Chapter 11: What's My Motivation is the 11th episode of Season 1 of The Good Place.


SURPRISES ARE IN ORDER IN THE GOOD PLACE - Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Tahani (Jamela Jamil) hatch a plan while Michael (Ted Danson) makes a startling discovery. Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper) confides in Eleanor after learning some interesting news.


Michael meets with the Eleanor Shellstrops, Tahani, and Chidi, to show them their point totals from their Earthly lives; these are the totals that Tahani saw earlier when she peeked into the system.

Tahani proposes that they apply the same formula to Fake Eleanor's actions here on the Good Place, to justify her staying here.

Michael's not sure it would work, only because it's never been needed before, but it's the best approach to give to the judge. The average resident here has a score of +1.2 million, and Fake Eleanor's Earthly life scores at negative 4,008. Eleanor says she's going to build up points like crazy, in such crude language that, right there, she loses 5 points.

Fake Eleanor is being a helper at a yogurt shop, holding the door and welcoming patrons, though she's not sure this is getting her much. Tahani says it's a start, and the big ticket items are nearly impossible, like "change the consciousness of a nation". They notice that the patrons are looking at Eleanor with unease, and that gives Tahani an idea on how to improve that.

Real Eleanor and Chidi are having breakfast together, and Eleanor surprises him by saying "I love you". He's stunned and has no useful response.

Jason Mendoza and Janet are kissing for the first time, awkwardly, but Jason is concerned, they haven't told Janet's "Dad". Janet explains Michael isn't her Dad, and anyway, they can't tell him they're married, because that would reveal that Jason wasn't really Jianyu. He still hates hiding their relationship (whatever it is), they should have the life they deserve.

(Flashback: Jason and his buddy Pillboi are eating in a restaurant, and Jason says they should move from Jacksonville to Miami to get ahead in the DJ game, and then they'd have the life they deserve, but they don't have the money. So they plan to rob the restaurant, and if they get caught, they'll just get married so nobody can testify against them. Then they both realize they have to go to the bathroom, and race there, shouting "Best friends!"]

Tahani and Fake Eleanor are addressing a roomful of neighbors, Tahani has assembled a "focus group". Various neighbors express their grievances against Eleanor, and frankly, she was the source of all their irritations. Eleanor realizes the last time the neighbors were all happy was at the party at Tahani's before Eleanor started affecting the neighborhood, so they should do the party over again to give everyone a fresh start.

Janet is sitting at a table at a yogurt shop, and Michael comes to complain that residents are complaining that she isn't responding. He notices her wedding ring, and she announces that she's married, and he'd like to know to whom, but she can't say, but then "Jianyu" is coming to her table, holding two frozen yogurt cups, and also with a wedding band. So Jason says, "Dad, we need to talk."

At Michael's office, he summarizes: Jason is not the monk Jianyu, but Jason, the failed DJ from Jacksonville, and he and Janet are married. Janets don't do that, but Janet says in every upgrade she gets new knowledge and abilities, and she suspects in her reboot she bonded to Jason like she never did before. Michael is nonplussed.

Tahani's mansion is getting ready for the party, and Chidi is practicing with Fake Eleanor, on how to deal with each of the neighbors. He tells her that Real Eleanor said she loves him, and he doesn't know what to do, but Fake Eleanor is cool, Real Eleanor is a great person. Chidi is again hung in indecision: we're soul mates, so we probably love each other, but I can't tell if my motivation is correct.... Eleanor stops him, and tells him to just stop thinking and say he loves her too, they really are universe-approved soul mates, he should accept that. (That bit of honest advice gets her some positive points.)

Michael and Jason are talking, and Michael thinks he's figured it out, some months ago the real Jianyu went into deep meditation and got registered as dead, at the exact time that Jason died in Jacksonville, so their records got swapped, like the Eleanors. Michael starts going through the list of questions to test fundamental goodness, just like he did earlier with Fake Eleanor. Except, for every question that Eleanor answered "no" (like "did you ever commit a serious crime", or "did you ever have a personalized license plate"), Jason answers "yes", happily, they were all fun. Clearly Jason is not just Medium, he is Bad (though witless, he's sure he's aceing this test). Michael is distraught, and Jason comforts him, everything will work out.

(Flashback: Jason and Pillboi are planning their restaurant robbery, and they are clueless about a lot, but Jason comforts Pillboi and assures him everything will work out. They follow the silly plan: Jason hides in a safe, Pillboi will go in daytime as a safe installer and install the safe next to the money, at night Jason will sneak out of the safe and climb back in with the money, and Pillboi will later un-install the safe. But as soon as Pillboi walks into the restaurant, they call the police.)

