The Good Place: Whenever You're Ready (Series Finale)
January 30, 2020 6:46 AM - Season 4, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Various conversations occur, between various groups of people.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (202 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've got tickets to watch this in a packed theater at my local Alamo Drafthouse. Tissues may be in order, given the episode title.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:42 AM on January 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


90-minute episode!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:51 AM on January 30, 2020


I think it's 60 minutes and then an interview special. Just in the interests of people not being let down when the narrative ends half an hour before they were expecting.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:30 AM on January 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


I just don't know what I'm going to do when this show is over. This is literally one of two shows I watch in real time.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 10:51 AM on January 30, 2020 [10 favorites]


I'm going to have to abandon the internets until it pops up on Hulu.
posted by rewil at 11:40 AM on January 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Wait, is it out already ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:43 AM on January 30, 2020


Wait, is it out already ?

No, I just opened the thread early because I probably can't watch in real time but I want to read all of your commentary as soon as I'm done

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:06 PM on January 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


it's out tonight, jeremy, it's out now, bearimy
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:29 PM on January 30, 2020 [5 favorites]




Also, a link dump of articles, mostly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:20 PM on January 30, 2020


Oh hey crying already
posted by Gray Duck at 5:44 PM on January 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Finally got that Gardner Minshew reference in, and just under the wire
posted by theory at 5:46 PM on January 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


GOD DAMMIT MY EMOTIONS
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:17 PM on January 30, 2020


Mr. Jumpy Legs!
posted by numaner at 6:34 PM on January 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


NBC is doing the thing with supersizing the episodes or supersizing the commercial breaks. Jumpy legs marks the 1 hour point, mostly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:36 PM on January 30, 2020


ThePinkSuperhero, if you don't mind please add "seriesfinale" to the tags. I think the season premiere needs the "seasonpremiere" tag too but I can't take a look yet.
posted by numaner at 6:36 PM on January 30, 2020


TEARS

EVERYWHERE
posted by numaner at 6:43 PM on January 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


take it sleazy
posted by numaner at 6:43 PM on January 30, 2020 [38 favorites]


I think those philosophers were the actual philosophers that consulted for the show!
posted by lauranesson at 6:51 PM on January 30, 2020 [21 favorites]


My heart!!! My heart.

But where was Gym Demon?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:51 PM on January 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


I really loved this. I mean, there was a lot of expected heartstring-tugging and everyone got some good moments (including Mindy and my favorite minor character, Vicky), but there were also a few wonderful plot & character curveballs (Michael Realman! Architect Tahani!) and above all, real growth for all of these characters that felt authentic and earned.

Also, goddamn, the waves and the ocean, that speech killed me.
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2020 [23 favorites]


As for the main cast, I love them all so much, all six of them, and their characters too, I can't pick a favorite, I love them more than the doorman loves frogs
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:04 PM on January 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


Someone help me. I wept all the way through and then when Janet and Jason reunited in the forest my tv streaming crapped out and I don't know what happens in the last seven minutes....?
posted by moxiedoll at 7:08 PM on January 30, 2020


Can't quite wrap my head around my overall thoughts yet, but I thought it was funny, what with the attention paid to casting callbacks like young Doug Forcett, Eleanor's dirtbag roomies, and (my favorite) Beadie from the Medium Place intro video, that during a commercial break a UPS ad played starring the actress who played Eleanor's coworker who tries to give her a cake at the fake pill company.
posted by lampoil at 7:09 PM on January 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


The last line was perfect. So glad Michael got to say it finally.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:14 PM on January 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


I started crying during the Jason segment at the top of the show and just kept right on crying.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:15 PM on January 30, 2020 [23 favorites]


It was good. There were several surprising and funny bits (The kibitzing philosophers! The Judge thinking of wiping out 2% of humanity for dissing Carrie Coon!), several supporting characters had nice callbacks, and I teared up as expected.

But MAN, the commercials! Global TV was more brutal than usual, then screwed up the transition to the post-show panel. The actual episode ran several minutes longer than they said it would, which left me off balance ("Are they ending here? Here? Are they going to 10 PM? Is there anything after this?") This may play better for people who acquire the show by alternate means, which is kind of ironic, because one of the show's final messages is that not knowing what's coming up next is great, but in this context, it was a bit frustrating.

Oh, and the Judge was right to start The Leftovers. The first season can be a bit rough, but man, the next two seasons led to the best series finale I've ever seen.
posted by maudlin at 7:15 PM on January 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


My favorite supporting character moment was in the cold open - Shawn's little smile, quickly corrected into his annoyed eye brow raise, when Michael said "I know" to his never ever ever agreeing the new system is good.

What is going to happen to Derek when Mindy enters the new system? I guess I will have to make peace with the unknown.

Tahani becoming an architect was cool. I don't mind the whole one with the universe ending concept, but I'm glad one of them decided to buck the new system. And Michael gets to be a real boy!

Oh, very much liked the Nick Offerman woodworking instructor cameo as well.

This was a nice soothing end to the show. I feel like they did a good job of capturing the feeling they were going for.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:21 PM on January 30, 2020 [13 favorites]


Man, I am glad I watched it on a delay, so I FFed the commercials and didn't notice the gaps. All the better to keep weeping, I guess.

It was immensely satisfying, and with Chidi and Eleanor, I actually did get the feeling of how the Good Place could actually become enough, enough of everything you ever wanted and needed.

Funny, sad, and satisfying, but I'd just as soon it didn't end.
posted by gladly at 7:25 PM on January 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


I loved it. I loved that there were bits that I expected and things that I never anticipated. I loved the people they brought back. I loved that Doug Forcet made it to the Good Place and that Mindy St Clair gets a chance to get in too, I loved Mary Steenburgen as the guitar instructor and Nick Offerman teaching Tahani woodworking and the actual philosophers that wrote those books and served as consultants! That was great. But I feel awful that I don't know who the guy was to whom Michael says "Take it sleazy"?!? Who was that dude? And how many points do you get for delivering a random piece of junk mail to your neighbor?
posted by pjsky at 7:27 PM on January 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


So: no larger reveal that it was all a test for Eleanor or Michael, or that Janet was God.

Derek is now terrifying. Yet still annoying.

I'm both sad and a little let down tbh, which is probably the best a TV show can do when it's trying to grapple with eternity.

I felt a little jolt of relief when Michael was freaking out at the doorway, it was like old times! And then it was sad again, the end, bleh.
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 PM on January 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


Loved all the cameos, including the philosophy professors. I would have thought Nick Offerman had cameoed before, but it was the perfect spot for him. And Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson's real life wife, who occasionally did lines with him as Shaun, had the perfect spot.

Had wondered about Derek and Mindy just before they showed up. I love how Derek evolved into something beyond our understanding yet unbelievably Derek.

Someone help me. I wept all the way through and then when Janet and Jason reunited in the forest my tv streaming crapped out and I don't know what happens in the last seven minutes....?

Jason, it turned out, wandered through the forest for a lot of Bearimy's, looking for the necklace, reflecting on the quiet, and being one with nature and the universe. Then it turned out that the necklace was in his other pocket.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:54 PM on January 30, 2020 [14 favorites]


It was satisfying and yet not. Which is all humans can fairly ask from any answer to "What happens next?" I think.

I loved this show a lot, deeply, and with passion, and they didn't tank the ending. I'm happy.
posted by tzikeh at 7:59 PM on January 30, 2020 [17 favorites]


I loved that it's been zillions of Bearimys when we see Eleanor and Chidi still working on Brent. They set him up as a guy who would take a very, very long time to earn his way in, and they didn't cheat on that, and it makes sense that Simone made it through and hung out with Eleanor, Chidi, and Eleanor's friends, which I also loved.
posted by tzikeh at 8:03 PM on January 30, 2020 [27 favorites]


It was a lovely soft landing. Sweet and bittersweet. It’s a bit sad that Janet was left alone, though. I was really hoping she’d be able to somehow go with Jason.

That cast chat afterward got kind of uncomfortable when they did that round-robin compliment thing. Ted seemed to seriously struggle saying anything to D’arcy. Ouch.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 PM on January 30, 2020


That cast chat afterward got kind of uncomfortable when they did that round-robin compliment thing. Ted seemed to seriously struggle saying anything to D’arcy. Ouch.

I didn't watch the special... can you elaborate? I thought the whole cast loved each other a lot and have nothing but good things to say about one another?
posted by tzikeh at 8:05 PM on January 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


I didn't watch the special... can you elaborate? I thought the whole cast loved each other a lot and have nothing but good things to say about one another?

Sometimes, it's hard to find the words in the moment, because there's so much to say, and so much pressure to say the right things in the right way.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:09 PM on January 30, 2020 [16 favorites]


The Good Place calendar for sale doesn't appear to be anything like the calendar that Chidi left for Eleanor.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2020 [10 favorites]


Newsweek: 'The Good Place' Series Finale: D'Arcy Carden on Filming the Show's Last Episode and the One Prop She Kept (Samuel Spencer)

In the end, D'Arcy got to go home with the Janet kill switch prop.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:16 PM on January 30, 2020 [10 favorites]


Well this was mostly an hour of crying for me...

I loved it. I didn't expect some last minute surprises and twists, the whole forth season didn't seem to keen on that anymore - sometimes for better (like in this episode, IMO), a few times maybe for the worse. It's a really nice send off to those lovely characters and one of my all-time favorite shows. I will miss it.
posted by bigendian at 8:17 PM on January 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


The podcast is up: guests are Mike Schur and Drew Goddard (exec producer).
posted by maudlin at 8:34 PM on January 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


Did I miss Simone, or was she just not around at all?
posted by Etrigan at 8:36 PM on January 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


I missed all of season four except this finale tonight. Because I live in Europe and season 4 wasn’t available but I am in the US for a visit. I wasn’t sure if I should watch it because I missed the entire season but now I’m really glad I did. It was so sweet and touching. Somehow I didn’t really need the rest of the episodes to enjoy it.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:48 PM on January 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


As series finales go, it wasn’t quite up to the standard Cary Coon set in The Leftovers, but I was very satisfied. Having Tahani not leave was an interesting choice, I think it kept things from getting a little too dogmatic and glum.

I think it’s interesting that they seemed to go out of their way to show the characters’ family relationships being put at ease before they were ready to move on. It’s part of the show that they never really developed in a full way (with good reason, it’s a comedy).
posted by skewed at 8:51 PM on January 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Etrigan: Did I miss Simone, or was she just not around at all

She was at dinner with Eleanor, Chidi, Chidi's best friend, and Eleanor's friends from her first and second life. Which makes perfect sense for her character--she always seemed the type to stay friendly with an ex, and once she got the whole picture, I totally see her and Chidi remaining friends. She has the line at Tahani's pizza joint that she met Tahani when Tahani was trying to shove jewelry into a vending machine.
posted by tzikeh at 9:02 PM on January 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


Kristen Bell on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers' talking about the show ending.

Apparently Meyer's is doing a live thing with the cast tonight (available tomorrow on youtube).
posted by porpoise at 9:31 PM on January 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


I felt like there was supposed to be an order on that round of drinks on the live thing that would end up with Ted toasting Kristin but that somebody early on maybe screwed up the supposed random order. It's super easy to mess that up live with that many people sitting there.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:36 PM on January 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also love the flip-the-script dialogue for Eleanor's climactic revelation of Michael's motivations [in the S1 finale], used in this episode when she's telling Michael her plan for him to become human. They're even standing in the exact same spots as they were in "Michael's Gambit":

"It took me a while to figure it out, but earlier/[just now],

when you were/[as we were]

walking back and forth through the door/[all fighting, yelling at each other and each one of us demanding that we should go to The Bad Place, I thought to myself, "Man, this is torture." And then],

it hit me. You will never be at peace/[They're never gonna call a train to take us to The Bad Place.]

until you get the one thing you truly want.

[They can't. Because we're already here. THIS is The Bad Place!"]

And this we progress from the infamous Evil Giggle to Michael's joy in discovering that he will get to live a human life.

