The Good Place, episode twelve and thirteen

Eleanor is in the grocery store. She’s stocking up on…essentials. She fights with a guy outside collecting money for charity and ends up getting hit by runaway carts and dying. She wakes up on the train. She’s anxious and wants to get to the medium place. Janet tells her there is nothing to worry about.

In Michael’s office, the judge is weighing facts about Eleanor’s status in the good place. Bad Janet shows up to explain the bad place’s side of things. Michael tries to plead the for the good place but it is not all facts so the judge won’t listen.

Janet, Jason and Eleanor get to the medium place and talk to Mindy. She was mostly bad but did one really good thing for the world so she got a decent amount of points, thus the medium place. But she’s been trapped there alone for 30 years. She talks to Eleanor and tells her to look out for herself.

The judge asks Michael and the others about Eleanor’s time in the neighborhood. They talk it about as emotionless as possible to make their point.

Eleanor talks to Mindy about the good place and how she misses Chidi.

The judge displays more evidence for Eleanor to go to the bad place. Chidi and Tahani give testimonials but its too late. The judge rules. Bad place for them. They are missing though so he engages the Janet walkie talkie function and tells them that if they don’t come back to the good place Tahani and Chidi will be sent to the bad place.

Jason wants to stay in the medium place but Eleanor isn’t having it. She is going to save her friends. They argue about it for a while but she is able to convince him. It’s ride or die.

When they get back though, it’s too late. The judge will have to make another ruling.

He gives them thirty minutes to pick who amongst them will go to the bad place. Two must be sent. Eleanor decides it should be she and Jason but he doesn’t want to. The Real Eleanor decides that she is going because Chidi doesn’t love her.

Eleanor tells everyone that she will go with Real Eleanor but Chidi says that he should go instead of her. Tahani thinks that she should go with Chidi and as they all argue Eleanor figures something out. She calls the judge and Michael in and says that she and Chidi will be going. He’s confused but she persists. She’s realized they can’t take a train to the bad place because they are in the bad place.

Everyone has been torturing one another since the moment they arrived. It’s all been a big game of Michael’s. They are all bad people that belong in the bad place and they’ve been played all along. Michael is going to erase their memories. Eleanor has to come up with a plan to save them again. She writes a note and puts it in Janet’s mouth.

Reboot.

Eleanor wakes up in the good place and Michael shows her around. She gets a new soulmate, a guy from Teaneck, NJ, and a happy life. When she has a moment alone Janet pops up and gives her the note. It reads “Eleanor find Chidi.” She has her work cut out for her.

They got me so good with the twist. I never saw it coming and I loved it. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

The Good Place, episode ten

Jianyu aka Jason Mendoza is telling Tahani about himself. Which naturally means his ranking of the Fast and Furious franchise (5,6,4,7,1,2,3 is the best order, obviously) but she wants to know more about him as a person. She is disappointed.

Chidi, Eleanor, Real Eleanor and Bambadjan are discussing how to make a case for Eleanor to stay in the good place with Michael. He thinks that a legal defense is the best option.

Eleanor starts talking about her time in the good place. Real Eleanor and Bambadjan tell her she is in love with Chidi.

Michael and Chidi are chatting about Chidi’s indecision. He’s been like that for all his life.

Tahani has Jianyu going over what he has been up to during his time in the good place. She realizes that he could have never painted the gift he gave her and he tries to throw Chidi under the bus but she sees it as a sweet gesture.

Chidi is debating the pros and cons of paper vs whiteboards when Eleanor interrupts. She has realized that she is in fact in love with Chidi and wants to talk to him. She tells him she loves him and tries to make a quick escape but Tahani comes in. She thinks Chidi loves her. She thinks that they are soulmates. He freaks out and runs away.

Jianyu is feeling down. He wants Janet to cheer him up. She brings him a snack. He asks why she’s so nice to him. Then tells her he loves her.

Tahani and Eleanor talk about confessing to Chidi and knowing the truth about Jianyu. Eleanor doesn’t want them to fight over a guy. They start to bond by watching tv.

Chidi’s indecision is contagious. He talks to Michael about his soulmates and suddenly Michael doesn’t know what to say.

