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Recap / The Good Place S1E05 "Category 55 Emergency Doomsday Crisis"

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"Okay. Shouldn't take long. Between hour and, um, eleven months. Somewhere in there. Okay. Bye... Don't go outside."

"It's not just that helping me is a full-time job that you feel you have to do. The real problem is, that the more you help me, the greater the chance is that I can stay here, and me staying here means you'll never get a real soul mate. I'm basically a Utilitarian nightmare."
Eleanor
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Eleanor is pleased that she is learning to be considerate of others and learning about John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, but Chidi is dissatisfied with spending all of his time teaching Eleanor. Michael protects the neighborhood from the sinkhole by quarantining all of the residents. He insists that Eleanor and Chidi host a couple who live near the sinkhole; the observant couple concludes that Chidi is hiding something. Chidi admits he never had a real relationship with a woman before; Eleanor realizes he's disappointed that she's not his true soulmate and decides to be a better friend to him by arranging the exact leisure activities he described to her. Meanwhile, Tahani reads Michael's private documents and learns that she has the second-lowest score in the neighborhood. She tries to raise it by aiding Michael, who has to save her from the sinkhole; he tells her that scores don't change after death and that she should be satisfied to be one of the best people who ever lived. The sinkhole closes after Eleanor's kind gesture and Michael informs her that she must help him uncover the cause.

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Tahani's flashbacks show that she lived her entire life in the shadow of her sister, Kamilah, finally deciding to live independently after their parents' deaths.


Tropes

  • The Ace: Tahani's sister Kamilah. She was the youngest person to ever graduate from Oxford University, world-class painter, sculptor, social activist, iconoclast, Olympic archer (for which she won the gold, of course), Grammy award-winning musician, BAFTA award-winning documentarian (for a documentary she made about her own previously mentioned Grammy award-winning album), and person voted "Most Likely to Be Banksy".
  • Always Someone Better: Tahani always had to deal with this regarding her sister Kamilah, and has this insecurity come up when she sees she's the second-lowest on the points scale in the neighborhood.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Discussed; when Eleanor and Chidi are fighting she asks if it's the kind of fight which they channel into banging.
  • Blatant Lies: Michael says a "Category 55 Emergency Doomsday Crisis" is simply a minor inconvenience.
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    • Tahani tells her sister that her cardigan is inside out because "it's a new trend."
  • Contrived Coincidence: Brad and Nina are about the worst possible visitors for Eleanor and Chidi — the former is a Living Lie Detector used to investigate identity theft, the latter a successful marriage counselor. Then it gets subverted; when Nina hosts an impromptu marriage counseling session with the two after seeing them fight, Eleanor gets a Jerkass Realization where she promises to give Chidi more space.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Eleanor's suspicion that the new guests would like to swing with them is shrugged off by Chidi but proves to be well-founded later.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Janet says Tahani's sinkhole joke is too soon after the sinkhole itself forming.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Michael adds a truly improbable number of new ice cream flavors (full list). They range from the standard (like grape, cherry, and Neapolitan) to the technically-edible but bizarre (such as lobster, cilantro, and ham) to the more esoteric (a mother's love, candlelight, and a satisfying TV show finale).
  • Freudian Slip: In her flashback, Tahani slips up when introducing her much-despised much-hated sister at the auction:
    "...so without further ado, take it away from me! Sorry, I mean take it away, Kamilah."
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: As noted under "Freeze Frame Bonus", the list of new frozen yogurt flavours includes many which suggest this, such as "candlelight" and "a mother's love".
  • Locked in a Room: Eleanor and Chidi have a fight, and Chidi decides to move out. Just then, Michael announces that nobody can go outside because the sinkhole is getting worse, and they end up having to stay in Eleanor's house for the next several days.
  • Maintain the Lie: Eleanor and Chidi have to keep up the facade of being a loving soulmate couple when a private eye and relationship counselor are forced to move in with them.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Since moving in together, Eleanor and Chidi act like a stereotypical husband and wife but with the stereotypical gender role expectations reversed, where Chidi complains that he has to do all the cleaning while Eleanor is a slob.
  • Parental Favoritism: Tahani and Kamilah's parents very blatantly preferred Kamilah over Tahani. While they'd give, at best, token acknowledgment of Tahani's work, they would heap praise upon everything Kamilah did. They even misspelled Tahani's name as Tahini (like the sauce) in their will.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Eleanor and Chidi have a fallout in this episode but reconcile by the end.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Chidi's main gripe with Eleanor is that the time he spends with her is taking up most of the time he should be spending enjoying the Good Place's many benefits, describing her as a "full-time job."
  • Wrote the Book: Nina claims that she wrote the book on healthy relationships. She means it literally.

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