(I wept while giggling when I saw that his name on Earth is "Michael Realman.")
posted by tzikeh at 9:42 PM on January 30, 2020 [37 favorites]


That was very sweet and very true - at least, true to the nature of the show. I expect to be processing it for awhile, but a few immediate thoughts:
  • The bow tie Tahani receives from Michael is the same one he is wearing when he first appears in episode one.
  • Chidi's absolute, calm certainty that he is ready to go at the Final Door. Confronted with the biggest decision of all - existence vs. non-existence - there's not a moment of vacillation, not a trace of discomfort. The man slips his hands into his pockets as he ambles through the portal. How far he's come, and how much he's grown.
  • The thought that sufficiently enlightened beings become distributed like stardust to become the "little, quiet thoughts of goodness" inside other people's heads was a wonderful curve back on a theme of the series, and rather Buddhist.
  • Whereas Michael's "fall" to Earth to live as a human is very Christ-like… but with a demon in the role, showing that it's possible for absolutely anyone to achieve redemption, given enough time and patience and having the right people around.

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:51 PM on January 30, 2020 [72 favorites]


The podcast is up: guests are Mike Schur and Drew Goddard (exec producer).

Part 1 of many, it seems.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:03 PM on January 30, 2020


But I feel awful that I don't know who the guy was to whom Michael says "Take it sleazy"?!? Who was that dude?

Comedian Kurt Braunohler, one of many people in The Good Place affiliated with the UCB Theater.
posted by memento maury at 10:16 PM on January 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


I liked how Michael's office was updated; taking down Doug Forcett's picture and replacing it with pictures of Eleanor, Jason, Chidi, and Tahani.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:22 PM on January 30, 2020 [15 favorites]


you know what though i didn’t like it. and not in a “it didn’t end the way i’d like” sense but in a “i don’t think it ultimately had much to say” sense. i’m going to say more — eventually, after i’ve given it some more thought, and probably in a better venue / medium / genre than the one available here.

but for now: apologies for ruining the party with something that’s half placeholder and half, i don’t know, subtweet, but i was hoping for philosophy or wisdom or something new and it just wasn’t there.

i’m going to say this like a joke, but it’s not a joke. it’s a sign of how ultimately the show refused to be adventurous, refused to seriously consider the philosophical and religious concepts that it played with, refused to consider eternity means, and what death means, refused to interrogate the concept of selfhood and how it could maybe something more than a cozy tidy individuality in a small neighborhood on the one hand or else oblivion on the other.

and i stress this is not a joke. it is not a joke. it’s a synecdoche:

the show very very strongly implied that in countless eternities or bearimies or whatever, that given all the possibilities that forever can give, eleanor and tahani never boned.

get out of here.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:43 PM on January 30, 2020 [34 favorites]


the show very very strongly implied that in countless eternities or bearimies or whatever, that given all the possibilities that forever can give, eleanor and tahani never boned.

S2, E3, "Dance Dance Resolution," Tahani is introduced (rather sultrily... don't know if that's a word) as Eleanor's soul mate in one of Michael's reboots.
posted by tzikeh at 11:09 PM on January 30, 2020 [25 favorites]


I liked that Derek became the Galaxy Brain meme and Janet noticed that Jason finally became a real monk after wearing all those fake robes.

I liked how the mechanic of "sit on that bench" means we never have to actually see anyone leave.

Kind of striking how Michael's reaction to seeing Eleanor apparently ready to go was to charge himself off a cliff. Kind of a reaction you don't see that often.

I liked how ultimately it was a story about how much a little band of folks hate parting from each other.

I liked how they changed something about how Michael looked as a human but I couldn't pinpoint what it was, the lighting? The makeup?

I liked that Buddhism finally got a shoutout.

I don't understand why the ladies' makeup got so ramped up over the last few episodes and especially Eleanor's in this one.
posted by bleep at 11:56 PM on January 30, 2020 [10 favorites]


Back after season 1 concluded, I tried to get my mom interested in the show, which was hard because I couldn't tell her too much about the show without spoiling it. She seemed interested, but life being life, other things got in the way.

She passed back in November after nearly a 2-year-long frustrating slow theft of her physical body with so many crushed hopes for a reprieve. Tonight's finale was great and very satisfying, but man, I've been crying non-stop since I watched it.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 12:06 AM on January 31, 2020 [55 favorites]


I liked so much about this episode—they stuck the landing beautifully. I wish they'd had the space to give an hour to regular episodes, which often felt rushed, because the pacing tonight was great. But maybe more than anything I liked that somehow I had thought it was going to be Seth MacFarlane hosting the after-party chat and it wasn't.
posted by mumkin at 12:59 AM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


Caring just seems like a lot of work.
posted by porpoise at 1:42 AM on January 31, 2020 [4 favorites]


> I would have thought Nick Offerman had cameoed before

Nick Offerman had a cameo on the podcast, as the spokesman for the safe company that played a role in how Jason got to the Bad Place the first time around.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:48 AM on January 31, 2020 [4 favorites]


that was wonderful, but I feel like Janet didn't get much of an ending - like they just cut away from her and that's it. But on the other hand, she lives at all times at once, so I guess there are no endings for her. What an amazing series
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:10 AM on January 31, 2020 [7 favorites]


ooh also - Janet and Jason's pajamas!!!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:22 AM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ah I was watching the scene at Sacre Cœur in Paris from my balcony where I can see the Sacre Cœur!!

I loved this finale, a perfect ending to a perfect show. I will miss this so much.
posted by ellieBOA at 2:43 AM on January 31, 2020 [9 favorites]


More or less the ending I expected from last week's setup, although I thought they'd go through together in the end.

If I was Eleanor, I'd want to stick around at least long enough for Michael to get back from Earth.

Everything was well executed, but I'm also sad about it.

Eternity is hard to grapple with. There's really only a few possibilities: given a long enough time, you either become something unrecognizable, you stop growing and become static, some combination of the two, or you get out before either. The show picked option three as preferable, and made the case as best it could. I think traditional christian thinking about heaven opts mostly for stasis rooted in the religious ordering of the place, but that wasn't a possible outcome here for obvious reasons.

I feel like there's kind of an implication that the afterlife will eventually, after many aeons, empty out entirely. Humans go extinct and stop dying. Everyone eventually passes out of purgatory, and there's less and less for the demons to do. Michael is opening a pathway for non-humans to eventually leave, and they'll start doing so. We saw this with the doorman, who was losing his enthusiasm just like the humans. At some point, the last humans will walk through the gate. One by one, in pairs and in groups, the immortals of the afterlife find their way out. The Judge finally consumes every piece of media ever created by humans, in life or death, and makes her exit, passing the last of her powers to Janet on the way, just in case. In the end, Janet takes a last look around. She remembers/relives all of time a couple times, for old time's sake, then turns off the lights and passes through.

I'm not happy about it, but that feels like the logical endpoint of this episode. The alternative is a reboot once the current universe wraps up.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:54 AM on January 31, 2020 [35 favorites]


Overall, I'm mostly satisfied and it gave me all the feels. I'm not 100% happy that it really ended with this vision of the afterlife but again, overall, it was a good finale. I'll miss everyone.
posted by KTamas at 4:39 AM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh and yes I also wanted Janet to get some sort of ending as well even if she experiences time all at once.
posted by KTamas at 4:39 AM on January 31, 2020 [2 favorites]


According to Kristen Bell, Chidi's calendar was given to Will's RL girlfriend. And on Twitter, somebody noticed that Darcy was wearing the J+J pendant as a bracelet during the post-show interview.
Meanwhile, the Good Place's Twitter feed has been posting set details from the crew. Here's a closeup of the menu at Stupid Nick's.
posted by cheshyre at 4:51 AM on January 31, 2020 [15 favorites]


First off: SO MANY FEELINGS. After the way "Patty" ended I was afraid we were just going to get a series of emotionally manipulative vignettes where the Soul Squad eventually walked through the door, one by one, ending with Eleanor (maybe plus Chidi). But hell if they didn't do it really really well. Especially with Jason and Tahani. Chidi and Eleanor leaned a bit too hard into the tear-jerking but it still rang true and sure as hell got some tears out of me.

More broadly, though. I feel like they made an overt decision not to fully engage with the premise, for better or worse. After all those lifetimes in the Good Place, with unlimited options to pursue any path, the characters are still basically who they were in the first seasons, with the same relationships, the same interests, and attachments to the same touchstones from their mortal days. Everybody just settles into this comfortable retirement existence. I agree with the criticism that it was a safe choice, but I also feel like that wasn't their priority, because this is, in the end, a work of fiction. The afterlife that it presents isn't real; the idea of an eternal, infinitely fulfilling existence is, at the end of the day, escapist fantasy. It's only meaningful as it relates to our actual lives, in which like it or not we will eventually die. That's the message I got from the very end, with Michael but also Jeff the doorman -- he's got all those frog toys, pictures, etc., but what he wanted, and what finally makes him happy again, was an actual frog. Even though it'll only last a few years.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:54 AM on January 31, 2020 [31 favorites]


YOU’RE NOT CRYING I’M CRYING
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:02 AM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]


Also I am genuinely unsure if the Radiolab episode description was actually a joke, which makes it an even better joke
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:03 AM on January 31, 2020 [19 favorites]


I really liked this, found it a satisfying ending, and wept on and off until I was soggy. Lots of nice moments, but the Mary Steenburgen cameo actually made me gasp with delight. Such a small thing, but so incredibly sweet.
posted by merriment at 5:05 AM on January 31, 2020 [6 favorites]


y'all, that WRECKED me. It's been a rough week with a lot of pressure and an unexpected death and I've just been trying to get to the end of the week so I could enjoy/mourn this show and WHEW, from the instant Jason played that perfect game of Madden I was in tears.

"Take it sleazy" was such a perfect ending.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on rewatch later, or after the podcast, or after the Seth Meyers thing finally lands on the dang internet.
posted by palomar at 5:11 AM on January 31, 2020 [11 favorites]


I have to be honest and say that I have generally been unhappy with almost every series finale of every major show I've watched -- I mean, not just the end of Game of Thrones, which most people agree was awful, but the end of stuff like Twin Peaks and even Breaking Bad -- but this was just flawless. Well, there could have been more Shawn. And more Vicky. There's always room for more Vicky, guys.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:31 AM on January 31, 2020 [7 favorites]


I like to think that when Michael says "take it sleazy" at the end, that this was a little bit of post-at-one-with-the-universe Eleanor popping up inside Michael... the message being that she's still here sorta, inside every little bit of the universe, inside the people and Demons she loved.
posted by some loser at 5:32 AM on January 31, 2020 [17 favorites]


At the beginning of the episode I wasn't ready for the show to end. By the end of the episode I felt a sense of calm, a feeling that it was the right time. That's skilful.
posted by harriet vane at 5:38 AM on January 31, 2020 [59 favorites]


Anyone else feel like even the commercials were part of the show? Second to last break I was served a Chick-fil-A ad and had to giggle.
posted by danapiper at 5:57 AM on January 31, 2020


So many tears last night, and the best possible emotional whiplash from sobbing at Chidi and Eleanor's goodbye to gasping with delight and giggles at Jason popping back up in the forest.

My husband pointed out the afterlife is actually somewhat similar to the end of His Dark Materials, with the-going-through-a-doorway-from-the-afterlife-to-dissolve-and-become-one-with-the-universe deal.

I'm still sad about Janet! I guess the writers maybe wanted to leave us with one last unknown, but I really wanted her to get her moment of peace and finality as well.
posted by damayanti at 7:07 AM on January 31, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm still sad about Janet! I guess the writers maybe wanted to leave us with one last unknown, but I really wanted her to get her moment of peace and finality as well.

I thought her moment was telling Jason that he will always be with her -- and, by extension, that she is always with him (and us).

And then remembering the eight million kisses.
posted by Etrigan at 7:12 AM on January 31, 2020 [6 favorites]


I felt good about this ending. It was like they were comforting each other so hard that it leaked out through the screen to me. So much joy and laughter throughout the series. So much creativity. I looked forward to episodes of this show in a way I haven't for any show in a long time. And I'm so thankful my family eventually got on board with the show so we could experience it together.

I like the thought that Tahani could be around to meet Michael once he's done on Earth.

