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Recap / The Good Place S1E06 "What We Owe to Each Other"

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"I give up. I can't help the people I promised that I would help. I feel like Friends in season eight, out of ideas and forcing Joey and Rachel together, even though it made no sense."

Eleanor: I need to figure out a way both help [Michael] and not help him at the same time.
Chidi: That's literally not possible.

Eleanor distracts Michael from his investigation in order to avoid detection. He tells her that architects don't normally live in neighborhoods; doing so was his own idea and will be discredited by his failure. Meanwhile, Tahani tries to bond with Jianyu, forcing Chidi to go to great lengths to protect Jason's secret. Chidi and Tahani end up bonding, but Tahani ultimately accepts Jianyu as her soulmate after he gives her a gift that Chidi arranged. Michael concludes that he is the cause of the problems and announces his impending departure.

In the past, Eleanor ditches house-sitting for a friend in order to attend a Rihanna concert, resulting in her friend's dog suffering a permanent disability; Eleanor didn't care.



  • Bait-and-Switch: Michael summons the townsfolk to reveal the fraud. Eleanor believes he found her out but it turns out Michael believes he himself is the cause of the misery.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Eleanor just saying "I'm right here" makes Michael certain of what is causing his neighborhood to go wrong.
  • Flashback B-Plot: We get a story of a time Eleanor went back on her promise to help a friend with her dog, which ties into how Eleanor is keeping to her promise to help Michael.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Referenced. Michael watched all ten seasons of Friends and simply can't understand how they can afford the apartment they have. Eleanor agrees that always puzzled people.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Conversed. Eleanor's reaction when Michael calls them friends, "like Ross and Phoebe."
    Eleanor: Weird combination.
  • Advertisement:
  • Good-Times Montage: Showing how Eleanor and Michael spend their day off.
  • Karaoke Bonding Scene: Eleanor and Michael spend a day off and their Good-Times Montage includes a karaoke scene which draws them closer.
  • Kissing Cousins: Implied.
    Eleanor: I once posed as a hot prom date for my cousin, both helping him and later, according to his therapist, not helping him.
  • Literal-Minded: When he learns of Tahani's love of impressionist paintings, Jason gets her a painting of impressionist Frank Caliendo.
  • Logic Bomb: Parodied. When Chidi tries to explain to Janet that he is a third part of the Jianyu-and-Tahani couple, she chants "does not compute" in a monotone, before saying she's just kidding and this won't actually make her explode.
  • Magic 8-Ball: Jason uses a literal Magic 8 Ball to try to make conversation with Tahani. It works surprisingly well.
    Tahani: Jianyu! How are you, my love?
    Jason: I am... decidedly so.
    Tahani: That's very profound!
  • Many Questions Fallacy: Eleanor tries to distract Michael from the idea that she might be the problem in the neighborhood.
    Eleanor: So, do you think we're looking for a man, or do you think we're looking for two men?
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Michael tells Eleanor that whoever is causing the neighborhood problems must not know they're doing it, because "What kind of monster would wreak havoc and say nothing?" He couldn't be more hurtful if he tried.
  • Oven Logic: When Eleanor realizes that ditching the house-sitting job she's doing will involve leaving the dog, she decides to feed the dog a huge amount of dog food to make up for it. The result is one morbidly obese dog.
  • The Promise: Chidi makes a point about how important it is for him to deliver on a promise given. A flashback to Eleanor's past shows how little she used to care about promises.
  • Running Gag: Michael referencing Friends.
  • Seriously Scruffy: Michael has developed a significant amount of stubble while trying to solve the sinkhole problem.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jason thinks Tahani is a lot like Nala from The Lion King.
    • Michael wins a minion in a claw machine. He calls it an ugly yellow toddler.
    • Eleanor once stood up her friend and neglected her dog-sitting duties to go to a Rihanna concert.
    • Michael has watched Friends and compares everything he observes about humans to that show.
    • Eleanor thinks of Michael as an Orville Redenbacher kind of person.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Tahani's pores are so small that nothing can adhere to her skin. "It's a curse, really."
  • String Theory: Michael has a town map on his office pinboard with red strings connecting locations.
  • Take That!: Takes a jab at Friends's Season 8, especially the Joey/Rachel romance, which Michael considers to be "forced and unnatural" In-Universe.
  • Third Wheel: Chidi inserts himself in Jason and Tahani's couples retreat. Tahani clearly perceives the situation in this way, but Chidi is there because Jason asked him to be.