The Good Place winter premiere: Kristen Bell teases 'vulnerable' Michael, Janet drunk on magnets
Vacation is over. See you in hell.
The Good Place returns to NBC tonight with its winter premiere, offering up cliffhanger clarity after viewers were left wondering what was about to happen to Michael (Ted Danson) after his boss, Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson), just showed up in his office and told him, “We need to talk.” It also will tell us more about Michael’s surprising soul rehabilitation (or is that installation), which poses both challenges and opportunities for the group, led by Eleanor (Kristen Bell).
“What’s interesting about Michael this year is he kind of is on the road that every human’s been on where he has the choice to be better and improve,” Bell tells EW. “He’s faced with those choices every single day, and he actually is starting to improve. You see a lot of his humanity start to come out and he bonds with us like any old human would, which completely changes the dynamic of the relationship we’ve had in the previous season and a half. ‘Michael gets vulnerable’ should be the title of that episode.”
The episode, titled “Leap to Faith,” also features Michael getting vicious, as he hosts a ruthless roast of Eleanor, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameel Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto) in an effort to please Shawn. “It’s everything you want and more,” declares Bell. “He breaks down every single one of our characters, Jeff Ross-style, and really lets us have it, which is the direct opposite of the information that he’s told us, which is he’s on our side… This is Michael’s episode of tough love, I guess.”
Of course, the looming question is whether he truly is on their side and is capable of real change, or even can be trusted to stick to an arrangement (which he needed to make so that Shawn would believe that his torture plan is still working). “There are many sides to the story, and our side is we’ve seen someone [make] incredibly bad decisions — mostly directed at us for however long we’ve been in ‘the Good Place.’ Can we trust someone who says they’re changing? Some people in the group do and some people in the group don’t.”
“Leap to Faith” also can be described as… magnetic. We can’t reveal the exact context, but you will see the powers of Janet (D’Arcy Carden) neutralized in a captivating way. “Janet drunk on magnets is my favorite thing,” says Bell. “I’ve tried to get D’Arcy drunk on magnets before — it doesn’t work. But Janet drunk on magnets is spectacular. The writers room was really looking for a way to push Janet out of her personality a little bit. They’ve been able to have her get crazy when she’s by her ‘off’ switch, and D’Arcy is so good at what she does, she’s endless in the things that she can play. Having the opportunity at any point during the series for Janet to be drunk if you get a magnet around her is very exciting.”
The winter premiere will set into motion the arc for the final five episodes. Which is? “The big escape,” hints Bell, “and whether or not we accomplish it. And if we do, where we go.”
The journey resumes Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.