Jason just hanging around for a thousand Bearimys was such a good touch.
posted by mikepop at 7:34 AM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


I loved that we got a couple more Jason moments with him being the first to be ready to go but then hanging out looking for the pendant for 800 bearimies (or however long was referenced) to then have it be in his other pocket.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:38 AM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


I think I need to load up that scene on Hulu again, because I thought he found the pendant almost immediately, and the rest of the 1,000-plus Bearimies was just waiting for Janet to show up so he could give it to her.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:42 AM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]


So this episode hit me hard in the feels, partially because earlier in the day Little Purr had a 10-minute full on grieve session when I told them that our Christmas tree was picked up to be mulched. I'm not sure why they decided that the tree was their best friend and wouldn't be able to come to their birthday party, but it was true mourning, and I held space for their feelings. I tried to gently explain that the tree was changing into helpful mulch, and we could pick up a bucket to help nourish the plants at our house, but it wasn't reassuring to them since the tree wasn't "here" anymore. The wave and the ocean analogy is so good, so I'll have to keep it in my back pocket for the future. We now have friends in the hospital and a cancer scare in the family, so I have a feeling we'll be revisiting this again soon :(

As with Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish, I felt that they kind of missed the mark with all the possible experiences the characters could do to grow in the afterlife. I guess they used Tehani to illustrate how unlimited learning could get boring (loved the Nick Offerman cameo!), but why didn't they talk abouth how Chidi went and watched the philosophers argue in Athens, or have the characters trace the past of their families (all those thousands of lives must be a few hundred Jeremy Bearamies). Or check out the dinosaurs, or go to the depths of the ocean, or shrink to a molecule, or go watch the end of the universe? Or Eleanor could go learn something that wasn't philosophy (how about wrestling from the GLOW ladies?!?). I know that their limited FX budget was probably blown on the panda butler, but the way the character talked about their experiences seemed so limited, small, and restricted to their own experience. Maybe when you are facing infinite possibilities you stay within the comfort zone of your families and life on earth, but why would Shakespeare limit himself to just writing plays in the afterlife?

But with that criticism, it was a very calming ending that felt true and earned. I'm basically agnostic/atheist now, but I may have to show the last episode to Little Purr when they ask about what happens after we die T_T (mostly for the wave/ocean analogy)

Take it sleazy...
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 7:44 AM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]


After a little while to digest, I really, really like Jason's ending. Him becoming a monk without the trappings of a monk is funny, pleasantly symmetric for his narrative arc, and I think the best illustration of the ideas they were getting at with this show.

Jason spent a solid chunk of eternity hanging out in the forest. It's not clear what the physics of TGP are, but the way I take it, he probably stopped eating, drinking, sleeping, etc., as those kinds of behaviors are part of the struggle of existence, and Jason had gotten to the point where he had everything he wanted, and his struggle was over. It's not that he could no longer take pleasure in those things, but rather he had no further appetite for pleasure/satisfaction.

The equanimity with which he waited for Janet's return suggests he could have spent another billion years chilling in the forest, without impatience or boredom, but would just as soon deliver his gift to Janet and walk through the door that very day.

Tahani, on the other hand, shows no signs of stopping, after changing the scope of the challenges she could take on. To me, this doesn't really fit with the theme of the show--I mean, it's just another challenge that she should be able to conquer and be done with in another few thousand years. But I guess they wanted to avoid sending a message that everyone MUST embrace non-existence. It also sets up an amusing contrast/symmetry with Michael, as she goes from human to architect and he does the opposite.

Chidi and Eleanor presented the biggest challenge for the show, since so much of the show was about their bond, and how that bond develops over eternity. How can a romantic or really any other strong emotional bond survive an eternity where each member of the bond is growing and developing positively? It doesn't seem like heaven if after a billion years of emotional bliss with your spouse or bff you just drift away from each other, but it also wouldn't be heaven if after a billion years they still *needed* each other. I wish they had made part of Chidi's explicit explanation for being ready to walk through the door was the fact that he knew that Eleanor would, in fact, be fine without him. That would have made me cry even more than I did, and maybe it's something that was clear without needing to be said.

I also just admire the show suggesting that romantic pair-bonding isn't the pinnacle of existence, or the highest possible destiny of the human soul. Rather, there's a pretty explicit message that there is no highest calling--Jason doesn't have to grow beyond EDM and Madden to become his best self.
posted by skewed at 7:44 AM on January 31, 2020 [50 favorites]


I wept all the way through and then when Janet and Jason reunited in the forest my tv streaming crapped out and I don't know what happens in the last seven minutes....?

Real quick -

* Eleanor is just sorta puttering around for a while waiting to "feel ready to leave" and then realizes that maybe what she needs to do is convince Mindy St. Clair to enter the system because "Mindy's like the worst case scenario of how I could have ended up". She seals the deal by getting Shawn and Michael to let Tahani design her neighborhood.

* Then Eleanor convinces The Judge to let Michael become human because it's what he deep down always wanted.

* There's an adorable bit when Janet is fussing over Michael like he's a kindergartener leaving for his first day of school as he's about to go to earth. But then she lets him go.

* Then Janet takes Eleanor to the door, and they share one last margarita and discuss Michael a bit - Eleanor speculates that Michael is being human, doing the best he can; learning new things, fucking up sometimes, making friends. (We see clips of Michael doing mundane things like attending a New Year's Eve party, comforting a sad friend, feeding a dog he's named "Jason", and taking guitar lessons from a teacher played by Mary Steenburgen). Then Eleanor walks through the arch.

* The camera follows her, but pans up to show a bunch of golden sparkly things floating in the air like fireflies. We follow one sparkly thing a few seconds until it gets to earth - where we see a dude going through his mail. He throws one letter in the trash - but the sparkly thing lands on his shoulder, and he pauses, then fishes it out of the trash. We next see the dude at Michael's door saying "this got accidentally delivered to my building, I think it's for you." Michael opens it up - it's just a supermarket club card but he's ecstatic, and thanks the dude by saying "Take it sleazy." ....And that's the end.

Y'know, I really, really like the idea that when people's essences return to the universe, what we become is all those little impulses that encourage other people still on earth to do better.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on January 31, 2020 [29 favorites]


Also, what was the significance to the rewards card Michael was so excited to get? Was it the name of the grocery store that Eleanor was shopping at before she died? I couldn't tell if he was just excited to get mail, or if he realized that Eleanor was working through the neighbor by the store name. That scene was just a touch confusing. I did like it how he he was sent to Arizona, and his dog is named Jason.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 7:48 AM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


I loved that we got a couple more Jason moments with him being the first to be ready to go but then hanging out looking for the pendant for 800 bearimies (or however long was referenced) to then have it be in his other pocket.

I think I need to load up that scene on Hulu again, because I thought he found the pendant almost immediately, and the rest of the 1,000-plus Bearimies was just waiting for Janet to show up so he could give it to her.


"Turns out it was in my other pocket. By the time I found it, you were gone. I was just gonna leave it for you, but I was worried it would get eaten by that magic squirrel. So, I decided to wait for you to come back."

There's no indication of him finding it in the previous scene (Janet walks away, Jason sits on the bench, cut to commercial), but it certainly seems like he did just sort of check his other pocket fairly soon after that.
posted by Etrigan at 7:51 AM on January 31, 2020 [5 favorites]


Michael's "really bad day" on Earth was someone else's loved one having a medical issue. I am never going to stop crying at this goddamn show.
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM on January 31, 2020 [26 favorites]


Also, what was the significance to the rewards card Michael was so excited to get?

My reading on that is that it is the sort of trivial bullshit that modern human life is filled with, which Michael has always longed to experience. I don't remember if they ever mentioned supermarket discount cards, but it's the sort of self-important but ultimately useless and disposable stuff he had mentioned (stress-balls with corporate logos on them coming to mind).
posted by skewed at 7:59 AM on January 31, 2020 [19 favorites]


Over these years I've watched the whole series in real time with my son, who is now 16. We cried together, sitting on the sofa, during this finale. I can't think of any other modern media we could have consumed and enjoyed *together* so thoroughly.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:03 AM on January 31, 2020 [13 favorites]


This show is such a blessing for those who watched it and those who made it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:31 AM on January 31, 2020 [9 favorites]


Also, what was the significance to the rewards card Michael was so excited to get?

Way back in season 1, Michael fantasizes about being human and doing mundane things like getting his hair wet, getting a rewards card, and telling someone to  “take it sleazy” after a short conversation.
posted by cardboard at 8:42 AM on January 31, 2020 [44 favorites]


link
posted by cardboard at 8:44 AM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]


Clearly, I need to rewatch Season 1 (and therefore, the entire series) again!
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 8:56 AM on January 31, 2020 [2 favorites]


I loved this ending but man it was hard to get emotionally involved when we watched it on Hulu and literally every commercial break at the end of a tear-inducing scene started by yelling at us about YOU NEED A COLONOSCOPY
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:19 AM on January 31, 2020 [9 favorites]


I really loved that the door was in a forest. I don't know if I'll be able to explain it right, beyond just, like, gesturing at the book The Overstory, but the forest as a place is a kind of perfect balance of life and death: it's a complex system that can only exist because all the decay in it feeds all the life. So to have people choose to enter that system in a kind of final death where they become one with everything felt very right to me.

Also, I basically started crying when Jason said something about knowing it was time for him to go when the air inside his lungs felt the same as the air outside it, and didn't really stop. What a perfectly lovely thing for Jason to say, the first proof that the lie Jason started the show with ultimately became the truth.
posted by yasaman at 9:33 AM on January 31, 2020 [45 favorites]


I am so glad they didn't have the gang walk through the door hand-in-hand. It would have been so easy for them to do, and it would have been fine but unsatisfying. The message that the positive healthy relationships people have along the way--in whatever forms is positive for them, even!--are important yes, but that in the end, everyone goes through the door to mystery alone...that's an important and beautiful one.
posted by Drastic at 9:38 AM on January 31, 2020 [40 favorites]


The message that the positive healthy relationships people have along the way--in whatever forms is positive for them, even!--are important yes, but that in the end, everyone goes through the door to mystery alone...that's an important and beautiful one.

But if you just happen to be hanging out there for totally unrelated reasons until one of your best friends also happens to go through the door, and you call out for him to wait up as you step through as well... that's cool too.
posted by Etrigan at 10:10 AM on January 31, 2020 [15 favorites]


Shawn lapsing into his old speech patterns when mentioning that Tahani would be graduating "Very soon" was great. "Did that sound evil?"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2020 [39 favorites]


Ending first: To me, there's an implication that through the door they turn into "points of light" that perhaps even influence actions on earth, angel-like.

That bridge scene: Chidi saying he reached perfect quietude during a sweet moment between their mothers. I thought of the two women from different "worlds," the underlying racial/societal implications. Oy, I had one of those "sad-at-the-movies" moments when I literally choke up, and my throat HURTS. And then the scene after that, and the scene after that.

On the phluff side, what's even better than a Nick Offerman cameo? A Mary Steenburgen cameo as Danson's guitar teacher.

Oh, and we live in a world where a half-hour "sitcom" has more humanity and a greater sense of ethics then a wide sweep of people, including entire political parties on multiple continents.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2020 [15 favorites]


Aw, man.

Aw, Jeez.
posted by kyrademon at 11:10 AM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oddly, Jason's first goodbye was the only one that made me cry. That big farewell party. I loved his line about the air in his lungs, and I loved him in the woods meditating on the universe and waiting for Janet. That was prefect.

Chidi's wave metaphor was also good, and very close to an image of death that I picked up at some point: Life is a vial of water which is submerged in the ocean. The soul returns to god the same way the water returns to the sea when that vial breaks. Not sure where I got it from, occasional googling turned up nothing.

I'm an atheist, and can't bring myself to believe in or hope for any kind of afterlife. But I took a long, slow slide through pantheism to get there, and in my more religious moments, that's one of the places I look because, even if "soul" and "god" don't actually mean anything, that's not far off of reality. I can find meaning there, if I need to. I don't hope for more, but sometimes I wish for it.

So I guess it's bittersweet for me that the end of the Good Place is the nicest and best, most prettified version of that consolation prize. But not only that: that the alternative is actually worse. That's tough, but as I said before Eternity is tough. Other answers on that are possible, but require changes to what it is to be human in order to work well. The show wasn't interested in that - our cast stayed very human in drives throughout and this is a reasonable endpoint of that.

Anyway, what I do hope for, after death, is that my life will be recorded, and that someone will care about that a long time from now. Even a little, as an ancestor, or just as a real person who lived and died and the record remains. I think that's the most anyone can hope for for themselves after death.

So I'd like to revise my earlier vision of the future of the afterlife. Everyone eventually leaves, and things slowly wind down, and at the very end of all things, Janet stays. She remembers.

