Twenty minutes into a conversation with a small room of critics following an early screening of “Janet(s)” — the midseason finale of The Good Place — series creator Mike Schur cuts himself off in the middle of an answer. “You can tell, by the way, how much we’ve been dying to talk about this, because you guys have asked, like, one question.”
And yes: Even for a show that prides itself on nutty twists, this episode was a big one, and there is a lot to talk about. (Consider this your requisite spoiler alert.)
A quick rundown of the major moments The Good Place just crammed into a single episode:
Chidi realizes he’s in love with Eleanor
Tahani and Jason learn that Janet used to be married to Jason, and that Janet is still in love with him
Michael learns that no one — no one — has made it into the Good Place in 521 years …
… until now, because Michael successfully smuggles the four humans into the actual Good Place — as the episode ends (to the audible groan of me, as I realize this cliffhanger won’t be resolved until next year)
If that wasn’t enough, The Good Place unspools all these twists in an episode largely centered on a grab-bag of performances from a single actress: D’Arcy Carden, who plays no fewer than six different characters in the episode (including a new Janet, Neutral Janet, who falls at the exact nexus between Good Janet and Bad Janet). She was even asked to convincingly embody nearly all of The Good Place’s main characters.
Let’s back up for a second. In the previous episode of The Good Place, Janet rescued Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason by bringing them into her “void” — a white liminal space located somewhere inside her (not-a-robot) programming.
But this week, we learn that the journey came with an unexpected side effect: The four humans have been physically transformed into Janets. Which meant, of course, that D’Arcy Carden was tasked with playing Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto), as well as the Janet she usually plays. Relying on visual effects, trick photography, and stand-ins, much of the episode is just Carden in a blank white room, acting opposite herself (and doing uncanny impersonations of her four costars). “It was a form of psychological torture,” jokes Schur. “I went crazy,” confirms Carden.
How did it all …
Source:: The Week – Entertainment