Endings are hard.
That’s not meant to be an excuse, but simply a fact of storytelling. The closer your story is to the ending, it means there will naturally be fewer discoveries, and fewer opportunities to surprise, because answers have to be provided, and those answers have to make at least some sense, which means they have to line up reasonably well with what’s come before.
It may also explain why this week’s episode of The Good Place (titled Mondays, Am I Right?) was more straightforward and, to be honest, surprisingly low stakes, and while those traits could make this episode feel somewhat irrelevant, I suspect that within the full framework of the season, it will end up feeling like a necessary pivot.
By giving Michael one last worry - not about being caught or failing or being tortured, but of, specifically, what his place is in the universe now that his work is almost done - this shift in attitude, from being so goal and task-oriented to… well, whatever comes next, is also one that we, the audience, are going to have to make. The journey is coming to an end. Michael has to come to grips with that, and so do we.
With the group seemingly heading now to the real Good Place (which we have yet to see), this may be the last time we get to really see some elements of the neighborhood, or the Bad Place offices, but they did, at least, leave us with a few hidden jokes before we went…
Okay, so this first one wasn’t hidden, but I still appreciated it: Demon Megan’s first couple attempts to “test” Tahani were, well, let’s say more classic Bad Place. But to be fair, she did take Michael’s note to make the problem “smaller, and more relatable.”
Even in The Bad Place, there are places you can’t vape. Man, things really are changing.
While Eleanor, Chidi, and Jason work to decide on their first test subjects, Jason rattled off a number of subjects he thought would be suitable, and later, on the board, we can half-see some of his other options: Gleek from The Super Friends, and (maybe) Squirtle?
Inside the Architect’s Studio
Vicky, now successfully installed as the official director of the project (although she never got to have her West Side Story dance fight with Michael), has very appropriately branded her orientation material in full Inside The Actor’s Studio font, just to make sure you appreciate her as an artist.
That’s a Wrap on The Magic Panda!
The Magic Panda (who, as far as I can remember, only Jason has ever actually referenced) makes one final appearance, showing up for orientation.
And that’s it! Turns out, the episode was a little light on hidden gags, too.
But that all changes next week.
Because next week, we finally get to The Good Place.
See you then!
Header Image Source: NBC