The Good Place reminds us again that we all need a little help in an emotional outing.
From the start of this series, The Good Place has centered around the idea that people can better themselves – if we help each other. That’s the goal of the Soul Squad this season – to help others become better people.
Including Eleanor’s mother.
Eleanor and Michael go to Nevada to see Eleanor’s mother Donna Shellstrop, who is now Diana Tremaine, Eleanor’s old alias. Donna faked her death years before and has been hiding out ever since, living a quiet suburban life. Michael reminds Eleanor that despite her feelings towards her mother, this is “not about her,” but Eleanor isn’t quite there yet. We have watched Eleanor grow out of her selflessness several times over various reboots, but never have we seen her have to confront something from her past.
And, wow, does it run deep. Eleanor is thoroughly in denial about Donna’s new life. She believes Donna is planning a scam against her new “love rat” Dave and keeps trying to prove this throughout the episode. Almost all of this desperation to prove her mother’s true motives stems from Eleanor’s view of her mother and their relationship, and not necessarily to protect Dave and his daughter Patricia.
Eleanor has used her parents as an excuse for her behavior for so long, part of me feels like her denial here could be to protect herself from having to also commit to a full, selfless change. We know how selfless of a person Eleanor can be from previous seasons, and Eleanor has attempted to become a better person on Earth this season as well, but a lot of that progress comes from the feeling of belonging she got with the Soul Squad. In the end, that motivation was still slightly selfish.
By the end of this storyline, I felt like that last hurdle has been crossed. Eleanor’s jealousy of Patricia is heartbreaking at the PTA voting, and her confusion and inability to understand why her mother felt Patricia was worth changing for but she wasn’t was affecting. Eleanor is once again placed in a position where she doesn’t feel good enough for those around her, but this time, instead of ripping her face out of a cake, she supports the change.
Michael has become Eleanor’s conscious and continues to nudge her to do the right thing. Unlike earlier in the season, this doesn’t feel like an attempt to control everything – just a genuine attempt to help Eleanor find the best parts of herself. Eleanor needs that voice verbalized here because the voice in her head is being drowned out by her rage and anger. He starts the episode reminding Eleanor that it’s “not about her,” and she ends the episode believing that as well. That doesn’t reverse the damage that was done to her by her mother, but it is a step towards genuinely letting those wounds stop defining her.
So they leave Donna in nearly the same place that they found her in. Eleanor nudges her in the right direction to accept her new life and use her saved cash for Patricia, but I’m not convinced the “new” Donna wouldn’t have come to that conclusion herself eventually. Michael may have stated that Donna got better on her own, but she didn’t. She was helped by Dave and Patricia, just as Chidi helped Eleanor, and Eleanor helped Michael.
On the other side of the pond, Tahani visits Kamilah at her latest art exhibit to make amends and apologize for their strained (that’s putting it lightly) relationship. I mentioned last week that I felt the two separate storylines were too disconnected, but this week has a nice parallel where we see our two focus characters attempting to rebuild a relationship with someone that they hold responsible for a lot of their flaws. So while not connected on a plot level, at least this episode holds a thematic connection.
At first, I felt it was odd to see Tahani apologizing to Kamilah, since we have been conditioned to view Kamilah as the crueler sister, but I think this shows growth on Tahani’s part. She is being the bigger person.
And Tahani verbalizes this while holding an ax, which is wonderful. She may have grown in some respects, and she deserves to be recognized for that growth, but her actions towards her sister are still aggressive. Her attempt to make amends only works after Tahani changes these actions. Instead of wielding an ax, Tahani hugs her sister and they finally bond, and it all comes back to the parents.
The Al-Jamils were awful parents. We know they favored Kamilah throughout Tahani’s life, but now we see where the source of that favoritism stems from. Kamilah won the bid for favorite through forced competition with her sister. When Tahani realizes that Kamilah had used this competition to fuel her artwork, she starts to understand that Kamilah’s perspective is similar to her own. She embraces her sister, and they truly start to connect through their shared, tormented upbringing.