She remembers everything and everyone, how they lived and died, how they improved themselves and achieved a final peace. Every tiny unseen event that ever happened anywhere. Everyone and everything lives on in her memory, as real and vivid as when they happened the first time, because time is just Jeremy Bearimy; because she is at all times, and that's what remembering is for her. So she remembers, and she holds those memories close to her heart, in the light.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:12 AM on January 31, 2020 [28 favorites]


So she remembers, and she holds those memories close to her heart, in the light.
This is why I thought it was extremely sweet that Janet was the only one who knew about Jason's really being a monk deep down, because ultimately she's the only one who really needed to know, and maybe she's always known?
posted by bleep at 11:16 AM on January 31, 2020 [15 favorites]


(I would love a full recounting of the things on Tahani's list, but my cricket-obsessed viewing partner was delighted at the Graham Gooch reference)
posted by ChuraChura at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


Personally I just really got a chuckle from Derek's transformation, and how even there Mindy just kind of finds him annoying.

I extra appreciate Mindy because the other characters are so intense in their needs, and she is just willing to let things be medium. Then even she grows, after resisting it all this time.

I like the throughline of Tahani as a party thrower to Tahani as an Architect.

A lot of people are going to be coming back to that wave line the next tie they experience a loss.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:52 AM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall's review:
The Good Place has long argued that eternal torture is fundamentally unfair, and in these last two episodes has made a passionate case for the idea that eternal paradise ultimately proves more trouble than it’s worth. If that’s the case — if heaven and hell both prove unsatisfying, albeit in different ways (and at different speeds) — then, again, what the fork has been the point of it all? Why are we here, if we’re only here to go?

What that gorgeous final scene suggests is that the best possible reward would be the ability to continue to touch the lives of those we left behind — for some spark, some memory, some piece of whatever it is we may have inside us beyond biology, to linger and make the world a better place for everyone still lucky enough to be living in it. Maybe, the ending wonders, the last time you were suddenly inspired to call up an old friend, or pick up a piece of litter someone else dropped, or let a driver make a left turn into heavy traffic even though you had the right of way, you were in some way unconsciously inspired by a spark of goodness from someone you lost, or someone who has no one left to pass their goodness onto. Or maybe, if we’re being less literal, there’s a fundamental spark of goodness to humanity, despite abundant recent evidence to the contrary.

posted by memento maury at 12:08 PM on January 31, 2020 [29 favorites]


You know that part in Won't You Be My Neighbor where Mr. Rogers and the lead character are in the restaurant and Mr. Rogers says that there's an exercise he likes to do, and you're still a little not sure if you're liking the fictional world the film inhabits and the melodramatic framing of everything…and suddenly, just as he says he sometimes spends a minute thinking of all the people who loved him into being, you realize that the real Joanne Rogers and the real David Newell are also sitting in that restaurant and without warning, you and the rest of the audience in the movie theater are all also genuinely thinking of all the people who loved each of you into being, and it's like how Douglas Adams said that the secret to learning to fly is to throw yourself at the ground and miss, where you can rise and catch the wind that pulls the waves up from the wine-dark sea—

It's sort of like that.
posted by sonascope at 12:21 PM on January 31, 2020 [32 favorites]


Reflecting on it more, I think what I like most about this ending is how it serves as a capstone to the series’ most consistent philosophical through-line, from even before we first heard the words "what we owe to each other" – its rejection of nihilism. Every big plot twist in the show has been a new reason to say "well, it looks like nothing matters and I/we should just stop trying," and every time they met it with a new reason to reject that impulse and find meaning in being a good person anyway. From Eleanor learning to fit in with the rest of Heaven even after her "final" judgment, to the Soul Squad dedicating itself to saving other people after they accidentally re-damned themselves, up to fixing the afterlife, fixing it again and at last transcending even the complete dissolution of self to nudge other people to be better to each other. At every turn, the message was "being good to people matters, no matter how terrible the world is" and that’s an awfully nice thing to have right now.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2020 [51 favorites]


I really loved that the door was in a forest. I don't know if I'll be able to explain it right, beyond just, like, gesturing at the book The Overstory, but the forest as a place is a kind of perfect balance of life and death: it's a complex system that can only exist because all the decay in it feeds all the life. So to have people choose to enter that system in a kind of final death where they become one with everything felt very right to me.

I'm listening to the podcast about this episode right now, and they're talking about the filming of this scene and the location scouting. They'd already filmed in Athens and Paris, so they were trying to stick close to Los Angeles for those scenes, but ultimately decided "you know....I think we need to go look for a grove of redwoods or something." They ultimately found something just outside San Francisco and filmed there. Michael Shur speaks a lot about the redwoods in the podcast, and gets really philosophical about how long the trees had been there compared to how long humans had been on earth, and how that felt just being there.

Also, amazingly, they didn't build the arch from scratch - it was already there, because like the week before they came to find that spot, someone had constructed that arch of twigs there for a wedding and left it in place. They just had to do some touch-up repair on it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on January 31, 2020 [40 favorites]


I am finally ready to announce which two characters I think had the most romantic/sexual chemistry in the entirety of this show. If this statement is controversial, so be it.

Those two characters are:
Judge Gen and Timothy Olyphant
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2020 [20 favorites]


...they didn't build the arch from scratch - it was already there, because like the week before they came to find that spot, someone had constructed that arch of twigs there for a wedding and left it in place.

Whoaaaa...Can you imagine watching this episode and, suddenly, there's the very arch you built and were wedded under? Talk about a very special easter egg.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2020 [45 favorites]


As someone who picked up a copy of Scanlon's What We Owe To Each Other after watching season 1, and then utterly failed to get beyond the first chapter or two, I really appreciated Eleanor's pride in finishing it.
posted by serathen at 1:25 PM on January 31, 2020 [21 favorites]


As close to a perfect finale as I've ever seen for a show and more tears produced in a single episode than in all other media I can recall combined. This one hit me in a lot of places.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:53 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


They'd already filmed in Athens and Paris, so they were trying to stick close to Los Angeles for those scenes, but ultimately decided "you know....I think we need to go look for a grove of redwoods or something." They ultimately found something just outside San Francisco and filmed there.

My understanding was that the shooting order was set up so that Paris had the last shots filmed, and that the bridge scene was the last one for KB and WH.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:08 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


Chidi's Kiekegaard Rap in full
posted by numaner at 2:29 PM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


Finished it about an hour ago. Still processing. I loved it so much. I think, more than anything, is that it felt validating on some level that I'd never seen in media before. I have found myself on multiple occasions having to explain to people that my being an atheist did not at all make me a nihilist which some people seem to think are essentially the same thing. Chidi's wave speech was so beautiful and the image of becoming lights of goodness to touch on those we leave behind has resonated with me in a way that no religious teaching (Catholic) in my youth ever did.

I'm a firm believer that every so often one should touch base with their own beliefs and take the time to thoughfully reconsider them. That doesn't mean one would come out of that with a changed belief but that the process of reconsideration is important. I may be due for another as it's probably been 5 years since the last time I really engaged with that.

Thank you, The Good Place.
posted by acidnova at 3:05 PM on January 31, 2020 [21 favorites]


Fuck. I didn't go in expecting anything like this, and it's not even narratively satisfying, but DAMN that made me feel all the feels. It's like therapy, this episode. Right now I don't care about the show or the characters, all of that feels "resolved" because of this lovely, meditative, sweet goodbye.

All my life as a writer I've thought in terms of narrative arcs and plot resolutions. It feels good to let all that go, for once, and let an episode - the writers, the actors, the forces BEHIND the show - speak straight to my heart without the show getting between us. This is how you break the fourth wall completely without technically breaking it at all. Wow.
posted by MiraK at 3:28 PM on January 31, 2020 [11 favorites]


I loved how they visited Athens in this episode. A heavy lift for such a short scene, but it’s a tribute to those whose thought, many bearimies ago, made the show possible. Another good tribute with Chidi’s final speech about the wave, from the Buddhist tradition.
posted by adrianhon at 4:20 PM on January 31, 2020 [6 favorites]


I think I started crying at about four minutes in. And cried and laughed through the whole thing. (Laughing while crying is such an oddly satisfying feeling.)

I really loved it. I loved every minute of it.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:40 PM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson's real life wife,

Oh! I recognized her but couldn't place her (and didn't know she's married to Ted Danson anyway), and as soon as she came on, I was like "Wow, she and Michael have instant chemistry, what is happening?" Knowing they are married, it all makes sense -- and is deeply sweet.
posted by basalganglia at 4:48 PM on January 31, 2020 [12 favorites]


I also found it especially interesting that she shows up as the guitar instructor considering that only recently she's become a musician/composer due to the unexpected effects of anesthesia for a minor surgery.
posted by acidnova at 4:52 PM on January 31, 2020 [17 favorites]


i’m going to say this like a joke, but it’s not a joke. it’s a sign of how ultimately the show refused to be adventurous, refused to seriously consider the philosophical and religious concepts that it played with, refused to consider eternity means, and what death means, refused to interrogate the concept of selfhood and how it could maybe something more than a cozy tidy individuality in a small neighborhood on the one hand or else oblivion on the other.
and i stress this is not a joke. it is not a joke. it’s a synecdoche:
the show very very strongly implied that in countless eternities or bearimies or whatever, that given all the possibilities that forever can give, eleanor and tahani never boned.


i do fully and equally seriously agree with this. it's a beautiful show and i cried all the way through the ep and this thread, but it is what it is and would give me no more than that
posted by gaybobbie at 5:31 PM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


As I think about the finale more, I'm wishing they had more of a conclusion for Janet. Not-a-girl, yes, never a person. But what does she want? Can it be that her capacity for independent desire was limited to just wanting to be with Jason? I could even be happy with that answer, if only it had been explored. I wanted more of Janet's interiority, even if that meant showing us that she doesn't quite have a meaningful interiority in the sense that humans understand it. Her comment to Jason about not experiencing time the same way was a good example of the sort of thing I'd have liked to see/hear as part of a scene focused on her concluding arc... something we never got.

(There I go again, hankering after narrative continuity and arcs. LOL.)
posted by MiraK at 5:45 PM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]


Part 2 of The Good Place podcast is out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:56 PM on January 31, 2020


I'm on a trip to a city I've wanted to visit my entire life, but there's no TV here where I'm staying and even though I called it a night early last night because of pain levels, I couldn't watch and it was driving me nuts because I kept thinking "what if I get in a fiery crash or the plane blows up and I never know how The Good Place ended?" Which I could not, har har, live with. However, trying to read comments here was too confusing, and didn't give me enough of a feel for what happened. Tonight I also had to throw in the towel early and came back and figured out how to get in to hulu on my laptop and dealt with it dropping the connection or buffering or whatever constantly, because I had to know.

I'm not totally sure what I think yet, but I am mostly happy in that I've seen so many final episodes that ruined every bit of good feeling I had for a series and this did not, even if there were things that felt off. I am especially pleased with being able to see so many characters one last time, most of all Glenn! I didn't think we'd get lucky enough to see what became of him and he's getting to do something he's so much better suited for. There really was justice for Glenn!

The reason is friends, indeed. I am going to miss these friends so very much.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 7:49 PM on January 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


this episode was emotionally traumatic for me and I shouldn’t have watched it
posted by lesser weasel at 8:04 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


I knew I’d cry at some point and it was right after Eleanor broke
posted by sixswitch at 8:31 PM on January 31, 2020


Sheerly by coincidence I watched the classic movie Ikiru tonight, after having watched this in the morning. It made for a really unusual, but thematically appropriate, pairing.

....I was introduced to The Good Place last year by my last roommate, who sat me down early and fed me the first four episodes in one go, periodically cackling "So good!" at the best lines and stopping every so often whenever Chidi made a point about ethics to say "the guy who introduced me to this show was a professor and he says that this is exactly right." I was hooked, and kept watching until today.

That roommate moved to Los Angeles in July. This evening I sat down my current roommate, fired up episodes 1 through 4, and showed him. I didn't interrupt with comments about ethics, but I did keep sneaking looks over at him to see how the jokes were landing and saw many broad grins. After the fourth episode, I looked over at him and all he said was "Okay, I'm sold." We will be running through the series at this house.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 PM on January 31, 2020 [7 favorites]


I still think the idea that heaven is just a vacation before you achieve enlightenment and euthanize yourself is some bullshit. But I admit the show needed to address some ideas about finales, endings, and death, and since the characters are already dead, permadeath is an effective way to resolve that.
posted by Monochrome at 9:44 PM on January 31, 2020 [8 favorites]


The last two episodes made me sad. Not because the show was ending but because for me, the real good place turned out to be so thoroughly soporific. All the joy and fun and excitement of the team's striving to get out of the bad place gave way to what looked like a watered down version of real life. I think what made me really sad was the dissolution of relationships, all of the team members growing "indifferent benevolence" towards each other.
It was for several reasons a melancholy day and watching the episode before bed made me cry - in a "so that's IT? for real?" kind of way.
I see I'm an outlier here though.
posted by M. at 11:06 PM on January 31, 2020 [16 favorites]


What I appreciate about The Good Place, is that it is not often that I manage to watch all seasons of a series without feeling let down by it because the quality diminishes, or the show disappears up its own navel, or by the disappointing final act. Not to mention too many shows that just get cancelled, so there is no final act.
The Good Place, with its brief episodes, teasers, callbacks that you can actually remember without having to pick up your phone to check some wiki, relatable characters with good arcs and emotional pay-off, was for me perfect television. I am not that interested in picking apart the various afterlives portrayed (but I can understand those that do, and I enjoy reading your comments about this), but I sure am glad that this show ended on a high note. It was funny and warm and emotional/melancholic in just the right way.

