‘The Good Place’ Ends on a Beautifully Bittersweet Note (RECAP)
[WARNING: MAJOR spoilers for The Good Place series finale, “Whenever You’re Ready,” follow.]
Much like the rest of the show, The Good Place’s finale is philosophical, heartwarming, heartbreaking and moving.
Though the actual conclusion is a bit abrupt — like, yelling “That was it?!” at your TV-worthy abrupt — this is an installment that ends multiple times, once for each main character. It pays tribute to every main character’s unique arc and growth, returns past favorites from earlier seasons to the limelight in order to end their stories with grace, and answers just enough questions to make viewers comfortable with the ambiguity it leaves when the credits roll.
Goodbye, The Good Place. You’ll be sorely missed. And as one truly iconic reformed demon would say: “Take it sleazy.”
The Perfect Game
The soul squad figures out how to live in the afterlife, and Michael, Chidi and Janet meet with the Judge, Shawn and Vicky to iron out the small issues that still exist. Everything’s going well, it seems, although there’s still little love lost between Michael and Shawn.
2,242 Jeremy Bearimy later, Jason plays a perfect game of Madden with his dad. That seems to be the catalyst for the announcement he makes to his friends: He’s going through the door. “Are you sure?” Eleanor asks him. He says he is, and that night, he throws a party where he’s the DJ and performs with his dance crew. Later, he sits down with Chidi and Eleanor. The moral philosopher asks his pal how he knew it was time to go, and he responds with perhaps the most poetic thing he’s said on the show: “the air inside my lungs was the same as the air outside my body,” he says. “It was peaceful.”
And the next day, Jason finds his peace. He walks to the door with Janet, and after she reassures him that she doesn’t experience time linearly and won’t forget him, he sits on the bench next to the tree, seemingly ready to leave.
A New Job
Many Jeremy Bearimy later, Tahani takes woodworking lessons from Ron Swanson (or maybe just Nick Offerman himself? It’s hard to tell). He tells her he has nothing left to teach her, and she crosses it off her list — but Janet tells her before she gets to her next task, “the thing happened.” “The thing” is her parents making it to the afterlife, and it seems they’ve learned from their tests. “We’ll just be sorry, forever and ever,” they tell their daughters.
Much as Jason’s perfect Madden game was his catalyst, spending a perfect day with her parents was Tahani’s. She tells her friends she’s ready to go. She throws a small gathering for the remaining members of the Soul Squad, and later confesses to Eleanor that she’s her role model. “I admire you so very much,” she says, “and you have a rockin’ bod.” This repetition of her objectifying compliment brings Eleanor to tears, and they hug.
That meeting with her friends leads Tahani to an epiphany: she doesn’t want to leave. She wants to be an architect. Michael at first tells her she can’t do that, but after breaking out the good ol’ “don’t make me talk to your manager,” she becomes an intern.
Shaking Things Up
661.7 Bearimy later, Chidi and Eleanor go to dinner with Simone, the Dress B**ch, Eleanor’s other roommate and Chidi’s best friend. They have fun, but it’s apparent Chidi’s getting tired. Eleanor figures that out, panics, and goes straight to Michael for help. “I need to do something to shake things up,” she says. Janet tells her that if he’s ready to go, it’s time for him to go. But Michael disagrees, so they plan a surprise trip to Athens for Chidi.
Except… it doesn’t quite work. Chidi’s happy for a bit, but then he wants to go home. Instead of taking him there, Eleanor and Janet ferry him away to Paris. That doesn’t quite work either, and Chidi tells the woman he loves that he’s been feeling like this for a long time. That’s no decent explanation to Eleanor. “If you leave, I’m alone here,” she says, tearing up. “And I told myself I like it that way, but I don’t. I like being with you.”
What We Owe to Each Other
This emotional outburst changes Chidi’s mind, but some time changes Eleanor’s. She comes to the realization that she was being selfish, and that she has no right to stop him from finding peace. “I owe it to you to let you go,” she says.
And so he does. He leaves Eleanor a calendar with pictures of him for every month, then hikes through the woods with Janet to the door. He goes through, then a surprise jumps out from behind a tree: it’s Jason! He waited for thousands of years to give Janet the necklace he made for her and lost in the woods. Once he’s done that, he gives her one last kiss — then follows Chidi.
3.22 Bearimy later, Michael goes to his afterlife meeting with pizza… and no one’s there. The Judge tells him the meetings have been cancelled forever, and he should take a load off and enjoy himself. This disturbs him; he’s run out of rocks to push up hills.
Eleanor goes to see Mindy and confides in her that she doesn’t feel complete. “I think my final mission might be to get you to go through the system,” she says, “take the test.” She concludes that Mindy has the ability to care and would be happier if she forms bonds with other people, and she convinces Mindy to take the test since Tahani will probably design it. “Thanks for giving a crap about me,” Mindy tells Eleanor, and they both smile.
Granting Michael’s Wish
With that task completed, Eleanor heads to the door. She intends to go through, but she’s just not ready. Michael sprints up from behind and says he is, and he walks through the wooden arch. There’s just one problem: he’s not disappearing. The door isn’t for him, and irritated, he says that’s not fair.
Eleanor has a plan for Michael to help him find the meaning in his life again — with the Judge’s blessing, he’s going to become human. Eleanor tells him he won’t know exactly what’ll happen when he dies, but he says that’s what makes it special. Janet accompanies him to the door to Earth, and after she gives him some advice (stay away from salty foods, don’t get the insurance if you rent a car, etc.), he steps through.
Take it Sleazy
Finally, it’s Eleanor’s turn. She re-approaches the door, but instead of going through right away, she sits on the bench with Janet and they sip margaritas while reminiscing about their adventures together. (We also get a glimpse of Michael’s life on Earth, where he seems quite happy). At last, she’s ready. Eleanor walks through the door, and her essence dissipates, shimmers and vanishes.
On Earth, Michael receives a rewards card from his neighbor, who figures out it was delivered to him by mistake. The man tells Michael to take it easy, and he’s able to use his favorite catchphrase in response: “Take it sleazy.”