The Good Place is a show that centered around characters after they had already died. The premise immediately removed what is normally the highest of stakes in any story – death. This could have been a problem as there could have possibly been little tension to the story, but the series created dire stakes in the threat of Eleanor being found out and sent to the Bad Place.
The first season finale took those stakes away by showing us the worst has already happened to our characters, and from that point forward it has been a series about characters who are immediately in a state of crisis at (almost) all times. While the threat of the Bad Place loomed over our characters, the actual stakes of the show became much more emotionally tied to our protagonists. By the end of season two, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason didn’t just fear being sent to the Bad Place, they feared being separated from each other. Recall at the end of season one how Jason continually celebrated that he got to avoid the Bad Place while two of his friends had to go, and how at the end of season two he willingly agreed to be sent to be eternally tortured if even one of his friends couldn’t go to the Good Place with him.
Now we are nearing the end of season three, and while the largest threat ever is looming – the eternal judgment and fate of all people – the closest stakes affecting our characters remain tied to emotion and relationships.
Michael is paralyzed by the fear that if he fails with his experiment his friends will believe that he betrayed them. Threats of retirement, marblization, and eternal torture weren’t as powerful as Shawn’s legitimately horrifying notion that he will torture the Soul Squad with someone that they believe is Michael.
The concept of emotional stakes versus physical ones lines up perfectly with this series considering Michael’s initial torture plan was to emotionally torture his victims instead of physically torturing them. Now he is truly learning how valid and effective this form of torture can be.
The ability to learn has also been a major aspect of this series, with our characters learning just by living life. They learn from mistakes, other people, teachers, friends, and inane Jason stories. Even Shawn, the torture master, has learned from Michael. He is now utilizing emotional torture (and also took his idea for bees with penises). Judge Gen also allows herself to learn. She encourages research and keeps her mind open to new ideas by going to Earth. Janet’s entire arc has been about learning more about humans. Derek has learned more every time he was rebooted by Mindy. And they have all put their new knowledge into practice, such as Gen creating a new neighborhood experiment and Janet creating more realistic people.
And of course, the humans have learned how to be better, and with their time on Earth, how to make other people better. Now they will be in the new neighborhood putting what they’ve learned to good use to try to save humanity.
Honestly, saving humanity is a pretty generic, bland stake. So many stories involve saving humanity. That’s why it is so important to keep those emotional stakes at the forefront, like Michael at the end of this episode. I am interested in seeing where the neighborhood experiment goes, but I’m invested in Michael and his crippling fear of letting his friends down.
Outside of those lengthy evaluations, a lot of pieces fell into place this episode. An endgame for the season finally presents itself. We got to see the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes, which was super trippy as Jason so obliviously pointed out. There was the return of Derek and the Medium Place, giving us the perfect site for the new neighborhood. And of course we see the return of what seems to be a similar version of the original “Good Place.” This was a heavy exposition episode, but I felt it threaded its themes of learning and emotional stakes well throughout. I’m excited about the finale and curious where the set up for next season will go.
Amongst all of its characterization, heavy plotting, and ethical bends, The Good Place never forgets to be a comedy. The humor has its charm back since returning to the afterlife, and each side character (Judge Gen, Mindy, Derek) continues to stand out. The creative ways the writers torture people, such as Shakespeare being tortured by hearing the plot of the Entourage movie, are always a hoot. And William Jackson Harper is so good at being traumatized. He is so expressive and can make such simple phrases, like “time-knife” seem like biblical omens.
How will the new experiment fare? What will the results be? Will Eleanor have to take Michael’s place as “the architect” if he can’t get himself together? I’m looking forward to learning what happens next.
- Was that Trevor screaming through the blackness in the opening scene?
- iHop was probably the trippiest place we have seen thus far.
- I believe Jason’s inane stories have a 100% success rate in inspiring someone into positive action.
- I really wanted to see what happened to Tahani if she touched her “scarf.”
