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What Is the End Game On 'The Good Place'?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 29, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 29, 2017 |

Mike Schur returned last night with another fantastic episode of The Good Place. He also expressed a very misplaced distaste for clam chowder, which the show described as “a savory latte with bugs in it” and “hot ocean milk with dead animal croutons.” How has clam chowder wronged you, Mike Schur? Clam chowder is delicious, and if that’s all they serve in hell then it is clearly where I belong.

Some feared that the second reset at the end of last week’s episode that The Good Place would end up setting the stage for a reset at the end of every episode. Schur & Co. quickly put that theory to rest, however, by resetting a thousand or so times in this episode alone in what was basically a version of Groundhog Day, only the characters had their minds wiped after each reset. Still, someone always figured out that they were in the Bad Place, and it was usually Eleanor, though on one occasion at least, it was Jason (“this is a real low point.”)

But after resetting hundreds of times, the rest of the Bad Place characters grew restless and, led by Vicki, decide to revolt. Vicki attempts to blackmail Michael by revealing to the Boss that Michael’s experiment has been a failure, unless Michael agrees to let her run the experiment. Meanwhile, Schur also saved us from two seasons of “will they or won’t they” with Eleanor and Chidi and simply let us know that, eventually, they would. They have it bad for each other.

I’m beginning to think that Eleanor and Chidi are soul mates, after all (poor Stone Cold Steve Austin, who will never know the love of Eleanor Shellstrop).

Once Eleanor and Chidi figured out the situation they were in (again), they tried to figure themselves out of it. Again. In doing so, Eleanor put to rest another theory fans have had for the show: That it’s Michael who is in the Bad Place (according to Mindy’s chart of previously attempted plans, they tried to convince Michael of that in a previous reset and it clearly did not work).

With Vicki and the rest of the Bad Place residents turning on Michael, and out of concern that he’d be thrown into the sun, Michael finally arrived at an epiphany: Instead of working against Eleanor and Co., he’d work with them. He needs a new dance crew to slash all the tires in the Bad Place.

But as satisfying and clever as this episode was, it does leave me with one really big question: What the hell is the end game here? What would it look like for Michael if the experiment had succeeded? I mean, I get that the idea is to torture Eleanor and Co. until they send one of their own to Hell, but then what? The rest of them remain in the Bad Good Place wracked with guilt?

And now that Michael is working with Eleanor, what’s the end game? To turn on Vicki? To overthrow the Boss? I mean, they’re in the Bad Place. That seems pretty inescapable? Is there a scenario in which they “win” and are elevated to the real Good Place? Or are they somehow brought back to life? Is Eleanor in a coma a la Life on Mars, and is this all a dream? What’s the point of The Good Place? Or does it not even matter? And how many seasons could this show possibly go on? Eventually, it has to find a place where it can comfortably maintain itself on a weekly basis, right?

Or maybe not. And that’s the lesson we have learned, so far from The Good Place: Never doubt Mike Schur.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.