I should just be grateful for what we have, but I was completely underwhelmed by this one. More than any other in the series, and it's left me nervous about the end. Nearly everything in it seemed recycled, and what wasn't recycled felt rushed. Like they were speeding towards Golden Corral or something -- I get that you're in a hurry, but for this? MEJ acting like Fonzie, Vicky being Vicky again, Jason not being quite as dumb as he seems (I mean, we're on five or six times with that now) ... it all just felt lackluster. A lot of P&R shows felt that way to me -- heck, almost the entire Office run felt that way to me -- but with so much to do and so little time to do it, just none of it worked for me.
Also, the inconsistencies are really starting to show. Someone above was thankful Tahani passed her test, but she didn't. After all these lifetimes and all her "growth," she still couldn't think of a sincere nice thing to say about her sister. Eleanor still has trouble thinking past both herself and her past. Michael is still manipulative, and to be honest ---
Okay, on one of the last episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (after Barney was gone and they were in color and pretty awful), a bad guy is getting away and Andy takes someone's gun and shoots at the car. The entire premise of the show was the opposite of that -- he was literally The Sheriff Who Didn't Carry a Gun. He had never drawn a pistol in any episode before that one. And in this stupid little scene, they threw away the show's bible because they just wanted to be done.
That's how Michael telling Janet to shut up (and her just taking it) felt to me. Not in character, not in line with anything we know about either of them. But along those same lines, Michael just turning the project over to Vicky also felt out of place. As, honestly did his antagonism towards her. He's never been an aggressive character, and here he was, being a lot of things he's not.* Drawing his pistol to shoot the bad guy driving away.
So this leads me to three possibilities. The first -- and the one that follows the path they are on -- is the Good Place is going to be lackluster, and boring, and there will be something about the struggles of every day life that make the living worthwhile. Maybe something like Michael's version is better because there is something to care about, and in the real Good Place there isn't. This would be a severe attack on a lot of mainstream religion, and I'm not sure Mike (or NBC) really want that kind of fight.
The second is we're at holy Mother Forking Shirtballs Part II, in which all of this has been Michael's evil plan, and that explains a lot of his reactions because he developed some degree of compassion for the four of them and he knows what is about to happen. That would be a very long con, but if you're immortal ...
The third is that we're in Newhart/ St. Elsewhere territory, where it all will have been some sort of dream of Eleanor's, so as she's getting closer to waking up things don't have to make sense. Time and coincidence often run together at the end of a dream, that this has all been about the reclamation of the soul of Eleanor Shellstrop. I'd be okay with that because I think there are lots of clues along the way, but I don't know how from a storytelling point you deal with the other POVs that have been included.
I have loved this show. I'll miss it. It's made me feel good and think a whole bunch of times. But so far I've been let down by the way they're wrapping it up. Now, it's their story and they are allowed to tell it however they want, and not usually one to criticize. But I hope they do better than this episode showed, and I hope they've just been saving up for the end. Because to me at least, to do anything less would take away from the overall thing they've created. It doesn't wipe it away, but a simplistic solution to everything they've been asking would certainly diminish it.