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S04.E13: Whenever You're Ready

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I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughtful comments this morning. After watching the episode I felt like I really needed to get some impressions from fellow fans. It was beautiful but also made me sad, by design I guess. I really would have preferred to see everyone living happily ever after in the Good Place, which after all had been their goal for the whole run of the show up to the end. Having three of the four humans decide to leave "paradise" for the unknown just doesn't seem right. But I can see that the ending seems to have resonated with a majority of you folks, so maybe I just need to watch the last to episodes again.

The doorman and his frogs: wonderfully weird.

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I did not like the finale because I like happy endings.  It would have been better to end the show when they arrived and then everyone gets to be happy forever.  I would have liked the finale to make Michael born a baby and why couldn't the people in heaven choose to be a guardian angel or something.  I don't know. It seemed like a lot of work to finally arrive, get bored, and cease to exist. 

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Hey there, I've been lurking for the past few episodes, and I want to thank everyone for their insights. I'll be wrestling with this one for a while, especially the opening, which I just rewatched.

A couple of thoughts:

1 hour ago, Ray Adverb said:

Why were Tahani and her sister so surprised at the way their parents acted?  The entire point of the test is that it is soul purification and the people will be drastically different than their time on Earth.  Hitler, for example, could come out loving Jews.

If this weren't a sitcom, albeit a brilliantly philosophical one, I would say it was a failure of courage on Schur's part that he doesn't hit this head on. Brett as an evildoer working on himself is as far as he goes. I'm not sorry about this. I'm glad the fate of the architects of genocide was left for us to infer (or not).  Also, I am probably wrong that Schur doesn't deal with this directly; everyone here knows the finer points of the show much better than I do.

58 minutes ago, luna1122 said:

I'm fascinated, reading all these interpretations of the finale, and I find myself agreeing with EVERYone, which is weird and dichotomous. I completely understand the suicide comparisons, and yet also the explanations that it's not at all that.

Me, too.

I lost someone I loved at the end of December and had the privilege of being with him when he died. One of his favorite books was The Last Unicorn, so quotes from that book have been running through my mind for the past month: “Whatever can die is beautiful — more beautiful than a unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful creature in the world."

AND

“The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch's door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before he does something wicked. Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”

BUT ALSO

“There never is a happy ending because nothing ever ends.”

I felt a little unsatisfied by the ending, but I'm still thinking about it, which is a kind of satisfaction; I think Chidi would smile. Hats off and love to the writers, actors, and crew who brought us this show.

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3 hours ago, Chaos Theory said:

Edited to add:   Did we see Brett in the afterlife?  I missed him.   The other two made an appearance but I don’t remember seeing Brett.  

There was a moment with him on a TV screen seemingly going through one of his reviews, where he was asking if he really couldn't tell *any* woman to smile, not even if she really would look prettier that way and he was doing her a favour, heh. I'm assuming it took them a few Bearimys to get through to him.

 

2 hours ago, Eyes High said:

So yes, the comparison to suicide absolutely holds, and I found it not only nihilistic but shockingly irresponsible. If the show were stripped of the metaphysical trappings and concluded with several of the main characters deciding to blow their brains out because life was too boring and they’d had enough, there would be an enormous outcry, but instead everyone seems to be sobbing about how beautiful, lovely and moving suicide is. It’s bullshit. 

I'm really surprised that people feel like it compares (not saying anyone's wrong to feel that way, just surprised). I think there's a huge difference between blowing their brains out beacuse "life was too boring and they'd had enough" and suddenly experiencing a sensation of feeling at peace and being at one with the universe and deciding they were complete. I mean, they'd had basically infinity there. I think The Companion nailed it above - those people last week, if they'd run through right away, that would've been a suicide door. This wasn't that. It was more like -- like, think about Nirvana in buddhism. That nothingness of being complete, that's what you strive for there.

Maybe it would've helped if we got to spend at least one episode before this with them actually being happy in The Good Place, seeing them on their journeys there, but I still felt the happiness they'd had.

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3 hours ago, Wanda said:

I wonder if the system works to ensure everyone makes it to the good place or if there are still some people so corrupt they cannot be rehabilitated and the bad place, with chain saw bears included, still is in business. It certainly feels like there are but Shawn is no longer evil so who is running any bad place?

