The Good Place (2016-2020)

If you have not watched the series finale to The Good Place, this is my warning to you. This review has a bunch of spoilers.

After four seasons, NBC’s The Good Place has ended. What makes this ending special, is that it was on the show’s terms. They were not cancelled, they did not reach a deadline–they chose to end the show after four seasons, believing the story had been told.

In the beginning, we were focusing on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a flawed human from Phoenix, Arizona who is told that she has made it into The Good Place due to her exemplary life back on Earth. It becomes increasingly clear to her, that there has been a mistake because she shouldn’t be here. She gets Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper) to help her become a better person, all the while Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) is pretending to be a Tawainese monk who took a vow of silence, along with Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) a wealthy philanthropist who actually believed that she was in the right place. The show becomes known for their plot twists, because the first season ends with us finding out that they are in fact, in The Bad Place being tortured by none other than Michael (Ted Danson), the architect they had come to trust.

In the end, the point system that was designed to determine where a human went after their life on Earth, is deemed broken and while the Judge (Maya Rudolph) has no qualms erasing all of humanity and simply starting over, the gang want to fix it. Revolutionizing the system, they fix it so that humans after they die, are able to be put through a series of tests all catered to their own personal flaws, and are given the opportunity to become better and earn their way to The Good Place. Once the five humans and Michael end up in the real Good Place, they discover that everyone there is mindlessly bored with paradise so they devise a new plan. Once in the Good Place, you are free to stay as long as you’d like, but if the day came that you wished to leave, and effectively end your journey all together, you could so by walking through a door. Their essence would be returned to the universe and they would cease to exist.

The finale itself caused many emotions to flood my system. We watched as each one of the humans eventually left The Good Place, choosing to walk through the door. Except for Tahani, who decided to become an architect. Michael was given the opportunity to go to Earth as a human and live out the rest of his mortal life, and eventually come through the system himself. Jason was the first one to be ready to go through the door, except in a slight twist, when Janet leaves him to walk through the door he ends up staying behind. Waiting for Janet to return, because he wanted to find the necklace he had made her. During the time that he was waiting, he ended up practically becoming Jianyu, the monk he was pretending to be in the beginning by using his time to think and consider the world around him.

Next came Tahani, who finally got the relationship with her parents that she always wanted, and when she believes she is ready to go through the door, she realizes instead that she wanted to be an architect. She is given this opportunity, and begins her training.

Chidi was the next human who was ready to go, and when Eleanor catches onto this, she takes him on a trip in the hopes of reminding him about things worth being excited over. He comes to decide to stay with her, so that she isn’t sad and at first, she is ecstatic about this but realizes that she was being selfish and that she owed it to him to let him go. William Jackson Harper would soon after give us a monologue that caused me to cry, that I recommend everyone watch the finale for this moment alone. Eleanor asks him for one last favor, and that is to be gone before she wakes up. He obliges, and he leaves a calendar behind that is him in various poses and outfits for the rest of time.

Eleanor continues searching for the one thing that will bring her that sense of calmness everyone was mentioning, and while she believes at first that it has to do with Mindy St. Claire (Maribeth Monroe) and persuading her to try and get into The Good Place. In the end, her last mission was to give Michael the chance to live as a human, considering his longtime fascination with them. When he is gone, she decides she is ready to go through the door–which leaves Janet being the only one left, and their final conversation made me laugh, while also cry.

The show ends with Eleanor walking through the door and her essence returning to the universe, we watch as a single speck from her essence floating through space until landing on a random human. We watched as he noticed something in his mail, and promptly throws it away. It is only when that speck lands on him does he decide to go through the trash and give the mail to the rightful owner, which turns out to be Michael. Then it’s over.

Overall, endings are never fun for me. They always leave me feeling achy and as though something is missing but as far as endings go, this one was really uplifting while also being sad. It was nice knowing that all of the characters got what they wanted in the end, to be with their loved ones and then to reach the point of being at peace, and while that can make the ones left behind (the audience) to feel rather sad, I thought it was fitting. This is how it feels when we lose loved ones, we are happy that they are at peace, and no longer dealing with anything negative, but we miss them so much. I will miss The Good Place but I am happy it ended before the story became repetitive.

What did you guys think of the series finale?