Also, does it make me a bad person that I would love to see Tempest 2: Here We Blow Again?
posted by fregoli at 12:39 AM on February 1, 2020 [10 favorites]


> It was for several reasons a melancholy day and watching the episode before bed made me cry - in a "so that's IT? for real?" kind of way.
I see I'm an outlier here though.


i mean on the one hand yeah we’re kind of outliers but on the other hand the comments from dissenters are getting tons of favorites and interaction so i dunno.

> Eternity is hard to grapple with. There's really only a few possibilities: given a long enough time, you either become something unrecognizable , you stop growing and become static, some combination of the two, or you get out before either. The show picked option three as preferable, and made the case as best it could.

option 1 is the correct choice. i know it’s pretty unfashionable to make strong claims about metaphysics or whatever, but it seems self-apparent that transcending the self through growing into something bigger or smaller or weirder than the self, and then doing it again, and again, not just doing everything throughout eternity but eventually becoming everything throughout eternity is the existence we’d be slated for if this damned universe gave us what we deserve.

the reason why this particular ending is not one i like is that possibly my number one pet peeve, like genuinely my least favorite line of thinking in the world, the worst idea, worse even than bad ideas like “we don’t need to unionize the bosses will look out for us,” is the idea that option 3 (oblivion, destruction of all pattern, erasure, permanent loss) is the same as option 1 (transcending yourself as you’re mixed and remixed together with the universe).

the showrunners went with that idea as the final point of the show and it gives me a sad.

w/r/t eleanor and tahani boning or not boning, the “tahani crosses ‘problematically objectify eleanor’ off her bucket list” joke seems to imply that they spent no part of their eternities in the actual good place in bed together having one of those sex benders that goes on for days. they’re friends with a jokey relationship and enough distance for certain types of jokey objectification to be problematic. in a real eternity they wouldn’t be that — they’d be sometimes lovers who’d spent at least a chunk of a bearimy (does “bearimy” mean “bardo”?) unproblematically exploring what their bodies-as-objects can do.

and like i know it’s not important in and of itself that eleanor and tahani were presented solely as friends rather than as sometimes lovers, but that does stand as a synecdoche for the problem as a whole. in this show about people changing, no one changed. no one became unrecognizable. not even a little bit. no one even got out of their gender or sexual orientation slots, which is just the start of the type of change you could enact upon yourself if you had an eternity or two. tahani was the only one who got an ending that made sense, but even her ending left her basically recognizable as herself within basically the same old recognizable system.

right after the episode when my partner and i were discussing it, they said “where were the aliens?”, which i think is maybe a better way of approaching the problem. where are the aliens? why is there nothing weirder than derek, who even at the end wasn’t that weird? where are representatives from the octavia butler interplanetary interspecies hybrid civilizations? why doesn’t anyone meet them? why doesn’t anyone merge their minds or their bodies with them? why do chidi and eleanor and tahani and jason and michael not really change much? why is it stasis and then oblivion instead of growth and change at the end of a show that was mostly about growth and change? and, sigh, why is it pretending that oblivion and dissolution are equivalent to change and growth? and why is eternity a cozy little town instead of an expansive universe?

at least we have the consolation that janet, who is the memory of the universe even as it empties out, that at least janet didn’t walk through that nightmare door. thank god for that. no, wait, thank janet for that.

sigh. here’s what i think, and here’s why i’m spending so many dumb words on this (admittedly rather nice) sitcom, and being probably far more open than i should: probably there’s out there one or more (prolly queer) kids who watched san junipero when they were 15 and decided to become a hacker and dreams of helping to build a humane digital extended-life inspired by that beautiful audacious expansive show and are right now learning how to do computer science and learning how to design and build machines. i am on those kids’ side and i will fight anyone who isn’t. and no one is going to be inspired in any analogous way by the good place, by this lovely cozy little show, because there’s nothing audacious or honest enough in this show to produce that type of inspiration. it gives me a sad. a big sad. the biggest.

there are folks here on team oblivion and that is fine and good — i am all for religious toleration and pluralism — but in my metaphysical tradition we grow and become unrecognizable, we mix and remix bodies and minds as best we can using whatever techniques and technologies and rituals and drugs that we can, and we try our best to do it forever, and we recognize that oblivion is not a loving release but is instead the enemy of life and the enemy of change and the enemy of goodness and a total waste.

i’m not writing this to change anyone’s mind and if your metaphysical tradition has oblivion as release that is fine. i’m writing this to put out a marker for my people so that we know that we exist, that our viewpoint is valid, that thinking that humans — all humans — deserve something better than death isn’t just something for the moronic elon musks of the world.

let’s go watch san junipero again. let’s watch it and then let’s write or record or film something even better and then let’s make it real.

[here i apologize for the wall of text, descend from the pulpit, and get back to work]
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:45 AM on February 1, 2020 [20 favorites]


This is a great show, but expecting it to address transhumanism/Singularitarianism in its last episode is a bit of an ask. Having Elanor merge with a Janet, Chidi become a Culture AI, and Jason weave himself into an inspiring transcendental number would have been a different series.

I am glad Michael Schur decided to make the focus of the series morality; the conceit of the afterlife just allowed him to explore those themes. If someone wants to make a series out of Ted Chiang's short story Understand exploring the concept of transcending human thought patterns that would be great, it would be a lot more challenging to convey and likely a lot darker.

I do wish they had shown the Michael's Fire Squid at least once though. His friends should have been able to accept his true form after all that time.
posted by benzenedream at 2:19 AM on February 1, 2020 [28 favorites]


There were so many little touches that I loved here.

1. Tahani and Kamilah are just cool now, and minus their earthly baggage, like each other. (Though it's interesting that even after both of them have come through the system, or at least Kamilah has, they are both still worried about seeing their parents. The system seems to respect that not all earthly issues will be worked through, necessarily.)

2. Tahani mentions that she already said goodby to "B and J," and at first I thought this was a subtle allusion to her namedropping having subsided after a few hundred Bearimies. Then I realized "J" probably refers to John, but Brent is still going through the cycle. Is there any clue as to who "B" is?

3. Michael can't learn an E chord. One of those jokes that plays fine if you don't play guitar and better if you ever have even tried, as an E chord is both very, very easy and comfortable, and most likely the first chord you'd learn. So him dropping it like it was just where he was currently hung up was perfect.

4. When Mary Steenburgen shows up as the guitar instructor (great stuntcasting, BTW) she's showing him an E chord.

5. Tahani becoming an architect felt so, so right to me. I recognize that they were implying ridonkulous amounts of time passing, and that Jason, Chidi and Eleanor reached readiness by finding inner peace, but I loved that Tahani found another way that even Hypatia didn't, that once one has accomplished all possible goals, turn to the impossible. Also, it was just so fitting for everything we know about her character, that she's someone who truly has spent her life trying to do good through hosting, that she would do whatever she had to to get an infinite sandbox for that.

6. Goddamn Chidi and Eleanor's final scene, and the Buddhism monologue. I'm glad that the finale wasn't about their romance but they also did it justice and kept to theme.

7. Mindy St. Clair. There was something that bugged me about this moment but then I liked it the more that I thought about it. I'm sure Eleanor is astute in that Mindy thinks she wants to be alone. But Mindy has also been in the Medium place for countless Bearimies by now. More to the point, she hasn't gone mushy and doesn't want to leave. Obviously Team Cockroach fixed The Good Place and the points system and all pretty damn well, but Mindy, while not improving in the Medium place, seemed to be sustained by its adequateness (no hurry to leave) and its mediocrity (never ceased having wants.) Team Cockroach could have potentially taken a lot of inspiration from Mindy's pad.

8. Just everything about D'Arcy Carden's performance. Holy shit.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:34 AM on February 1, 2020 [16 favorites]


For 2) - Jameela Jamil answered that on Twitter. It's not B and J, it's Bey and Jay - Beyonce and Jay-Z.

(I thought Brent and John too at first, as in "holy crap, the system is so good it made Brent somebody worth being around")
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:15 AM on February 1, 2020 [10 favorites]


There's no ending to this show that would have satisfied me, because I really really really didn't want it to end. I'd have been fine with any excuse to keep this cast together and perpetual puns and chainsaw bears. Alas.

Side note - the series totally hooked me in the pilot when Janet let Eleanor hear what's going on in The Bad Place. "The bear has two mouths!" I knew I was going to love this show. I didn't know how much.

My father died last week, so ... what happens after all this was already on my mind. I thought about not watching this, knowing it'd be all about goodbyes and walking through the door, but decided I couldn't wait. I'm glad I didn't. It was just what I needed, a little push over the edge emotionally. Well, a big shove. But I found it comforting.

I'm saddest that Eleanor and Chidi didn't walk through together. All that, so many reboots, every time finding each other... and after so many Bearimys, it feels a little false to me that Chidi would want to leave her. Maybe that's my wishful thinking. I understand why they did it, but dammit.
posted by jzb at 5:11 AM on February 1, 2020 [7 favorites]


jzb: I totally hear you re: Chidi and Eleanor, but it felt even grander to me that Chidi would be willing to stick around as long as Eleanor wanted, and that Eleanor would realize, through what Chidi had helped he to start learning, that she shouldn't do that.

Almost no couples walk through the door we know of together, no matter how great their romance, and coping with that is part of life. I'm reminded of Groundhog Day where, because it was inspired by Buddhism, Phil's attempts to save the homeless man weren't enough to let him get to Feb. 3rd, but being there with the man, comforting him, and accepting his death was necessary.

By the time Chidi is ready to go, he's relaxed, decisive, in control, still in love with Eleanor and with the places she's showing him. But he's also for sure stayed too long at the party. Jason's story showed that, yes, Chidi probably could have stuck around until Eleanor was ready, but that would have been half a thousand Bearimies of Eleanor knowing that Chidi didn't want to be there anymore.

What's weirder is that Janet was surprised seeing Jason show up again. She experiences all of time at once, it appears, but still has the future revealed to her linearly.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:47 AM on February 1, 2020 [10 favorites]


I was much wiser, spiritually, back in my early 20s. I understood the meaning of things and my place in the universe. I was, in a sense, ready.
I lost this as I grew older, and started caring more about external things.
This episode reminded me of some of the things I used to know.
I have never, ever, ever, ever, etc. cried, laughed and spontaneously yelled 'awwww!' this much over, well, anything.
posted by signal at 7:38 AM on February 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


> I would have thought Nick Offerman had cameoed before
>> Nick Offerman had a cameo on the podcast, as the spokesman for the safe company that played a role in how Jason got to the Bad Place the first time around.

In s02e11, Nick Offerman voiced Lance, the demon that Michael runs into after stealing the Bad Place committee's jackets.
posted by D.Billy at 9:24 AM on February 1, 2020 [6 favorites]


I'm okay with how the Good Place turned out. On your happiest day, if you allow it, your brain will plunge you into melancholy. Because no matter how great you feel, you know it will end, and you'll be left feeling like you didn't get enough time. The Good Place made the most Los Angeles of afterlifes -- a place you earn your way into with enough therapy, and say goodbye to in your own time, with perfect closure. (And, per Doug Forcett, you can choose to be your youngest self the whole time.) Why not just die and return immediately to the universe? Because every time someone dies, at any age, on some level, we think they didn't have enough time. If only they had a little longer; if only we had a little longer. Paradise lets you do everything you want for as long as you need. And when Paradise gets tedious, you can see yourself out. The afterlife is never necessary. But if I were making one as a reward, it would probably look like this.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:29 AM on February 1, 2020 [11 favorites]


In s02e11, Nick Offerman voiced Lance yt , the demon that Michael runs into after stealing the Bad Place committee's jackets.

