What The Fork? Explaining The Good Place‘s Biggest Janet Twist Yet

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.

The first few episodes of The Good Place’s final season have been marked by emotional turbulence. Over just the first three chapters alone, a supposed Good Place resident was revealed to be a demon, the gang considered throwing team leader Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) under the bus, and Janet (D'Arcy Carden) broke up with resident sweetheart Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto). But no episode sowed the seeds of discord more than Thursday's new installment, “Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy.” 

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It’s an episode that suggests Michael (Ted Danson) has been an imposter since the premiere; that a true demon has been hiding in his dapper reformed demon duds. Only at the last minute, “Demon, Spy” reveals Michael isn’t the villain in disguise at all — Janet is. Janet has been Bad Janet (also D’Arcy Carden) for weeks.

It’s a gut punch of twist that needs explaining. Especially since The Good Place dropped some hints along the way to this bombshell. 

“Tinker, Tailer, Demon, Spy” lays out exactly how the Bad Place pulled off their Janet switcheroo. In premiere “A Girl from Arizona, Part 1,” Team Bad Place sent buff demon Chris (Luke Guldan) to purposefully get outed as a plant. Then, when Bad Janet came to retrieve Chris, the Bad Place actually sent two Bad Janets. The first Bad Janet — which Eleanor and the rest of the Good Place crew was aware of — stood on the platform to distract our heroes. When Good Janet put Chris onto the train, the second Bad Janet emerged and turned Janet into a marble (a self-destruct sequence we learned about in season 2). Once Good Janet was a marble, the train’s Bad Janet transformed into a Good Janet. 

When Michael walked onto the train, he suspected nothing.

Janet was able to maintain the ruse because Bad Place team leader Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson) rebooted Bad Janet millions of times off-screen. Without the updates, Bad Janet's head would have melted while pretending to be a Good Janet. But as we’ve seen with Good Janet, multiple reboots on a Janet allows her complexities that are impossible for a regular Janet. 

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Although this full explanation helps us understand the Bad Janet twist, we should have known something was wrong with Janet long before “Demon, Spy.” In “A Girl From Arizona Part 2,” Janet gives terrible person Brent Norwalk (Ben Koldyke) a luxury SUV while the group is trying to punish him into realizing the error of his ways. It’s a move that undermines Team Cockroach’s plan in two ways: It confirms Brent’s delusions and infuriates Eleanor. Janet spends the rest of the episode turning the Good Place heroes against each other by laying out all the reasons Eleanor should be replaced as team leader. As pièce de démoniaque résistance, she breaks up with Jason, the loveliest boy in the afterlife. To add insult to injury, she also tells Jason that Blake Bortles, his favorite living human, was cut from his favorite football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

This is all emotional terrorism at its finest. Janet’s lack of emotions over shattering Jason’s heart alone should have signaled Janet couldn't really be Janet.

Yet none of those suspicious behaviors — or Janet’s Bad Place-ish “Chillaxing” dye job and bloodthirsty demands to have Tahani (Jameela Jamil) punch someone in the face — are what tipped Team Cockroach off to Bad Janet’s subterfuge. Instead, that honor goes to the word “girl.” After pencil-pusher demon Glenn (Josh Siegal) shows up to reveal the Bad Place has an evil plan, he mysteriously explodes. When Janet feigns guilt for the death, Jason tells her, “Just know that I’m here for you, girl.” Janet says, “Thanks, Jason.” It’s a tripwire response for Jason, who knows Janet always responds “Not a girl” when she is referred to as a “girl.” Jason realizes this can’t be his Janet.

Jason caps the episode by sharing his revelation with the Good Place team, saving Michael from self-immolating to prove he’s not the Bad Place spy. Now Jason must head to the Bad Place with Michael to save Marble Janet. Hurry, Jason — you're her only hope.

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