Chapter 18: Existential Crisis is the fifth episode of Season 2 of NBC’s The Good Place.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Tahani throws a dinner party to impress while Chidi makes headway in teaching Michael ethics. Eleanor and Jason both have to lend a hand when things don't go as planned.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

When Chidi realizes that Michael's immortality prevents him from being able to engage with human ethics, he tells Michael to consider how it would really feel if he were to undergo the possibility of his existence ending through "retirement". Michael becomes paralyzed with horror when he grasps the concept of death, experiencing an existential crisis. Eleanor calls Chidi out for "breaking" Michael, but Chidi argues it gets Michael to truly understand the human perspective of things and asks her to consider her own formative experiences with the concept of death. Eleanor recalls an incident in her childhood when her pet dog died (which was her mother Donna's fault, as she'd left the dog locked in the car on a hot day, causing it to suffocate, and Donna callously told Eleanor not to get sad over it because she didn't want to deal with it) and the day of her father's funeral; she resents the fact that she never had a loving family that was there for her emotionally. To avoid arousing any suspicion from the other demons, Eleanor tells Michael ignore his existential dread by pushing it down.

Meanwhile, Tahani is tortured by having her birthday party for Gunnar overshadowed by an extravagant one planned by Vicky; Tahani is miserable despite knowing Vicky's plan and laments her character flaws that enable such superficial problems to affect her. At the same time, Michael arrives to the party, where it turns out Eleanor's advice has caused him to replace his existential crisis with a stereotypical midlife crisis, which includes him dressing up in flashy suits, driving a fancy sports car, getting a tattoo, and having Janet pose as his vacuous trophy wife. Chidi determines this is less psychologically productive.

At the end, Eleanor explains to Michael that sadness over death is intrinsic to humanity; he thanks her, and Chidi decides their studies can move forward. Jason praises Tahani and tells her she's a good person who throws amazing events, and they sleep together; both enjoy it, but Tahani wants to talk about it afterward while Jason is oblivious.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop
William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye
Jameela Jamil as Tahani Al-Jamil
D'Arcy Carden as Janet
Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza
Ted Danson as Michael

Recurring Cast

Tiya Sircar as Vicky

Guest Starring

Leslie Grossman as Donna Shellstrop
Steve Berg as Gunnar
Marques Tay as Quinston Timeclock

Co-Starring

Noelle E. Parker as Young Eleanor
Drew Brooks as Samuel
Doc Farrow as Greg
Tom Beyer as Doug Shellstrop

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Ted Danson, a real work of art.

  • 4.05 Million viewers
  • At one point, Michael puts on an expression very similar to the figure in Edvard Munch's painting The Scream. This is probably deliberate on the part of Ted Danson and the creative team.
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