DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place episode “Whenever You’re Ready” contains more spoilers than the number of tracksuits Jason owns. When you’re a dope dancer like Jason, you need the garb to compliment your sick moves. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, messy benches! The Good Place aired its series finale this week, marking the end of an era. Our Soul Squad took their final bow in an episode chock full of emotional beats and laughs aplenty. “Whenever You’re Ready” provided the closure I didn’t think I needed. Initially, last week’s episode felt like a finale but boy, was I wrong. There were Eater eggs scattered throughout the hour-long finale and appearances from our favorite supporting characters. Lots of tears. Loads of smiles. Perhaps a few gasps mingled in between.
Alright, ready to delve into the motherforking series finale? I don’t think you really are, but we’ll take the plunge together.
Now, we open Michael (Ted Danson) attempting to learn the guitar over a period of multiple Jeremy Bearimys. Chidi (William Jackson Harper) is teaching an afterlife ethics course. Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) are in said course as well. Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and Jason are still going strong. Next, we see Jason playing an intense football video game with his dad. And…he does it. Jason whips out a perfect game score. A wave of calm appears to wash over our favorite Jacksonville resident.
Later, Jason explains to Janet and the rest of Team Cockroach that he’s ready to walk through the door. He’s accomplished everything on his bucket list. Our crew throws a massive bon voyage party for him. Jason’s old dance crew, Dance Dance Resolution, performs a routine to raucous applause. Jason’s dad and Pillboi offer poignant parting words to Jason.
Next, Janet and Jason are seen walking through a forest hand in hand. She ushers him toward an arch comprised of woven tree branches. Then, Janet reveals he can step through the threshold whenever he’s ready. Jason plants a smooch on Janet and appears to step through the door to whatever awaits him on the other side. I’m a mess, benches. So far, this episode has turned me into the messiest of benches.
Later, more Jeremy Bearimys pass. Tahani learns how to become a master woodworker. Janet reveals that Tahani has crossed most of the items off her bucket list.
Well, except one major thing: reunite with her parents. We see several Bearimys pass wherein Tahani spends quality time with her folks and her sister Kamilah. Her parents apologize for the way they treated her on Earth. The quartet appear to be the perfect family, with amends having been made and rifts mended. All is well in Tahani’s world. Thus, a peaceful sensation overtakes our favorite celebrity name-dropper.
Then, Tahani throws a farewell bash for herself. Of course, the Soul Squad is invited. They all assume she’s planning to go through the door. Even Tahani herself is convinced of this. However, a new idea takes hold. Tahani decides she wants to become an architect like Michael. She wants to design neighborhoods for new residents.
Next, Michael brings Tahani to the architect headquarters, where she’ll serve as an intern. Prior to his departure, Michael gifts Tahani with an ornate peacock feather bow tie. You know, for when she’s officially a proper architect. I’ve loved Tahani’s character growth, and wholeheartedly believe this is the perfect ending for her.
Now, fast forward quite a few more Bearimys. Chidi and Eleanor are now a couple that goes on dinner dates with friends. Eleanor reunites with her two gal pals from Earth. We also see Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) joining them for an outing at Tahani’s new pizza restaurant. Eleanor notices a change in Chidi – he almost seems bored. As if nothing can garner his interest now.
Next, Eleanor goes into panic mode. She has Janet assist her in organizing a Chidi-centric vacation. You know, something to revitalize Chidi and reignite his passions. Eleanor whisks Chidi off to Athens, Greece. Then, the pair meander down breathtaking Parisian streets. However, Chidi sees through Eleanor’s ruse. He finally reveals that he’s ready to pass through the door.
Now, initially, Eleanor tearfully beseeches him to stay. She’s spent the majority of her life alone and, with Jason and Tahani out of the picture, she can’t fathom to do it again in the afterlife. Chidi agrees to stay, but we can tell it’s solely for Eleanor’s sake.