 

 

and Elinor mentioned her mother multiple times but never her father. Is he still trying to get into the good place or what?

They addressed that in a pervious episode. Yes, everyone. The really evil people will spend far longer in the bad place than the good people. But they'll all learn eventually. 

She didn't mention her father because her mother was more of a character on the show. 

I don't think the door is really like suicide although I get the comparison. Once you've lived basically forever, experienced all, learned all, and there's nothing left, you're done. You either end it or become a bored mush-brain like Patty or there's something else. It's like finishing. Or like Michael. What was he supposed to do for eternity. (One assumes Tahani would eventually enter the door too). 

Of course people on Earth do need goals to feel useful so you figure there would be a lot of people trying to become architects. Every system in the world eventually has loopholes. 

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Maybe because the idea of Heaven and Hell has never appealed to me.   I have a friend whose first wife died really young and he remarried.   Going to heaven and being told he gets to spend eternity with the woman he loves most seems like a bad place Chidi torture to me.    I always believed death was more like falling asleep and (if your soul was clean) having that very best dream of all the happiest moments in your life.    Im not sure if I am explaining it right but I felt the ending worked because it matches my concept of what death ultimately is.   

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2 hours ago, pennben said:

I truly don’t understand the comparison to suicide. Maybe it’s an age thing, or a having watched someone dying and as they gasp their last breaths telling them “it’s okay to go” thing, but comparing spending time in utter joy and then, while totally at peace, feeling at one with the universe and choosing to open that door.....that’s not at all what I think suicide is as we know it. These folks weren’t escaping anything. 

"The little girl on the plane who turned her dolls head to look at me". I strongly suspect that it is not an accident that this is reminding me of Salinger's story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." Which is a story about suicide, and also a story about Seymour giving his siblings a way to understand and come to terms with his choice, as a good Buddhist would.

I'm an atheist and don't follow any religion, but Buddhism puts a great deal of value on comfort and relieving suffering. Since we all die anyway, isn't it better to think we are simply returning to the great ocean we came from, and maybe even better if we get to choose the time of leaving before the suffering gets to be too much? In Chidi's case, while he still love's Eleanor and can enjoy the things they have built together?

 

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I'll probably be thinking this one over for awhile, and might take a full rewatch at a later date to come to any sort of conclusion haha. The end game was definitely less mind-bending than I expected or hoped for during the first few seasons, but it WAS still thought provoking and philosophical. Just from a different angle. So I find myself nodding along with almost every post and considering it from every point of view, which is pretty cool. And I definitely enjoyed watching the finale.

But I can't help but wonder why we spent so much time with the new humans/test subjects. Over half of the final season was spent on something that ultimately wasn't nearly as fun/funny/thought provoking as the rest of the series. It pushed the end game into motion, but then sped up that endgame so much that I feel somewhat cheated out of a full resolution. It might not have been AS jarring to just watch them all go through the door if we had spent more time with the characters in their newly-improved afterlife "lives" or tinkering with the formula to get it right in the end. There's that old writing advice, "show, don't tell" and unfortunately we ended up getting a lot of "telling" in the last stretch of the season.

Edited by Cornhusker12
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I went to sleep thinking about the show and woke up thinking about it. I think there could have been another season but it would simply have expanded on what we saw. I think I would have liked less of the beginning of the season, but at the end, while we are watching our group, that is what is happening in the rest of the afterlife. We don't need to see any more because we know.

I liked that Michael went to Arizona ("Dry heat") and that we did see him performing many small acts of kindness. I thought the golden sparks inspiring deeds showed that Eleanor, and people, continue to effect others with their behavior after their deaths.

I liked that Eleanor grieved for Chidi but then realized she had other people in her life--she wasn't alone--and found them and helped them.

I wish we'd seen a little more of Shawn's growth. I wonder if the Judge changes at all? I'm glad that Brett is still in there trying.

I will miss the show, but I am sure I will think of it often.

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As for Chidi, that one did feel a little off to me. And I guess it's kind of a catch-22 for someone in a relationship. If he's truly, fully at peace living this existence with Eleanor, then why would he WANT to leave? Especially knowing how painful it will be for Eleanor. And if he wants to leave that fully peaceful existence with Eleanor, then doesn't that mean something within him ISN'T at peace? He was apparently grappling with the idea of leaving for quite awhile before bringing it up to Eleanor.

