It strikes me as both incredibly strange and unbelievably fulfilling that I find myself feeling this emotional after having watched The Good Place series finale, titled “Whenever You’re Ready.”
Strange because I never really thought we’d get here, never wanted this to be true. When you find a show like The Good Place, one that can teach without preaching and make you laugh without noticing, it’s hard to say goodbye.
And fulfilling because, well, this is what finales are supposed to be about. This feeling that we never want to let go, but we will, because these characters, and we, are going on to bigger and better things.
To the Good Place, so to speak.
Ironically enough, though, despite the title of the episode, I don’t feel ready. Are we ever ready? For anything?
Not to die, of course. That part is never certain, and we will never be ready to let go. But, if this episode is sending one message it’s that maybe, maybe, we’ll all get to a place where we’ll be ready for the next journey.
Everything ends, after all. Even the good TV shows. Hell, even existence.
And the important part isn’t the end. That’s not what matters. Just as the beginning doesn’t determine where you end up.
The only thing that matters is what you do in the meantime. How you live. The choices you make, and then the ones you make again and again and again.
It’s been four years of this journey, and what you expect of a show isn’t for it to teach you things, for it to make you think, much less for it to actively make you a better person. And yet that is the legacy of The Good Place, not just that it made us laugh and it made us cry, surprised the hell out of us and made us seriously consider what in the world was coming next.
But that it made us think about what it takes to be a good person, and how we can actively work on becoming better every day.
Well, that, and that it did so with a cast of pretty unlikely characters, the type that wouldn’t be confused for heroes anywhere else. But that is the thing, isn’t it? Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi and Jason are, in many ways, us, even if their mistakes and their issues might be different. We’re all flawed humans, and we can all do better.
There are only so many ways I can say that, only so many ways I can praise this show, only so many tears I can cry over TV. So I guess, in a way, I am ready, even if I’m not. I’ve learned my lesson, or at least, I’ve learned that there’s a lesson to learn, and you know, that lesson is that I will likely never stop learning.
I can take it from here.
We can take it from here.
Everything is fine. Everything is more than fine.
Goodbye, Eleanor. Goodbye, Michael. Goodbye, Chidi. Goodbye, Jason. Goodbye, Tahani.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “Whenever You’re Ready”? Share with us in the comments below!
The Good Place aired Thursdays on NBC.