I liked seeing the Al-Jamil sisters act like sisters for once. This also helps explains Kamilah’s continued cruelness towards Tahani. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but I think Tahani has grown past that. She’s willing to look forward to what a person and relationship CAN be, and not what it is, but she’s also learned that sometimes you can’t force a relationship to happen just because you want it to like she did with her parents. Tahani’s growth here feels very complete, and it was satisfying to watch.
But we also saw Chidi remind her to keep being that person even after the moment passed. It was a small gesture, but I loved Chidi encouraging Tahani not to rub “Bury the Hatchet” in Kamilah’s face. We all need a little help sometimes, but it’s still our responsibility to do the heavy lifting, which both Eleanor and Tahani did tonight.
If the stinger at the end of the episode is any indication, we get back to the Eleanor & Chidi romance next week. I’ll personally just be glad to have the gang together again. This season may not quite be up to the standard of previous seasons, but I’m looking forward to what it CAN be, despite the flaws so far.
- Less Jason and Chidi this week, but that’s ok since they were both so heavily featured the previous two weeks.
- Janet has had a disappointing amount to do this season. I hope she comes back strong in the back half.
- Michael bonding with Dave over being architects and mentioning an architect code was great. Is there a real architect code in the afterlife?
- Eleanor takes too many items to the fast lane checkout at the store, too! Like mother like daughter (Like last week’s Bortles!)
- One advantage of the Earth plotline is that our characters get to be affected by people other than themselves, such as Donna, Simone, and Kamilah.
- Jason and Janet bonding over the art prices was a fun addition.
- Donna gave props to whoever helped Eleanor become a better person. That was Michael in this timeline but only because Chidi taught him ethics, but Michael only took those classes because Eleanor forced him to. So props to Eleanor for helping herself become a better person!
I had hoped to focus more on the comedy this week, but it was a less comedic episode. Still some good laughs, though! Particularly Tahani with the ax, and Michael and Dave bonding was fun.
TV Shows to Binge During Your Self-Quarantine and Social Distancing
In case you haven’t been keeping up with global news, coronavirus, COVID-19, is forcing everyone to practice the 2020 version of”conscious uncoupling” known as “social distancing.”
Many cities/states are on lockdown with bars, restaurants, and other establishments closing their doors to keep the outbreak from spreading even more than it has.
If you’ve found yourself self-quarantined at home on the couch to prevent the spread of germs, you’ll likely be looking for things to keep yourself occupied.
Many shows have shuttered production with daytime and late-night talk shows going sans audiences or completely dark for the remainder of the month.
And this means it’s the perfect time to binge-watch those shows you’ve been putting off.
Here are some shows to watch during your self-quarantine.
What the world needs now is a fixer who could tell us all how to get out of this mess. Since that’s not possible, we have the next best thing in Olivia Pope, DC’s fixer and right-hand to the President, who is also in a torrid love affair with him. It’s political, dramatic, and sexy as hell to this day.
Don’t you wish we could all travel back to a time before the coronavirus? Same. Maybe if we had a time machine like Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus, we totally could. But alas, we’ll have to settle for watching their journey through key historical moments as they attempt to stop Rittenhouse from destroying the world.
Locke & Key
Think Harry Potter meets Narnia. Netflix’s new fantasy thriller finds a family moving into a mansion following their father’s death where they learn that it’s filled with secret keys that open up portals to other dimensions. You never know where you’ll end up, but it’ll make you forget you’re curled up on your couch amidst a toilet-paper shortage.
Elliot works as a cybersecurity engineer by day and doubles as a vigilante hacker by night. When he’s recruited by a mysterious underground organization, he’s forced to do things that make him question his personal beliefs, his morals, and most importantly, what’s real and what isn’t.
Financial burdens (like the fact that you spent all your money stocking up on canned goods and paper towels) plague three suburban moms who are tired of always playing “catch up.” They decide to take matters into their own hands and rob a grocery store. Soon, they find themselves trying to navigate a world of crime that has absolutely no rules. As they try to survive, their actions will keep you on the edge of your seat.
