Those of you who have been along for this ride with me all season know what we’re here to do: to celebrate the hidden jokes and the callbacks and the things we might have missed while we were too busy laughing at something else or accidentally learning about moral philosophy.
And we’re still here to do that. But once that’s done, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to need a moment to discuss what just happened.
Because that was Pandemonium.
[Of course, spoilers will be happening.]
So Much Punnery, So Little Time (Not That Time Means Anything Here!)
Although we were able to catch some of these last week, a full episode back in the neighborhood meant we got better looks at some of the new, varied shops:
Lasagne Come Out Tomorrow (yes, I know it’s tiny, sorry)
Beignet and the Jets (the ‘B’ is there, but this was still the best angle)
There. Now that we’ve fulfilled the contractual promises I made to Dustin at the beginning of the season when I pitched him on covering The Good Place, let’s get to the random other things that this episode has made me think about:
Two Wild Speculations About Next Season Based On What Could Be Throwaway Lines
Wild Speculation #1: John Wheaton is being set up to be played by multiple people next season.
When John meets Tahani, he says that since he’s in heaven, he’s not planning on keeping “any of this”, meaning his face.
Does that mean he could, potentially, be played by another actor? Or multiple actors? Would he change his look constantly? Based on the limited exposure we’ve had to John so far, it seems reasonable. And not for nothing, but the show did help normalize the idea of a character playing different actors last week, when Ted Danson played Vicky in a Michael suit.
Wild Speculation #2: The brilliance of the Simone fakeout wasn’t just the plot twist it provided.
Although there was a valid reason in the moment for Eleanor to suggest to Simone that she not feel the need to get to know all the other residents so quickly (that reason being, of course, that Eleanor was attempting to keep Simone and Chidi apart, for his sake), this also feels like it could serve a sneaky production purpose, in that it lays the groundwork for Simone to pop in and out whenever she’s needed next season, rather than explicitly forcing her into the group full-time, and thus giving us the best of both worlds - the ability to bring Simone in whenever she’s needed (like Derek and Mindy, who are also within reach) without being forced to create story for her when there isn’t room.
Okay, You’ve Been Good and Patient, Now We Can Talk About THAT MONTAGE
To be honest, I’m still trying to process the act three montage. For starters, setting that sequence to Carter Burwell’s “We Love You So” from Where The Wild Things Are was just unfair in how appropriate it was for the moment, conveying the right mix of nostalgia and melancholy as it played over a sequence of clips that:
1. We’ve (mostly) never seen.
2. Eleanor and Chidi don’t actually remember.
And yet, it hits us like a bunch of warm, fuzzy, shared memories, and all the while…
It manages to be funny…
It manages to be surprising…
But most of all, in what was (to me, anyway) the biggest gut-punch of the night in an episode full of them, it was a reminder that even for soul mates who seem dead set on proving time and again to the universe that they’re perfect for each other, things can’t possibly be good (and we can’t be happy with one another) a hundred percent of the time…
Why would Michael show them that, in the middle of a gifted montage of their romance? Why send Chidi off with anything less than perfection? Why leave Eleanor with these lingering moments of negativity? The answer is simple, of course: to prove it was real. Not an airbrushed, instagrammed vision of a perfect relationship, but flawed and messy and above all, real. Even though these memories were taken away once (and for Chidi, are about to be taken away again), it’s proof that this happened, and they were there, and in love.
I have to be honest, this might be where I started to lose it, because I barely remember the great lines that followed the sequence (although Eleanor’s tearful “It’s not a joke, I’m a legit snack!” and Chidi’s “Jeremy Bearimy, baby…” did manage to break through), or the fact that in the end, it was not Michael, but Janet who filled the void and supported Eleanor at her lowest moment, even winking toward D’Arcy Carden’s recent foray into playing everyone else, including Jason:
My wild speculation aside, I don’t know where we go from here. It’s going to be a long eight(?) months until we begin to get some answers as far as what’s next, or who the other two new residents are, or what the dynamic will be like now that Chidi sacrificed his memory of everyone in an effort to save them.
If nothing else, at least in the final scene, Mike Schur and company gave us the little glimmer of hope that we’ll have to sustain ourselves with until then.
Because like Eleanor, all we can do is embrace the pandemonium.
But we’ll do this together.
Header Image Source: NBC