THE GOOD PLACE Review: “Tahani Al-Jamil”

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This week in , we slowly find out more about this new world and Eleanor’s place in it. She is taking at least one baby step toward actually being a better person, but still has a long way to go, and there is a twist toward the end that could lead to all sorts of fun.

The third episode beings with an ethics lesson from Chiti that Eleanor is not paying attention to. She is too focused on the ominous “You don’t belong here” note to learn about being a good person. Which, granted, is extremely relatable. Before she can be scolded too much, however, she is surprised by the beatiful, British and obnoxious Tahani, bringing over a housewarming gift. Eleanor’s clear disdain for Tahani is very enjoyable, including Bell’s wonderfully fake British accent. It’s more than enjoyable though, this disdain is an example of what Eleanor needs to change, and Professor Chiti essentially makes Eleanor be nice to her.

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Tahani Al-Jamil" Episode 103 -- Pictured: Kristen Bell as Eleanor -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Jameela Jamil excels at painting Tahani as both unintentionally hilarious and desperately annoying. As Eleanor tries to find a seedy underbelly to her perfection, Tahini goes on and on about being Baz Luhrman’s muse and how her name literally translates into “Congratulations, Beautiful.” Both her charm and eye-roll inducing comes naturally to Jamil, but she truly shines later on in the episode when Eleanor catches Tahani having a humanizing emotional breakdown. Her soulmate, Jianyu, is a Buddhist monk who has taken a vow of silence. For someone who talks as much a Tahani, that’s a lot to handle. Her finally breaking down about this is the first time Eleanor sees any vulnerability and it actually causes her to comfort Tahani. Though slightly predictable, it’s a smart move to sympathize both characters.

While all of this is going on, Michael is insisting that Chiti get a hobby, given that he spent the majority of his life writing a 3600 page manuscript on ethics and morals. With the help of the the lovely information well of a person, Janet, he tries to give Chiti something exciting to do. Janet, portrayed by the always hilarious D’arcy Carden, changes attitudes a number of times, as Michael is trying to figure out how to make her a good assistant. Carden’s delivery of office cliches such as “hump day,” and cheery fun facts such ha “Columbus is in the bad place because of all the raping, slave trade, and genocide” make her hands down the funniest part of this episode. Hopefully we will see much more of Janet as the series progresses.

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Tahani Al-Jamil" Episode 103 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ted Danson as Michael, D'Arcy Carden as Janet, William Jackson Harper as Chidi -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Besides the glory of Janet, this plot gives us the reveal that Chiti’s manuscript is basically illegible according to Michael. Chiti is justifiably hurt by this, but after some encouragement from Eleanor of all people, he asks Michael to advise him on re-writing his manuscript. It’s a sweet conclusion to this B plot, to match the sweet conclusion of the A plot between Tahani and Eleanor. It would be easy to wrap up the episode there, but there is more than just nice emotions happening in the good place.

In the last minute of the episode, Eleanor receives another note from the mysterious person which tells her to meet in the town square. Ominously out of the shadows comes none other than the “Buddhist Monk” Jianyu, who speaks for the first time in the whole series just to say that he doesn’t belong in the good place either. Eleanor is rightly shocked, and the episode leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions for both Eleanor and the viewer at home. How many people in this village don’t belong in the Good Place? Will the two of them team up? Will Eleanor tell Chiti about Jianyu? Will Tahani find out? Will Janet somehow be involved? (Janet is just the best.) All these questions will hopefully get answers over the next ten episodes, but since we are at the start of the show, the mysteries are a good thing to keep the intrigue alive. This episode was very close to be sweetly wrapped up like a typical sitcom, but this added twist adds a deeper and appreciated level to The Good Place.

TB-TV-Grade-B+

Season 1, Episode 3 (S04E03)
The Good Place airs Thursdays at 830PM on NBC

Read all of our reviews of The Good Place here. 
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Raina spends most of her time watching television and trying to find the perfect bagel and lox, because she likes being emotionally distraught.
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Keep up with all of Raina’s reviews here.

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