Maybe I'm just too much of an OG Chidi to understand making a decision like this haha

giphy.gif

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I found this to be very sweet and heartfelt, but also very...expected?

Going into it, I fully expected that the characters would spend ages doing the things they loved, and then eventually turn themselves over to the universe. And Michael becoming human was also something I fully expected.

Not everything needs to be a surprise, of course, but I'll admit it - I miss the days when this show would throw me for a loop in the best possible way.

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6 minutes ago, Affogato said:

I went to sleep thinking about the show and woke up thinking about it. I think there could have been another season but it would simply have expanded on what we saw. I think I would have liked less of the beginning of the season, but at the end, while we are watching our group, that is what is happening in the rest of the afterlife. We don't need to see any more because we know.

 

I agree.  I think if we had gotten more of Team Cockroach enjoying The Good Place it would not have had the same impact that this episode had.  I think Jason's scene playing Madden with his dad was enough to figure out what he had been up to during all those Beremies.  The same thing with Tahani.  I didn't need to see her reconnect with Kamilah.  It was enough to realize that they had been living together going about their business as sisters.  We got to see their parents apologize and a quick montage of them making amends to their daughters.  A whole 22 minute episode of either of these would have been overkill.  

The only thing I would have liked to have seen would be Jason's mom.  

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14 minutes ago, Cornhusker12 said:

As for Chidi, that one did feel a little off to me. And I guess it's kind of a catch-22 for someone in a relationship. If he's truly, fully at peace living this existence with Eleanor, then why would he WANT to leave? Especially knowing how painful it will be for Eleanor. And if he wants to leave that fully peaceful existence with Eleanor, then doesn't that mean something within him ISN'T at peace? He was apparently grappling with the idea of leaving for quite awhile before bringing it up to Eleanor.

Maybe I'm just too much of an OG Chidi to understand making a decision like this haha

 

I thought that we saw they were with their friends and he wasn't completely involved. He was ready 'garbage books' instead of books that challenged him to think. Remember when he was afraid he would bore Eleanor? Well, now there is a chance he is losing interest in everything. He is there because he knows that being alone is something that scares Eleanor and because he loves her but there are indications that staying past his time will eventually have repercussions.

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I loved the finale! I don't think I have ever cried so much at a sitcom. Chidi's leaving is what made me cry the most; especially when he left the Jeremy Bearimy calendar for Eleanor.

To me, going through the door is a beautiful idea. As humans we are merely waves in the ocean. When we cease to be waves, we're not gone. We're just water in a different form. I love the idea that when people reach peak humanity, they can choose to return to the metaphorical ocean.

I loved that once Michael was a human, he figured out that he needed help learning to play the guitar. Plus that his human name was Michael Realman. I forget some of the lyrics he made up in The Good Place but they were hilarious. Janet saying good-bye to Michael was really nice.

I liked Tahani's quest for self-improvement and that her parents became better people and were finally able to provide love for their daughters.

I liked that for Janet kissing Jason was an 8 million way tie for the third best thing to happen with the cockroaches.

I liked Eleanor using philosophy to figure out that asking Chidi to stay was selfish.

I loved The Judge discovering podcasts.

There were so many Good Things in The Good Place. Keep it sleazy folks!

 

 

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2 hours ago, AuxArx said:

Jason’s a pretty good dancer.  Has that talent been shown before?

What did the guy name the real frog?  I didn’t catch it and didn’t have closed captioning on.

Yes, they were good. I believe that was an indication that they had been practicing for millennia, given our previous sightings.

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23 minutes ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

 

The only thing I would have liked to have seen would be Jason's mom.  

I was just going to type this! About all we know is that she died of cancer, presumably quite young. Obviously Jason’s journey is more entwined with his father, but his mother ought to have made it to the good place before Jason chose the door. (And if she didn’t, I’d hate to think that she never met her grown-up son, after only knowing him as a baby through no fault of her own.)

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If Eleanor wanting Chidi to stay for her own reasons was selfish, was Chidi wanting to leave for HIS own reasons selfish?

I liked that Mary Steenburgen showed up to teach Michael guitar. I fanwanked that they fell in love. Tho I always thought Michael might be a gay fire squid.

I liked that one of Tahani's to do list items was to finish Infinite Jest. I'd be there forever, truly, trying to finish that one.