You’ve already heard of Stranger Things, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s high time you do. The series takes place in 1980s Indiana and follows a group of young friends who become privy to supernatural happening within the government.
There’s no better time than during a quarantine to watch all 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Honestly, when else are you going to have the time? All you need to know is that it’s a medical drama, there’s a doctor named McDreamy, and Shonda Rhimes is the boss babe behind it.
The Good Place is a stroke of comedic genius mixed with some of the most insightful and wholesome storytelling of our generation. It’s also the only series that had the perfect series finale (fight me, but after coronavirus cause there’s a no-touching ban). Eleanor Shellstrop is shocked to find herself in the Good Place following her death and immediately realizes she’s there by mistake. No one is prepared for her hilarious afterlife antics as she hides from architect Michael and her new friends while trying to become a better version of herself.
Don’t be deterred by the plot — a young Latina woman learns she’s pregnant after she’s accidentally artificially inseminated. The series weaves together the best parts of a telenovela while adding heart, feshed-out characters, strong female leads, irresistible love interests, and family at the forefront of every storyline.
Love is Blind
In the reality TV vein, Netflix delivered the world’s newest obsession. It’s a social experiment that many claim prepared our generation for dating throughout “social distancing.” Love is Blind forces a handful of contestants to meet people while isolated in pods. Once they find their “soulmate,” they propose to them without meeting face-to-face and a few weeks later, walk down the aisle.
If you’re not familiar with Joe Goldberg, you’re missing out. YOU is a suspenseful thriller that digs into the mind of an obsessed serial killer and follows his romantic relationships.
Game of Thrones
Similarly to Greys Anatomy, when else are you going to find the time to watch all of Game of Thrones? This is the perfect time to dig into a pop culture phenomenon so you know what “winter is coming” means the next time someone mentions it.
The Marvelous Ms. Maisel
If there’s anyone that can cheer you up and put a smile on your face, it’s Ms. Maisel. Set in the late 1950s, Miriam aka “Midge” breaks the rules and pursues a career in stand-up comedy. While it’s unheard of for women of her class to pursue a career, it’s even more unheard of a woman succeeding in such an industry. But leave it to Midge to prove everyone wrong and do it with flair and style!
Tweets and Memes About The Good Place Series Finale That Will Hit You in The Feels
The series finale of The Good Place will go down in history as a finale that got the closest to perfect.
There was incredible character development, poignant moments, organic callbacks to past seasons, and most importantly, closure on its own terms.
With all that working for them, it was enough to get Twitter all types of misty-eyed.
See the tweets and memes about the bittersweet series finale that will hit you right in the feels!
Be sure to read our series finale review right here!
HE GAVE HIS DOG A BOWTIE BECAUSE HE DOESN'T WEAR HIS SUITS ANYMORE AND HE MADE IT THE COLOUR OF THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS BECAUSE THE DOG IS NAMED AFTER JASON
— caitlin (@cxpxldi) January 31, 2020
— Borny (@monodelarctic) January 31, 2020
— THANK YOU #TheGoodPlace (@jakexsantiago) January 31, 2020
–#TheGoodPlace finale spoilers-
“i owe it to you to let you go”
“to me, remembering moments with you is the same as living in them”
“say goodbye to me now. then leave before i wake up” pic.twitter.com/Vuh1dHNmg1
— gwen (@daisyfitzjemma) January 31, 2020
— frankie (@frankieonfilm) January 31, 2020
— Neo Womanism™ (@NeoWomanism) February 2, 2020
The Good Place Review – Moving On (4×13)
The Good Place has completed its journey and is ready to go.
No crazy twist. No insane change of status quo. No dressing.
“Whenever You’re Ready” is the final chapter of The Good Place, and evokes the power and emotion that it does precisely because it doesn’t go wild.
