The Final Chapter - Whenever You're Ready
Season 4, Episode 13
January 30, 2020
Man, there are a lot of callbacks and references in this episode. Michael recording "attempt #803" was a silly fakeout, and his song lyrics go back to season one.
Doug Forcett replaced on Michael's wall with the four humans is a nice touch. So is having a few of the philosophy consultants for the show in Chidi's class.
Jeff the Doorman is much busier in the new system. Good running bit with him and the frogs in this episode. And there's a niednagel down below the bridge.
I see that they did eventually track down the Good Place Committee and one of them is Joint Council, but didn't get any dialogue.
Jason's story first. His goals to satisfaction were always the simplest. Perfection in his video game, reuniting his dance group and spending time with his friends. And we get young Doug Forcett, Donkey Doug and Pillboi.
Tahani had a lot more goals, but reached them eventually, while waiting to fulfill the most important goals with her family relationships. And then she finds something else to do. Plus we get quick bits with John, Brent, Trevor, Glenn and even Beadie, the Good Place architect who did Mindy's welcome video. Michael giving her his original bowtie and planning to brag about knowing her was the first time I teared up this episode.
Next is Chidi's passage. A few more returnees, with Simone and some of Eleanor and Chidi's Earth friends. This is quite a journey, especially the way it uses some different filming techniques to the standard for the show. Listen to the podcast for a detailed discussion about the long shot following Eleanor from their house to Michael's office and back, including how they got Janet to appear without the usual cut or effects. Then a trip to Europe for some location filming. I have to skip the final Chidi/Eleanor goodbye most times because it breaks my heart.
Chidi's final scene with Janet is a nice coda, with the way he's immediately able to say he's ready. And bringing Jason back at this point is a masterstroke. It brings some needed levity to the story after some heavy stuff. "Kind of like a monk." "What do you mean?"
And then Eleanor tying up her loose ends. First with Mindy, which also gives us Maximum Maximum Derek, and provides a nice final look at Tahani and Shawn. Finally figuring out what Michael needs. Janet's farewell scene with Michael is a nice endcap to their story, going back to the classic "the reason is friends" scene years ago. And then Janet and Eleanor at the final door, with the scenes of Michael on Earth, appropriately ending with his guitar teacher Mary. And through the door...
Which leads back to Earth, and however you want to interpret the floating lights. A final goofy joke with Michael's human name, "Michael Realman", and a callback to season one and his joy at getting a rewards card, and the final line:
"I'll say this to you, my friend, with all the love in my heart and all the wisdom of the universe. Take it sleazy."
And the podcast is an appropriately long two-part three hour talk with Marc Evan Jackson (he played Shawn) talking with creator/writer/director Mike Schur and producer Drew Goddard. Fascinating stuff, especially on some of the things they took out of the episode or changed late in the production.
And that's the series, until the next of probably many rewatches in the future.