I liked that Jason wanted Janet to miss him but was cool with her hooking up with Jason Momoa or...who was the woman he mentioned? Sweet Jason

8 minutes ago, Notwisconsin said:

hindu nirvana. no ego, no personality, no self. just bliss. That's what I saw.

Is nothingness bliss? Again, I just can't wrap my head around that one.

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I loved this.  It was really beautiful and gave me a sense of peace that I'm still feeling.

I also didn't see the door as suicide.  I don't see death as the end, just a transition to another state of being so the door was apt.  In the Good Place, people had the same identity that they had in their earthly lives, and as humans, we would get bored, so we change our level of consciousness, and turn into little sparks of light and become one with the universe.  Like the Buddhist idea of Nirvana, when the limitations of individual existence are gone and one's consciousness has expanded to include all other conscious minds.  Or as awesome as Chidi's wave speech was (and it was) I also liked Jason's: the air in my lungs felt just like the air outside of my lungs.

The Wave returns to the Ocean.  Take it sleazy, everyone

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I find it interesting in how people interpret the ending in such different ways.  I guess it depends on how you view life, death and human existence. 

For some, it’s a straight line:  you live, do what you do, then you die.  What you did during life determines how you spend eternity:  the good place or the bad place. 

For others, existence is a continuum, you live, you die, perhaps you live again (reincarnation) but your soul, essence (whatever) continues to grow and evolve until you reach a new level of existence where you become something more.  Not human, but something on a higher plane.  I’m not sure if I’m explaining that well.

Anyway, I think TGP tackles both ways of thinking.  We start with the straight line:  you live, earn your points then go to the Good or Bad place.

But, TGP seems to posit that there’s a problem with this:  Humans are not only capable of continued growth, but they need to continue growing until they reach something higher.  So, in TGP universe, the door is not suicide or an option to take when you’re bored.  Rather, it’s what you do when you’ve evolved to the next phase of existence. 

People can disagree about this, that’s the beauty of not knowing what comes next.  There is no answer that we can discover here in life.

At any rate I loved this finally, I think it ended on a beautiful note and had me tearing up at multiple times.  Between this and The Magicians I’ve been going through a lot of Kleenex.

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I thought it was pretty sad but it deliberately went for that. I suppose it was an effective emotional ending but it's not something I'd ever care to watch again. In fact, while I'd gladly re-watch the first three seasons, I don't think I'd ever watch the fourth season again.

I said this last week, but I think the story just reached a creative dead-end. And I don't mean that as a judgment of failure, either. I just think the nature of the premise dictated that the story could only go so far, and that it would eventually reach a dead end. I think they did as good a job with it as they could but while they managed to tug all the heartstrings, the concept behind it leaves me cold. 

I'm not a religious person so I don't think I will ever be able to wrap my head around the concept that after you die, you can go on to . . . die again. I don't think it quite fits in with the premise of the show at any rate. There are two competing premises here, the heaven or hell outcome or the more nihilistic or atheistic end to existence. It feels like they tried to have their cake and eat it too. Didn't work for me.

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So glad to have it confirmed that some of Chidi's students were philosophers who worked on the show. I was almost certain, and loved that touch. 

I started watching live, determined not to spoil myself and feel the emotional punch. Lasted until Jason and Janet went to the tree. I suspected Chidi would want to go before Eleanor (I guess it could have been reversed, since it was about the idea of letting someone go/staying for someone, but I thought she would be last), and couldn't bear to watch. Figured if I spoiled myself, I could.

I don't know if I can ever finish it. I'm in hospice, which at this point is a good thing. I've stopped most life-extending measures, but there is one I am going to have to stop myself (my medical team is on board) when I choose. I'll be leaving my husband of 26 years. and even though most people could not stay in a body like mine either and he understands and is supportive, I feel guilty as can be (and I am having a Red Hot Chili Peppers song played at my memorial, so I would have gone straight to the Bad Place under the old system). Maybe it would help to watch, and I love the Chidi's ocean theory, but I know it will hurt. Leaving it on the DVR for now. 

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1 hour ago, luna1122 said:

Is nothingness bliss? Again, I just can't wrap my head around that one.

