The Good Place: 3.05 The Ballad of Donkey Doug
This week sees the group spilt in two as they begin their mission of trying to get as many other people into The Good Place as possible. Michael and Tahani follow Jason to Jacksonville in order to try and save his father, while Janet and Eleanor remain in Australia, helping Chidi choose how to break up with Simone.
Tahani and Michael reactions to Florida and Jason's old life are hilarious, but also seem like they are being a bit mean to Florida. The extent to which Florida is the butt of jokes on US sit-coms goes over my head at times, but that may be because I am not American.
Jason's Dad, who turns out to be one of Jason's partners in crime Donkey Doug, is a lot like Jason. He isn''t very smart, and is more invested in getting rich quick, even by illegal means, than he is in making a living in a reliable job. Overall this story line, while funny, felt rather disheartening by the end. It made it obvious that Jason had never really had a father figure in his life, and that him turning to crime is, at least in part, a product of his upbringing.
Class is a major theme in The Good Place, specifically in relation to Jason, Eleanor and Tahani. All three of these characters embody some of the stereotypes of their class, and this episode just emphasises that. While it is good to take the piss out of stereotypes, it's a fine line to walk. Fortunately I don't think The Good Place crossed that line with this episode, especially considering they are going to give the same treatment to the upper-classes next week when Tahani tries to make amends with her sister.
Back is Australia, a recently fired Chidi is desperately trying to figure out a way to breakup with Simone without hurting her. This process leads to Janet creating a simulation for him to try out various approaches. It was nice to see Janet interact with Chidi a bit more, since, of the four humans, he is the one who had the least contact with her. However, it was still in the context of helping him out. While it seems as if Janet enjoys helping people, as it is her job, it would also be nice to see her become more friendly with the humans. Now that they are on Earth, and Janet has no powers, they are all on more equal footing and I am intrigued to see how these relationships will continue to evolve.
When Chidi eventually bites the bullet and leaves Simone, it is Eleanor who tells him to grow up and talk to her like an adult. Even though Eleanor is portrayed as not being well versed in being good, she still seems to know how to be considerate. This brings up the question of whether she knew how to be good all along, but just couldn't be bothered, or if she has really learned a lot from her time in the trial. Both of these possibilities are equally exciting, and will likely lead to some fun situations and consequences later in the season.
I am going to miss Simone, she has been a fun and exuberant addition to the cast over the past few episodes. Seeing her enthusiasm for science and the way her and Chidi acted together was really amazing. I hope that she will return later in the series, if not as a love interest then as a friend to the group. She is definitely more level headed than anyone else in the main cast and has provided a much needed voice of reason for the past few episodes.
This week showed two of the humans trying to do good by people close to them, and next week it is Tahani and Eleanor's turn. I am looking forward to this, but what I am really anticipating is seeing how they are going to go about trying to make complete strangers/larger amounts of people be good. This will likely lead to some fantastic shenanigans and I really can't wait.