Trevor! A malevolent demon who might just be the single most dangerous creature in the universe! The fact that Trevor is played by Adam Scott could be reverse typecasting, given that Scott defined a sweetly humane brand of alpha wimpery in Parks & Recreation and Big Little Lies. But never forget Step Brothers; never forget Torque. Scott can play bad, and Trevor’s return to The Good Place is the spark that lights a fiery, funny episode of television.
Trevor joins the study that Chidi and Simone are running, pretending to be everyone’s new best, somewhat fratty friend. He sends dank memes to Eleanor. He prints everyone cool matching sweatshirts, proclaiming that their squad is the Brainy Bunch. (Blink and you miss the text on the back of the sweatshirts: “I Went to Australia and All I Got Was This Lousy Cross-Disciplinary Study and a Ton of New Best Friends!”) Secretly, he’s plotting to tear this group apart, pull Eleanor away from Chidi, push Chidi into confusion, and parent-trap Jason and Tahani into bad decisions. It’s psychological warfare, the same pattern-recognition afterlife game theory that Trevor and his Bad Place cohorts used back in season 1 to make everyone’s life literally hellish. Trevor’s arrival, then, is nothing less than Hell on Earth.
Which leads, naturally, to Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet, a pastiche Americana restaurant that looks like Australia’s answer to Shamroxx. You can sit at state-themed tables (Florida absolutely nails the swamp stench!) or you can purchase the Manifest Destiny package. A painting of Mount Rushmore sits in the restaurant, with the presidents replaced by Hulk Hogan, David Hasselhoff, Judge Judy, and Paris Hilton. They sell one drink (or is it food?) that’s half an Apple Pie blended with Southern Comfort and Coca-Cola, served in a Chevy Hubcap. “This was America!” Australians of the future will tell their grandchildren after the waves come.
Trevor tries various gambits to shake up the group. He suggests everyone get an apartment. He does a Jamaican accent. Eleanor’s not buying what he’s selling, but maybe that’s part of Trevor’s plan. Eleanor felt good about the study when she was working one-on-one with Chidi. Now it’s a team effort, and she’s not so sure about anyone, really.
Michael and Janet prepare an opposition. Michael has to lurk in the shadows, modeling a Dick Tracy look that prompts an episode-long runner about Dick Tracy jokes. (I think he looks more like Sam Spade, but at this point, moral philosophy jokes probably get a bigger demographic than Maltese Falcon jokes.) That means Janet has to be an operative on the ground, playing waitress as she keeps an eye on Trevor. Janet doesn’t react well to her Earthbound existence. Her knowledge has stopped updating. She can’t conjure anything out of thin air. What’s an omniscient omni-powerful beingless being to do?
Meanwhile, one bit of Trevor’s psychological warfare really gets through to Chidi. He casually notes how unusual it is for someone running a study to befriend the people in the study — a bit of reverse brainwashing that leaves Chidi concerned about hanging out with everyone at the table, including Eleanor.
Brief pause to note that Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet has a truly ludicrous amount of sight gags and throwaway jokes, the complete contents of which would require an American Studies class to unravel. But important to point out that there’s a trivia game at the restaurant, and tonight’s theme is Logan Paul.
NEXT: The Librarian Returns