I didn't get "nothingness" from what they showed us. Nothingness would have been if Eleanor walked through the door and the screen went black, like in The Sopranos. Instead, she turned into a spark of light and floated down to Earth. She became "one with the universe." Eleanor as a separate human entity no longer exists but her soul, or whatever you want to call it, does continue to exist.

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2 hours ago, Affogato said:

I wish we'd seen a little more of Shawn's growth. I wonder if the Judge changes at all? I'm glad that Brett is still in there trying.

One of my favourite moments was when he smiled at Michael after he said "I know you can't, buddy", and then caught himself smiling and looked appalled at himself.

38 minutes ago, deepfriedcake said:

I loved that. I was apprehensive during the build-up to the finale, but this last episode presented one of the most soothing and joyous takes on the afterlife that I’ve ever encountered. Which is why I’m now stunned at how many other viewers saw the end as a form of suicide. Please note, I’m not saying you’re wrong in your interpretation. I’m just amazed at how humans can all view or read the exact same thing but come to wildly different conclusions based on their own unique thought processes.

To me, though, the door was not an ending. I mean, why use a door as a symbol for the ultimate end? A door can be an exit or an entrance, but in any case, it’s the method you use to go somewhere else.

Oh, I love this way of looking at it. Very true.

And I agree - I found it a really soothing, comforting take.

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I’m just not sure how I feel about the ending...first I think it’s depressing and full of existential misery...then I think it’s beautiful and filled with existential meaning...I can’t decide how I feel....my God, I've become Chidi!  

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1 hour ago, luna1122 said:

 

Is nothingness bliss? Again, I just can't wrap my head around that one.

Rather than nothingness, think oneness. You reincarnate until you're literally one with the universe. 

To extrapolate Chidi, you are the wave AND the ocean AND the sand that the wave crashes on AND the air that makes the waves move etc. etc.

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12 minutes ago, DoubleUTeeEff said:

I didn't get "nothingness" from what they showed us. Nothingness would have been if Eleanor walked through the door and the screen went black, like in The Sopranos. Instead, she turned into a spark of light and floated down to Earth. She became "one with the universe." Eleanor as a separate human entity no longer exists but her soul, or whatever you want to call it, does continue to exist.

Is this the fundamental difference in all of our reactions, do you think? Those who believe in a soul, and those who do not? I don't, so it read as nothingness. Eleanor, as a person, ceased to exist...or she momentarily became a firefly or a white twinkle fairy light, and then was gone again. Or maybe the fairy lights continue to exist, but are they at all sentient? Aware? I don't know. Since I don't personally believe along those lines, it's not comforting or soothing to me, although becoming part of the ocean is cool! But I guess I can see how it is for those who do have that sort of belief system. 

I don't actually fear the idea of death, when the time comes, tho I want that time to be pretty far in the future at this point. I don't YEARN for some kind of afterlife or wish I believed in it. I'm at peace with my beliefs, and if I'm ultimately wrong or something, so be it. I'm just still trying to configure how all of our beliefs translate to the reactions here. I'm not sure they're simple or consistent, but not much is. 

 

 

Edited by luna1122
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1 minute ago, Irish Mermaid said:

I scared my dog with how loud I cheered and clapped at the Gardner Minshew reference. Go Cougs!

As a graduate from East Carolina University, I was also cheering for the Gardner Minshew reference.  Last week Eleanor mentioned ECU's most famous alumnus, Vince McMahon.  I love that the two dirtbags are connected to my alma mater.

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1 hour ago, luna1122 said:

I liked that Jason wanted Janet to miss him but was cool with her hooking up with Jason Momoa or...who was the woman he mentioned? Sweet Jason

 

I think it was Lara Croft.

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3 minutes ago, catsitter said:

I think it was Lara Croft.

That was it!! I kept thinking Xena Warrior Goddess, but I knew that wasn't right.

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I'm stuck on the show using the Sisyphus metaphor two weeks ago and then spending the last two episodes abruptly shifting gears to "okay and then the goal is cessation." I know it was  Michael's language -- it doesn't per se reflect the philosophy of other characters -- but ideas tend to have been voiced by the protagonists because they're intended to be meaningful to the show's overall framework. And that imagery would have lead me to expect a conclusion that in some way suggested maybe it's always a process, and that's the reward.

