THE GOOD PLACE Review: “What’s My Motivation?”


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A great thing about is that eleven episodes in, all the characters are so well established and so endearing, that watching them simply exist is pleasure enough. In “What’s My Motivation,” we got to see more than just existing, as it’s a fairly plot-heavy episode, but the best moments came from the characters doing what they do best.

A prime example of this is anything that had to do with Jason, the artist previously known as Jianyu, and his oddly sweet love for Janet. This is finally the episode where we find out how he died, suffocating in a safe during a failed Mexican restaurant robbery, which is an incredibly stupid and incredibly Jason way to die. This is also where Jason comes clean to Michael, and we get to see poor Michael reacting to another one of his residents not belonging. And unlike Eleanor, Jason doesn’t have the smarts or the morality to attempt to stay.

Credit: NBC

In all of this, the most delightful thing to watch is the oddly genuine connection between Jason and Janet. She’s a robot, he’s an idiot, and they very much care for each other. The for Janet, who is essentially the comic relief in a comedy, has been so much fun to watch. She got rebooted, and with that came the ability to love (and also hate). Jason ,of all people was kind to her, and now they are married. What seemed like a one-off joke of their wedding is now genuinely sweet as well as being hilarious. Even the small details of Jason insisting on calling Michael, “Dad” now come from a place of sweetness ,but are also stupid funny.

While Michael is having yet another existential crisis about who he has placed in the Good Place, Eleanor is still working out how to stay. Seeing that the judge Sean is on his way, she’s got to figure it out fast. Luckily, everyone’s MVP Tahani has an idea that if Eleanor just raised her good points, she’d be able to stay. It seems simple, but no matter how much good Eleanor seems to do, the points stay at a sadly negative balance. Unlike sweet dumb Jason, our Eleanor is smart enough to figure out why: it’s because she’d doing to stay. The only way for her to actually be a good person is to leave the Good Place. So she does.

This alone speaks volumes of Eleanor’s over these first eleven episodes. As opposed to just wanting to stay and be undetected, she does really do her best to be good, whatever that mean. And she manages to do that without losing her crude sense of humor, or harsh honesty. The Good Place shows that morality doesn’t have to be seen in one certain light, and that it’s more than possible for someone like Eleanor to develop a strong moral compass without losing herself.

Credit: NBC

As Eleanor prepares to leave, she runs into Janet and Jason who are also planning to depart. Janet let’s Eleanor in on the mythical Neutral Place that is only inhabited by one person. This is what Eleanor has been hoping for so she hops on board. That is, she hops literally on board a train that the three of the them steal from the mythical judge Sean, just as he gets into town. The last thing we see is the train chugging away as the potential decider of Eleanor’s fate watches.

There are two episodes left of The Good Place, and this ending begs the question: are we going to see outside of the actual Good Place. I wouldn’t put it past the creators of this show to expand the mythology beyond the simple village, and use more space to continue to question notions of morals. As long as they do it with these stellar characters, it should continue to be a wild ride.


Season 1, Episode 11 (S01E11)
The Good Place airs Thursday 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.
Follow Raina on Twitter: @ItsRainaingMen
Keep up with all of Raina’s reviews here.

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