Jason and Michael head off to save Janet from torture, while Tahani and Eleanor try to help the subjects bond.
Chapter 44: Employee of the Bearimy
Starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto and Ted Danson
This episode sees a war fought on two fronts. In order to succeed in their experiment and to reverse Shawn’s attempts to sabotage it, Team Cockroach have split in two; Eleanor and Tahani remaining behind to bring the new team of subjects together while trying to hide Derek’s control of the neighbourhood; while Michael and Jason head off to the Bad Place to rescue Janet from Shawn’s clutches.
On the homefront, Eleanor is faced with a town whose inhabitants are slightly falling apart with no Janet to help run it. Even though Derek has stepped up, he’s not really programmed to do – well, anything – let alone run an entire village. To solve this, Eleanor sends John, Brent, Simone and Chidi to a lake house, with Tahani as their host. Tahani views this as a particular snub and is starting to get tired of “just” being a hostess, so when Chidi fails to turn up, she views this as an opportunity to help out.
Derek continues to struggle with the humans, as they move around making animal sounds, just as Tahani is coming to collect Chidi. Eleanor makes up a story that Chidi has a solo activity planned, which is a puzzle completed using clues that are hidden around his apartment. Tahani helpfully/not so helpfully chimes in that when the puzzle is solved, it tells you all the secrets of the universe, which does not please Eleanor in the least. She sends Tahani on her way back to the lake house, while Eleanor tries to distract Chidi with finding the clues around the apartment.
Tahani suggests that Derek reboot himself, which leads to more problems than before when all of the citizens collapsing. Blindfolding Chidi, they lead him to the lake house, under the premise that he has not tried any new experiences while in the afterlife, and Eleanor finally has a chance to explain to Tahani why she was tasked with entertaining the subjects. Eleanor reminds Tahani that she has her own set of skills, as she doesn’t know that the whatever spoon is only really used for certain festive jellies. Eleanor relays that the humans in the lake house are the four most important humans in the universe and that Tahani’s party will help them to bond and to grow, which is what they need for the experiment to succeed. Eleanor makes Tahani a promise to support her when she learns vital new skills.
The front line sees Jason and Michael arriving in the Bad Place to rescue Janet. Michael is immediately confronted by a picture of himself as the employee of the bearimy, while we have already caught glimpses of Janet being “tortured” by Vicky wearing a Michael suit. Fortunately, Vicky’s impression of Michael is terrible, replete with maniacal laughter.
At Demon-Con, Shawn is starting a 4000 hour presentation on the future of torture, keen to announce his new invention of the Michael suit. Michael chooses this moment to appear, masquerading as Vicky pretending to be him. He introduces Jason as another example of a personalised skin suit, with the idea that Glenn is hiding within. Shawn brings Janet to the stage to be tortured publicly, allowing Jason to subtly signal to her by calling her “girl”. Janet realises the ruse, and Michael and Jason try to take her from the stage, just as Vicky appears wearing Michael’s suit. Shawn starts to realise that the real Michael is in the Bad Place, but the audience fortunately believe it is part of the show. Michael uses the demon exploder on the security guard, and then on Vicky. Michael beseeches the audience to believe that humans are capable of self-improvement. Amidst the applause of the audience upon seeing two explosions, Michael, Janet and Jason slip away.
Mark’s Maundering Musings
Useful expository dialogue in this episode, from Michael, in which he reveals that he’s already restored the memories of the entire afterlife to both Tahani and Eleanor, before he does the same to Jason. That’s nice to know, as we were uncertain before as to how much of their previous lives they retained knowledge of, so it’s good to know that all of the development that we’ve seen in the previous seasons is now known to them, but it can’t be easy for poor Eleanor to have even more knowledge of her and Chidi’s relationships.
Speaking of which, Chidi and Simone are definitely dating by now, as revealed by a kiss that they share in front of Eleanor, whose face falls visibly. Her sacrifice for the sake of the universe is a far cry to the Eleanor we met in Season 1, which still helps to build the idea that humans are indeed capable of self-improvement.
Ted Danson must have had so much fun with this episode, as he plays Michael from Vicky’s point of view. It’s truly hilarious to observe, and Vicky is always a gem.
Line delivery of the week
What is it that you Americans say? Uh… “Insert me, coach man!”Tahani
Chidi: What was that sound?
Tahani: A unicorn died.
Tahani: No. Not a unicorn. My mistake. Just a regular horse that someone stabbed in the head.
Tahani’s Name-Drop of the Week
In the name of my godfather, acting in what can only be described in hindsight as his most problematic role, “You the man now, dawg.”