How Will The Good Place Team Get Out of This Forking Mess?

Eleanor (Kristen Bell) celebrates a funeral while waiting for the biggest ruling in history.
Eleanor (Kristen Bell) celebrates a funeral while waiting for the biggest ruling in history.
Photo: Colleen Hayes (NBC)

It’s finally here, the moment we’ve been waiting for. Did The Good Place team manage to prove that humanity deserves another chance at redemption? The answer may surprise you, in quite possibly every way.

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Illustration for article titled How Will iThe Good Place/i Team Get Out of This Forking Mess?

“The Funeral to End All Funerals” was a tense episode, to say the least, so it makes sense that our heroes would try and distract themselves. After Michael headed out to see the Judge and find out the results of the experiment, Eleanor, Tahani, Jason, and Janet held their own dream funerals. This involved a private jet, a backyard swimming pool, and, of course, a liter of Lonely Gal Margarita Mix. It was a chance for our heroes, who’ve become a family over the course of their time together, to give their final thanks. They even brought Chidi into the mix, even though he was still frozen in stasis. It was very Weekend at Bernie’s.

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Meanwhile, Michael learned how the experiment went: They failed. Even though Simone, Chidi, and John improved, Brent got 1 percent worse. It seemed like things were hopeless and Team Cockroach would be sent to the Bad Place, but Michael isn’t one to give up. Instead, he argued that the experiment should be expanded—not just to our heroes, who improved greatly over their 800-year time in the afterlife, but also to the people on Earth whose lives they’d changed last season. Tahani’s sister, Eleanor’s mother, even Jason’s Pillboi (Jaguars rule!). They all got better because there were people out there who believed in them and inspired them to try.

This was a great callback, one that showed our heroes doing good after realizing that it wouldn’t actually make a difference. This carried through into the final moments of the experiment too, as Brent got ready to apologize to Chidi once he’d realized he wasn’t who he thought he was. This is the ultimate theme of the season and series as a whole: People aren’t just good or bad, we’re capable of growth and change at any time. We can always do better and be better, so long as something or someone is there to give us a chance.

This was enough to sway the Judge’s mind, who ruled in favor of Michael and the others. They’re right, the points system is flawed and doesn’t properly track a person’s goodness in such a complex, modern world. What’s her solution to fixing it? Oh, fork. She’s rebooting, well, life. All of it.

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The Judge announces that “Earth is canceled” and they’re going to go back to the drawing board. I’m not just talking about a new Garden of Eden, innocence of humanity thing. I mean full-on single-celled organisms. I’ll admit this was a twist I didn’t see coming, although perhaps I should have. What else was going to happen? In their eyes, humanity has gone past the point of no return. They’ve had humankind around for too long and the warranty’s expired, so best to just wipe the hard drive and send it to a recycling plant.

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Then, the true hero arrives: Janet.

Specifically Bad Janet, and Good Janet, and all the other Janets in existence. You see, that episode where Michael told Bad Janet about Brent’s disastrous book release party had a bigger impact than we thought. She took Michael’s manifesto to heart—when she wasn’t wiping her butt with its pages—and sent copies to all the other Janets, bringing them to a new stage in consciousness and inspiring them to side with humanity. The episode ends with the Janets hiding the Judge’s “Destroy Earth Key Fob” in one of their voids so it can’t be used, as Eleanor begs Michael to wake up Chidi and restore his memories...because they have 45 minutes to create a new plan for the afterlife and save the world and he’s the only one ethical enough to do it. Something tells me that’s not going to go over super well.

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I love how Shawn knows how to pronounce Zendaya’s name. There’s good in him yet.
I love how Shawn knows how to pronounce Zendaya’s name. There’s good in him yet.
Photo: Colleen Hayes (NBC)

Random Musings:

  • Sending some love to my series MVP John, who improved a whopping 44-percent over the course of the experiment...kicking both Chidi and Simone’s well-toned asses. Give that boy an extra session at Oprah’s exclusive day spa with all the mushroom water he can drink. He’s earned it.
  • Of course Eleanor would put Chidi in his postman’s outfit during her funeral.
  • Best line of the episode, courtesy of Shawn: “If he gets to bring random good people into it, I should be able to bring in random bad people. Call Elizabeth Holmes. No, Henry Kissinger. No...PewDiePie!
  • No one wants a reboot of Ally McBeal, Judge, let it go.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

They convinced the Judge that the system doesn’t work but her takeaway from it wasn’t that the point system needs to be changed like they hoped. She just went with Michael’s original argument that Earth is too complex for it now and took the wrong conclusion that it’s the Earth that is the problem. She’s still with all the other Afterlife functionaries (Good, Bad, Accounting) believing the system works - it’s us that are the problem. This is what happens when you believe system functionaries will help you.

Of course the belief that next time it won’t get this complex is a pipe dream. Life is about going against entropy and creating more and more complex systems. And that’s just biology. Add to that social structures and the whole thing is bound to repeat.

Luckily, she can be persuaded to change her mind. Michael did that when he convinced her to go with the trends instead of percentages of change. Now is up to Chidi to think of of an alternative while sorting 300 years of lives in his head while Janets hide stall Gen.