01x07 - The Eternal Shriek

There's no escaping it.

The problem... is me.

[all gasp]

And now...

I have to leave you... forever.

Michael, you can't be the problem.

Oh, but I am.

You see, architects aren't supposed to live in the neighborhoods they design, but I love humans, so I-I wanted to try.

I see now that was a mistake.

My meddling is the one true constant in all of our disasters.

I tried to force Jianyu into opening up, which caused a sinkhole to open up.

I kicked a puppy into the Sun, and garbage rained down.

I grossly underestimated the number of shrimp needed for the opening-night party, and what flew through the sky the next day, taunting me for my failures?

I'm sorry, everyone. I'm truly sorry.


[bell chimes]

Please call a train to escort me into retirement.

You see, the only way in and out of a neighborhood is by train, and Janet is the only one who can operate them.

Oh, my dear Janet.

Will you be okay after I leave?


This will not affect me in any way.

Jeez, show some compassion.

Well, I can't feel sad, but here's my best approximation of human crying.


[wailing awkwardly]

Oh, Janet, that was beautiful.


What did you say to him?

Did you make him do this somehow?

Nope, this was entirely his idea.

Dude, this is good news.

Michael's gonna get a chill retirement, which, frankly, he desperately needs, and I can finally relax.

It's forking perfect.

No, it's terrible. Michael's wrong.

He's not the problem.

Well, Michael did bring me here, which was the mistake that led to all the other problems.

So, in that sense, he is the real problem.

Ha! How do you like them ethics?

I just ethics'd you in the face, Chidi!

It doesn't change the fact that we weren't truthful.

There's an old Chinese proverb...

"Lies are like tigers.

They are bad."

That's it?

It's more poetic in Mandarin.

Look, Michael is retiring.

He's gonna be on an angel boat somewhere, smoking moonbeam cigars.

Now, Tahani is throwing him a good-bye party.

Let's go help out.

Sure, that will more than make up for the pain and misery and lying.

Yes, now you're getting it.

Hey, Chidi, just read your article on logical positivism... so dry.

Oh, thanks, Henry.

Whoa! New boots.

Oh, yeah, just got 'em.

Saw them in the store, and I was just like, "Whoa!"

Tell the truth... do you like 'em?


Oh, yeah.

Not too red?


Crystals aren't too much?

Crystals are not too much.

Oh, well, that makes me feel much better 'cause I was really going back and forth over whether they were worth the money.

They were super expensive.

Yeah, well, they're, uh, amazing.

Those are the coolest boots I've ever seen in my life.

Thanks so much, buddy.

Right. Bye.

[bell tolling]

My God... what have I done?

Tonight needs to be the perfect blend of celebratory, reverential, bittersweet, upbeat, fun, and effortless.

This is #TahaniTime.

What is all this?

Oh, no, Michael, you're not supposed to see it till it's all set up.

But, well, welcome to your retirement party.

Look, over there, I've even set up a buffet of themed desserts, like retire-mint chocolate cake or, uh, "flan voyage." [chuckles]

Oh, boy.

Oh, and here we have a piñata shaped like you, which is always fun.

By the way, uh, what's you're favorite color for the tablecloths?

Well, it's not perceptible by human eyes.

It's called "pleurigloss."

Could you describe it?

It's the color of... [sighs]

When a soldier comes home from war and sees his dog for the first time.

Hmm. How about blue?

Tahani, I'm so sorry.

We need to cancel this party immediately.

But why?

For a being like me, retirement... is not something fun.

What is "retirement" for you exactly?

Well, I wasn't gonna share this so as not to upset you, but it's, a... an extreme form of punishment.

We call it "The Eternal Shriek."

My soul will be disintegrated, and each molecule will be placed on the surface of a different burning sun.

And then my... my essence will be scooped out of my body with a flaming ladle and poured over hot diamonds.

Oh, but the diamonds sound lovely.

They're not...


And then what's left of my body will be endlessly beaten with a titanium rod, like a...

Like a piñata.

Yes, except you have the string around my waist, but instead it will definitely be around my genitals.


Oh, Michael, I'm so sorry.

