NBC’s darling freshman comedy had it’s season finale last week and true to form, both episodes were full of twists and turns and intrigue that lead to a very shocking ending. The story reached a very cool and satisfying place but it also left me wanting so many more seasons (cough cough @NBC, renew @nbcthegoodplace already!!!)
If you haven’t seen the one hour finale yet, GO AWAY! Seriously, I love you and thank you for wanting to read this, but it’ll be full of spoilers; so seriously, GTFO! If you have seen them, then you’re cool, you can keep reading for recaps of both Chapter 12 & Chapter 13.
Chapter 12 – Mindy St Clair
Eleanor, Janet & Jason arrive in The Medium Place where Mindy has been living alone since the 80′s. Like any normal woman who is going to be alone forever, she spends a lot of time naked and that’s how they find her.
Mindy shows them her intro video, where Trevor & a woman who isn’t Michael (this seemed weird to me but I ignored it, guess it was a clue!) explain that they fought over her and came to this neutral zone compromise, in which she has some of her favourite things, slightly adjusted to be annoying.
Eleanor tries to adjust to life in this place while Janet & Jason go off for hours and try to figure out how to have sex. It would seem the mechanics of the situation are very hard, given that Janet is not an actual woman. We gotta give the lovebirds credit though, they really give it the old college try.
Back in The Good Place, Sean is hearing the gang’s arguments on Eleanor’s case but they’re having a hard time being non-emotional and he keeps retreating back into his cocoon.
After reviewing the hard facts, including Eleanor’s actions on earth, and hearing from Bad Janet, Sean rules that Fake Eleanor belongs in The Bad Place. He also rules on Jason’s case, based solely on the fact that he was from Florida (hehehe).
Sean uses Janet as a speaker and announces that Eleanor & Jason must go back to The Good Place and face punishment, unless they want Tahani & Chidi to be sent to eternal torture in their place.
In the end, Eleanor convinces Jason that they should go back because their soulmates are good people who don’t deserve eternal pain. However, because nothing goes the way it’s supposed to, they get back home too late and Sean decides that their new punishment is that the four of them have to choose which 2 to sacrifice.
We also get some more insight into Eleanor’s life. Her parents were both terrible and she had to fend for herself a lot of the time. In one instance, they forget her birthday and happily sign her emancipation papers. This doesn’t excuse her crappy behaviour (and she says as much) but helps explain why she’s always so set on not needing anyone or letting anyone in.
Chapter 13 – Michael’s Gambit
Okay y’all, this is where shit starts to get really real. Michael and Sean retreat to the bedroom while Eleanor, Chidi, Jason & Tahani deliberate on who should be sent away.
We start getting flashbacks to Michael’s life. We didn’t know anything about him until now, but we finally get to see what it’s like to be an architect in the afterlife. To be honest, it’s a little bleak, they all sit in the darkness and do their work. This random dude tells Michael that it’s time to design his own neighbourhood.
Because he’s an over achiever, Michael comes up with this whole high concept universe AND THAT’S WHERE WE COME IN!!!
Before we get to that though, let’s discuss the musical chairs of torture that the group goes through. First, Eleanor volunteers herself and Jason. Then Tahani volunteers to go with Chidi, reasoning that they love each other so they can withstand the torture. Later, Real Eleanor comes in and volunteers to go back, because Chidi doesn’t love her and she doesn’t want to be alone and miserable in heaven.
Basically, they’re all arguing and talking and trying to prove why they should or shouldn’t go to The Bad Place when Eleanor works something out.
THEY ARE IN THE BAD PLACE!!!
That’s what Michael’s high concept neighbourhood was all about! He chose these 4 people specifically so they could torture each other. He wanted, for once, to not have monsters and fireballs do the dirty work, but other actual humans.
Eleanor figured it all out because she realized, as they were all yelling at each other, that every situation they’ve ever been in has been uncomfortable for at least one of them.
Michael turns evil and gets super mad at her for ruining the joke. He comes clean though, revealing that everyone was an actor except for Tahani, Chidi, Jason and Eleanor herself. They weren’t supposed to become friendly and care about each other. Tahani actually belongs in the bad place because her charitable endeavours were all for selfish reasons. Chidi has to be punished because his indecisiveness made everyone in his life miserable. And we know all about Jason & Eleanor’s trash behaviour.
Because they did, Michael simply decides to wipe their memories and start over again, making new adjustments to their arrangements that would make it harder for them to become friends and understand what’s being done to them. Eleanor quickly scrolls a note for herself on the first page of one of her ethics books and feeds it to Janet, who then gives it back to her when she is rebooted, to her confusion.
Hopefully the show gets renewed soon and we get to witness how everything is to go down in season 2, with no one remembering anything and some new characters (like Eleanor’s New Jersey mailman soulmate), there’s bound to be interesting new situations and drama. It would also be fascinating to see if the same relationships and friendships form in this different setup.
Hats off the Michael Shur and everyone in The Good Place writers room – this show had a stellar concept with perfect execution and those are so rare, it should be celebrated forever.