Eleanor braids extensions into Tahani’s hair and apologizes for not telling her about Jianyu. Tahani jokes that maybe he is Eleanor’s soulmate but she runs with it. Maybe he is. And then Janet interrupts to tell them that she and Jianyu/Jason are getting married in ten minutes.

Michael is trying to solve Chidi’s soulmate problem. The indecision is causing him misery. He wasn’t sure about something all the way until the moment he died. He has to just look the women in the eye and decide.

Jianyu and Janet are getting married. Eleanor and Tahani attend and laugh as they exchange vows and are officially married. They can’t believe they both thought they belonged with Jianyu at some point. Tahani also decides she will keep Jianyu’s secret.

Chidi turns up to make a decision but suddenly Eleanor and Tahani have realized that they aren’t in love with him. Tahani also has an idea to help save Eleanor.

They head off to find Michael.

I liked this episode. I feel really bad for Jianyu. He is kind of terrible but still endearing. I hope they can save Eleanor.

The Good Place, episode nine

Trevor and Michael have figured out what caused the switch. Both Eleanors died in the same place at the same time. As it turns out the real Eleanor was trying to save the fake one from being hit by a truck.

Michael reveals they only have a list of names but don’t know what people look like. Trevor doesn’t care about the particulars. He’s ready to head back to the bad place with the Eleanor that belongs there. Michael wants to negotiate. He offers a unicorn. Trevor isn’t opposed.

Eleanor doesn’t understand why Michael is willing to fight for her. He tells her she feels like part of the team and that they could use her in the good place. He also tells her to stay on her toes and not let Trevor get in her head.

Michael goes to visit Tahani for help saving fake Eleanor. He doesn’t know what to do. He also needs help with the bad place people. They are all bullies and they outnumber him. They even have a bad Janet. He asks her to be backup.

Eleanor and Chidi give the real Eleanor a tour of the house that is technically hers. She reveals that she was living in what she presumes was the other Eleanors worst nightmare. Every day was an endless baby shower for a woman she didn’t know and nights were filled with flying piranhas, lava monsters and college improv as well as constant jazz music. She asks for water and Chidi suggests going out to eat. Trevor says all four of them should go.

Tahani has the bad place people in her house and she is keeping them feed. She hopes this will segue into negotiations but it doesn’t. They just start mocking Michael. At the restaurant, Chidi and the real Eleanor are hitting it off. Trevor is preying on Eleanor’s insecurities.

Jianyu and Janet are having a meaningful chat. He reveals that she is the only one in the good place that is nice to him, and that he once at 50 jalapeno poppers in two minutes.
The bad place people are still being inconsiderate. They want to throw a rager and trash Tahani’s home. Michael facilitates it.

At dinner the Eleanor’s are discussing Chidi’s ethics classes when Trevor rudely interrupts to ask if Chidi and Eleanor have ever slept together. Chidi assures the real Eleanor it didn’t happen, and unknowingly offends Eleanor. When he suggests leaving, she opts to let them go and stays behind with Trevor.

The bad place people are snorting the concept of time and doing karaoke to famously awful historic recordings. One also asks Jianyu to tap a keg. Tahani is not pleased and Michael is still catering to them.

Eleanor and Trevor are drunk and she is ranting about the need for a medium place. He talks to her about how she doesn’t belong in the good place and while she will be tortured in the bad place she will be happier because she won’t be trying so hard to fit in.

The bad place people are passed out in Tahani’s house. She tells Michael she is disappointed in him for not standing up for himself and he admits that they are the only thing in the universe that intimidates him.

Eleanor wakes up in her bathtub. She’s hungover because the bad place people wanted there to be hangovers. Chidi tells her that they have to be at Tahani’s in an hour for negotiations and she tells him he doesn’t have to come. He explains that even though they have a guest, they are still a team.

At Tahani’s, Trevor says that she knows that she doesn’t belong in the good place so she agreed to come with him. Michael is shocked. She admits that she knows that but she says that she wants to belong. She’s a different person now. Trevor says it doesn’t matter and that if Michael doesn’t blow him away with an offer, he’s going to have to take the matter to Shawn, the wise elder that handles disputes between the realms. Michael stands up for Eleanor and offers nothing. Trevor leaves but not before warning Eleanor she’s on borrowed time.

