The Good Place experiment is over. Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, Tahani and their former demon torturer Michael, as well as the all-knowing Janet, have proved humans can get better as long as they try. Trying is what counts, and the cockroaches have saved themselves—and humanity. They’re in the Good Place and now The Good Place is ending after four seasons of laughs and philosophy. How it all ends is being kept under serious wraps.
NBC’s official description of “Whenever You’re Ready” is even less descriptive than Game of Thrones episode releases. “Various conversations occur, between various groups of people.” That’s it. That’s the episode description. And…it’s perfect. Because it doesn’t matter how The Good Place ends. It matters what you take away from The Good Place.
The Good Place leaves behind a legacy of thoughtful comedy. Yes, it made us laugh, but it also made viewers think.
What does it mean to be a good person? The show started out asking that question, and as it went on, the focus evolved.
“At the end of the day, I think that objective kind of shifted a little bit, because what we found, as we discussed it and wrote it and executed it, is that some very, very smart people over the last, say, 3,000 years have had a lot of very different opinions about that question… At the beginning I pitched it as ‘what it means to be a good person,’ and at the end, I think I would describe this as a show that makes the argument that we all ought to try harder than we are. And as long as you’re trying, you’re on the right path,” series creator Michael Schur said on stage at TCA.
Whether the show depicts Eleanor (Kristen Bell) living happily ever after with Chidi (William Jackson Harper), or viewers see Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) walk through the door to find eternal rest, it’s all good. TV endings are notoriously hard to land. The ending of The Good Place won’t please everyone. And it shouldn’t.
Ahead of the final season’s premiere, Bell said the end of the show is “a little bit of tough love” and “it’s absolutely poignant and beautiful and will make you think.” The Golden Globe nominee told E! News she was “more satisfied than I thought I would be” with how things wrapped up.
“[Mike Schur] didn’t just end our story, he completed an idea and that is so rare…I don’t think…anyone will not like this because it’s true. He wrote down some real truths,” she said.
If, at the end of the day and the end of The Good Place, you have been impacted by the show and its message, that’s all that really matters. Whether it was something that made you laugh, whether the show was a comfort in fraught times, or the message at the heart of the series left its mark.
“I think that you’ll leave this final season, hopefully having learned something, but also feeling as if you are less alone, assuming you’re a good person, like I think we are, who made the show. And just knowing that no one really knows what they’re doing, but there are ways to steer yourself more in the right direction,” writer and co-executive producer Megan Amram told E! News. “And also, if there’s anyone watching the show who is maybe like, ‘I’m not that smart,’ then they can watch Jason and be like, ‘Oh, this person is way dumber than me,’ so they can feel better.”
The Good Place series finale airs Thursday, Jan. 30 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)