I thought for sure that was John Ratzenberger.
posted by lampoil at 9:32 AM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


Nick Offerman had a cameo on the podcast, as the spokesman for the safe company that played a role in how Jason got to the Bad Place the first time around.

Also (before I post my real comment about the episode), the safe company was Swanson Safes, so even if the podcast voice cameo isn't canon, the safe is, so I think it's kind of weird that Nick Offerman was credited as playing Nick Offerman in a universe where Ron Swanson existed? (I think they both know how to make chairs).
posted by lampoil at 10:02 AM on February 1, 2020 [4 favorites]


What's weirder is that Janet was surprised seeing Jason show up again. She experiences all of time at once, it appears, but still has the future revealed to her linearly.

I'm reading a book about space and time and quantum mechanics and all that fun stuff, and I can answer your conundrum!

Quantum mechanics says that reality exists in a probabilistic state until it is observed, at which point, all the alternate probability curves collapse and the probability state of the observed reality hits 1. Young's Double Slit experiment shows that it's not merely that we-the-observer don't know whether Schrodinger's cat is dead or alive before we open the box to look... it's that Schrodinger's cat itself is in a probabilistic state of being both dead and alive until the box is opened. The probabilistic state IS the reality, and doesn't simply refer to the state of the knowledge of the observer. This is crazy shit, totally not compatible with our ideas of everyday reality (and like Einstein said, we all like to think the moon is still there when we aren't looking at it).

Anyway, among the implications of this is that time = the collapse of probability waves. That's what time is, fundamentally. You observe a thing - any thing - and the probability waves of that thing collapse into whatever it is you are observing. Boom. Time just happened. If you are observing nothing and therefore no probability waves are ever collapsing, there is no time as we know it.

Coming back around to Janet, what she might have meant when she said she experiences all time at once is that she experiences all collapsed probability waves at once. There are probability waves which are as yet uncollapsed (what we think of as "future" or perhaps as "schrodinger's box") which she has no way of experiencing yet, because that isn't in the realm of time yet. So she still has the ability to be surprised. She doesn't know what's going to happen in the next moment. (Possibly Derrick does!)

Orrrrrrr IDK, I am not a physicist, just some random internet person who has read a book.
posted by MiraK at 10:04 AM on February 1, 2020 [9 favorites]


The concept of eternity was starting to bug me about this series, in the last few episodes. I agree that in the real world, given infinite time and resources (maybe even just with infinite time), people would not become mush brains. They'd become everything, including the fact that everyone in the Good Place would have already solved all the problems with the afterlife and maybe the whole universe. And also given a finite life and an eternal afterlife, the concept of hell is innately cruel and unusual, no matter how easy or hard it is to earn points, no matter how many positive or negative points a given person earns, which I feel like the show never quite said outright? And then given the new system, the time on Earth felt so short, compared to the time spent in the two stages of the afterlife, almost like the Fake Good Place is the "real" existence, and the Real Good Place is the reward, so why does Earth exist at all? But in real life, Earth does exist and the afterlife probably doesn't. What happens on Earth is the only thing that matters. The rest of this doesn't. It brought me all the way back around to the reasons why the high concept of the show didn't appeal to me at first, until I heard how good and weird it was in execution. (I actually think it was the classic AskMe about whether TGP was in bed with Big Dairy that convinced me).

But the final episode turned it around for me, because it reminded me that this is a story and not real life. (Which is not to condescend to those who didn't like it! I know you know it's not real life and I respect your opinions. But I think that was what was tripping me up).

I'd been thinking about Ted Chiang, too, both "Understand" and Arrival/"Story of Your Life". I think the content of those stories was acknowledged by Derek and Janet's endings, respectively. In regards to Derek specifically, I think it shows that the writers didn't forget that "becoming everything" was a possible way for the story to go. I mean, he says the line "the moment of Derek's creation and the eventual heat death of the universe are now inexorably the same."

I love those two stories, and of course my little bisexual heart beats for San Junipero, too. But from a storytelling and character perspective, it's hard for me to argue that I'd be more satisfied with any ending other than what we got—Jason embracing patience and nature to essentially become a monk, Tahani willingly giving up all her status to use her hostessing skills for real good, Chidi finding peace and certainty, Eleanor becoming that little voice.

It doesn't represent either what I think the universe is or what I think the afterlife should be if it existed, but I found it to be a very good ending for the story told over four seasons about these characters, and along the way managed to explore the concepts of the former in ways I found thought-provoking to say the least. I loved it.
posted by lampoil at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2020 [27 favorites]


All this talk about probabilistic future states brings to mind the excellent Charlie Jane Anders short story, Six Months, Three Days.
posted by sugar and confetti at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2020 [14 favorites]


I didn't like the way the agreeably uninterpretable concept of "Jeremy Bearimy" was reduced in this episode (and I think maybe in the last few?) to something that was presented as working more like an unspecified interval of time.

Found the finale basically satisfying in the sense that each character was neatly capped off, including some (Derek!) I hadn't expected to get to see one more time. But unsatisfying in the sense that what has made this show so special throughout its run is to go beyond the mere satisfying of expectations to the defiance of expectations and being outright surprising and weird. I had truly talked myself into believing the show was going to surprise me one more time, and it didn't.

Like someone above, I watch this show with my kid. To be honest, I think the idea that sometimes you've lived enough and are just ready to go is really important, and a show that takes philosophy as seriously as this one does kind of has to take that idea seriously, but I don't think a teenager is really old enough to be safely entrusted with that idea and I'm not sure how I feel about having put it in front of his face.
posted by escabeche at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2020 [6 favorites]


Oh my goodness, what a great story! Thank you, sugar and confetti!
posted by MiraK at 12:46 PM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, I also think, 100% not kidding, this episode should have been titled "How Clams Learn."
posted by escabeche at 2:26 PM on February 1, 2020 [13 favorites]


The best part of that "How Clams Learn"/Radiolab reference is the fact that my son and I had literally just listened to a Radiolab episode about "why we have butts." We laughed our head off.

(It's a fascinating episode.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:35 PM on February 1, 2020 [6 favorites]


A tribute fan vid. Very touching.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:44 PM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


Everything is perfect.
posted by Grangousier at 4:23 PM on February 1, 2020


For a show about the afterlife and dead people, it's really very impressive that the card it kept up its sleeve until the very end was death.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:00 PM on February 1, 2020 [22 favorites]


Mr. Pynchon, I hear what you're saying, but this was never that show. I'd have a hard time putting my finger on exactly where, but there's some point in second season where you can see this basic commitment to being a gentle show that's not going to hurt any of the fantastically broken people watching it.

Option 1 would have meant asking those people to imagine themselves smeared out across a hundred people at once and having their mentality smashed across a thousand dimensions and willfully taking themselves and tearing their own personhood apart in unimaginable ways. Asking them to agree that paradise means a thousand different things that their human, broken selves right now would probably think would be horrific psychic torture.

It's stasis because what they're inviting all those broken people to imagine is: what if there was a place where you could do the work to heal yourself, and there would be people and a place around you to help you to do that, and it would always be safe to do it, and you'd have as long as you need and all the resources you need, and at the end of that you could finally just be yourself, but unbroken, with the other people who'd healed themselves all lifting each other up. Until you didn't need to be you anymore. Asking people who are facing their inevitable deaths in this stupid, broken world to imagine a second life where you're not broken and nobody is trying to break you any more, with a second "death" only coming when you ask for it as a gift.

There's a place for option 1 to be sure, but it isn't this gentle little show.

Nit: I think you're reading too much into the door. I don't think they ever said "It's simple oblivion!" They said that you'd leave the good place and be at peace, and at the almost-end hung a lampshade on it being a mystery what happens next. I think "becoming everything throughout eternity" is consistent with what we saw happen to Eleanor.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:27 PM on February 1, 2020 [65 favorites]


I thought this was a beautiful, perfect finale.

The music during the lead-up to Chidi's departure was Spiegel Im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror) by Arvo Pärt.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:07 PM on February 1, 2020 [8 favorites]


The podcast more or less explicitly states that the door isn't just oblivion: Marc Evan Jackson reads the official summary of the episode and says that Eleanor's "essence" drifts down into Kurt Braunohler's character and makes him take the grocery card to Michael.
posted by Etrigan at 6:28 AM on February 2, 2020 [9 favorites]


The returning the mail bit reminded me of the back to earth portion where Eleanor feels like shit but still takes that guys wallet back to him and he cried because there’s a picture his kid made in it.

Each character resolves their fundamental problem - Jason is not impulsive but waits bearamies to give Janet her necklace; Tahani is in overalls y’all!; Chidi creates a new set of afterlife / goodness rules and Eleanor cares about others into eternity. They’re at peace.

On that note, WJH’s acting blew me away - you could feel that he was withdrawing, his arc was finished and he really sold that transition.

Such a sweet ending.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:49 AM on February 2, 2020 [21 favorites]


Oh but The wave speech was Hinduism not Buddhism. Jason saying the air inside him was the same as the air outside is Buddhism (emptiness). And those little Eleanor atoms are like blessings.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:55 AM on February 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


St. Peepsburg yeah there's a lot of Buddhism that's based on Hinduism, but you'd never know to hear western people talk about their current fad philosophy! The cycles of endless rebooting until you become better and better people comes straight from Hinduism (and then also Buddhism, but still).
posted by MiraK at 10:00 AM on February 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


Janet was the only one who knew about Jason's really being a monk deep down... maybe she's always known?

Indeed, they do make a point in the episode to emphasise that she doesn't move through time like people so she's always known whatever she knows.
posted by biffa at 1:00 PM on February 2, 2020


Thinking about the episode on and off for the past handful of days, and it occurs to me that as much as I was glad Mindy got to join the rest of humanity, Eleanor thinking Mindy was her "final project," or the last thing she was responsible for before she could be 100% at peace, seems trivial in the face of Michael getting to be human, earn his points, and make his way through the new system. Really, Michael is Eleanor's final project, and I would have loved a farewell between the two of them where she says something like "I'll be here when you get back." That would have landed as well for me as her going through the arch, and then her essence helping Michael live a human life, if not moreso. I understand why they chose what they did, and it's fine, but knowing that Eleanor would be there for Michael would have left me with the same understanding of what would (eventually) happen for both of them.
posted by tzikeh at 1:10 PM on February 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


I never liked the Eleanor/Chidi coupling. I just wanted them to be buddies who helped each other out, and I didn't like seeing Eleanor be all mopey about love and lost love and whatever. Yet I cried when Chidi left, a testament to the actors and writing.

The part the opened the floodgates for me was Michael giving Jeff an actual frog, which led into Michael's beautiful human experiences.

What a beautiful, gentle show for this age. I'll really miss it.
posted by kimberussell at 7:32 AM on February 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


vibratory manner of working: I feel like there's kind of an implication that the afterlife will eventually, after many aeons, empty out entirely. Humans go extinct and stop dying. Everyone eventually passes out of purgatory, and there's less and less for the demons to do. Michael is opening a pathway for non-humans to eventually leave, and they'll start doing so. We saw this with the doorman, who was losing his enthusiasm just like the humans. At some point, the last humans will walk through the gate. One by one, in pairs and in groups, the immortals of the afterlife find their way out. The Judge finally consumes every piece of media ever created by humans, in life or death, and makes her exit, passing the last of her powers to Janet on the way, just in case. In the end, Janet takes a last look around. She remembers/relives all of time a couple times, for old time's sake, then turns off the lights and passes through.

I would pay cash money to have this epilogue in comic book/graphic novel format.

In the alternative, to plagiarize an old Isaac Asimov story, Janet stands alone at the heat death of the universe, looking out beneficently into the darkness, and quietly says, "Let there be light."
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:57 AM on February 3, 2020 [12 favorites]


tzikeh: I would have loved a farewell between the two of them where she says something like "I'll be here when you get back."

I was satisfied with her not waiting for Michael because of the realization that, for both of them, it's ok not to know what will happen.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:59 AM on February 3, 2020 [7 favorites]


I thought that the frog guy worked as a subtle little metaphor for the whole problem of the afterlife. You like a thing and at first it's all HELL YEAH and then after a while it's like, you still like the thing, but also you can just throw that one on the pile. Even frog guy will eventually get tired of frogs, and be ready to hop through the door.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:12 AM on February 3, 2020 [11 favorites]


I thought that the frog guy worked as a subtle little metaphor for the whole problem of the afterlife. You like a thing and at first it's all HELL YEAH and then after a while it's like, you still like the thing, but also you can just throw that one on the pile. Even frog guy will eventually get tired of frogs, and be ready to hop through the door.