I was just trying to honor you.

Please, allow me to reconceive the event.

Of course.

All right, everyone, we're starting over.

The key word for tonight is just "somber."

Jianyu, my love, we're gonna have to get rid of all of the party poppers immediately.


No, not by using them.

No, Jianyu. Done.

[popping continues]

He's gonna be tortured?

Dang it. I was almost handed a perfect solution to all my problems without having to work for it at all, and now it's gone.

[sighs] Why do bad things always happen to mediocre people who are lying about their identities?

Okay, you have two options.

You can confess and save Michael, or you can continue to lie and condemn him to an eternity of unimaginable pain.

Or option C... continue to lie about myself and find a way to save Michael.

Can we somehow throw Tahani under the bus?

That would be a classic "two birds with one stone" scenario.

Plus, I'd get her house.

[quietly] Three birds.

No, there's no way to stop this except confessing.

Any moment now, Michael is going to get on that train, and we will never see him again, just like Professor Lindeman after I asked him to reread my 3,600-page manuscript.

He said he was going out for cigarettes, but then he just left his tenured position at the Sorbonne.

Great story. Janet?

[bell chimes]

Hi, there.

Hi. So the only way out of the neighborhood is a train?

That's correct. I am the only one who can call the train, and it needs me to operate.

Choo-choo. [laughs]

One more question, and, um, this is a little weird, but can we... uh, shut you down?

Yes, great question.

There is a kill switch in a remote sector of the neighborhood in the event that I malfunction and attempt to harm the residents.

If you press it, I will be destroyed.

Anything else?

No, that's good, thanks.


Whoa, you want to kill Janet?

Michael can't retire if he can't leave.

He can't leave if there's no Janet to run the train.

It's a perfect solution.

[sighs] Janet, high five, please?

Thanks, babe.

[bell chiming]

You cannot kill Janet.

Killing is one of the most famous moral no-nos.

Janet is a nonhuman object who was sent here to help us, and the way she can help us is if we kill her.

We're doing one small murder-y thing for a bigger, better reason.

The ends justify the means.

Do you know who said that?

Was it someone nice and great, like Oprah?

It was Machiavelli...


A very non-Oprah-like figure.

And what happens after we kill her?

We'll have to lie to everyone about what we did, and lying is always wrong.


Why? Why would I tell Henry that I liked his boots?

I don't like his boots. I hate his boots.

Yes, I know.

You've talked about it for the last two days.

I lied to him. You wrote your thesis on Kant.

He believed that lying is always morally wrong... no exceptions.

Yes, well, Kant was a lonely, obsessive hermit with zero friends.

Sometimes we do thing just to be polite, but if you really feel that strongly about it, tell him the truth.

Also, I don't care, 'cause it's the middle of the night.


This is why everyone hates moral philosophy professors.

They do?

Hey, Chidi.

You sit in on my class today?

Uh, I did, yeah.

Great lecture, by the way... so bleak.

Thanks, bud.

It's actually perfect that you are here.

I got something for you.

Oh, my God.

You loved mine so much, I decided to get you your own pair.

We can be boot brothers.

Wow. I can't accept these. They're too expensive.

Sure you can. Try 'em on, mate.

The fact that you liked mine so much really made me feel like I made the right choice to buy them.

After all, why should I have all the fun and boots, eh?

I-I don't... I don't know.

Those look great.

Take 'em for a spin.


You're flying.

Mm, thanks.

Speeches! Time for speeches, everyone.

Michael, as someone who didn't exactly have the steadiest parental guidance, I just want to thank you.

You were always there for us.

I shouldn't have been. I was the problem.

Yes, but... it was also great when you weren't there.

Don't worry. Soon I won't be... forever.

Because of The Eternal Shriek!

Yes, thank you, Glenn.

Look, what I'm trying to say is this...

Michael, you always kept us warm and safe like a bright, glowing sun.

Like the one I kicked the dog into or the one I'm going to be burned on the surface of for eternity?

Okay, no more speeches.

Speeches are over.

Michael's going to talk now.

Ugh, I'm sorry I was so grumpy.

It's just I'm sad that I have to leave before doing all the human things that I wanted to do.