The party at Tahani's is at full swing, and Tahani praises Fake Eleanor at a lovely party, but none of Eleanor's schmoozing has gained her any points. They notice Michael, who still looks worried, and they ask him to say a few words to the crowd, though he's not sure he's in a good frame of mind. Michael addresses them, immediately harping on how they all have secrets, and how he can't learn them without killing them, then leaves. On that note, Fake Eleanor addresses them, saying that bad things have happened, but she never meant to hurt anyone, and she's sorry. The neighbors repeat their bad experiences, and her being sorry doesn't make their pain go away. Eleanor says, "Pobody's nerfect" and everyone switches gears and is suddenly amused with the play on "Nobody's perfect," and they leave on a happy note.

The party over, Michael congratulates Fake Eleanor, but they check her ticker, -3993, she didn't get a single point from the party. Eleanor realizes, of course, it's because nothing she's doing will affect her points, because she's doing it all out of self-preservation, her motivation is wrong, and her good actions have no real moral value. Suddenly she has an idea.

Next day, Fake Eleanor has written personalized "I'm sorry" notes to all of the neighbors, she has assembled Real Eleanor, Chidi, and Tahani to deliver them, along with "Pobody's Nerfect" T-shirts. Real Eleanor wonders how this will actually help, but Fake Eleanor is confident, she'll get the points.

Michael comes into his office, and finds Jason curled up on one of his chairs. Michael is brooding on his failure, and hoping for extinction. Jason wonders why Michael doesn't want him to see Janet, so he can give her the life she deserves. Michael tries to get it into Jason's head, Janet isn't human, and Jason is worthless. Jason's even forgotten how he died...

(Flashback: Remember the robbery, with Jason hiding inside a safe? It had no air holes, and he suffocated. As a policeman says, Jason got the life he deserved.)

Jason complains, "I'm a moron!" He summons Janet, and says he doesn't deserve her, he's just a dope, she's the smartest girl in the world, Janet should be with someone better. Janet says he's all she cares about. Michael steps in and says he needs to reboot Janet, she's acting unpredictably. After he's gone, Janet is worried that, after a reboot, she'll fall out of love, so she and Jason should escape. They rush out.

At Fake Eleanor's house, Chidi, Real Eleanor, and Tahani are back from their deliveries, and are wondering where Fake Eleanor is. Chidi apologizes to Real Eleanor for not saying "I love you" back to her, only because he's not sure of his motivation, and as he says that he gets an idea. He goes over to Fake Janet's score ticker, and now it's a positive 1,362,322, she's suddenly added 1,366,315 points somehow. He explains, her motivation changed, she couldn't get points by apologizing just to stay here, and her points have changed, so she must have decided not to stay here.... They all rush out.

Fake Eleanor is sitting on a bench outside the Train Station, as Jason and Janet walk there quickly. Eleanor says she was about to call Janet, to ask for a Train to the Bad Place, she has to be a good person to stay here, and she has to leave to become a good person. Janet summarizes: Eleanor doesn't belong here, Jason doesn't belong here, Janet doesn't belong here either. Janet knows a woman, Mindy St. Claire, who lives in a Neutral Zone, it's neither Bad nor Good, they should all go there.

As they are speaking, a Train pulls in, but Janet says she didn't call it, that Train belongs to Shawn, the judge, coming to judge Eleanor.

Shawn, the judge, walks off the train, looks around at the neighborhood, and walks off. After he's gone, Fake Eleanor, Jason, and Janet sneak on. Michael arrives and welcomes Shawn. Chidi, Tahani, and Real Eleanor arrive and watch, as Janet reprograms the Train. Michael suggests to Shawn that Fake Eleanor is really a good person, but Shawn says he's not sure, because she's stealing his train. The Train rolls away, as Fake Eleanor says, "Sorry, everyone."


Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop
William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye
Jameela Jamil as Tahani Al-Jamil
D'Arcy Carden as Janet
Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza
and Ted Danson as Michael

Guest Starring

Tiya Sircar as The Real Eleanor
Eugene Cordero as Pillboi (flashback)
Rebecca Delgado Smith as Pilar
Marc Evan Jackson as Shawn
Amy Okuda as Jessica
Susan Park as Pevita


Ruman Kazi as Sachveer
Will McLaughlin as Officer Prawnmandler
Josh Siegal as Glenn
Jen Statsky as Susan

Trivia Edit

  • Original broadcast audience: 3.64 Million
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