Despite the fact that I have never actually come close to guessing where The Good Place is going, every week I come into it with the kind of positive outlook that could probably be compared to insanity, if you looked deep into it. But I’m just going to call it overconfidence, okay? That sounds better for me.
Because, despite every evidence to the contrary, every week, I tell myself I know where this show is going, or at least, I an idea. I watch a lot of TV, you see, so sometimes, I like to think I’m smarter than I am.
Thank you, again, The Good Place, for proving me wrong. If anything, I’m just regular smart, not super anything. I NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO.
“Janet(s),” the fall finale of this comedy-that-sometimes-is-so-deep-does-it-really-count-as-a-comedy show takes us inside, well, Janet – which we kinda knew was coming, considering where the last episode ended. It’s just that we never truly thought being inside Janet would be such a …well, Janet-filled experience?
D’Arcy Carden gets a chance to shine this episode, playing, well …everyone, and she absolutely hits it out of the park as the many versions of Janet. But she also hits it out of the park as our Janet, as she pushes Michael towards the conclusion we all really should have reached ages and ages ago.
No one can do anything to save them …except them. Michael doesn’t need a hero, he needs to be the hero he needs.
And he finally does.
Holy Forking Shirtballs, as Eleanor would say. Because they ARE in The Good Place.
Which just takes me back to how I started this review. I mean, I figured they’d have to get there eventually, we all did, didn’t we? But, after news the show has been renewed for a Season 4, we didn’t expect it to be now, did we? And that’s part of our problem, we’re always thinking the show has to be saving something for later, and they just never do – even though there is a guaranteed later.
For now, though, Michael’s theory has been proven right: the point system doesn’t work. No one has gotten into The Good Place in 521 years. And guess what? They were planning this all along. Remember the little nods to who was in the Bad Place we got in Season 1? Remember laughing at how people we thought were good hadn’t made it?
No one’s laughing now.
Well, to be fair, Michael, Janet, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason kinda are. They ARE in The Good Place. But what happens next? Is anyone else in there? Can they stay? We’ll have to wait till next year for those answers.
But for now, we can celebrate a bit. Celebrate that this show can make us laugh and can make us think at the same time. Celebrate that Chidi finally got the freaking character development he deserved – even if he got to do it in Janet’s body. For so long everyone has grown around him and Chidi has circled indecisiveness, and yet, this episode, when it was all up to him, he came through.
That he loves Eleanor, this Chidi, this Eleanor, surprises no one. That Eleanor needed reassurance that it’d all gone well in a previous life to take the plunge surprised no one either. This is who these people are, but it isn’t who they have to be. That’s the beauty of The Good Place. People can grow. They can become better.
And that’s a message for all of us, every day. We should never be content with how kind or with how good we are. We must always, always strive to do better, in all arenas in life. Not for an abstract Good Place, not for an ideal Heaven, but for us. To make this world we live in the best it can be, together.
So thank you, The Good Place. Thank you for making us think, and laugh, and learn. And thank you for not making us say goodbye to you, not for long.
I end with this, because why not:
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The Good Place aired Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC. It’ll be on hiatus till January 10th, when it’ll return for its final three episodes at a new time: 9:30/8:30c.