Jianyu is heading to his “meditation room.” When he gets there, Tahani is waiting for him and she confronts him about being an impostor as well. She says they need to have a chat.

This was a funny episode but I felt really bad for Eleanor and Jianyu. He tries so hard to be a monk so that he can stay in the good place but everyone is sort of mean to him anyway. Also, was he killed at the same time in the same place as another Jianyu or was there a glitch there worse than with Eleanor? I’m glad Michael grew a spine and got rid of the bad place people but I don’t think they are gone for good.

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

The Good Place, episode eight

Eleanor is in Michael’s office. He wants to know where he went wrong. She says that he had her name right so she went with it and he summons Janet to find her file. She is still being rebooted after the murder though so he has to give her a litmus test

Chidi and Tahani wait to be called into Michael’s office to talk about Eleanor. She feels personally violated by the betrayal of trust.

Michael completes the questionnaire and Eleanor thinks that it’s proof that she should stay in the good place. He tells her not so fast and pulls out a lie detector… cube. He asks her about the murder of Janet and she answer’s truthfully that it wasn’t her before telling him she won’t rat on her friends. He tells her that that’s admirable but he will get to the bottom of it either way.

Tahani is called in and Eleanor give Jianyu and Chidi a rundown of what went on in the office, including how “forked” they will all be when Michael finds out the truth.

In the office, Tahani deflects when Michael asks her if she thinks Eleanor should stay or go. He interprets it as she thinks that Eleanor should be sent to the bad place and dismisses her. Chidi and Eleanor try to prep Jianyu and explain the lie detector.

Michael talks to Jianyu about Eleanor and gets nowhere because he isn’t talking. He seems full of wisdom to Michael so no progress is made.

When it’s Chidi’s turn, Janet shows up with the correct file so Eleanor is called back in. She tells him about a good thing she did for her cousin’s kid and then ends up explaining how terrible she was to her roommate Madison (Angela Trimbur). Michael asks if she thinks she belongs in the good place and she says no.

He calls Trevor (Adam Scott) in the bad place and tells him to come get Eleanor. Trevor rolls up on a train to get her and tells her she’s a celebrity in the bad place. She gets 30 minutes to say her goodbyes and talks to Chidi about wishing there was a medium place. Jianyu and Tahani also stop bye as well.

Trevor hurries her onto the train and Chidi rushes to tell Michael that he killed Janet and that Eleanor has been learning. Michael tells him theres no most improved and Chidi says there should be. They rescue her from the train and Trevor says that’s fine but he gets to keep the other Eleanor (Tiya Sircar), the good one.

I’m glad we finally found out what happened to the Eleanor that was supposed to be in the good place and I feel bad for her but I like this Eleanor better. She livens up the good place and keeps Chidi on his toes. I’m hoping they can figure out a way to keep both Eleanors.

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

The Good Place, episode seven

Michael explains all the ways that the universe has taunted him during his stay in the neighborhood. It’s all just proof that architects can’t live in the places they build. He calls Janet to help him leave, since you can only take a train and she is the only one that can operate it.

Back at the house, Chidi asks Eleanor if she said anything to make Michael think that this was a good plan. She hasn’t but she thinks this is for the best. Chidi isn’t so sure. They are still lying after all.

Eleanor goes to Tahani’s house to help set up for Michael’s retirement party. She figures it will cancel out the guilt. Michael walks in during preparation and tells them to cancel the party. Retirement isn’t something to be celebrated for beings like him. It’s actually a form of punishment, eternal torture. Tahani redesigns the party with a more somber theme.

Chidi pushes for Eleanor to confess. He gives her two options. Confess and save him or lie and send him to eternal damnation. Naturally she picks option three. Lie, but still save him. She calls on Janet to figure out a plan and comes up with one. Flipping Janet’s killswitch will strand Michael in the neighborhood. Great plan.  Chidi doesn’t think so.

He tries to explain to her all the ways that the plan would be bad but she figures the ends justify the means, like that super cool nice guy Machiavelli said. He can’t get on board with this. He doesn’t want to lie to everyone about destroying Janet.

Tahani is trying to thank Michael and its just upsets him more. He tries to explain his feelings, all the things he wanted to do and see, but its not use even if he does get to try a saltine.

