The Good Place: What We Owe Each Other – Soulmates (Review)

The Good Place - Season 1

How can one not like The Good Place?  The show has so many cute and funny references slipped in to titillate the viewer. The frame where Michael and Janet mirror  the “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood, sans pitchfork, or the many Friends references made by Michael and Eleanor.

Finally there is Michael himself, who we mentioned looked remarkably like Orville Redenbacher in our first review of the series, a character that wants the human experience so badly it hurts. A deity of sorts that has no real clue about humanity and apparently never will.

The architect has enlisted the help of Eleanor to help him sort out what is wrong in The Good Place.  She diverts his attention from the issue at hand and arranges a fun day doing human things.

Meanwhile, Jianyu/Jason is having problems dealing with Tahani. He wants Chidi to stick close by and help him out. In another reference, Chidi becomes Jason’s Cyrano de Bergerac . As the episode progresses, it become apparent that Tahani’s soulmate is really Chidi.

The Good Place - Season 1
Jianyu and Tahani

This would then make Jason Mendoza, aka Jianyu,  Eleanor’s soulmate but since neither one belongs there they should both be in “The Other Place.”

While it seems obvious that it is both Eleanor and Jianyu that may be causing the problems, it clearly cannot be down to them alone. If the process allowed them to get into The Good Place it could have allowed others in as well.


Is that really the issue here? Could Michael really be the one at fault? After all, if it was only Eleanor or Jianyu causing the mayhem the problems would not disappear. The sinkhole would still be expanding and rubbish would still be falling from the sky, for example.

So far, apart from the overabundance of frozen yoghurt places in The Good Place, things are not too far removed from the denizen’s earthly existence.  Janet can be seen as a two legged “Google,” an entity with all the answers and Michael is not just the builder of the place but its  leader as well.

This episode had the usual “Eleanor flashback” and it humorously reminded us of her self centered nature.  Leaving a giant bag of dog food out for her friend’s pet so she could attend a Rihanna concert in Vegas was funny. The consequences of her actions were also amusing. Her former friend shows up later with her dog trailing behind  in a red wagon; its stomach so huge it cannot, nor will it ever, walk again.

The Good Place - Season 1

Eleanor manages to make it “all about her” when she complains that her ex friend did not ask how the concert was.

It is interesting to note that when Michael makes his announcement at the end, Eleanor looks upset. Apparently her training sessions with Chidi are working better than either of them thought.

Does this mean that Eleanor will confess that she is an imposter and does not belong?

Other questions include whether or not Jason/Jianyu will be turned out and if Chidi and Tahani will become second-hand soulmates? If they do will this then change The Good Place into Peyton Place?

The Good Place airs Thursdays on NBC. Tune in and see if Michael banishes himself or if Eleanor fesses up.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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