[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from “The Good Place” Season 2, Episode 4, “Jeremy Bearimy.”]
On Thursday’s episode, “The Good Place” reinvented itself once again and bid farewell to its previous narrative format during a Bon Voyage party for Tahani (Jameela Jamil). When Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her friends come upon the interdimensional door between Earth and the rest of the immortal universe, the demon Michael (Ted Danson) and his helper Janet (D’Arcy Carden) have to come clean about their experiences in The Bad Place and their rebooted chance at redemption.
Unfortunately, in doing so, they’ve doomed the four humans to being damned because now their actions would be tainted with the knowledge of an afterlife. After each of the mortals spiral out in various ways, Eleanor finally comes to the conclusion that even if she’s fated for The Bad Place, she can at least help others on Earth not meet the same fate. Thus, the Soul Squad is born.
This shift differs from the previous storytelling reboots: Previously, Eleanor & Co. were self serving in their reactions: either they were trying to escape The Bad Place, or they were trying to prove they’re capable of change in order to obtain entry to the real Good Place. Here, neither option is available. In choosing to do good despite their fate, they’ve followed two of the schools of thought that Chidi (William Jackson Harper) outlines for virtuous living: virtue ethics, by following the principles of altruism; and consequentialism, by helping others because their outcomes will be better.
Of course, this wouldn’t be “The Good Place” without goofy wordplay and pop-culture nods to balance out the moral rectitude. Only a few references can be seen in the episode. There’s the bar, Drinking Nemo, named for “Finding Nemo;” there’s Larry, the fourth “loser” Hemsworth brother; and there’s Chidi’s “Who What When Where… Wine!” t-shirt. However, it’s the end credits that play over the final scene that hold a nest of Easter eggs.
In saying farewell to the previous storyline in which Chidi leads a research group of how near death experiences affect personal ethics, the show also bids adieu to Australia, where Chidi was a university professor. Emmy nominee Megan Amram, who wrote this episode, saved all of her wordplay for the the credits, where it’s revealed that most of the students in Chidi’s class are cheeky references to famous Australians. Here’s a breakdown:
Eeth Kurban: A reference to Keith Urban, the country superstar and husband of Nicole Kidman. Most of the joke names are formatted in this way, swapping the beginning phonemes of the first and last names.
Cat Pash: A reference to tennis player Pat Cash, one of the greatest men’s net players of all time. Coincidentally, “pash” is Australian slang for a tongue kiss, the equivalent of the English “snog.”
Gel Mibson: A reference to problematic Oscar winner Mel Gibson, who is technically American born, but was raised in Australia.
Mylie Kinogue: A reference to “Goddess of Pop” and actress Kylie Minogue.
Lod Raver: A reference to Rod Laver, a tennis player who won 11 singles Grand Slam titles.
Gvonne Eoolagong: A reference to Evonne Goolagong, a former No. 1 tennis player who won a total of 14 Grand Slam titles.
Waomi Natt: A reference to acclaimed actress and David Lynch favorite Naomi Watts, who was raised in England and Wales, but emigrated to Australia as a teenager.
Nicole Mankid : A reference to Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner Nicole Kidman, who was born in Hawaii but raised in her parents’ home country of Australia.
Mark Supial: Not a reference to a person but the marsupial, a class of mammals in which most of the young are carried in a pouch on the mother. Nearly 70 percent of the world’s marsupials live in Australia, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, opossums, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and quokkas.
Damon: Who deserves one-name status on this series? That would be well-documented friend to the series, Damon Lindelof, whom series creator Mike Schur consulted when developing the series to learn how to create a show with such world-shifting narrative surprises. Not only did Lindelof create “Lost,” but he was also behind “The Leftovers,” which in its final season also followed characters who traveled to Australia to find answers.
”The Good Place” airs on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.