Later, the duo have dinner in Paris. Eleanor ponders over Chidi’s desire to leave and realizes she’s been selfish. If he’s ready to go, then it’s time for him to cross that threshold. Michael, Janet, Eleanor, and Chidi spend one last laughter-filled night together. Eleanor and Chidi watch a brilliant sunset and the latter provides sage advice. God, I gotta stop cutting onions while watching this show. Eleanor urges Chidi to say goodbye and leave before she wakes up.
Now, Chidi confidently walks through the door while Janet looks on. Suddenly, Jason reappears. As it turns out, he never went over the threshold. He had a necklace made for Janet which contained their initials and he thought he lost it in the forest.
However, it was merely in his other pocket. Jason decided to wait for his Janet to reappear at the arch so he could gift her said necklace. Now that she finally has it, he gives her a smooch and follows Chidi over the threshold.
Next, Eleanor wakes the following morning to a Bearimy calendar rife with sexy Chidi pictures. Now, I need that calendar stat, my ashholes. Chidi and Janet are standing near the arch, and the former crosses into the other side.
Later, Michael arrives at the Judge’s (Maya Rudolph) room to find his council that monitors the new system has been definitively dissolved. The Judge reveals that there’s no need for it anymore. Chidi’s new system is working. Thus, Michael feels useless.
Meanwhile, Eleanor makes a pit stop at the Medium Place to visit Mindy St. Clair (Maribeth Monroe). Eleanor reveals that she’s been spending time pouring over Chidi and anything remotely personal that could “complete” her.
Then, she realizes that perhaps her final mission is to help Mindy. She urges Mindy to take the test to see whether she qualifies for the Good Place. We see Derek (Jason Mantzoukas) appear as a hologram of sorts. Holographic Derek is what happens when one has been rebooted too many times. Mindy reluctantly agrees to take the test. We see her and Eleanor meeting with Tahani. Tahani is very close to becoming an official architect, and she’s eager to design a test for Mindy.
Later, Eleanor and Janet are seen strolling through the forest. They approach the arch. Eleanor is trying to convince herself that she’s ready to go, but she appears conflicted. Michael attempts to force himself through the threshold. However, he’s not human, so the other side isn’t for him.
Next, Janet and Eleanor surprise Michael with something he’s always longed for – a new humanity. The Judge agreed to turn Michael into a human. We see our favorite reformed demon daddy heading toward the portal to Earth. Janet has gifted him with everything he needs – a birth certificate, social security card, etc. She’s reticent to let him go, but he reminds her that he’ll be back soon – this time as a human resident of the afterlife.
Meanwhile, Eleanor and Janet wind up in front of the arch again. They bring out the margaritas and ponder over what Michael is up to on Earth. We see him living out his life as Michael Realman, and he has a dog named Jason. He also picks up guitar lessons. Fun fact: his teacher is played by his real-life wife Mary Steenburgen. All in all, Michael appears to be enjoying his new human life.
Next, Eleanor crosses the threshold into the great unknown. Not even Janet knows what lies beyond the door. We see her dissolve into sparks of light almost akin to a firefly. Several of these sparks are fluttering about through space. I like to think Eleanor, Chidi, and Jason are sparks of light that travel in tandem.
Now, we see Michael back on Earth receiving some mail from a stranger. He tells said stranger, in complete seriousness and full of love, to “take it sleazy.” It serves as the button for the episode. And what a perfect button it is.
Holy motherforking shirtballs. My chili babies, I’m afraid this is where it all ends. The Good Place just blessed us with a damn good finale, with all remaining loose ends tied neatly in a bow. This series means so much to me. At its core, The Good Place celebrates humanity. It reminds us that our life on Earth is transient. Precious, heartbreaking, and incredulously short. This show also taught us that we’re capable of great change if we’re given the chance to do so. We can grow.
Thank you, The Good Place, for four years of laughter, tears, crucial ethical lessons, and a bevy of shrimp cocktails.
Now, I leave you with these parting words: take it sleazy, my chili babies. Just forking take it sleazy.
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