- The bureaucracy continues. Judge Gen could make iHop anything, and she chose a conference room.
- Chidi saw the time-knife and didn’t like it.
- I really like that they learned from Simone about repeating the experiment. Maybe she’ll be one of the people brought to the new neighborhood?
This episode was a bit dark in places. I know the show is about people who died but it was always fun, with torture devices having funny names or implications. Not only did Judge Gen depressingly find out that the world is both “hot and crowded and cold and lonely,” but Shawn’s idea to torture the humans with a Michael suit is legitimately threatening.
Season 3 has won me back at this point, and I can’t wait to see the last episode of the season!
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.
10 Times Jason Mendoza Was Surprisingly Smart on The Good Place
“The point is, you’re cool, dope, fresh, and smart-brained,” Jason once told Tahani, and he wasn’t wrong. It was one of the first moments on The Good Place where we got to see Jason’s kind, compassionate, and, at times, wise, side on full display.
The statement was also an accurate description of his character.
While Jason might not always be “smart-brained,” he’s had his fair share of moments that prove there’s a certain level of intelligence tucked away under his ridiculous and childlike exterior.
He may not seem all that complex on the surface, but Jason is television proof that one person can have brains and lack brains, simultaneously.
Jason’s best known for going on wild tangents, acting on impulse, and telling out-of-this-world stories, but if you listen closely, sometimes, he has some good, even smart, ideas, and appears to be more aware than he lets on.
Here are a few times Jason proved that he was smart-brained.
Helps Tahani Build Confidence
The first example still holds. On The Good Place Season 2 Episode 5, Tahani is being tortured by the demons and even though she knows that they’re going to plan an event that’s bigger and better than hers, she still feels disappointed once her event is upstaged and no one attends her party.
Jason sticks around to console her and reminds her that she’s awesome. They’re both 8s, and according to Jason, 8 is the highest number on the scale of 1-13. Yeah, we have to take accept his great moments with a grain of salt.
A Perfectly Timed Molotov Cocktail
Jason’s solution to nearly every problem that has presented itself on Earth and in the afterlife is to throw a Molotov cocktail. In his words: “Anytime I had a problem and I threw a Molotov cocktail, boom, right away, I had a different problem.”
On their way to meet the judge, the foursome, along with Michael and Janet, stop in the Bad Place and entertain a cocktail party while donning disguises.
Jason has absolutely no trouble fitting in with all the demons, but when they’re finally recognized and cornered, his go-to idea of throwing a Molotov cocktail actually works (the only time it ever did!) and distracts the demons long enough so that Eleanor, Chidi, Michael, Janet, and Tahani get away and make it to the judge’s chambers. JORTLES!
Not a Girl
On The Good Place Season 4, Bad Janet was sent to the Medium Place to sabotage the group’s experiment.
Knowing that the Bad Place has an evil plan in motion, Jason recognized that Janet was an imposter after saying, “Just know that I’m here for you, girl,” to which she replied, “Thanks, Jason,” instead of Good Janet’s usual response of “not a girl” when referred to as “girl.”
Jason shares his findings with the team and saving Michael’s life in the process. The two embark on a trip to the Bad Place to save Janet, which is where Jason assures her it’s them by calling her “girl.” Attention to detail is totally Jason’s thing.
Gives Romantic Advice to Chidi
Jason continues to surprise us right until the final few episodes including The Good Place Season 4 Episode 11. When Chidi worries that he and Eleanor are too different and that she’ll get bored of him in the afterlife, Jason tells him that opposites attract.
Chidi tells Jason that he needs to believe that because he’s dating the complete opposite in Janet, and Jason pretends to be hurt by the comment.
Later, Chidi tries to cheer Jason up by giving him some sound advice including “she knows and loves you, and that’s all that matters,” which evokes a laugh from Jason who admits he tricked Chidi into giving himself and taking his own advice.
Jason then compares his relationship with Janet to the Montagues and Capulets, which surprises Chidi. “I read some books, jeez,” Jason hilariously quips.
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