I wanted to get my hair wet.

You know, I-I wanted to pull a hamstring.

To learn the difference between "toward" and "towards."

I wanted to do that thing where you walk down the hallway, and someone else is walking the other way, and then you both lean to one side and then the other, and then you both chuckle over your shared foible.

I wanted to get a rewards card, any rewards card.

I-I wanted to talk briefly to someone and then say, "Take it sleazy."


I wanted to eat a saltine.

Oh! I actually have some saltines.

Here, try this.


Pretty dry... and too salty.

Well, going out on a real low note here.

Okay, bye, everyone.

Well, take it sleazy.

You got to say it?

Yes, but then you say it back.

No, it's not organic.

[somber music]

♪ ♪

Uh, Janet, how many "Janets" have there been?

There have been 25 generations of Janet.

Each new update of Janet gains more wisdom and social abilities.

Fun fact... the first Janet had a click wheel.

So it's like aging for a human?

You're... you're growing up?

That's how I like to think of it, Chidi.

I can't eat, so every time there's a new version of Janet, I like to take a piece of birthday cake and smash it around where my mouth is.


Look, Janet has... has learned and grown.

She's essentially living a life. We can't kill her.

Not with that attitude, we can't.

Listen, man, I'm dead, you're dead, we all died, and now we're killing her.

Pay it forward.

Uh, no, that's not what that means at all.


Here we are.

Just press that button, and it's good-bye, Janet.


Chidi, I can see that you're worried, and I just want to assure you, I am not human, and I cannot feel pain.

Ah, thank you. That helps.

However, I should warn you...

I am programmed with a fail-safe measure.

As you approach the kill switch, I will begin to beg for my life.

It's just there in case of an accidental shut down, but it will seem very real.

Cool. So who's doing this, me or you?

[stammers] I think I have to.

Um, being a bystander seems worse, somehow.


Okay, here we go.

Chidi, no, no, no! Chidi, please!

Please, please, please don't hurt me.

I don't want to die! Please, please...


Again, I am not human.

I can't die.

I am simply an anthropomorphized vessel of knowledge built to make your life easier.

You're pleading seems so real.

Oh, yes, it is a very effective fail-safe.

Ugh, you want a robot killed right, you have to do it yourself. [inhales deeply]

Eleanor? Eleanor, no, no, no.

Please, wait, wait, wait, wait. Eleanor, I have kids.

I have three beautiful children...

Tyler, Emma, and little, tiny baby Phillip.

Look at Tyler. Tyler has asthma, but he is battling it like a champ.

Look at him. No, Eleanor, look at them.

Look at them!

[growling] Look at them!

Aah! It's so realistic!

Eleanor, again, I'm not human.

This is a stock photo of the crowd at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

[sighs] That's right, it's not real.

Let's just do this.


Please, I have so much to live for.

No, no, no, please.

We're not even near the...

Hey, guys, what's going on?

That party was lame, so I bailed.

Then I saw you, so I followed you here.

Oh, look, a button.

No, no, no!

Jianyu, no!

[dramatic music]

[powering down]

Ah, man, I wanted to push that button.

Not cool, dude.

Whoa. What happened to Janet?

She's... she's dead. I-I-I killed her.

Not killed.

Remember, Janet was not a living being, so she can't be killed.

Attention... I have been murdered.

Attention... I have been murdered.

Attention... I have been murdered.

Attention... I have been murdered.


What do we do, Eleanor?

What do we do? Chidi, you just murdered Janet.

We have to flee your crime scene.


I have been murdered.

Sorry, Janet!

I have been murdered.

Attention... I have...


I have been murdered.

Okay, dude, crash course in getting away with bad stuff.

You have to act calm and cool like you don't have a care in the world.



Oh, wow. Look, it's "Weekend at Bernie's,"

'cause you're a dead guy in sunglasses.

[laughs] We have fun, don't we, Chidi?

I've never been more stressed out in my entire life.

I know what you need.

Janet, can you get Chidi some weed?

Oh, that's right. You killed Janet.

[somber music]

Well, Janet's been murdered.

That's a nice capper to this wonderful day.

