Our time in the Good Place is almost at an end, having spent four forking fantasic seasons with Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, Tahani, Michael, and Janet. As we get ready for the series finale of The Good Place, we thought we’d look back at its most pivotal episodes: the ones that made us cry, the ones that made us think, and the one that reminded us how surprisingly jacked Chidi is.
Be sure to leave a comment with your standout episodes of The Good Place, and join us on Friday for our roundtable discussion on the series finale. In the meantime, all we can say is goodbye...and thanks for all the shrimp.
The Good Place started off with a bang (which is why we also recommend revisiting the series premiere), but it’s the first season finale where we saw exactly what this show was capable of. In a shocking twist that may go down as one of the best television surprises this side of the Red Wedding—for those who didn’t read the books—Eleanor (Kristen Bell) realized that she and the others weren’t actually in the Good Place. They were in the Bad Place, part of Michael’s (Ted Danson) newfangled experiment to get humans to torture each other. This reveal didn’t just raise the stakes on The Good Place, it yanked them out of the ground and hurled them toward the sun. Just like that poor puppy from season one. RIP.
Part of what makes The Good Place so, well, good is how it uses comedy to explore the realms of moral philosophy and ethics. This is perfectly encapsulated in series standout “The Trolley Problem.” Chidi (William Jackson Harper) is trying to explain ethics to Michael as part of his attempt to become a better person, but the demon-turned-student can’t quite seem to grasp the practical applications of something as hypothetical as the Trolley Problem. So, Michael brings the thought experiment to life! Chidi’s indecisiveness is put to the test again and again, each experiment resulting in a bloody, pulpy disaster. It turns out that Michael is just forking with Chidi, which Eleanor rightfully points out as being a pretty shirty friend move. Eventually, Michael sincerely apologizes, signaling the first steps toward his own growth.
What would you do if you found out you were doomed? Would you simply give up, or would you try even harder to leave something good behind? That’s the dilemma the Soul Squad faces in “Jeremy Bearimy,” with varying results. Eleanor and the others (who think they’re just normal, living people) learn that they’ve been dead for over 300 years, looping around in a constantly shifting timeline known as the Jeremy Bearimy. They were only brought back to Earth as part of an experiment to see if they deserve a second chance at the Good Place—an experiment they’ve failed now that they know it exists.
Without hope and out of options, each of our heroes responds to this news in different ways. Eleanor tries to go back to her old ways but finds she can’t, instead heading on a quest to return a guy’s wallet. Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) donate a bunch of money and get (platonically) married so they can continue to do good works. It’s only Chidi who completely loses his grasp on reality, resulting in some hilarious scenes and a reminder that Chidi is pretty stacked.
This episode was a fantastic exploration of identity, carried entirely on the purple-vested shoulders of actress D’Arcy Carden. Janet and Michael are on a mission to figure out what’s actually going on with the Good Place’s enrollment policy but they have to keep Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason hidden. So Janet stashes them away in her Void, which means they all turn into different versions of Janet. It’s amazing how well Carden captures each of the characters, my favorite being her version of Jason. Things get intense when Eleanor starts having an identity crisis inside of the identity crisis, doubting herself and her relationship with Chidi, and it isn’t until Chidi reminds her of how strong she is that they’re able to truly return to themselves.
The most recent entry on this list, “The Answer” felt like a perfect way to wrap up the series before heading into the endgame. It centers on Chidi as 300 years of experiences and memories are thrust back into his head. We’re taken through all the ups and downs of his life, the ways he perceived the world around him versus how things actually were, and how much his time in the afterlife changed him for the better. It’s sort of like a clip show, revisiting some of the best moments of the series, but having it focus on Chidi provides a new perspective on familiar events. And in the end, he comes to realize the truth about the universe: “There is no ‘answer’ but Eleanor is the answer.”
The Good Place returns for one last time with its two-part series finale tonight, followed by a 30-minute live interview with the cast and team behind the series.
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