Actual fact: The Good Place is one of — if not the — best shows on TV right now. It’s got the humor of the rest of Michael Schur’s comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks & Recreation, and the U.S. adaptation of The Office on which he worked as a writer). But there are also twists and turns you never see coming which is why theories about The Good Place are rampant on the internet.
This is a series that takes place primarily in an afterlife that is calculated by a points system. There are frequent conversations about ethics. And there’s a romance between an Alexa-like bot in human form and a deceased hip-hop dancer from Florida — and it’s beautiful, to be honest. Clearly, when I try to explain it, it makes no sense, but anyone who’s seen The Good Place is likely obsessed and ready to talk theories. If you’re not, go watch Seasons 1 through 3 immediately, then come back (it will probably take you like, two days maximum).
Both the problem with The Good Place and what makes it so great is that they can really go anywhere with this show. Nothing is off limits. And with the Season 3 finale finally here, there’s no doubt that this bumpy roller coaster is about to take another sharp turn. Here’s where I think they might go next:
In The End, It Doesn’t Matter If You Were Good Or Not...
This is really the philosophy of Schur, and the characters (especially Michael) have been learning this in different ways throughout the third season. After making the mind-blowing discovery that the man they thought must lead the perfect life, Doug Forcett, couldn’t even get into The Good Place, Michael realized that the system has to be flawed — how could these people who try so hard really be bad?
And that’s exactly what Schur wants you to get from watching The Good Place. “The meaning of life isn’t to be a better person today than you were yesterday, it’s to try to be,” he told IndieWire. “You can still go to sleep and say, ‘Well, I tried. I failed today...I failed a bunch of times, but I was actively trying.” In other words, it’s your intentions that matter.
...Because There Is No Good Place...
I am so into this theory. What if there is no Good Place at all? Wouldn’t that be the greatest form of torture possible — a perfection you strive to obtain that’s ultimately fruitless, but you don’t know that?
The question then becomes: Why is Michael torturing Eleanor and the gang? It seems pretty obvious that he’s come a long way since that epic The Good Place Season 1 reveal — could he really be evil underneath it all? There’s actually a fantastic explanation for that, too…
...Michael Is The One Being Tortured
When Shawn shows Michael the fake Michael (who is actually Vicky?) who he plans to have torment the gang if their experiment fails and they end up in The Bad Place, it causes Michael to shut down completely. Come to think of it, a lot of the focus has been on Michael this season. That could just be because he’s instrumental in figuring out how to get them to The Good Place… or it could be because he’s actually the one who is being tested this whole time.
Think about it: The whole journey has revolved around how Michael has changed. The others have become better people, sure, but who has gone through more than Michael? Maybe, in the end, it will be revealed that Michael has been the one undergoing a test all along, and now he’s — an angel? Or maybe this is just his own personal form of The Bad Place torture.
However things work out, you’ll know that they’ve been heading that way all along. The actor who plays Chidi, William Jackson Harper, has assured audiences that Schur and co. have an endgame for the series. And while the Season 3 finale may answer some questions, it’s much more likely that it will bring about a lot of new ones for Season 4.