Closer To The Edge: Our Favourite Episodes of The Good Place

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***SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALL SERIES OF THE GOOD PLACE***

After four forking amazing series following the lives of Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason, the Good Place has finally come to an end. With so many trials and tribulations, Team Cockroach has filled all 53 episodes with fun and philosophy – allowing the audience to learn alongside them. The Edge looks back on all of the best bits and their favourite episodes:

Everything is Fine – Series 1, Episode 1

We have to start with the pilot, which set up one of the show’s many ingenious concepts: Heaven and Hell do exist, kind of. A complicated points system determines who goes where – or so we’re told. Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), one of the good people, gets to enjoy an afterlife of eternal joy and freedom. Except she doesn’t think she’s meant to be there – everything she’s just been told about her life by Good Place Architect Michael (Ted Danson) is someone else’s biography. The Good Place has seen plenty of twists and turns over its four seasons. Watching the show back, it’s so satisfying to see how many of these narrative developments were planted from the very start. The later revelations that the Good Place is actually a version of the Bad Place, that Michael’s in on the ruse, and that all of our main characters – not just Eleanor – are ‘bad’ people, can be picked up from little clues in this first episode. The Good Place makes for an extremely rewarding rewatch for this very reason. After all these years, it’s cute to go back and see Eleanor and Chidi’s (William Jackson Harper) original meeting. If only they knew what was in store…

– Joe Williams

Michael’s Gambit – Series 1, Episode 13

The final episode of Series 1 presents perhaps the largest plot twist in the entire show, and one that was wonderfully kept hidden from audiences until the moment it was revealed. The culmination of the actions from the entire series are on display here, from the escape to Mindy’s in the Medium Place, to the romance between Jason and Janet, and “Real” Eleanor accidentally being sent to the Bad Place, each element is suddenly presented to be second-guessed about the world. It took all of us to figure it out, but Kristen Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop was able to pull on the thread and reveal the truth about Neighborhood 12358W: This is the Bad Place. This is the episode that changes everything, changes how we look at the afterlife. How we look at the inhabitants that we have come to tolorate and get to know in its 13 episodes. Even Michael is no longer what he appears to be; rather than an architect, Michael is instead one of the demons from the Bad Place, setting this whole situation up as a way to re-invent afterlife torture.

It took us a while to figure it out, but now we have been blessed to receive such an impactful plot twist, in a show we just thought was a comedy about the afterlife.

– Louise Chase

Team Cockroach – Series 2, Episode 3

Coming in at Episode 3 of Season 2, ‘Team Cockroach’ could be seen as relatively unassuming, its stripped back plot being worlds away from many absurdities explored in Season 1. However, this episode is a much welcome recharge: taking place almost entirely in Eleanor’s house, the characters are let loose to shine in all of their comedic glory, Tahani dropping names left right and centre and Jason continuing to not understand anything that occurs around him. Kristen Bell embodies the cliche of ‘I couldn’t imagine anyone else being this part!’, Eleanor’s selfishness tested to the max in possibly the toughest moral quandary the team has faced yet: can Michael truly be trusted to help our humans escape their afterlife?

Sure, it’s easy to say that other episodes are more standout or that simply more things happen. However, Team Cockroach holds a special place in my heart as a centrepiece for what The Good Place is now: where would the show be without the team? While audiences may not recognise it upon their first viewing, it is this episode that sets up all the episodes to come and the even more philosophically messy journey ahead. In an afterlife where literally anything is possible, this episode perfectly sums up the allure of the show as a hilarious yet poignant moral clusterfork.

– Lucy Maggs

Janet(s) – Series 3, Episode 10

Having been cornered on Earth by Shawn and the other Bad Place demons, Janet takes Michael and the rest of the Soul Squad into her void, where Michael intends to learn more about what is wrong with the afterlife’s points system. There’s one problem: humans can’t survive in Janet’s void, and so Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason have all turned into Janets.

D’Arcy Carden is the only member of the main cast (except Ted Danson) onscreen for most of the episode and does a fantastic job here. Carden’s performance as the other humans is wonderful, with her impersonation of Manny Jacinto as Jason, in particular, is especially great. And while the early scenes of the humans-as-Janet trying to wrap their heads around everything are hilarious, it ultimately gives way to some beautiful and heartfelt material as the situation finally gets Chidi to open up to Eleanor about his feelings for her.

Meanwhile, Janet and Michael head off to the accounting department, led by Stephen Merchant, to learn more about the broken points system. The idea that there are accountants who look at a specific part of human behaviour, from use of currency to weird sex things (poor Matt!), and determine the positive and negative worth of each action is wonderfully inventive, and it sets up the horrifying revelation that no human has made it into the Good Place for over 500 years. This paves the way for a triumphant ending where Michael decides the accountants aren’t going to be of any help, and thus decides to fix the problem himself, leading the Soul Squad into the actual Good Place. It’s the perfect conclusion to this wonderful and creative episode.

– Christian Wise

Whenever You’re Ready – Series 4 (series finale)

Although many fans found themselves content with The Good Place’s penultimate episode, the hour-long finale was exactly what we needed to say goodbye to the characters we love.  Looking at the lives Tahani, Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, Janet and Michael were leading in the Good Place, as they one by one decide to move on into the unknown.  It’s a joy to see what fulfilment looks like for each character, and to reflect on how they developed from when we first met them.  The most emotional, in the end, is Michael, who is allowed to become human and experience life, and the afterlife, in the way he’s always dreamed of (I don’t want to write about how he called his dog Jason or I will start crying again).  It was bittersweet to bid farewell to some of the best characters in comedy, but joyous to see them all have the ending they deserved.  It’s for this reason that The Good Place will be a timeless comedy, that will never lose its charm.

– Vicky Greer

All episodes of The Good Place are available to watch on Netflix now. 

 

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Second-year archaeology & history student and Culture Editor 2019/20. Loves archery and Assassin's Creed, and still hoping to one day find the doorway to Narnia.

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Film Editor 2019/20. Enjoys classic Simpsons, R.E.M. and the MCU.

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