The Good Place: What’s My Motivation – The Medium Place (Review)

The Good Place - Season 1



This week in The Good Place there is a last ditch effort to get Fake Eleanor enough brownie points to stay and not be deported to The Bad Place. As Real Eleanor lets Chidi know how she feels about him, Tahani and Chidi come up with a plan to save Fake Eleanor.

As if Michael did not have enough on his plate already, he learns about Jianyu and Janet’s marriage and that Jianyu is really Jason. Another case of mistaken identity and a non deserving person allowed into The Good Place by mistake.

The real Jianyu went into a coma and his heartbeat dropped so low that everyone believed the monk dead. This happened at the same time that Jason suffocated inside a safe because of no air holes in the structure.

Fake Eleanor must earn enough “good” points to stay in The Good Place and Tahani gets all of the residents that Eleanor upset together. After some grumbling about losing a restaurant, falling down the sinkhole and being hit by an exploding turkey, Tahani comes up with a plan, Fake Eleanor will throw a “sorry party” to make amends.

(It is worth pointing out that “turkey lady” was played by Amy Okuda who played Tinkerbella in The Guild. Amy appears in the show three times. She is a personal favorite and it was nice to see her pop up after her long stint in FOX’s Scream.)

The party goes over very well and ends on a high note after Fake Eleanor makes a joke. Despite everyone losing those grudges, her score stays in the negative area. Suddenly she has an epiphany. She writes personal thank you notes and makes a load of t-shirts with “pobodies nerfect” on them as gifts.

She asks Tahani, Chidi and Real Eleanor to drop off the notes and the gifts. She realizes that the points will never go up unless she choses to leave The Good Place. The apologies counted for nothing before because her motivation for doing so was to stay. Her decision to leave made the gesture noteworthy and counted as a selfless act, many times over.

Meanwhile, a frustrated and angry Michael has to deal with another person being mistaken for a good person, Jianyu and Janet’s marriage and Jason/Jianyu calling him “Dad.”

Michael gives Jason the same test given to Fake Eleanor and he fails spectacularly. (Or as Jason remarks “Am I acing this test?”)

We learn just how stupid Jason was when he was alive, perhaps only beaten by his best mate Pillboi who dresses and talks like a Super Mario Brother when trying to rob the restaurant.

Janet is refusing to help the residents and will not leave Jason’s side. She also will not consider leaving Jason. Michael finally decides that he must murder Janet to reboot her again. As he goes to do this, Shawn, the judge who will preside over Fake Eleanor’s hearing arrives on his own train.

Janet and Jason see Fake Eleanor waiting for the train to The Bad Place and tell her of another “place.” Known as The Medium Place, with only one resident, the two are planning to escape and live there in wedded bliss.

Fake Eleanor is ecstatic to learn that there is a medium place, she insisted that she belonged there from the beginning, Eleanor says, and she goes along. Janet hijacks the train as Michael, Tahani, Chidi and the Real Eleanor arrive at the station.

This episode was very funny and quite touching. Fake Eleanor finally learns the lesson that Chidi has been teaching and we learn that Jason/Jianyu is not so much bad as just “mentally challenged.” (He has the brain capacity of a seven year old, the same as the real Jianyu…)

Michael is capable not only of getting angry but also, apparently, quite able to commit murder. Janet’s previous reboot put her in close contact with Jianyu/Jason and as a result she has developed feelings and as an AI lost some of her acquired “intellect.”

The cast continues to knock this one out of the park. Bell is endearing and damned funny as Fake Eleanor, as is Jacinto as the mentally stunted Jason. D’Arcy Carden was delightful as a much changed Janet in this and the previous episode and Tiya Sircar and William Jackson Harper are perfect as the “Goodies” who are now awkwardly in the role of soul mates.

(The message in the egg, besides being delightfully cute, allowed Harper the chance to place his character in even deeper as the dweeb who cannot make up his mind. This was also a cue to Fake Eleanor to give Chidi some helpful advice.)

Michael’s ire at finding another mistake in the community gave Danson another chance to prove just how big those comedy chops of his really are.

The Good Place is still good fun and one of the two best things about Thursday nights on NBC.


Guest starring Marc Evan Jackson as Shawn, Eugene Cordero as Pillboi and Amy Okuda as Jessica.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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