Someone suggested that it might have been better, or made more sense, to see Michael become truly human -- be born into the world and live a full human life. I would agree with that and even more, while it's not in my personal belief system, I would have found it totally fitting to learn that the door led back to Earth as a sort of reincarnation, the one afterlife concept the show never really addressed. Instead of becoming some flicker of inspiration, they get back to Earth and do it over again, in a new set of life circumstances, as new people, but this time do it better -- contribute more to better the world and humanity while alive. Would've presented more hope and for me felt way more in line with the show's prior messaging.

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1 hour ago, iMonrey said:

I thought it was pretty sad but it deliberately went for that. I suppose it was an effective emotional ending but it's not something I'd ever care to watch again. In fact, while I'd gladly re-watch the first three seasons, I don't think I'd ever watch the fourth season again.

Yeah when I binged the first 3 seasons to catch up, I couldn't wait for season 4.

But I feel meh about it.

The whole trying to come to some new agreement about good place and bad place thing dragged down the fun of the show.

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3 hours ago, LBS said:

My twin sister is dying of stage 4 cancer.  She has a loving husband and 3 kids under 6.  We are only 41.  Death has become a reality and not a concept for me this last year.   It scares me and and makes me sad.  This show and especially this finale made me less scared and less sad.  I can picture her up there in the Good Place and then eventually becoming a spark of hope when she is finally completely at peace.   I hope and pray that it's not for Bearimy's and Bearimy's and Bearimy's from now but life throws you for loops. 

Oh, @LBS, I am so, so sorry to hear about your sister, but I'm glad that the show has helped you feel less afraid. Anytime we can find something like that, it's a gift.

I also wanted to tell you that last night and this morning, I wasn't all satisfied with Eleanor's ending, because it seemed so ambiguous. She's a sparkle who...what? What happens once she gets Michael his preferred customer card? But as I read the line I bolded in your quote, about becoming a spark of hope, it suddenly fell into place and made it seem more right to me. Whether Eleanor sparks hope in one person or many, the very idea of hope that fuels better things makes her and all the lessons she learned live on for me somehow—and the same would go for Chidi or Jason or anyone else I've become attached to (but Eleanor and Michael are far and away my favorites, so I was most worried about their endings). 

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2 hours ago, Affogato said:

I thought that we saw they were with their friends and he wasn't completely involved. He was ready 'garbage books' instead of books that challenged him to think. Remember when he was afraid he would bore Eleanor? Well, now there is a chance he is losing interest in everything. He is there because he knows that being alone is something that scares Eleanor and because he loves her but there are indications that staying past his time will eventually have repercussions.

Oh yeah definitely agree with that interpretation, I guess my point was that if he was feeling those things then he wasn't truly at that point of full inner peace and nirvana and ready to go through the door to become one with the universe because he was so fulfilled, he was ready to go through the door because he was more or less just tired of that existence. Which maybe that counts as the same thing to some people and I could see that. But to me it just felt more sad than they probably intended, even though the struggle of two people devoted to each other trying to decide when to go through the door would be incredibly sad no matter what.

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32 minutes ago, luna1122 said:

Is this the fundamental difference in all of our reactions, do you think? Those who believe in a soul, and those who do not? I don't, so it read as nothingness. Eleanor, as a person, ceased to exist...or she momentarily became a firefly or a white twinkle fairy light, and then was gone again. Or maybe the fairy lights continue to exist, but are they at all sentient? Aware? I don't know. Since I don't personally believe along those lines, it's not comforting or soothing to me. But I guess I can see how it is for those who do have that sort of belief system. 

I think this goes to the heart of who and what makes us us. Similar to questions raised by shows like Westworld, it isn't something that can easily be quantified or defined. 

I believe the show was indicating that the characters continue to exist but in another form. I suspect there is no true consciousness/identity as we understand it, but I suppose you could infer the opposite if that little firefly of light was Eleanor, right? It is purposely left open to interpretation.

I think we can infer they continue and endure. It would appear the philosophy of the show does not allow for total destruction of the person (whether you define that as the soul or otherwise).

I do think, conscious or not, we saw Michael being watched over or affected by the universe and/or his loved ones. I think that is one source of comfort in this story. Even if there is no consciousness, that connection still remains.

3 minutes ago, whiporee said:

Only if you subscribe to a tiny definition of existence, that we are only our physical form, our current collection of memories and our most basic definition of self. 

