‘The Good Place’ Season Three Finale is a Tear-Jerker

The Good Place season 3 finale ‘Pandemonium’ picks up right where ‘Chidi Sees the Time Knife’ left off. After realizing that no one had gotten into the Good Place for hundreds of years, Michael set up a meeting with the (always amazing) Judge in IHOP (Inter-dimensional Hole of Pancakes). He tried to convince her that it is the modern day world keeping people out of the Good Place. The Judge visited earth, and seeing how crazy things were, allowed Michael to build another fake Good Place and get a new crop of humans. He promised to show that people are able to change and do good outside of the modern real world. But when the first human arrived, the enormity of the stakes truly hit Michael. If they failed, it would doom humans for eternity.

Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tries to comfort Michael (Ted Danson). Image courtesy NBC.com

‘Pandemonium’ opens with Michael hiding in his office in full panic mode. He refuses to open the door for the new arrival. After Eleanor tries and fails to calm him down, she welcomes the new arrival herself. She poses as The Architect and manages to bluff her way through the welcome.  The new arrival is John, an entertainment blogger. Eleanor, Michael, and Janet help him get acclimated to the place and leave him to relax. So far so good. However, when Tahani meets him, we find there is a hitch in the plan.

John’s blog often targeted Tahani for his takedowns on earth. Tahani is upset and knows this could not have been a coincidence. The Soul Squad quickly realizes that Shawn, the delightfully mean manager of Hell, has gamed the system. He chose four subjects who would create chaos and damage their ability to pull off the experiment. Before they can complain to the Judge, Chidi’s ex-girlfriend Simone arrives. Then they call the Judge who says it was sneaky of Shawn, though admits it wasn’t technically against the rules. As a compromise, she allows them to wipe Simone’s memory of life on earth and tells Shawn to knock it off.

This seems to be a workable solution, until Chidi confesses that he won’t be able to go along with the plan.  Chidi is many things, but smooth is not one of them. He knows that he will eventually slip and indicate that he knows her, and it will ruin the entire operation. Since Chidi doesn’t want to be the cause of humanity’s eternal ruination, he asks to have his memory wiped as well. This is devastating, because Chidi will forget Eleanor just as they have found love together. Michael makes a tear jerker of a slide show as a send off for the two of them. The episode ends with Eleanor welcoming a re-set Chidi to The Good Place.

Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper). Image courtesy NBC.com

This ending sets up a few interesting dynamics for season 4. We are back in a fake Good Place like in season 1, but everything else is different. Instead of trying to save themselves, the Soul Squad is trying to save humanity. Eleanor has taken on the role of The Architect, so she will grow into herself even more.  John the entertainment blogger will provide a new foil for Tahani now that the Kamilah issues are mostly resolved. This will be a great opportunity for more Jameela Jamil comedic brilliance. Also, there is a will-they-won’t-they romantic relationship at the center of the plot. The romantic entanglements have always been secondary in The Good Place. But now with Chidi’s memory erased and his lovely ex-girlfriend Simone around it raises the question – which ex-girlfriend will he fall for this go around? Eleanor, or Simone?  

The love triangle is the only element I am a little wary of. One of my favorite aspects of Mike Schur shows (Brooklyn 99, Parks and Recreation) is that they aren’t afraid to get couples together. Hollywood decided sometime in the 80’s that getting a couple together ruins a show by draining it of all tension. The result has been show after show with a make up to break up cycle complete with constant manufactured drama. I find it tiresome and cliche. But Jake/Amy, and Ben/Leslie showed that you can have a couple get together and it can make the show better.  Opening up that option allows writers to follow the story rather than look for contrived obstacles. Also, I don’t want to see Eleanor or the viewers pitted against Simone. The show has dealt with this well in past episodes but it can be a tough balance to strike.

The best news is that The Good Place has been renewed for a season 4, so we will get to see the Soul Squad work it out sometime later in 2019.  Until then, enjoy this novelty song about The Good Place posted this week by @songadaymann on Twitter. You’ll have “Ya basic, here’s a cactus” stuck in your head until season 4 returns.

 

Rebekah

Rebekah Rodriguez-Lynn is a Chicana writer, activist, and geek. Her lesbian fiction short story Holding Out for a Hero was included in the anthology Fandom to Fantasy. Her work has also appeared in The Establishment, The Huffington Post, and The Geeky Girls' Guide to Life. When not at work, Rebekah can be found at nerd conventions or on her couch rewatching Buffy. Rebekah lives in Southern California with her son and her rescue pups Cordelia Chase and Sammy Winchester. Find her work at rebekahrodriguezlynn.com, and on twitter @rmaxlynn.

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