The episode focuses in on each character, providing us a glimpse at what was important to them in their lives and what is important to them in their afterlife. From a narrative perspective, this approach allows the show to dive into the characters one last time to give us a perspective on what’s important to them and allows us to feel – just as they feel – when and why they are ready to leave the Good Place.
Jason has his time with Janet, completes the perfect game of Madden with his dad cheering him on, and throws a final party with his dance crew and EDM before heading off.
Tahani creates a positive relationship with her parents and her sister, then throws one final gathering of which she personally created every aspect of, including the furniture and food. A wonderful moment, as instead of tasking others with her every party need, she finally assumes the role of all those smaller jobs she at one point considered below her. Afterwards, Tahani finds a new calling in her afterlife and decides to become an architect.
Chidi witnesses his mother share her love with Eleanor and Eleanor’s mother treat her like a daughter. Yet he decides to stay a little while longer to allow Eleanor all the time with him that she needed.
Each of these stories is told from the focused character’s perspective, instead of as a unit. What gives the episode its sense of cohesion is that all these characters cross paths with each other through choice – Jason brings his friends to his party, Tahani meets up for a final gathering, and Chidi intertwines himself with Eleanor. The episode never feels disjointed despite having a distinct vignette structure.
However, alongside providing us perspective on these characters, this approach also provides perspective on what our lives are like (according to The Good Place). Asides from the dressing of these events being incredible (such as playing Madden on the jumbotron in a football stadium or walking through magic doors to go to Athens), each of these moments are small.
Tahani plays croquet with her family. Chidi walks around his old neighborhood. Jason tries to make Janet dinner.
These are the moments that make our own lives worth living. The connections and reflections we create are what we hold on to, and the ability to experience these moments is a gift. These simple moments are what allow each of these characters to move on from their lives because these are the moments that give them a sense of completeness.
These are the moments that Michael has been aching to experience his entire demon life.
Michael and Eleanor are the last two members of the squad remaining in The Good Place (Janet, of course, is still with them, but she will not be crossing through the doorway at any point, or so it seems). I am thrilled that these two are left together.
Michael and Eleanor are the reasons that everything on The Good Place happened. Eleanor and Chidi may have been the couple, but Eleanor and Michael were the team. Michael obviously started the series with his experiment, and Eleanor pushed it forward by constantly figuring it out.
The two are cut from the same cloth and Michael started his journey to the light side because of his ability to relate to Eleanor. Narratively, these two needed to be our ushers out of the story.
In a beautiful role reversal, Eleanor requests to Judge Gen that Michael be allowed to go to Earth to live out the rest of his life as a human, just as he had pleaded to Gen way back in Season 2’s “Somewhere Else.” Eleanor knows that Michael needs to experience human life to feel that he is complete, as he’s lost his way in the afterlife after running out of problems to solve.
Michael’s desire to be human has been present throughout the series, and the way he laughs at dropping a microwave dinner that is too hot reminds us how lucky we are to just be alive. Life is so full of stupid moments that not only do we take for granted, but ignore or actively get annoyed by.
This can’t be helped, and there are plenty of legitimately annoying occurrences in the world (why do people leave DVD’s in the DVD player?????), but it’s nice to be reminded to take a moment to appreciate those moments because by experiencing these moments, we are alive.
And being alive is special.
Outside of taking a stark stance on how to conduct ourselves as human, The Good Place’s biggest statement is that being alive is special, and being human is special. The series solidifies this point of view in its final episodes by making the claim that death is precisely what makes it special.
“Whenever You’re Ready” does a phenomenal job of showing us exactly why this is. We visibly see the joy drain from Chidi as he opens a menu in Paris and sees that the meal can be literally whatever he wants.
He’s bored. The perfect nature of his extended life has ceased to mean anything more to him. I can feel him wishing that the menu was set and that what he wants isn’t on it.
The restaurant not having what you want to eat is another very human moment, but it can lead to something exciting – a new dish and a new discovery.
When you have eternity, though, that doesn’t matter. There is nothing more to discover because you will eventually discover it all.
This is why death makes living special.