The easy to overlook truth about this show is everyone is already dead. We got attached to the characters, and want them to live lives. That's why I always thought the show would end up being a dream or a fantasy or a reset or whatever. The show always glossed over the inherent truth that they had all died. But that is the reality of the premise.  They had already lived lives, and then gone through a series of tests to become eligible to reach the satisfaction of all their desires. They had been reunited with their loved ones; they had experienced all the things that their current form had to offer. And they reach the satisfaction of their desires, go through it for however long they want until they reach a degree of peace where they realize they have done all they need/want/choose to do in their current form. 

Assigning the rules of life to the afterlife feels completely unfair. And completely restrtictive. There is a limit to how much Starbucks you can sell in a small town. There is a limit to how many times you can have sex, a limit to how many stardust milkshakes you can have. Eventually, we want to get beyond the situation you're in That's not selfish ro suicidal; that's understanding that in our core, we are more than our stuff. We are more than our desires. We are a part of the cosmos, we are a part of the eternal, and that our ultimate closure is not to end, but to become part of everything. 

The beauty of the finale isn't committing suicide; it's the ultimate understanding that these materialistic and human desires do not, in the end, define us as beings. That we all eventually reach a point where we understand that wanting is not enough for eternity. That at some point we do get past all the stuff and reach some sort of peace. it'a not selfish or suicidal to decide it's time to end who currently are and become something else, especially in the context of the afterlife. It's the opposite of nihilism; it's the ultimate in optimism. It shows we are not only capable of evolving past our human problems -- we are capable of evolving past our essence. I had not thought a network TV show was brave enough to get there. I'm delighted to see I was wrong. 

I think this is a great analysis. I would add to the above line of thinking that I think the idea is that we reach a point of being satisfied (rather than seeing it as a limit, if that makes sense). Like being hungry and eating enough food. At some point, you take that last bite and you have no need or desire for more, not because you are tired of it but because you have reached fullness/satisfaction. Eating beyond that may still hold value or enjoyment, but you no longer need or want it. 

I think there is something really comforting about no longer needing or wanting anything, honestly. It is a satisfaction that is absolutely unattainable in life.

 

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Oh Brett, still stuck in the loop, and we never even see him in the GP. Bye Brett, you leave this show as you entered it: A one note avatar of everything the writers hate about a certain group of people, who had one brief moment of self awareness because going back to your natural state as a joke and obvious bad guy for the audience to boo at. 

Even beyond my confusing and ever evolving thoughts on the finale, the test subjects were the thing that was the least well handled this season. Towards the end of their time things seemed to be getting a little interesting, with Brett showing some remorse and Simon (our avatar of everything the writers like) showing some flaws, but then we moved into the whole "save the world" thing and it never really went anywhere. 

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14 hours ago, chaifan said:

Mostly because I want to see what Tahani would wear while painting a room or resurfacing her driveway. 

Cargo pants of course! :)

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I really loved the finale. It made me calm and happy. I'm going to have to rewatch this weekend to get every last detail. It's funny when the creator of the show either writes and directs or just writes an episode. This was the best episode in a very long time, and there have been some good ones. Mike Schur is so lovely and talented I will miss hearing him talk about the season finale once a year on the Podcast. I could listen to him forever. Thanks to him and this show, I've thought a lot about kindness and being a good person and I know a lot of fans have.

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Something that occurred to me once I finished watching the finale is that one of the themes is "What do we owe ourselves?," which is a nice complement to a show that has been asking "What do we owe each other?"

I love how William Jackson Harper played his last scenes with Kristin Bell. He showed Chidi's sadness on her behalf, along with his willingness to delay his departure, while also conveying (to me, at least) Chidi's trust that Eleanor will let him go--he doesn't feel the need to make a strenuous effort to convince her it's his time. He also played Chidi's conviction that love doesn't end, though what that means is left up in the air. It was reminiscent of the importance of love and trust in the last episode of season 3. But in this case, it's not that Chidi trusts Eleanor to look out for him, and he doesn't reassure her that they will find each other. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't leave a note to find when he "wakes up." What he needs from her is permission to move on, because that's what she owes him and what he owes himself. (I don't care for the transactional implication in the word owe, but that's the vocabulary we're given.)

This show discourages viewers to think in absolutes. In season 3, Chidi writes that there are no answers, but Eleanor is the answer. What do folks think that means in the context of the finale? Does any of it still hold?

