The Goodcast Episode 5: Whenever You're Ready

Feb. 12, 2020, 8:34 p.m. | By Vivian Li, Shifra Dayak | 4 years, 2 months ago

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the final episode of the Good Cast. We're your hosts, Shifra and Vivian, and we're a little bit sad, because today, we're covering the last ever episode of NBC's The Good Place.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the final episode of the Good Cast. We're your hosts, Shifra and Vivian, and we're a little bit sad, because today, we're covering the last ever episode of NBC's The Good Place. Last night's episode, titled "Whenever You're Ready," marked the finale of the show, and it was filled with so many twists and lots of emotions. It was also an hour long, so we have extra material to unpack for all of you today. That's right! We're just going to jump right in before we get too sappy. Remember, there will be spoilers — in just a few minutes, we'll be revealing the very end of the show, so if you haven't finished watching yet, proceed with caution! 

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the final episode of the Good Cast. We're your hosts, Shifra and Vivian, and we're a little bit sad, because today, we're covering the last ever episode of NBC's The Good Place. Video courtesy of Vivian Li and Shifra Dayak.

Full Transcript:

Let's get started with a plot summary of last night's episode. It starts out with a glimpse of the seemingly perfect afterlife— Michael is learning how to play the guitar, Chidi is teaching ethics classes, historical figures like Zora Neale Hurston are entering the Good Place, and so forth. But in the first few minutes, after playing a perfect game of Madden, Jason decides he's ready to walk through the door and leave the Good Place forever. After his farewell party, Janet walks him to the door, which is in the middle of a forest. Jason is guilty because he lost the parting gift he made for Janet, but before leaving, Janet convinces him she'll never forget him, even without a gift. 

Soon after, Tahani's family arrives in the Good Place, and we witness a big redemption moment where her parents tell her and her sister, Kamilah, that they love them both. This brings Tahani peace, and she decides that her time in the Good Place is over and that she also wants to walk through the door. But at the last minute, she asks Michael if she can train to be an architect like him instead. He agrees, and she arrives at the headquarters. 

Meanwhile, Chidi and Eleanor are living good lives with their friends and family, but Eleanor starts to realize that something is a little off about Chidi and thinks that he's going to choose to leave soon. She obviously doesn't want him to leave, so she asks for Janet's help to plan a special trip for him, in an effort to get him to stick around longer. They travel to Greece, and then to Paris. While they're in Paris, Eleanor convinces Chidi to stay in the afterlife, saying she doesn't want to be abandoned like she was back on Earth. However, that evening, Eleanor reflects on a book she read and realizes that her decision is wrong. The book essentially says that the search for justification of what we do is eternal, and Eleanor realizes that she will never find a justification for making Chidi stay, so she decides to let him go. They spend their last moments together, and Chidi leaves Eleanor a calendar of himself as a gift before walking through the door. 

After Chidi leaves, Eleanor decides to go visit Mindy St. Claire in the Medium Place. While she's there, she decides her final mission before walking through the door is to convince Mindy to become a better person and go through the afterlife system. This is important because Eleanor realizes Mindy is very much like her — isolated and unhappy — and has the potential to live a much better life. Mindy agrees, so Eleanor goes to headquarters and asks Tahani to design her afterlife test. 

Meanwhile, Michael sees Judge Gen, who tells him that the Good Place council has officially disbanded because the system is so good that they're not needed anymore. In true Michael fashion, Michael freaks out at this news. In a moment of stress, he tries to walk through the door and leave the Good Place, claiming there's nothing for him to do anymore. Naturally, it doesn't work, because Michael is not a human. But Eleanor sees his stress and wants to help him out, so she comes up with an idea, which she convinces Judge Gen to go along with. They allow Michael to turn into an actual human and live a life on Earth. Then, when he dies, he'll go through the afterlife system so he can eventually make it to the Good Place, and then finally go through the door. 

