. Regardless of how deterring it is to have to practically beg for them to fall in love over and over, though, it aids in enriching the drama easily enough.

Once again, season three of “The Good Place” has proven how talented the writers and actors are at making this show what it is: a clever, self-aware sitcom that pokes fun at everybody watching. It is fulfilling to watch the characters grow and flourish, as they work hard to better themselves. And beneath all the satire and drama, it carries an underlying, introspective message: everybody has the ability to become a good person.