TV Reviews

The Good Place recap: Eleanor suffers a blow to her confidence

Meanwhile, Brent continues to be the worst.

Chapter 41: A Girl from Arizona, Part 2

Starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto and Ted Danson

It takes a human being of unwavering confidence to never question their own abilities, and a creature with high self-esteem Eleanor Shellstrop most certainly is not. She starts the episode attempting to get through to “deckhead” Brent, though her attempts die in the water. Firstly, her created talkshow “This Was Your Life” does nothing to convince Brent that he doesn’t belong there, but instead he brags about how he transformed his fathers company from a $90 billion company to $94 billion, before driving away in a car. Her use of Bad Place techniques also fail, as Brent becomes convinced that his nightmare scape is symptomatic of him belonging in “The Best Place”.

Back at Mindy’s house, Tahani, Jason and Janet are discussing the possibility of replacing Eleanor as group leader as her judgment has not been brilliant so far. Eleanor of course overhears this and storms off. This leads to a tender moment between Michael and Eleanor in which Eleanor confesses that she needs to give up because the stakes are too high and she’s only “a girl from Arizona”. Michael reminds her that she foiled his plans 800 times, and that she is the only one who can understand how to be human, which he cannot do.

This leads Eleanor onto her best plan yet, in which she and Michael confidentially reveal to Brent that there is a Best Place, but that he needs to do great things to get there. Though generated by self-interest, Eleanor reminds Michael that self-interest is the only reason why she started doing good things as well.

Next, Eleanor brings Chidi and Simone closer together by telling Chidi that Simone is his soulmate. Chidi manages to persuade Simone that there’s no harm in treating the people in the Good Place as if they were real, instead of only acting selfishly, and she seems to be coming around to the idea that this all might be real.

Elsewhere this episode, Jason is keen to make it up to Janet for the Derek debacle last week. Though he originally wants to ease the chaos in her life by creating a dance mob (“Jason, Jason, Jason”), he is instead convinced to give her space. He does not, which leads to Janet telling him that they cannot be together while the experiment is running, as well as revealing to him that Blake Bortles was dropped from Jacksonville’s team.

Mark’s Maundering Musings

Eleanor’s sacrifice for Chidi is heartbreaking. Simone and Chidi clearly have great chemistry, but we know from all the seasons that Chidi and Eleanor truly do find their way back together each time. Here’s hoping that this experiment doesn’t keep them far removed for too long.

This episode highlights the strengths of The Good Place and hints at a more emotional final season. The scenes between Michael and Eleanor are particularly strong and highlight just how much development the two of them have been through since the beginning of the series – arguably more than any of the other characters have developed. Their relationship is a huge strength of the show, as they are both in awe of the other’s successes and progress, as well as both being stunningly portrayed.

As Janet puts all of herself into her neighbourhood, she seems to be reverting back to her previous emotionless ways. Though I am still suspicious as to whether it is our Janet after the end of the last episode…

Still sad by the comparative lack of Tahani so far this season.

This episode was quite exposure heavy and the laugh-out-loud moments weren’t as plentiful. Hopefully as the season progresses, the focus will be as firmly on the core characters as it was this week. I’m hoping for some brilliant Tahani moments as we investigate her gossip-columnist nemesis.

I am still very torn on Brent. I mean, he is objectively the worst. Making HR complaints disappear? Viewing himself as entitled for the Best Place? How can he justify that mentally? I’m very reticent to see a redemption arc for him because in my mind he is the worst humanity has to offer. I have no time for people like Brent.

Line delivery of the week

This week, there is no line, but instead an action. “I said I needed some space,” says Janet.

(Taking one step backwards and gesturing) Yup.

Jason

I will never get over the genius of Manny Jacinto’s portrayal of Jason. So pure. So innocent. Adorable.

Tahani’s Name-Drop of the Week

After the Patrick Stewart reference last week, we are treated to:

[My break-up routine is] champagne and Alanis Morissette. Not the singer, obviously. I would listen to the albums at my friend Adele’s house.

Tahani al-Jamil

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: