The Good Place—NBC’s poignant, brilliant, and hilarious afterlife comedy—has ended, and last night’s series finale showed us the fates of all the characters we’d come to forking adore over the past four seasons. Dive into the chowder fountain with us while we celebrate (and mourn) one of our favourite shows.
Cheryl Eddy: Based on “Patty,” last week’s episode, we had a pretty good idea of how the show was going to end—with the characters given the option to end their time in the afterlife, rather than existing on and on as boredom turned them into mush. Were you surprised by the way the finale, “Whenever You’re Ready,” played out?
Jill Pantozzi: I WAS EMOTIONALLY COMPROMISED BY THIS FINALE.
Beth Elderkin: Surprised? No. Impacted? Oh yes. Let’s just say I had a dream about this episode last night. That’s how much it affected me.
Cheryl: I loved the twist that Tahani would become one of the architects, but my favourite was Michael getting to be human. He finally got to say “Take it sleazy!”
Beth: In the penultimate episode, the way they solve the crisis is by recognising that humans need to be a little sad all the time because they know they’re going to die. They make things better by making things a little bit worse. And that had an impact. In a sense, this episode was a little sad...all the time.
Jill: It was honestly such a wonderful end to the series. One which, along the way, I wasn’t sure where it would end up.
Cheryl: Did you have a favourite cameo or callback to a past episode? Highly-evolved Derek was pretty outstanding.
Jason Mantzoukas teases what's to come with Derek in The Good Place. pic.twitter.com/y2dHbq6WSU
— io9 (@io9) October 9, 2019
Jill: Wow, Derek. What an experience.
Beth: Oh man, they were all so good. I didn’t get what was going on at first—when I saw Donkey Doug there I was like, “Wait, did he die last season?” But then I put the pieces together and realised just how many Bearimies had gone by. I loved John popping in just to share that he banged Alexander the “Fine.” But I think my favourite was seeing Brent again having to take the test. Bless that epitome of white male privilege, he’s trying. But he’s not trying that hard.
Cheryl: I loved that Eleanor’s awful roommates made it in. DRESS BITCH!
Jill: I just have to say how emotional I got once I realised how the episode as a whole was going to play out, saying goodbye to each of them in turn. I didn’t think I could handle it, and I couldn’t!
Beth: Jason being the first one to leave surprised me...although technically he wasn’t.
Jill: I think it was perfect because out of all of them, Jason probably did the most Things on Earth already. So he didn’t have much else he wanted to do.
Beth: That boy knew how to live. Jaguars rule.
Cheryl: The best/worst was Eleanor realising Chidi was about to leave.
Jill: But I knew…I just knew that Chidi was going to go before Eleanor and of course he stayed longer for her. My heart!! Her trying her best to keep surprising him…devastating.
Cheryl: I’m so glad The Good Place, of all shows, got to finish out its story on its own terms. Four seasons seemed just about perfect to tell the story—the Good Place was really the Bad Place, then all the reboots, the return to Earth, and then the grand experiment. I wish more shows were able to do that.
Cheryl: Did you guys have a favourite character throughout, and why? We already know I love Tahani.
Beth: I mean, fork, all of them bring something amazing to the table. My heart will forever be with bisexual icon Eleanor Shellstrop (I watched Burlesque before the series finale because Kristen Bell is a dream person), but I also really identify with Chidi’s story and growth. I love how much time the show took to flesh him out, even giving him his own backstory episode with “The Answer.”
And you can’t forget Jason, the greatest dancer and one-liner deliverer this side of the Florida Gator Line.
Jill: Yes, they were all outstanding characters. My favourite has to be Janet though. What a truly ingenious yet simple idea she was, and the way she was able to grow over the seasons was just wonderful. Not to mention she constantly got to matter-of-fact everyone for comedic effect.
Cheryl: And, of course, Bad Janet!
Jill: Fart noise.
Beth: If I had a complaint about the finale, and it’s a small one, it’s that I wish there’d been one scene early on where we saw the whole Soul Squad just being together, having a peaceful moment before they started going their separate ways. The series jumped right from them fixing the Good Place to Jason’s final days. I get that the theme of the episode is “everybody is a little sad all the time,” but I would’ve liked one more calm before the storm.
Cheryl: I agree. It took entire seasons to fix the other things wrong with the afterlife, but the Good Place problem was solved in what felt like one scene. Maybe Eleanor and company had become expert problem solvers by the end?
Jill: They sure had a lot of practice!
Beth: I was ok with how quickly they’d fixed the problem. You’re right—they’d had practice. I just wanted the final episode to start with all of them together, not under the guise of one of them leaving.
Jill: I think I would have liked to see a few more bizarre Good Place Things. We saw so much ridiculous imagery over the last few seasons, I was hoping for something else like that to pop up before the end.
Beth: You’re right, the Good Place ended up being so normal. I’m wondering if that’s because Michael had taken over, and thanks to his growth had realised everyone just wanted better versions of normalcy? Before, it was run by Good Place architects who’d long lost their connection to humanity, didn’t know how to truly make things better so it was varying levels of bizarre perfection. Speaking of which, wonder where those guys ended up.
Jill: Overall, this episode obviously went to some deep places (as the series has time and time again), but it got me thinking…which people in my life would I want to spend countless Bearimies with? Even though we don’t know how they are experiencing that time in a literal sense, it’s obviously still a very long time! But the good news is I was able to think of a few people.
Beth: I’m especially curious how love and intimacy work in the afterlife. People fall in love multiple times over their lives—and as we saw with Eleanor and Chidi, can even fall in love after death. Maybe there’s just a bunch of random love piles of people. This show makes you think.
Cheryl: You can even fall in love with a not-a-person, if you’re Jason!
Jill: I imagine there was a LOT of bow-chicka-bow-wow we did not get to see!!
Beth: Now that the series is over, what was the biggest takeaway for you guys? For me, it was the idea that things can always be better. It’s a message we usually need in life, but especially right now. The notion that bad isn’t forever—neither is straight good. Things can always change and they should, especially when we put in the effort and try.
Cheryl: This show actually taught me a lot about philosophy. And the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also, it offered a reminder that doing good is important, but it’s the intention behind whatever you do that really matters.
Jill: My takeaway is Chidi is surprisingly jacked. Also, all that stuff you two said.
Cheryl: Also if Maya Rudolph really is the cosmic judge of all things, I’m OK with that. Podcasts!
Jill: Thank you for all the laughs and tears, The Good Place. You were one of a kind.
Beth: Goodbye, and thanks for all the shrimp.