Eleanor and Chidi are following Janet along a remote stretch of beach. She’s explaining the evolution of Janets, which is basically like growing up. They get to the fail safe button and Chidi is having second thoughts. Janet assures him that she is not human and does not feel pain. She will plead for her life if someone gets close to the button though.

Both Chidi and Eleanor try but can’t press the button, because of the pleading, when Jianyu shows up. He wasn’t having fun at the party so he followed them. He sees the button and reaches to press it. Chidi pushes him out of the way so he can’t, and hits the button by accident in the process. Janet falls face first and a video pops up in the sky.

It’s Janet, announcing that she has been murdered. Chidi asks Eleanor what to do. She says flee the crime scene so the three of them run away. Eleanor tries to coach Chidi in acting natural but its no use.

Michael is speaking about how awful the day has been at Janet’s funeral when Janet wakes up. She says hello, but that’s basically it. She’ll need a few days to update so his retirement is postponed. The guests all cheer.

Eleanor is glad they are in the clear and Jianyu has basically already forgotten about it but Chidi can’t let it go. He tells Eleanor that he’ll have to confess. She talks him into not confessing. He tells her that this will tear him up inside forever but he will keep the secret for her.

Michael holds another town meeting and says that this gruesome act is proof that he is not the only issue with the neighborhood. As he speaks, Eleanor watches Chidi’s barely contained agony about keeping this secret and decides enough is enough. She tells him she loves him and then stands up and confesses to being in the good place by mistake.

This was a great episode. There was a lot of Janet, which is always funny, and a sassy Michael putting Tahani in her place. The true highlight of the episode was that while Eleanor has developed some morals, her confession will change the entire premise of the show. It’s not about hiding the misfit anymore so I’m interested to see where it will go from here.

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

The Good Place, episode six

Eleanor is freaking out. She agreed to help Michael figure out what is going wrong with the neighborhood but she is what is making things go wrong in the neighborhood. Chidi tries to explain contractualism to her.

She decides she has to figure out a way to both help and not help him. Michael tells her he studied the idea of friends, even watched all ten seasons, and now in this stressful time that is just what he needs, a friend.

Tahani asks Jianyu to go to the spa with her. He has been using a magic eight ball toy to sound profound and is freaking out about spending a long time alone, chatting with her. She’s like Nala from The Lion King after all. He begs Chidi to join them and act as a buffer. He eventually agrees, though Tahani isn’t pleased.

Michael is convinced something in the neighborhood is amiss and that is causing the problems. He’s started to examine the rocks in hopes of finding a problem and Eleanor just thinks he seems crazy. She wants to help him but doesn’t want to be found out so she suggests he take a break and rest his mind. He relents.

At the spa, Chidi is still trying to convince Jianyu to talk to and be nice to Tahani. It just gets more and more uncomfortable as the outing continues and Tahani gets upset.

Michael and Eleanor go out for frozen yogurt and have a chat about the importance of not breaking a promise, and how much trouble he’ll be in if the neighborhood fails. They go to karaoke, play a claw machine game and go bowling.

After the spa day Chidi finds Tahani alone at the Tea for Two cafe. He sits down and they strike up a conversation about the various things they have in common.

The next morning Eleanor turns up at Michael’s office with more fun things to try. No need though. Her plan worked and the day out cleared his head. He figured out the cause of all the problems in the neighborhood. People are unpredictable and the chaos in the neighborhood is a result of someone behaving in an unexpected way. The problem isn’t a rock. It’s a person.

Jianyu tries to be thoughtful and though his intentions are nice, he flubs the execution a bit on a gift for Tahani.

Michael is getting nowhere in narrowing down the suspect list for the neighborhood chaos and he becomes depressed. He gives up and puts on a hoodie before curling up in a ball on the floor. Eleanor gives him a speech about how she is his friend and has his back no matter what he wants to do.

Chidi helps Jianyu find the perfect gift for Tahani, one “only her true soulmate could find.”

Michael has figured out the problem and called a town meeting. The problem… is him!

I liked this episode. I like that Eleanor is growing as a person, as we can see from the flashbacks to the way she interacts with Michael. I think it would be interesting if Chidi and Tahani were actually soulmates but that got lost in the shuffle with the screw-ups in the neighborhood.

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

 

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.