The Good Place S03E08 "The Worst Possible Use of Free Will" Recap

"The Good Place" departs from some of the more signature wackiness and antics in this episode to focus in on Eleanor's self-exploration and the revelations she has regarding her tangled history with Chidi. Michael uses a tool to hook up to Eleanor's brain that will allow her to get back her memories of the attempt number (one of many when Michael repeatedly tried and failed to trick the humans into thinking they were in the Good Place) when Eleanor and Chidi mutually confessed their love to one another. Eleanor doesn't take the news well, as she goes into denial that she had genuinely fallen in love with another person and Michael must employ all that he has learned about humanity and Eleanor specifically to snap her out of it.

Though "The Good Place is a series that offers a tremendous amount of comedic gold, from the satirical analysis of humankind to the various character-comedy, the heart of why it's successful are the lead characters and their ability to be vulnerable and grow over the course of their journeys. Eleanor has always been the window into this fantastical world that the show's writers have created. She was the first person we met and we learned about the 'not actually Good Place' as she did, along with all the other characters residing there. Kristin Bell has effortless played the snarkier, ethically questionable character moments (especially in Eleanor's flashbacks) but this episode showcases her dramatic abilities. Without ever losing the whimsical spirit of the show, the writers have masterfully delved deep into the insecurities Eleanor has about herself as a person damaged by her childhood. It's touching to watch and inspires hope in viewers who relate to her journey that they too may be able to find love and acceptance in a caring partner as well as a friend group that becomes a surrogate family.

The Good Place airs on Thursdays on NBC at 8:30/7:30c.


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