Michael is elated, because he's always wanted to experience life as a human. After a tearful sendoff from Janet, he lands on Earth and has a great time doing everything he's dreamed of — getting a dog, complaining about the weather, taking guitar lessons, getting a rewards card, and saying things like "take it sleazy." Back in the Good Place, Eleanor realizes her time has come to an end, and walks through the door. And with everyone in the gang where they're meant to be, that is the end.  

I feel like the writers really tried to pack in as many celebrity cameos as possible over the last few episodes of the series, and it did feel a little forced at times, but it was still fun to spot them all. One of the notable ones on this episode was Nick Offerman, who played Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation — which, by the way, was also on NBC. He showed up for just a few seconds to teach Tahani how to become a master woodworker, but his appearance was a pretty big hit. There was also a cameo from Mary Steenburgen — I'm not sure if people know her as well, but she acted in Elf, Back to the Future, Parenthood, and a bunch of other classic movies. She was Michael's guitar teacher on Earth, which was really cute. 

In honor of this being the last episode, it's time to get a little ~deep~. Vivian, what would you say was your biggest takeaway from #1: this episode, and #2: all of The Good Place?

I think that all of the Good Place can be summed up by a caption in their latest Instagram, quoting Kristen Bell saying "Turns out #TheGoodPlace isn't one single place. It can be anywhere as long as there's friendship, love, and shrampies." I mentioned this in our last episode, but I think one of the show's greatest messages is that it's less about the end goal and more about the journey and growth along the way.

Yeah, definitely. So, I would say that my biggest takeaway from the episode was that all good things have to come to an end, which is interesting, because it's a super meta way to look at the finale. I was scrolling through Twitter after the episode, and I saw a lot of users tweeting about how Eleanor's hesitation to let her friends leave the Good Place may have represented all of us, and our hesitation to let the show go. But just like Eleanor realized that it was time to walk through the door, it's time for us to accept that the Good Place is over, as painful as that may be. And even after they leave, Eleanor has memories of everyone, which symbolizes how we can have memories of the show to keep with us. For sure. And I would say that my biggest takeaway from the show is that regardless of where they start out, people have the ability to give back and to do good. The entire premise of the series is that the four humans start out as pretty bad people in one way or another, but they all manage to pull themselves up and better their characters. And finally, they use that redemption to help other people do the same thing, which is a lesson to us all that when we have the ability or the privilege to do something, we have a duty to share that with those around us.

I think another moment that was really important in this episode was right before Chidi walked through the door. He was comforting Eleanor with some thoughts about Buddhism, and he presented this analogy of a wave, essentially saying that even after a wave builds and breaks, its water is still on the shore — the wave is just one form of being for the water. In a philosophical sense, this is about reincarnation, but I think it can also be a lesson to us that nothing ever completely changes. We can take comfort in familiarity, because even if things in our lives shift around, there's always going to be some fragment of the past for us to hold on to. 

This episode was really great, but if I could add one thing, I would have loved to see some backstories on how important characters like Jason's dad, Eleanor's mom, Tahani's parents and sister, and Chidi's ex-girlfriend Simone got into the Good Place. Obviously, one reason why those weren't included was for the sake of time, but I wish the writers had worked some context in somehow. 

That'll be the end of our final episode, analyzing the finale of The Good Place. We certainly weren't ready for the series to end, but "Whenever You're Ready" marks the conclusion of something that's ending too soon, like humans' time on Earth and then their time in the afterlife. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey this past month as we discussed the final four episodes of The Good Place. We will miss you! If you'd like to see more of us on SCO, let us know what other shows and movies you'd like us to dissect, follow us on twitter @mbhsSCO, or visit us online at Goodbye, and Take It Sleazy.

Last updated: Feb. 13, 2020, 1:07 p.m.

Vivian Li. Hi! I love all things journalism, art, and the environment. When I'm not working on an article, I enjoy browsing fashion, baking, running, and reading. I'm a huge health nut and I love researching new recipes. At Blair, I'm on the debate and DECA team … More »

Shifra Dayak. Hi, I'm Shifra! If I'm not writing articles or doing homework, I'm probably making music, browsing through dog pictures, eating Thai food, or napping. More »

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