Colleen Hayes/NBC
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January 10, 2019 at 10:00 PM EST

At long last, the Good Place! Eleanor takes a deep breath of the air here in heaven. It smells, she tells her friends, just like Typhoon Walls, her favorite water park when she was a young trashbag in Arizona. “The Good Place smells like whatever makes you happiest,” Michael explains. For Chidi, it’s warm pretzels, which is coincidentally a smell-a-like for Absolute Moral Truth. For Jason, it’s Blake Bortles holding a Super Bowl trophy, crediting his success to his pal Jason. (Also, weed.) For Tahani, it’s the smell of a curtain closing between first class and economy.

But they’re not quite in the Good Place. Or anyhow, they’re not in what Michael calls “the Main Good Place Area.” This is some kind of mail depot, operated by a cheerful post officer named Gwendolyn (played by guest star Nicole Byer.) Gwendolyn is cosmically credulous, asking no follow-up questions when Michael declares that he’s an accountant bringing contest-winning humans to the afterlife. (Jason is confused about the lie: “We’re refugees?” he asks. “What kind of messed-up place would turn away refugees?”) “The Book of Dougs” is the first episode to properly introduce us viewers to the denizens of the Good Place, and Gwendolyn seems pretty typical: Very happy, painfully naive, stridently sincere.

Michael gets in contact with some Good Place officers, with a little help from a magic phone in Gwendolyn’s office that calls whoever you want and will leave no trace whatsoever if you use it illegally. Which is, well, a pretty easy plot turn for our Michael. (Gwendolyn, paraphrasing: “Here’s precisely what you need with nothing stopping you from using it!”) But nothing about the Good Place is simple, we’ll discover.

While Michael prepares to make his pitch for stopping the Bad Place from hacking the great points system, his friends split into romantic subplots. Eleanor is tormented by a door leading out of the mail depot to the Good Place. It’s such a small door — four Oreos from Heaven! — but it won’t open for humans. Chidi tries to cheer her up with a playful suggestion. Why not have their first date? Hey, they fell in love over the course of death, hundreds of timeline reboots, resurrection, and death again: Doesn’t a date in heaven’s foyer seem perfectly sensible?

Meanwhile, Tahani tries to solve her own curious love triangle. Janet has to imitate a Neutral Janet, but she’s not feeling very neutral. Jason reveals that he knows she loves him. Tahani tries to talk Janet through her frustration, but that just makes things worse. Janet’s feeling so many new feelings just now — and good lord, what if those feelings come out of her butt?

A committee of Good Placers arrives in the mail depot. They travel in magic polyhedrons, apparently, and have extremely generous attitudes. They listen patiently while Michael explains that the points system has gone horribly wrong. He gives them the Book of Dougs, noting Doug Forcett — a man who’s only done good with his life — isn’t close to getting in. The committee is skeptical. There have been stretches in history where no one got into the Good Place before, like that time humanity invented stabbing. But they agree to discuss the matter, while a Good Placer named Kellen showers Michael with compliments.

NEXT: This calls for immediate discussion!

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type
TV Show
seasons
3
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run date
09/19/16
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