Unfortunately, in real life, we don’t exactly get to choose when we move on. Instead, we’re forced into making the best we can out of a seemingly random amount of time. We also don’t get to create our perfect experiences to fill that time with. We don’t know what happens when we die.
Michael’s time on Earth wouldn’t be human if he knew how the afterlife worked, so Eleanor’s clarification that the system may be different by the time he returns doubles down on death creating value in life. Michael is glad he doesn’t know what will happen because that makes him more human than anything.
A beautiful message, despite its sadness, and a message befitting of The Good Place at its end.
I cannot say I feel the finale was perfect, however (though obviously I think it is amazing).
Eleanor walked through the final door too quickly. I just needed that camera to follow her a little more slowly. It might be a nitpick but I wish I had more time to fully take in the moment that this is it, this is the final time we will see Eleanor Shellstrop.
I also wish there could have been more of a goodbye between Eleanor and Michael, as they did have such a solid connection.
Outside of those gripes – excellent. So many callbacks for the series, incredible expressions of the show’s themes through both show and character, and many wonderful character moments with our six heroes.
Janet was everyone’s ambassador to the original “Good Place,” so her also leading them to their final moments is excellent. Throughout the series, Janet’s growth into almost human made her relatable and someone to care about, but she always remained tethered to the afterlife with her amazing knowledge and powers.
As far as I can tell, she will remain in the Good Place for many Bearimy’s to come, but her time with the humans and Michael will always remain with her. She gets genuinely choked up when her friends leave, so seeing her in their final moments only emphasizes how human she has become. However, Janet is seemingly left in a narrative limbo – we aren’t given clear evidence of exactly what Janet will be doing in the Good Place moving forward, nor what that means to her, which is a missed character beat I wish they hit.
But Jason waiting for her to return, essentially becoming a monk – great writing. An amazing callback with relevance, as Jason only truly became ready to walk through that door when he finally took time to check his impulses and appreciate the world around him.
The Good Place is an amazing series. I stand by my feelings that we should have had an extra episode in the Good Place to build up towards a stronger revelation regarding the exit door, and I definitely feel Season 3’s Earth saga halted the tempo of the series a bit; but overall, The Good Place may just be an all-timer.
I’ve become a better person by watching this series, and I have a better appreciation of life because of it. The finale pointed out moments from the show and moments from my life and said, “Hey! Remember this? Appreciate it.”
I’m guessing I’m not the only person who feels this way after watching this show, and I know I won’t be the last.
The twist at the end of season one is what truly hooked me into this show and will forever be its most famous moment, and that twist blasted open the doors to the complexity of humanity and existence.
The show never repeated a move like that, and it didn’t need to. The strength of the story, messages, and characters, as well as the hilarious writing, is what makes it an all-time great series.
“Whenever You’re Ready” is a fantastic end to a fantastic series. The Good Place leaves our screens now, but the ideals it pushed forward will continue to have meaning in our everyday lives, and I’m grateful for the laughs and lessons.
Goodbye, Good Place. Take it sleazy.
- Another aspect of the Good Place that encourages residents to feel complete is that everyone there is kind to one another. This is another subtle narrative parallel to the messages that being good and trying to be good brings value to other’s lives.
- Loved John’s cameo. Wish we could have seen Brent make it to the Good Place to prove that even someone like him could improve. It felt as though he had regressed a bit since his final revelation with Chidi in “Help is Other People,” though I suppose that’s likely from his memory wipe?
- Michael replaced Doug Forcett’s photo with Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason.
- The narrative memory of this show is great. Eleanor telling Mindy that she knows she cares for people because Mindy once said, “I’m rooting for you guys” is great continuity and a fantastic character detail that deepens Mindy.
- When The Good Place announced it was ending after four seasons a lot of people were bummed out, but no good story lasts forever! Four seasons is perfect for this show. It allowed the series to essentially follow a typical three-act structure that makes it feel complete, with season two, three, and four acting as the three main parts with season one as a prologue. Thank you for ending with season four!
And that’s the end of The Good Place.
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