[The Good Place] S01E04 to S01E06: Jason Mendoza, Category 55 Emergency Doomsday Crisis, What We Owe to Each Other

Watch Date: 12 May 2020

Watched on: Netflix

IMDb link: Jason Mendoza

Netflix Summary:

Eleanor becomes friends with another neighborhood resident who’s hiding something. Tahani plans a gala for the opening of a new restaurant.

IMDb link: Category 55 Emergency Doomsday Crisis

Netflix summary:

Chidi tires of spending so much time alone teaching Eleanor. Tahani snoops and doesn’t like what she finds. Michael quarantines the neighborhood.

IMDb link: What We Owe to Each Other

Netflix Summary:

Eleanor distracts Michael from his search for the design flaw that’s disrupting the neighborhood. Chidi horns in on Tahani and Jianyu’s spa date.

Notes:

  • Somehow, episode 5 was the one that stood out the most – the other two felt like conceptual fluff, even though they were driving the season plot along.
  • The whole joy which Eleanor felt about her first time doing a selfless act got me remembering The Picture of Dorian Gray, and how Dorian Gray doing something nice just adds to the portrait’s ugliness – because now smugness is added to the sins. Perhaps Oscar Wilde was just horribly cynical and the equivalent of the people who today sneer at virtue signaling. Or maybe I’m the horribly naive one and give virtue signaling too much credit.
  • But having made that detour to The Picture of Dorian Gray, I then remembered the In Our Time episode about Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees; and its discussion about private vices leading to public virtue – but did it explicitly talk about doing good to be thought of as good? I’m not sure if it made that argument also.
  • And I also remembered the Series 7 finale of Doctor Who, and how it tried to escape the thorny question of whether wanting to be good is actually good, by having the Doctor smug-quit and declare that he wasn’t trying to be good in the first place.
  • The bits about humans making frozen yogurt a little bit less than good so that they could have more of it; and of how they chased fun were very Pratchettian. Michael being so thrilled by paperclips, a little less so, and perhaps more Arthur-Weasley-overjoyed-by-electricity. But still Pratchettian enough in “You think a bed is a normal thing” way.
  • I never twigged on to Episode 5 being a utilitarian paradox until Eleanor came out and said it. Ooh!
  • So we had Hume being namedropped, and also Hume’s bundle theory bring similar to Buddhism. Relevant existentialcomic.
  • The Chidi-Tahani potential shipping… meh. Too cliched to get on board with.
  • TIL, or at least TI relearned something I might have encountered and forgotten: Contractualism.
  • I finally saw the Ya Basic! GIF in the flesh, so to speak.
  • Having exactly three flashbacks in an episode is very disciplined writing.

 

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