Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Good Place 1.11: “What’s My Motivation”

“You have a tendency to overthink things. Turn off that giant brain and just say you love her, too This is your soulmate. She’s universe approved.”
- Eleanor

We are almost at the end of the first season of “The Good Place” and I’m honestly hoping this episode is a little less bizarre than last week. The love rhombus was very confusing last week. I’d love to say a little of the relationship drama has burned off at this point (I mean okay, so Chidi is pretty sure he’s in love with new Eleanor so that’s a step). But there is a lot going on in this episode.

For starters, we finally learn what Tahani’s’ great idea is to try and keep our Eleanor in the Good Place. Michael first shows the assembled group (minus Jason) their point totals from their lives and then shows the average of the people in the neighborhood (about 1.2 million positive points). Unfortunately, Eleanor has 4,003 negative points. Tahani thinks that if they count all of the things Eleanor’s done since she died, then maybe they can prove she deserves to stay. This venture, however, is far easier said than done. She starts by holding the door and waving (a la Wal-Mart greeter) at the Frozen Yogurt place. Tahani reasons that holding the door counts for 3 points so doing it for everyone in the neighborhood is like 1,000 points and that would at least get Eleanor closer to being in the green. But all it does is annoy Eleanor and give her some negative points instead. Their next plan is to have a small focus group to see why everyone hates Eleanor so much. The reasons vary: cafés crushed by giant frogs and sink holes, people falling into turkey carcasses. Eleanor realizes that everyone was most happy at Tahani’s welcome party before all the craziness started.

So, Eleanor and Tahani devise to hold a party to cheer everyone up. Meanwhile, new Eleanor and Chidi are sharing morning boiled eggs. Elanor slipped Chidi an “I love you” note in the top of one of his and he can’t seem to say the words back. As our Eleanor is getting ready for the party, trying to memorize whom she slighted how, he frets about if he’s saying the words back because she’s his soulmate and he’s supposed to love her or if his motivation is off. Our Eleanor just tells him to shut his brain off and tell her that he loves his soulmate, too. She’s universe approved after all. That actually earns her some positive points. At the party, she tries to apologize to people and say “nobody’s perfect” but it comes out garbled and everyone starts laughing. It also makes her realize their attempt is going to be futile because even if she’s doing nice things, she is doing it for the wrong reasons. But this seems to be a light bulb moment for her. She handwrites “I’m sorry” notes to each member of the neighborhood—with personalization no less—and gives Chidi, new Eleanor and Tahani instructions to deliver them all with T-shirts with her garbled saying on it.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, Michael finds out about Jason (that he isn’t a monk) and Janet (that they’re married). This is so clearly not what the Architect needed right now. Not with the Eleanor drama and the fact that the judge (Sean) is on his way to make a final decision on what to do with our Eleanor. Jason is happy to be out in the open but Michael wants to kill Janet and reboot her again. Janet, who now has the capacity to feel both love and hate (yay for hating genocide), decides she doesn’t want to lose Jason and suggests they run away. We also learn how Jason died and how he got mixed up as the monk. The monk stopped learning and speaking at age 7 or 8 and so his IQ is about the same as Jason’s. And he went into such a deep meditative state that the universe thought he’d died and got Jason’s’ soul mixed up. We also learn that Jason died by suffocating in a safe while he and his friend tried to rob a restaurant so they could reach their dreams of DJ-ing in Miami. Jason actually realizes what an idiot he is and tells Janet she should leave him. But as we mentioned before, she’s not willing to give him up.

After delivering all the notes and T-shirts, Chidi, new Eleanor and Tahani wonder where our Eleanor has gone. Chidi starts to explain to new Eleanor about his motivation problem when a light bulb goes off in his head, too. Eleanor can’t get enough points by staying, so she’s got to leave. And her decision to do that has gotten her way up into the green. She’s waiting at the train station and runs into Janet and Jason. It turns out there is a woman who exists in a neutral space and that’s where the married couple is headed. Eleanor agrees to tag along (she’s been looking for a medium place the whole time). They have to steal Sean’s train though. Luckily, Janet is able to make it go where they want. Unfortunately, as they are doing this, Michael is trying to tell Sean they have a great case for why Eleanor should stay. Her stealing a train isn’t the best way to showcase their talking points but hey, at least she’s trying to give the people around her some peace.

I have to say, I’m kind of glad Jason isn’t quite as stupid as he used to be. The fact he realized why locking himself in a safe with no air holes was dumb and that he was willing to let Janet go. That’s kind of a big step for him. I’m interested to see what this neutral place is and why it exists. I also can’t wait to find out Eleanor’s fate!

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