Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Round Two: The Good Place

The Good Place: Season 1, Episode 3 “Tahani Al-Jamil” (B+)

We’re getting a lot of this show in just one week, with two episodes last Monday night and then another installment in its regular timeslot on Thursday. There have been a number of shows in recent years that have attempted to deal with someone checking things off a list, and this show functions sort of like that even though it’s not explicitly framed that way. I especially appreciate every flashback that we see of a truly terrible Eleanor back when she was alive. Refusing to boycott a coffeeshop where the owner got caught on video sexually harassing a job applicant and then throwing her boyfriend’s goodness in his face just to be mean was a helpful compliment to the accidental good that Eleanor did in this episode after she set out to take down Tahani and ended up befriending her. Michael telling Chidi that his book was boring and he needs to try something else sent him reeling, and the best part was his description of his directional insanity and his once having gotten lost on an escalator. Michael trying to reprogram Janet for maximum conversational efficiency was entertaining as it continually went awry, and her cold, cruel phase was probably the best. What I enjoyed most about this episode, however, was the ending reveal that the person sending notes to Eleanor was none other than Jianyu, who definitely isn’t mute and, just like Eleanor, also doesn’t belong in the good place. That’s a fun twist that makes the show feel a bit more accessible, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

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