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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Powers Stengel

Good Place, Bad Ending: Series Finale Effs the Ineffable


Spoilers For: I explore many of the show's ultimate finale failures here. #sorrynotsorry

“Damn it Janet. What the fork? I should be ready, but I’m not.”

Crossing the threshold to the unknowable beyond.

Letting go of all ties, all fantasies, all limitless possibilities.

Rad, soulful fodder for meditation--not top content for comedy.

When it comes to ending a story, why do we feel the urge to have the answer to every question? Why must we demystify the mystery of continuing consciousness?

When you choose to over-explain the unexplainable, the ineffable, well, you're probably going to get effed.

In "Whenever You're Ready" The Good Place's struggling, infuriating, and often insufferably slow fifty-three minute finale, I squirmed in my seat. I found myself irritated by the story's desperate grasp to be all-knowing, perfect, and complete. I was not at all satiated by the supposed end of each character's curiosity and bliss, and I felt patronized by the finale's Hallmarkian pseudo-tensions, and over-explanatory farewell-humping "goodbye sweetie" structure. Eleanor and Michael aren't ready to cross the set's basic forest archway threshold to the beyond, and clearly, nor are The Good Place Writers. Y'all. Hurry the transcendental fork up!

Even after Eleanor, Michael, Tahani, Chidi, Janet, and Jason save the world in a silly good court case led by the dishonorably delicious cosmic judge Maya Rudolph, we stay to watch as our heroic ensemble reap the eternal reward. WE LITERALLY WATCH THEM GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT AND GROW BORED OF THEIR HAPPINESS BEFORE OUR VERY EYES--all in 1.5 to 2ish episodes.

Image Source: Cheat Sheet

The Demon Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson) and Bad Janet (D'Arcy Carden) had their balls cut good.

All the team's formidable Bad Place foes lost in court. Thereafter we learn that peace and easiness reign. All rules of balance are upheld. Cool. Cool. Cool. But why are we still rolling camera? What the hell is this--The Return of the King? Why am I watching an eternal happily ever after? Don't they know the rule that all comedies end at the wedding?

"Whenever You're Ready" is happily-ever-after gone sour with the weight of the infinite. We watch each character choose to MOVE ON. Whatever that means.

Does them deciding to move on mean we get to watch all the cool shit they did to get them to this peak moment of unfathomable, final bliss?

No. NO COOL IMMORTAL EXISTENCE SHIRT FOR YOU, GOOD AUDIENCE! They gipped us of all the highs and then they threw us in to the philosophical deep end. Enjoy. WAAA.

Well, when you know you're ready to move on, you just know right?

Well . . . not exactly. In one of the episode's many pre-arch-crossing-funereal-champagne-farewell parties, Tahani goes from waxing poetic on her total peace to the sudden realization that she is destined to continue her eternal existence and become a great architect of the universe. Mmmkay.

Does moving on get explained? Like is it infinite energy or some shit? Can we get some more on that?


Are we expected to care about moving on?


Do Eleanor and Chidi go together?

No. We have to watch them break up when he moves on first. Fun. Not.

Is it funny?

Hell in a hand basket archway NO.

Why are you so angry, Susannah?


They don’t earn it.

They make us give up on and let go of their characters when we see how seemingly shallow their interest is in exploring the infinite.

The complex concepts they rush to integrate as finishing plot glue are rushed and sloppy, and yet, introduced in a hackneyed bye-for-now-one-at-a-time death format that drags on and on and on.

In the end, I begged it to be over.

To quote my partner as he watched Eleanor smile-cry as she flipped thru a Jeremy Beremy calendar of sexy Chidis:

"I don’t understand what heartstring they’re trying to pull."

Despite my salt and dismay about its fatal, fishy finale, I loved most of the first 50 episodes of The Good Place. I loved the infinite Dereks, and the moral hijinks galore. Mostly, I loved the demonic and fully loving humanity of its stunning ensemble. That final script was a chunky turd, though. Alas.

The Lesson of Televised Eternal Moral Ascension: Don't tell me it's possible to get bored of all my dreams coming true. It will make me sick.

Signature Sting Rating for "Whenever You're Ready"

1/5 tentacles

Image Sources:

NBC Entertainment Twitter Page

How else did The Good Place eff the ineffable? Fight me or back me. Re-mystify what I call hackneyed. I dare you.

Philosophize my ass in the comments below.


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