It wasn’t floor-dropping like the-Good-Place-is-actually-the-Bad-Place mind-blow in the season 1 finale. Or game-resetting like the do-over-on-Earth twist in the season 2 finale. But the season 3 finale of The Good Place was at least the most heart-stomping and emotional episode of the eternally crafty afterlife comedy.
Earlier in the season, Soul Squad got a second chance at life and met death again, only to later learn that the points system was flawed, which resulted in no one getting into heaven for hundreds of years, because, well, it’s hard down there. Last week, Judge Jen (Maya Rudolph) gave fat-necked, flustered architect Michael (Ted Danson) another chance/experiment to prove that humans can evolve, and in this week’s episode, he overcame considerable jitters to begin the proceedings.
Actually, he didn’t. Eleanor (Kristen Bell) had to abruptly fill in as architect and welcome two of the four new test-humans, John, a.k.a the force beyond The Gossip Toilet, who knew Tahani (Jameela Jamil) from her terrestrial life, and, yes, Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), neuroscientist ex-girlfriend of Eleanor’s current boyfriend, Chidi (William Jackson Harper). Tahani then had the epiphany: the Bad Place had not chosen the worst subjects, but the ones who would best torture her quartet. Ultimately, Chidi decided to have his memory erased — so this manpile of nerves wouldn’t foul up the experiment and doom them all the hell — but it came at a price: his memories of his deepening romance with Eleanor. Also, his memories of eating pizza with Jason (Manny Jacinto), but, don’t worry, Jason, not the memory of pizza itself.
Instead of pulling out the rug, the heartstrings were pulled: Michael gave the resolved-yet-utterly saddened couple a parting gift: a highlight reel of their endlessly rebooted lives together, titled “Some Memories You May Have Forgotten,” and they watched with leaking eyes as the footage ended with the couple dancing in the rain. Chidi assured Eleanor that although this love of theirs was cutting them like a (time)knife, it was “Jeremy Bearimy, baby,” meaning that time did not exist the same way in the afterlife, and they would wind up together again down the dotted-i road. “We found each other before hundreds of times,” assured Eleanor, “we can do it again.”
Later, Eleanor despondently demanded the answers to, well, everything from knower-of-everything Janet, because “What’s the point of love if it’s just going to disappear?” Janet consoled her by explaining of her own evolution, “The more human I become, the less things make sense, but that’s part of the fun, right?” and sharing that if she could solve the universe for her, it wouldn’t be “special,” it would just be “machinery filling its cosmic design.” Finding someone to be with is “euphoria in all of this randomness, in this pandemonium.” That triggered a memory in Eleanor from a Chidi reading assignment, the concept of Pandemonium — a.k.a. the center of hell — from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. She realized that she had to “embrace the Pandemonium and find happiness in the unique insanity of being here. Now.” And after Janet pulled her best Jason and reminded her, “I got you, dawg,” she breathed deeply, opened the door, and welcomed Chidi to this simulation of the Good Place, two lovers who now included one stranger.
Here are few questions to ponder during the long hiatus before the experiment begins again:
• Who are the two other new arrivals, and how are they designed to torture Jason and Eleanor?
• Speaking of torture, how closely will Eleanor be able to stomach watching over a clueless Chidi?
• Will she ultimately crack and have Michael show the memories video to Chidi, but not tell him specifically about Simone, so he won’t nervously screw up the experiment as feared?
• Will Janet end up running the neighborhood? (And why wasn’t she tasked with decoding the new arrivals’ files?)
• Besides Chidi’s ethics lessons, exactly how much can/will the Soul Squad interject themselves into the new arrivals’ lives and steer them toward evolution?
• Janet says she’s becoming more human. Will that be a liability as well as an asset to Team Cockroach?
• What are the ramifications of this experiment taking place in the Medium Place, and will Mindy (Maribeth Monroe) and Derek (Jason Mantzoukas) wind up altering the proceedings somehow?
• How did Simone die? That seemed awfully fortuitous for Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson). Did he intervene?
• Speaking of manner of death, the quartet died again when they were pulled into Janet’s vortex. What exactly did that look like to people on Earth?
• How will the number 322 come back to haunt us again?
• What does dog heaven look like? Can we go to there?
• Will word of Blake Bortles’ impending departure from the Jacksonville Jaguars reach Jason? (And if so, where will his allegiances fall, and what does it mean for Jake Jortles?)
• What is the 100-percent savage insult?
• Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg why Drake is always in his feelings? (And exactly how many times did they hook up?)
• Was Tahani really at Diddy’s White party?