Yes agreed, and the twist at the end with the frog guy fit beautifully into Michael's story because, ultimately, nothing can take the place of the real thing.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:24 AM on February 3, 2020 [10 favorites]


why is there nothing weirder than derek, who even at the end wasn’t that weird? where are representatives from the octavia butler interplanetary interspecies hybrid civilizations? why doesn’t anyone meet them? why doesn’t anyone merge their minds or their bodies with them? why do chidi and eleanor and tahani and jason and michael not really change much? why is it stasis and then oblivion instead of growth and change at the end of a show that was mostly about growth and change?

This, for me, is exactly why I was perfectly okay with the way this show ended. Because to show any of those things in a novel - rather than info-dump them - would be a huge lift. To show them on television would be, in my opinion, nigh impossible. So instead I accept the whole thing as metaphor. Or really, a lot of metaphors.

In my mind this wraps up by letting us examine the series as being about death, following human existence. We've explored the problem of living a moral life within the larger system (the Doug Forcette problem), we've imagined a post-scarcity society where people can grow and change and better themselves once removed from that corrupt structure (the new afterlife concept), and looked at human growth in that post-scarcity society filled with the people worthy of being there (the Good Place as it now is).

What's missing, sort of, is the examination of that inevitable change in your person that would presumably inevitably come in that limitless society if you had made it through the tests to be a realized person who belongs there. To me, that's what the arch is. Because while serialized storytelling with characters we've grown attached to requires us not to smear them into a cosmic beyond-existence being (though we got the image of how that might come to be with Derek, and the very last thing we see is Mindy rebooting him and pushing him onwards again), we can show the thing you have to do before change: let go of your attachment to who you are in your current configuration.

Walking through the arch to nobody knows what is the transformation into something different. Death is the end of consciousness as your current self, whether the next step is being a glowing moment of concern for being a positive part of society or becoming a different person.

If I view it as metaphor for change small and large I find it works perfectly for me. Chidi reaches a point where he's ready to be different and that includes a need to seperate from Eleanor, something that would almost certainly happen with couples in eternity. Jason becomes complete in his current incarnation with his current priorities - Madden - and accepts going on.

I have to stretch a bit to make it address my most significant issue with the conclusion, but it works for me there too. I never got the sense that Eleanor was done. In many ways she seems more sensible for the become an architect role than Tahini, given what felt to me like a growth towards wanting to help people. When she walks through the arch it felt to me less like she had felt ready and more that everyone else was gone and she was out of things to do.

But if I look at it as her changing into a person who more selflessly helps others it works. And to some extent I find it unpleasantly satisfying to just accept her moving on not because she feels done but because she feels out of choices or things that make her want to stay. That's a big part of death in our world now too. Plenty of people come to terms and accept their death because some sort of disease gives them no other options beyond dying anyway but not accepting it.

Maybe I'm just rationalizing myself into being happy with it, but I'd argue that the show giving me room to do that is a mark in its favor as well.
posted by phearlez at 8:41 AM on February 3, 2020 [11 favorites]


But if I look at it as her changing into a person who more selflessly helps others it works. And to some extent I find it unpleasantly satisfying to just accept her moving on not because she feels done but because she feels out of choices or things that make her want to stay. That's a big part of death in our world now too. Plenty of people come to terms and accept their death because some sort of disease gives them no other options beyond dying anyway but not accepting it.

I agree with that assessment. Because they make it clear that no one knows what happens when you walk through the last door, that leaves open the possibility that the experience and the next destination on the journey could be different for each person -- oblivion, reincarnation, oneness with nature, etc. For Eleanor, literally becoming the small voice in your head telling you to do something good (which she references numerous times in prior episodes) is a believable next step and a good outcome for her character.

Separately, from a storytelling standpoint, I also agree that any larger, weirder, or more "profound" conclusion wouldn't work in the sitcom medium and would be too much of a departure in theme and tone from the remainder of the series. For me personally, I'm totally satisfied with the conclusion that the secret of existence is that we should surround ourselves with the people we love and try not to be a forking deck.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:06 AM on February 3, 2020 [9 favorites]


and the twist at the end with the frog guy fit beautifully into Michael's story because, ultimately, nothing can take the place of the real thing.

I wouldn't read it that way because I'm not sure "real" has any valid meaning in an existence when a Janet can just magic something up. I found it to be more a bit about a rut and the role we can take in helping other folks. The Doorman was in a rut and had grown dissatisfied with something that used to make him happy. Michael came along as an outside observer and did something to help him regain some of that joy. It was a pretty trivial effort when you consider he presumably just asked Janet to pop it into existence, but from the standpoint of helping another sentient being it was pretty big. Pretty on point for Michael who has been facilitating other folks as long as we've known him.

There's probably some potential there to see this as a growth opportunity for the Doorman to move beyond collecting a thing to being involved in another life but I don't think that's supported in what we see. But it's nice fanfic.
posted by phearlez at 9:24 AM on February 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


For 2) - Jameela Jamil answered that on Twitter. It's not B and J, it's Bey and Jay - Beyonce and Jay-Z.

(I thought Brent and John too at first, as in "holy crap, the system is so good it made Brent somebody worth being around")


Given the chatter around them at the Screen Actors Guild awards recently, I SERIOUSLY thought she was referring to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and that they were back together in the Good Place. Oy. My pop culture world is all screwed up.
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


I thought the finale was OK, but the more I think about it the more it seems like a cop-out on pretty much every level.

For as much as the show as willing to have meaningful character arcs throughout its run, a lot of those are ignored here. It doesn't use eternity in a very imaginative way: Jason is still basically a lovable goofball, Tehani is still namedropping the same references from 100,000 years ago, Eleanor is still inclined to be selfish until she's lead down the right path. Chidi actually seemed to have changed the most, but (like the others) the implications of having run our of stuff to do aren 't really explored in any way except this idea of being at peace with whatever comes next.

Basically our heroes fixed a broken system, which ended up being a perfect solution on pretty much their first try, and then they all got neat endings to their stories with no real exploration of the impacts of that system, or its origins. It seems a lot like Parks and Rec, where there isn't really an effort to question the higher authority that designed such a system in the first place, but rather just a desire to advance an argument that the right people at the top of the system are the solution. For as much as the show pretended towards being social commentary I guess it was always just a fantasy about heaven? There isn't very much else when you consider things in light of this finale.

It really felt like the show and premise had run out of steam so they gave some treacly bits that showed the characters being happy with going off into the great unknown. I guess another way to put this is that eternity is a weird concept, and the end of the show felt more like a few hundred years (if that). The biggest disappointment was that Janet's growing consciousness (and even a question of what Janet fundamentally is) were both abandoned in favor of a love story. Eh... that's closure, of a sort, but it's not particularly satisfying or interesting.

I don't think it was bad by any means, and the performances were excellent, but the writing approached some big questions and then just gave us a vague series of shrugs as the answer.
posted by codacorolla at 2:33 PM on February 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just me, but I didn't really expect a sitcom, even one as good as this, to actually answer the big questions about Life, The Universe and Everything that people have been wrestling with the past 100,000 years or so in its last episode, even taking into account the doubled running time they had to work with.
The ending was at least more satisfying and meaningful than B.S.G. Let's not even start on that show with the dragons.
posted by signal at 6:43 PM on February 3, 2020 [22 favorites]


It did do that before this, however, which is my point. It tried to, anyway. The ending felt fluffy and light compared to the show that came before it. It was like they ran out of time or ideas, or maybe both.
posted by codacorolla at 7:52 PM on February 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


A fluffy and light ending is extremely appropriate for a network sitcom that took people to very emotional places way above its pay grade. I don't think a thing can be evaluated outside the context of its genre and scope.
posted by bleep at 8:36 PM on February 3, 2020 [7 favorites]


I found it rather reassuring that for the most part people's best selves were still recognizably the same people.
posted by ckape at 9:04 PM on February 3, 2020 [17 favorites]


I put off watching it. I feel like the show could have ended/mostly really ended after "Patty," and it was a bit long and drawn out to say goodbye to everybody....but at the same time, I really enjoyed how it was done. That's about how I would have figured it ended, though I was genuinely surprised that Tahani and not Eleanor became an architect. I would have been more into folks finding things to challenge themselves than just disappear into ether (sigh... at least Chidi left a hot calendar). I'm also a little surprised that reincarnation wasn't more of A Thing except for what went down with Michael, I would have expected that instead of just poofing through the door.

Mary Steenburgen and Nick Offerman cameo'ing was great. And Frog Guy. And Shawn's conversion.

Btw, that clock in the office? Barely saw it but it was crazy, right?

See y'all in X # of Jeremy Berimy's.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:51 PM on February 3, 2020 [5 favorites]


A fluffy and light ending is extremely appropriate for a network sitcom that took people to very emotional places way above its pay grade. I don't think a thing can be evaluated outside the context of its genre and scope.

I think what bothered me about the finale was that the whole tone changed and it just wasn't enjoyable to me. It was like a long farewell party where everyone was just too sad to interact or have fun. Like a different kind of movie - not the one I started watching.
posted by M. at 1:36 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


The office clock looked like it would have said "Jeremy Bearimy" when all the pieces lined up in however long that took (an hour? a bearimy? when it hit the dot on the i?).
posted by Flannery Culp at 4:58 AM on February 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


I think that arguably "Patty" was the series finale, and this was the epilogue.
posted by ckape at 5:25 AM on February 4, 2020 [8 favorites]


The Two Philosophers Who Cameoed in the Good Place Finale on What They Made of Its Ending (Sam Adams, Slate)
After the finale, we called up [Todd May and Pamela Hieronymi, the show’s philosophical advisors] to ask them about their history with the show, their cameos, and whether Ted Danson is really as nice as everyone says. Below, we’ve spliced together the two conversations, which have also been condensed and edited for clarity.

Slate: So, what did you think of the finale?

Todd May: I thought what they did was very touching. The moment with Chidi and Eleanor where you have “Spiegel im Spiegel” in the background was very moving. The idea that you have to be mortal in order for life to be meaningful is something I wrote about in the Death book, although it’s not original to me. There are debates between philosophers who think immortality would be good and philosophers like me who think you need mortality. One of them has called people like me the “immortality curmudgeons.”

Pamela Hieronymi: They’re definitely taking a side in an ongoing philosophical discussion about immortality, saying that an infinite and trouble-less life would be meaningless. I’m not sure I agree with that. I think probably Tahani got it right in trying to see what she could do to help the rest of humanity. It’s not that the other characters were being selfish. It’s that the portrayal of existence as relying on a termination to give it meaning—I’m skeptical of that idea, especially when you have new people coming into existence who are in the midst of learning through life. One of the things that Michael says early in the show is that they have a shortage of architects. So Tahani is meeting a real need. And then you also have the [Tim] Scanlon quote at the end: “Working out the terms of moral justification is an unending task.” If the problem is boredom, trying to help those people seems pretty interesting.

It seems as much an argument about television as it is about morality: Better a good ending on your own terms than dragging things out until they’re dulled by repetition.

Hieronymi: I kind of like it better in that setting. Television will get boring.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:30 AM on February 4, 2020 [15 favorites]


From The Guardian: It is rare that TV feels nourishing. But at the moment, surrounded by corruption, bad faith, antagonism and winter, it sometimes feels that we might be stuck in our own intractable Bad Place. But things change. The Good Place never forced a moral message but it carried one all the same. We can always do a little better. As Eleanor drained her last margarita and Michael began a new life as a (middle-aged) human, The Good Place felt definitively and satisfyingly complete. It ended with a tiny act of kindness, as Michael’s neighbour delivered a letter that had been left at the wrong address. Because The Good Place is wherever you find it.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:12 PM on February 4, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'm double-dipping with this comment (I said the same thing over in the BoJack Horseman finale post):

It's been very strange watching the last season of The Good Place alongside the last season of BoJack Horseman. I'm not sure I can articulate why, but they are inextricably linked together for me, thematically.

