It is difficult to sum up a multi season TV series. NBC’s The Good Place has the following (cheesy) synopsis on IMDB:
Four people and their otherworldly frienemy struggle in the afterlife to define what it means to be good.– IMDB
Here is my take:
The Good Place was a brilliantly made show which tried to answer complex ethical questions about how to do the morally right thing. It also tried to illustrate how muddy the concept of good and bad is in our world for most people. The show followed six characters’ (Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi, Jason, Janet & Micheal) transformation into better versions of themselves.
Also, The Good Place was about Death.
The first scene of the show was Micheal welcoming Eleanor into The Good Place. In the last episode, Eleanor welcomed Micheal to live like a human. This entire conversation between Micheal & Eleanor is poignant:
Eleanor: You won’t really know what is going to happen to you.
Micheal: That is what makes it special. I won’t exactly know what is going to happen after I die. Nothing more human than that.
It is hard to talk about the series finale without mentioning the penultimate episode. When the characters are finally into The Good Place they discover it was not what it seemed. The episode featured a rendition of ancient Greek philosopher Hypatia, who revealed that everyone in the Good Place has become a “happiness zombie”; an eternity of perfection leads to boredom.
Too much of anything is bad.
So the concept of an end to existence is introduced. Characters who have been in The Good Place can choose to end their own existence. Not out of circumstances, or age but by choice. The souls themselves can decide when they are satisfied with everything they have done.
They can decide when to not just be.
I always want to know what happens after the end of the movie/books/TV show. The series finale gave me those answers. It was immensely satisfying to have answers for my curiosity.
And what answers they are.
I got to see them happy. I got to see them retired and fulfilling their desires. I got to see them make amends with their family. No more obstacles, no more world shattering news or villains. The characters lived.
I was ecstatic as I watched Tahani, Chidi, Jason and Eleanor just be themselves. Jason mastered every video game. Tahani mastered everything she wanted to do and also reconciled with her family. Chidi finished every book and ended up picking up Dan Brown’s books. Eleanor got to help the few people who needed help.
I enjoyed all four seasons of this show. I liked their banter, I liked how light this show was with such a cumbersome theme. I enjoyed the showrunners referencing real life scenarios. I loved how the show reiterated the same message over and over again: everyone can be redeemed.
However, I believe the series finale was special. I watched the fifty minute emotional & tear-jerking farewell episode in awe. It was reassuring about the biggest fears in our lives: death. It was courageous as it asked us to live our lives morally despite those fears. I will be re-watching the show years from now just to watch this finale again.
Until then, take it sleazy.