 

 

 

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Someone asked about Michael's text messages, I paused it and he is texting someone named Bobby. Earlier in the convo Michael was enthusiastically trying to get Bobby to join him at the hardware store for a huge sale, but Bobby was like "no, I'm good," but then Bobby says "I'm at the bar. Are you here?" and Michael texts "I'm 5 min away" (reference to his earlier example of the "most human" thing to do).

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16 hours ago, BobH said:

Most unexpected thing was that they took us through the final door, and it leads back to Earth, where apparently you become the spark of inspiration for others to "do something good", the voice in the back of their head.  So Eleanor became a good deed that helped Michael Realman.

I think that was the one thing I didn't care for in this episode. I wasn't expecting to see what happened to our team after they went through the final door but when they showed the light sparks floating upward I thought that was a sweet ending then then float down to earth and apparently into random people so I didn't care for that.

I loved Chidi's wave speech but Michael was the highlight of the episode for me. I laughed watching him dance at Jason's party and trying to get through the door.  But loved that he became human and watching his time on earth, what little we got to see of it. I know he'll make it back to the Good Place and when he's ready walk through the final door.

For me this show was the best comedy series I've watched and loved in a very, very, long time. I will miss it so much.

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13 minutes ago, AD55 said:

Something that occurred to me once I finished watching the finale is that one of the themes is "What do we owe ourselves?," which is a nice complement to a show that has been asking "What do we owe each other?"

I love how William Jackson Harper played his last scenes with Kristin Bell. He showed Chidi's sadness on her behalf, along with his willingness to delay his departure, while also conveying (to me, at least) Chidi's trust that Eleanor will let him go--he doesn't feel the need to make a strenuous effort to convince her it's his time. He also played Chidi's conviction that love doesn't end, though what that means is left up in the air. It was reminiscent of the importance of love and trust in the last episode of season 3. But in this case, it's not that Chidi trusts Eleanor to look out for him, and he doesn't reassure her that they will find each other. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't leave a note to find when he "wakes up." What he needs from her is permission to move on, because that's what she owes him and what he owes himself. (I don't care for the transactional implication in the word owe, but that's the vocabulary we're given.)

This show discourages viewers to think in absolutes. In season 3, Chidi writes that there are no answers, but Eleanor is the answer. What do folks think that means in the context of the finale? Does any of it still hold?

 

 

 

It's a great question and one that I am not sure has a complete answer. I have to say that I love this show for making us think through these things. This entire thread is fascinating and I love that a comedy left us with such a rich discussion.

I think you are right that owe is a tough word, because it isn't quite right. Perhaps it is better to say: what do we give each other when we are at our best? and What do we give ourselves when we are at our best? Because it isn't a debt. It is a gift with no expectation of mutual consideration (in the legal sense). Chidi gives Eleanor time because he loves her and he doesn't want her to be alone. Eleanor gives Chidi her blessing because he wants him to be where he feels compelled to be. 

I think that love is still a huge factor here. Eleanor and their relationship IS still the answer, because it is what gets each of them to where they are supposed to be. Chidi gets there by seeing the people he loves together. Eleanor by helping the people she loves along their own journeys.

I see in the final moments of the show an assertion that love doesn't end. Or at least that that love and hope and joy and optimism remain in the universe to help the living along their own paths (in this case literally helping along someone that Eleanor herself loves). All of the "bad" gets worked out by the afterlife in its new state, which implies that ultimately the soul or the personality or whatever these characters were are susceptible to and capable of becoming good. Of becoming "perfect" whatever that means in the context of the personality. And once they are at that point, they rejoin the others to be a force of good in the world. 

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Every new beginning come from some other beginning's end.

There's life, death, afterlife.  When the afterlife ends (whenever you're ready), whatever is through the door is the next beginning.

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Like many I loved the ending... Chidi's wave analogy was picture perfect... So shout out to the budshists.... Was nick offerman playing himself?  Or a jazzed up Ron Swanson. Because I know hes got that show with Amy P.  And ppl do stuff but Ron was always so handy with wood... Jason's madden game was impossible and amazing.. I paused to look at the stats... About the aftershow... Are Chidi and Janet a thing in real life... Or I should ask is it known... Because if  it wasnt before...  Also boy is that a good looking cast... 

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