The Good Place, episode five

The episode opens with a subtle but major milestone. Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) did a nice thing for someone else without even thinking about it. While trying to decide what flavor of frozen yogurt to try, she let Gunnar (Steve Berg) go ahead of her in line. Once she realizes what she’s done, she runs to tell the good news to Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper).

This week’s ethics class is discussing utilitarianism and oddly enough Jianyu Li (Manny Jacinto) has a relevant example. After he leaves to attend the brunch hosted by Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), Eleanor wants to keep learning but Chidi needs a break so she asks him to read her paper instead. He agrees but doesn’t seem very enthused about it.

At the brunch Tahani and Michael (Ted Danson) are chatting when Janet (D’Arcy Carden) interrupts to tell him about a category 55 emergency doomsday crisis. Apparently, the sinkhole is not repairing itself. Michael leaves to further assess the situation and Tahani finds the neighborhood rankings on the device he left behind. While Jianyu is second and Eleanor is sixth, Tahani is 21st which puts her second to last.

After much pestering from Eleanor, Chidi admits that he is sick of her and finds her to be a burden. She tells him that maybe he should move out. As soon as he says he will, Michael makes an announcement that until the sinkhole situation is rectified no one is allowed outside at all.

While cooped up together during the sinkhole emergency, Chidi and Eleanor do not resolve or even discuss their issues. As they are about to argue again, Michael drops by with the people living directly next to the sinkhole, Bart (John Hartmann) and Nina (Monnae Michaell) for somewhere between “an hour and eleven months.”

Tahani is trying her best to keep the guests at her marathon brunch entertained but continues to consult the neighborhood ranking to see if she’s moved up at all. We find out through a series of flashbacks that during life Tahani had a sister Kamilah (Rebecca Hazelwood) that was much more popular and respected by their parents.

Meanwhile over at Eleanor’s humble abode, we learn that Bart and Nina, a human lie detector and a marriage counselor respectively, find her relationship with Chidi inspirational and want to learn about love from them. Needless to say Chidi is “vexed” by this “precarious” situation and  it leads to another argument.

Their house guests want to discuss the “squabble” and that leads to Chidi admitting he never had a soulmate or even a serious relationship on earth and that it hasn’t played out the way he expected it to.

Tahani goes out with freshly baked donut holes (too soon, according to Janet) to assist Michael with the sinkhole but starts to physically transform as a side effect. She is knocked out and taken home to recover. She admits to seeing the rankings and that it hits a sore spot.

The sink hole repairs itself and everyone is allowed outside again. Eleanor realizes what a challenge she is for Chidi and that her very existence means he will never meet his true soulmate so she tells him that she hopes they can be friends and gives him the paradise he (theoretically) wanted. A boat and some wine and French poetry.

Michael is not pleased though. He doesn’t know and can’t explain how the sinkhole got fixed. He wants Eleanor to help figure it out.

When this show first started I was kind of interested but not invested in it but as it has progressed I think it’s found its stride. I like Eleanor and Chidi, and their dynamic, but my true favorite is Tahani, especially after this episode. She seemed somewhat one note before this but she is becoming a more well rounded character and the show benefits from that. I would be curious to see how she reacts to Eleanor’s secret.

The Good Place is new Thursday at 8:30 p.m.



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