I don't really know what happens now because Janet has never been murdered before... only today, here on my watch, while I was distracted with a party that Tahani was throwing for me, which I didn't want.

Michael, you mustn't blame yourself.

I'm not. I'm blaming you.

Anyway, what is there to say about Janet that hasn't already been said by the giant Janet alarm in the sky?

"I've been murdered"!

I think that says it all.



[all gasp]


Janet, you're alive!

Hello, Architect, please enter your four-digit pin.

Uh, what is it? Uh, what is it?

What is it? Um... oh, right, right, right!

It's my, uh... my birth year.

Uh... [grunts]

I got to change that. That's too easy to guess.

Janet... who murdered you?

Oh. Oh, no.

Shh, okay.


Yes, hello.

Oh, yeah.

Uh, her memory must have been wiped clean, so now she's gonna have to re-upload all the knowledge in the universe, which will only take a few days. Okay...



Hello. Hello.

Everyone, um, until I get to the bottom of this, my retirement is officially postponed.




Oh, oh.

Hello. Hello.

You got to admit... I kind of nailed it.

All we have to do now is keep the secret forever.

J-Dog, you cool?

No, by the time I got to the piñata, all the candy was gone.

He's not gonna tell anyone.

Chidi? Cheedster?

What's, uh, happening, buddy?

You have a crazy look in your eye, and you're retreating into your shirt.

You're kind of turtling.

Henry, are you all right? What happened?

I have an aneurysm. Requires emergency surgery.

Doctor's give me a 50/50 chance.

So, if there's anything you need to say to me, you should do it now. [chuckles]

Oh, well... actually, um...

They let you wear your boots in here?

They're the only things that bring me comfort.

What did you want to say to me?

Oh, um... just that I'm here and I love you, man.

I love you, too, boot brother.


[soft music]


You didn't have to stay here all night.

So surgery went well? All clear?

Right as rain, buddy.

That is so, so, so great.

I hate your boots.


I told you that I loved your boots three years ago, and I was lying, and that lie has haunted me ever since, and people tried to tell me it was fine... just a nice, little white lie in the form of social niceties... but I disagreed, and then yesterday I thought you were gonna die, but now you're not dead, and I can finally be honest and say that those boots are terrible and hideous and I hate them.


This is why everyone hates moral philosophy professors.

Yeah, I know.

And I get it.

I don't care that she came back or that we did it for a good reason.

I can't live with this lie.

I'm going to confess to the murder of Janet.



Dude, why?

Janet is fine.

We didn't harm her at all.

We didn't? Hey, Janet?

[bell chimes]




Janet, would you please recite the English alphabet?



She knows her A-B-Janets.

She literally knew everything in the universe, and now she's a baby.

And even if she were okay, it would be too painful for me to live with these lies.

What are you talking about?

It is so easy to live with a lie.

I once pretended to have a terminal illness to meet Scott Wolf at a Sunglass Hut.

Victimless crime.


I won't say anything because I promised to help you, and the moral implications...


Of everything that we've done are so complicated that I may never untangle them, but I hate lying.

I always have, and this is going to eat me up inside forever.

You might be able to shrug this off, and forget about it, but I never will.

[somber music]







Michael, Janet said you wanted to speak to me.

Well, actually, she was just drooling a lot and saying "hello" over and over again, but she did point at you.

I owe you an apology.

Oh, no. No, you don't.

No, um... but please continue.

You were only trying to help.

You're a wonderful person, and if I ever do have a retirement party, I hope you plan it.

[chuckles bashfully]


Thank you for gathering, everyone.

I want to keep you all updated.

Here's what we know.

Someone slaughtered Janet.

Oh, boy.

Oh, boy.

Okay, easy.

I assume that this horrifying act is somehow related to the other issues we've had here.

It also means that the problems in this neighborhood are not 100% my fault.

There is something else at work here.

If anyone has any information about any of this, I beg you, tell me.

[breathing deeply]

Hey, I love you, man.

Michael... the problem in the neighborhood... is me.

[all gasp]

I was brought to the Good Place by mistake.

I'm not supposed to be here.

[dramatic music]