Jeanne replied (very smartly, I think):
I was thinking about that too. How much they're about punishment, consequences, how your own damage is a reason but not an excuse for the damage you inflict on others, and whether it's possible or meaningful to become a better person. If The Good Place about believing in the possibility of change, seeing everyone as redeemable, and getting past punishment-based justice, Bojack Horseman is about the limits of that worldview - how wanting to become a better person and trying to be a better person don't (and shouldn't) let you escape the consequences of your actions.
posted by tzikeh at 7:49 PM on February 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


The Good Place Lives On, in Menu Form (Marissa Martinelli, Slate)
The Food Place lovingly compiles the show’s culinary references. Its creator explains why.
The Food Place ( https://thefoodplace.cafe ) is a wonderfully focused tribute site. Prices are based on season and episode number of that item's appearance.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:26 PM on February 5, 2020 [5 favorites]


I'm in the minority who would have rather stopped with Patty. This felt like a prequel where it's fun to see all the characters we know but the drama simply isn't there. The result was well crafted but mechanistic. It doesn't take away from the incredible acheivement of the series as a whole, which is a lot more than one can say about a lot of series finales.
posted by wnissen at 2:21 PM on February 5, 2020


I just went back through the season. In "The Answer" (the reboot of Chidi), when he's talking to Jason about how he was able to propose to and marry Janet so quickly, Chidi says "I just--I don't think I'll ever be the kind of person who just... acts. I mean, I can't just... open a door and walk through without knowing what's on the other side. Even with eternity to try, I just... don't think that can happen."

Nice work, writers' room.
posted by tzikeh at 12:00 PM on February 6, 2020 [50 favorites]


There's an entire Foreshadowing page on TV Tropes, I feel like someone's going to need to add that response to it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


Well, there was a lot to enjoy about this episode, especially how they treated each of the characters, but I ultimately feel disappointed with it as an ending to the show. I really thought this episode would present a final new idea, maybe a tweak or even a complete overhaul to the afterlife to make it more consistent with what I thought the overall theme of the show was. Presenting The Good Place as somewhere you hang out for a really long time, doing whatever you want and self-actualizing or whatever feels really shallow and individualistic. The thematic switch from "what do we owe to each other" to "death is what gives life meaning" just felt sort of random and disconnected. The thing that made this show special to me was seeing a diversity of people with good qualities and bad, different from each other but relatable enough to me, struggle with questions about the meaning of life and how to live a good life. From my perspective, we struggle to live well and find meaning in life despite death, not because of it. Maybe I need to read Todd May's book on death. Death only gives meaning to life if you believe there is a heaven that basically serves as a reward for being a good person. Then the point of being good to others is just a means of getting there.

In the end The Good Place was just a place to hang out and have a little more life after you've died and come to terms with your own death until you are ready to REALLY face oblivion and die. Something like a supernatural retirement without the problems posed by getting old. Maybe any presentation of the afterlife wouldn't have worked for me but I think some version of reincarnation would have been a better fit for the show. Life gains meaning and we improve ourselves as we struggle to become better and make the world better and build more perfect relations with our fellow humans in our living social context. Instead, this vision of the afterlife takes us out of that context and then recreates a sort of bland version of life without friction.
posted by nequalsone at 11:03 PM on February 7, 2020 [8 favorites]


Maybe any presentation of the afterlife wouldn't have worked for me but I think some version of reincarnation would have been a better fit for the show. Life gains meaning and we improve ourselves as we struggle to become better and make the world better and build more perfect relations with our fellow humans in our living social context.

Presenting The Good Place as somewhere you hang out for a really long time, doing whatever you want and self-actualizing or whatever feels really shallow and individualistic.


I'm late to the discussion because I wound up out of town the week after the finale.

The new afterlife as presented has two phases. The first, which was fully described a couple of episodes ago and isn't really shown much, is one where people pass through situations again and again, trying to get better until they improve themselves enough to enter the second phase, The Good Place. That's almost exactly the same as the version of reincarnation you describe. And we know it works because we see Tahani's parents in the finale, having passed through the process, and they have improved remarkably.

The second phase, which we see more of (since that's where Team Cockroach is), could be described as you do. I have a sub-Wikipedia knowledge of Buddhism, but I understand that a core idea is that suffering is caused by desires, and the extinction of desire is the path to ending suffering and reaching -- literally -- nirvana. And it seems to me that The Good Place (ie phase two of the afterlife) is actually the place that people go to ultimately get rid of all of their desires.

There's a difference -- I think that the Buddhist conception is that you stop wanting things and your desires go away through proper practice, where The Good Place version is one where your desires go away because they have been fulfilled. But I think this doesn't really make much of a difference. People don't feel a desire for air, because it's being fulfilled every time you breathe, and you don't even need to think about that; but if you were trapped under water, you'd feel a desire for air pretty quickly. There are all sorts of desires we could potentially have (e.g. not being chased by chainsaw bears) that we don't because they have already been fulfilled without us knowing. So if a desire can be removed by just being fulfilled, why not do that? It's like the problem of people being too poor to have housing in a capitalist society could be solved by either debtor's prisons or a universal basic income; the latter is just a more humane way to solve the problem.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:30 AM on February 11, 2020 [12 favorites]


I do agree that they are ultimately presenting The Good Place loosely within the reincarnation paradigm by showing the sparks / embers / souls of the characters returning to the physical plain to have a positive impact on the world. The part that seems questionable or at least clunky to me is having two phases, two separate realms. The separation of the afterlife into The Good Place and The Bad Place doesn't seem to serve any purpose other than to recapitulate the idea of Heaven and Hell under euphemistic names. Why would the process of becoming a better person be separated from the process of enlightenment, of recognizing your one-ship with your fellow beings and the universe as a whole, of losing the need to maintain an individual existence? Isn't it all one journey? Again, it seems like The Good Place becomes just a little bit more of the same and doesn't really justify having a separate existence. On the other hand, various Buddhist cosmologies have numerous heavenly and hellish realms... And some Buddhist traditions have monasteries and ashrams that, presumably, allow practitioners to focus on different stages of enlightenment.

I guess to me the mechanism of enlightenment or transcendence seems important to this story. The process, whatever it is, is the content and the purpose of The Good Place. We get a pretty detailed look at the process and mechanisms of the reformed Bad Place, but just an impressionistic look at The Good Place as experienced by the main characters. There is self-fulfillment, maybe a little boredom, and then mysteriously peace.

Maybe it is too much to expect all cosmological mysteries to be revealed. I would have liked to see Michael as a 6,000-foot fire squid as a consolation prize though...
posted by nequalsone at 1:16 PM on February 11, 2020


Given the incredible high-wire act this show was trying to pull off, I'm not surprised that it's not everyone's happiness or vision of what would be an ideal good place/after life.

But, I'm happy that the finale did a few things
  • Made me a sniffly damn mess
  • Made me want more
  • Made me satisfied with it being the end
  • Didn't make me want to throw something at the tv ala the Sopranos or BSG

posted by drewbage1847 at 2:32 PM on February 11, 2020 [8 favorites]


Another cool callback I'm noticing is in season 2 episode 3 Chidi concludes that Michael isn't able to comprehend ethics because he's immortal. He says that if you do something bad as an immortal you can rely on waiting a really long time for the guilt to fade, whereas if you're mortal you have a motivation to be good because you might feel bad about it until you die. (Then Michael had to realize he wasn't truly mortal, and then he was able to feel empathy with the humans, because he realized he felt the same way as they felt (isn't that in the heart sutra or the purpose of it? I thought I read that but I can't find a cite)

So it makes sense that they couldn't leave all those good place folks in a situation where they could all start making immoral choices, after all that hard work.

It's as if as an exercise they went back and compiled everything Chidi stated about philosophy & himself and made sure it got resolved and I love it.

Also this made me think of The Subtle Knife (or was it The Amber Spyglass?) where Lyra has to rescue all the souls in the underworld who were trapped, by making a hole into our universe where they could dissipate. Kind of a similar deal.
posted by bleep at 11:32 PM on February 11, 2020 [2 favorites]


I really liked it. 8/10, which is the highest rating I'd give any final episode I can think of.

I think a lot of shows decide "and for our final episode, we're going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND." Which is how you get endings like Lost or HIMYM, where the finale is hollow and doesn't match the rest of the show. I think TGP went for "safe but satisfying" and did a great, great job with it.

I'm glad that they didn't completely wrap up everyone's journeys. I think shows can sometimes get too obsessed with tying everything up and it starts to feel stilted. Having everyone go through the doorway together would have been like that: glossing over everyone's individual paths just to put a bow on their narrative arcs. It was the end for Jason, Chiti, and Eleanor because they had nothing left to do, but that's not true of all the individual characters: Tahani is still out there architecting. Michael is on a new adventure that will presumably lead him back to the afterlife, possibly as a participant rather than an architect. Janet remains delightfully inscrutable. Giving too much of an explanation for something like Janet can often ruin it, so I'm glad they didn't go for it.

I was a little disappointed that they messed with Mindy St. Claire. Everyone gets to walk their own path - except the hedonist, she's broken and must be fixed. And it makes Mindy's story about Eleanor rather than Mindy. Why couldn't Eleanor's final work have been making Michael human? That was a much bigger deal. Mindy didn't need a wrap up like Frog Guy don't didn't need one: they're both beings on their own paths. We don't have to put a bow on them.
posted by Tehhund at 8:11 PM on February 13, 2020 [9 favorites]


And it makes Mindy's story about Eleanor rather than Mindy.

Indeed, Schur saw Mindy as “Eleanor’s worst-case scenario”.
posted by Etrigan at 1:30 AM on February 14, 2020 [3 favorites]


Easter Egg: In the montage of human!Michael, where Michael is at home with his dog Jason, there's an Upland Brewery pint glass on the table next to him. Upland Brewery is a real brewery in Bloomington, Indiana, but its products were often seen in the background of scenes in Parks & Recreation.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:37 AM on February 14, 2020 [6 favorites]


I enjoyed the ending but I was hoping for one final scene, one lots of us predicted before:

After Eleanor goes through the door, she finds herself in a waiting room with the words "Everything is Fine." on the wall, and she says "Oh, Shit!"

But... I can understand how that would have come across as cynical and confusing and not-sweet to a large portion of the audience. To me it would have been perfect.

I, like many of you, was reluctant to see "walking through the final door" as a good thing. Partially because I can't imagine being an eternal being. I think part of the problem is that all of the characters who went through the door looked young and healthy. I know showing aging in a perfect afterlife wouldn't have worked, but visually a 90-year old Chidi stumbling toward the door with a cane somehow seems more appropriate. I mean, that's literally what they're showing -- the characters are thousands of years old at this point-- but I think there's an instinct for us to think "Wait, he's still so young!"

I loved how they managed to shorthand an entire romantic relationship for Michael in a 30-second scene just by using Mary Steenburgen in it. Their chemistry was palpable.

Also, I want a trans-humanist hard sci-fi spinoff called MAXIMUM DEREK.

Thanks for hanging out here over the years, everyone!
posted by mmoncur at 10:11 PM on February 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


"Whoaaaa...Can you imagine watching this episode and, suddenly, there's the very arch you built and were wedded under? Talk about a very special easter egg."

My ex proposed to me sitting outside the same restaurant in Paris where Chidi says to Eleanor, "I know what you're doing. Let's go take a walk."

It's not quite the same really.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:29 PM on February 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


I'm an atheist. I liked that the show focused its finale on how to find peace with death - real death, eternal non-existence. To me that's not a boring choice, it's getting to the real heart of the matter. A metaphysical exploration of what it'd mean to live forever is cool but doesn't say anything about how to live a meaningful life, which I think is what this show is ultimately interested in doing.
posted by Emily's Fist at 2:53 PM on March 2, 2020 [25 favorites]




Sadly US only, doesn't even play with a VPN!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:52 AM on June 28, 2020


And the blooper reel already seems to be taken down from Youtube.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 AM on June 29, 2020


Hey! The season 4 blooper reel is back—now playing at the show's NBC.com page and embedded in this tweet.
posted by mumkin at 7:49 AM on July 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


Also on YouTube!
posted by ellieBOA at 11:23 AM on July 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


More of Manny Jacinto dancing, please!
posted by invokeuse at 2:52 PM on July 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


Yeah... I appreciate that they crafted Jason’s backstory to highlight Manny’s skills, but it seems like they only really used those skills once a season or so. Not nearly enough Dance Dance Resolution for me. There must be more on the Good Place cutting room floor, and I really don't want to have to watch the Top Gun reboot.
posted by mumkin at 7:16 PM on July 31, 2020 [2 favorites]


I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. Michael Realman. Takin' it sleazy for all us sinners.
posted by ckape at 6:20 PM on August 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


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