Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for NBC’s The Good Place.
It’s even more family time! Today, we’re going head-to-head with the people of our past whose actions traumatized us to no end. In this episode of The Good Place, Tahani and Eleanor try their hardest to reconcile with their family members.
Eleanor heads off to Nevada to find her not-so-dead mother. To her greatest surprise, her mother is actually living her best life! She’s roped in a well-off architect, Bill, and his daughter, Patricia, and lives a quiet suburban lifestyle. Note the daughter, whom Eleanor is considerably jealous of. See, Eleanor’s mother, Diane (Donna, as she was known during Eleanor’s childhood), is a loving and doting mother to Patricia– the exact kind of mother Eleanor never got. It seems as if Donna Shellstrop has settled down, but Eleanor doesn’t believe her mother could ever change.
I think the biggest conflict in the episode, for Eleanor (and Tahani), was learning how to let old feelings of resentment go. Eleanor hates her mother for screwing up her childhood, but she has to learn to forgive her mother and accept that her mother has changed for the better. I love Eleanor’s growth during this episode. She’s learned to let those feelings of past resentment go and focus on the future; Eleanor has ostensibly matured.
It makes me wonder how she’s going to change in the future episodes. Sure, we’ll get the trademark Shellstrop charm, but, she’s a better person, now. I highly doubt there will be a chance Eleanor will regress back to her original state, but one never knows (maybe, the timeline will be reset?).
In an Art Museum in Budapest, Tahani faces off with her sister, Kamilah. At first, they can’t see eye to eye, trading insult after insult. We’ve seen Tahani’s side of the story before: she has always felt like she’s in her sister’s shadow. But, after the insults turn physical (Tahani attacks Kamilah’s art with a hatchet), Tahani is forced to consider Kamilah’s perspective.
This is probably my favorite part of the episode: we see that Kamilah has always been jealous of Tahani, too. Their parents purposefully pitted the sisters against each other, creating a toxic, competitive environment. Kamilah has always felt alone, just like Tahani. When Tahani comes face-to-face with this realization, she gives a heart-warming hug to her sister which literally brought tears to my eyes. It’s just as siblings should be: competitive with one another, but, on the same team at the end of the day.
This represents a great deal of growth for Tahani. Just like Eleanor, Tahani had to move past her resentment for her sister in order to truly empathize with and help her sister. For the past two seasons, Kamilah represented someone who was always better than Tahani. This mindset constantly ate away at her; this internal struggle drove her inner motives. But now, the burden has been lifted from Tahani’s shoulder, I wonder what other conflicts Tahani has in store.
One thing I love about this episode is that, in the end, it’s all about women supporting each other. The characters could have been fighting over something trivial, but they took the time to recognize each others’ perspectives (albeit, after a good deal of scowling) and resolve their issues in a compassionate manner (shout out to the writers for this one).
We’re basically halfway through the season at this point. Although Michael dropped a huge bombshell on Eleanor (She and Chidi fell in love during their time in the afterlife), this episode seemed like a natural conclusion to the latest plot arc. I imagine Eleanor dealing with the bombshell will take up a good portion of next episode’s plot, but otherwise, I’m not sure what’s in store for the next episode. But with the way the season is going, I doubt it will disappoint.
Whose soul will the team save next? Find out on the next episode, the “Worst Possible Use of Free Will,” on Nov. 8 at 8/7c on NBC.