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Recap / The Good Place S1E03 "Tahani Al-Jamil"

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"Oh, hurrah! Such fun."

"Tahani might be a little British and condescending at times, but she devoted her entire life to helping other people. She's a good person. Accept that."
Chidi
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Eleanor has grown annoyed with Tahani's overtures of friendship and haughty attitude, and suspects Tahani of writing the note. She is determined to prove Tahani has some dark secret, but ultimately accepts that Tahani is genuinely good and begins to form a real friendship with her, comforting her over her dissatisfaction with Jianyu's vow of silence.

Michael tries to get Chidi to take up a hobby, but Chidi only wants to work on his ethics manuscript; after Michael admits that it is terribly written, he agrees to become Chidi's adviser.

Janet cycles through a series of bizarre personalities to become more human-like.

Michael recruits Eleanor to help investigate the problems in the neighborhood. Later that night, Jianyu reveals that he wrote the note; he confronts Eleanor, speaking to reveal that he also doesn't belong in The Good Place.

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In Eleanor's flashback, her boyfriend Andy makes a conscious effort to be good, but Eleanor concludes that being good is pointless and too much work in a world full of bad things.

Tropes

  • Call-Back: Eleanor's response of "What?" when Jianyu tells her he doesn't belong in the Good Place is nearly identical to Chidi's response to her in the first episode.
  • Character Title: Arguably a Secondary Character Title, but nevertheless this is the first episode to really look into the character of Tahani.
  • The Cynic: Back in her earthly life, Eleanor was this, almost bordering on being a mild Straw Nihilist. She believed that the world was such a sack of crap and all people were selfish that even trying to be or do anything good was pointless.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: A character trait of Tahani's which gets introduced in this episode.
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  • Doorstopper: Chidi's life's work is a 3600-page book that tries to encompass the entirety of ethics. For reference, Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, considered one of the definitive works on the subject, doesn't even clear 200 and the only other books of any genre that are longer are all series with multiple volumes. Michael, who's near-omniscient, had given up partway through because it was so convoluted that it made no sense.
  • Dramatic Irony: Flashback!Eleanor comments that "it's not like anyone's keeping score" when it comes to her actions. If she only knew then what she knows now...
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Tahani knocks on the door while Chidi is lecturing Eleanor on ethics. To buy time so he can hide the blackboard, Eleanor calls out "Just a minute! We're kissing! And groping!"
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Chidi's theory that the note is a manifestation of Eleanor's subconscious sounds very plausible, especially given what happens to Tahani's plant. It's also totally incorrect: as we learn at the end of the episode, Jianyu wrote the note.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Michael tasks Eleanor with helping him to find the cause of the chaos in the previous episode.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Janet's "fun fact" about Christopher Columbus:
    Janet: Fun fact, Columbus is in The Bad Place because of all the raping, slave trade, and genocide.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    Eleanor: It's like, who died and left Aristotle in charge of ethics?
    Chidi: Plato.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Chidi tries to convince Eleanor that Tahani's housewarming gift was a genuinely kind gesture. Eleanor isn't buying it:
    Eleanor: Oh, so now I'm supposed to be nice and make friends and treat her with mutual respect?
    Chidi: ...yeah.
    Eleanor: That's just what she wants me to do, Chidi! Wake up!
    Chidi: That's what everyone wants everyone to do.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Eleanor is going off on one her usual rants about Tahani to Chidi, only for it to end somewhere quite different from she started:
    "She wants everyone to think she’s such a perfect princess just because she’s tall and glamorous and has cappuccino skin and curves everywhere and now I’m complimenting her and kind of turned on."
  • Suddenly Voiced: Jianyu talks for the first time in this episode.
  • Wham Episode: It turns out Jianyu knows Eleanor's secret, and he doesn't belong in the Good Place either.
  • Wham Line: "I'm not supposed to be here either. I don't know how I got here, I have no idea what's going on, and I am freaking out homie!"

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