Chapter 8: Most Improved Player is the 8th episode of Season 1 of The Good Place.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

MICHAEL PUTS ELEANOR TO THE TEST — Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Eleanor visits Michael in his office, and he's dumbfounded, the system made a mistake, and that can't happen. He asks who she is, and she really is Eleanor Shellstrop, and some of the information he had on her was right, but much was wrong.

He asks Janet to find her correct file, but Janet's memory isn't rebooted yet. (Throughout the episode Janet is, amusingly, failing to function properly.)

Without her file, Michael needs another way to determine what kind of person Eleanor was: he has a list of questions to tell if someone is fundamentally good or bad. Some make sense, some sound silly, but none of them show Eleanor to be worthy of the Bad Place.

Chidi, Tahani, and Jason are waiting in Michael's waiting room. Tahani is all upset about how bad Eleanor was, but Chidi defends her.

Michael has finished his questions, and Eleanor did very well. Since Janet doesn't have her file, Eleanor suggests they just call it a mistake and move on, but Michael says there are no mistakes, even though she is one.

He has more tests: he gets out a glowing box that is a perfect lie detector. He asks if Eleanor murdered Janet, and the box agrees when Eleanor says she did not, when she says she knows who it was, and when she says she won't tell who. Michael says there's no room in the Good Place for bad people, so whoever murdered Janet needs to be judged and punished.

Michael lets Eleanor out and calls in Tahani. In the waiting room, Chidi thanks Eleanor for confessing, but Eleanor says the trouble's not over, Michael will find out that Chidi killed Janet because of Jason, all of which is bad, all three of them could be tossed out. Chidi asks what to do, and, amazingly, Eleanor cites Kant in advising not to lie, though she also says, "snitches get stitches."

Michael asks Tahani why she spent time with Eleanor, and Tahani says "people are just drawn to me," and bubbles on about her wonderfulness. But asked whether Eleanor should be here, she barely avoids directly saying Eleanor should go to the Bad Place, though that's the only result that makes sense to her.

Eleanor primes Jason for his interview, and Jason is all set to say Eleanor is wonderful and ethical, but Eleanor knows about the lie detector. Chidi advises him to give only smiles and nods.

Michael asks "Jianyu" (Jason) what to do with Eleanor. Jason smiles and nods, almost randomly, allowing Michael to apply his nods to any question, but after a while Jason realizes just nodding is leading Michael to conclude Eleanor should be sent away. Jason accidentally cuts himself on a decorative cactus in the office, and Michael interprets that as "Jianyu" wisely advising Michael not to interfere. So clueless Jason gets away with looking wise.

Michael comes out to get Chidi, but Janet is there, and she's found Eleanor's real file, so he calls Eleanor back in. Inside, he looks at the file, and asks Eleanor about a few of the high-scoring events in it, one about being nice for a niece, one about...

Her roommate Madison had a nice dress, she wouldn't let Eleanor borrow it, but Eleanor took it anyway, tried it on, and it tore, so she stuffed it back in the closet. Another day, Madison discovered the dress torn, immediately blamed the dry cleaner, and Eleanor supported her in that, but Madison sued the cleaners out of business.

Then the story of Madison's suit went viral, and Madison is suddenly unpopular, and another of Eleanor's roommates had T-shirts made taunting Madison, naming her "Dress Bitch," and Eleanor got a share of the profits. And Eleanor used her share to buy an expensive dress.

Michael closes the file, and asks Eleanor if she belongs in the Good Place. Eleanor says she doesn't, and the lie detector agrees with her. Michael pushes an intercom button, and the Bad Place answers; Michael tells the operator he thinks they've been looking for someone called Eleanor Shellstrop, she's here, they should come and get her.

Outside, we see the Train, a black steam engine, slowing to a stop. As dramatic Western music plays, we see several people get off, and they seem disgusted with the neighborhood of the Good Place. Michael and Eleanor meet them outside, and Michael greets their leader, Trevor. Trevor tosses Michael a gift, a can of nuts, which pops into a flaming snake, but Michael takes it nicely.

Trevor notices Eleanor, she's the one they're looking for, she's a legend already in the Bad Place, Trevor's even wearing a Dress Bitch T-shirt. Michael asks Trevor what caused this mistake, but Trevor has no idea either, but anyway, Eleanor is one of "ours", so they should get going. Michael asks, just for decency, she should be allowed some good-byes.

Eleanor is back at her house, packing a bag, and complaining to Chidi about the whole good/bad system, there should be a medium place. But she thanks Chidi for doing what he could to help her. Tahani and Jason come and say good-bye, because they are her friends also.

Eleanor and Chidi get to the train, where Trevor and the others are impatiently waiting. They lead her onto the train, the 3:18 to The Bad Place, and Trevor tells Eleanor it's be an uncomfortable trip.

Chidi comes into Michael's office and confesses that he murdered Janet, that he knew about Eleanor from the beginning, and that he's been teaching Eleanor to be better, and that she has really been learning. Michael says that's good, but "there is no award for Most Improved Player" here. Chidi says, maybe there should be.

Back in the Train, Trevor is still telling Eleanor about how unpleasant the Train is, when the Train starts to move, Eleanor looks out at the neighborhood she is leaving... and Michael's voice calls out: "Stop this train!" Michael walks in, and tells Trevor that Eleanor is staying.

Trevor objects, they have an agreement that she's his, but Michael says, they only agreed that there's a mistake going on, and she will stay in the Good Place until it's sorted out. Trevor says fine, but until this is resolved, "we're keeping the other Eleanor, the real Eleanor, the one that was supposed to be here but got sent down to us instead." The good Eleanor was with them on the train, and she comes out. "Hi, I'm Eleanor Shellstrop."

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
and Ted Danson as Michael

Guest Starring

Adam Scott as Trevor
Emily Arlook as Dana
Sunita Mani as Chad
Zeke Nicholson as Troy
Tiya Sircar as The Real Eleanor
Jacki Tohn as Alexis
Angela Trimbur as Madison (flashback)


Meryl Hathaway as Brittany (flashback)

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Original broadcast audience: 3.89 Million
  • Right after Jason was interviewed by Michael, you can see him in the back attempting to water his new cactus.
  • Kristen Bell and Adam Scott had previously worked together in Veronica Mars' season one episode "Mars vs. Mars", where Scott played Bell's character (Veronica) professor, and was the main plot of the episode.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Michael – “Did you ever take off your shoes and socks on a commercial airline?”
Eleanor – “And socks? Ew, who would do that?”
Michael – “People who go to the Bad Place, Eleanor, that's the point. And unless I can figure out a compelling reason to keep you here, you will spend eternity with murderers, and arsonists, and people who take off their shoes and socks on commercial airlines”
— Other people?
This is the 3:18 to the Bad Place, making thousands of stops for literally no reason. Now, you'll notice it's very hot in here, and it will get one degree hotter every time you think about how hot it is. Oops! You just thought about it
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