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The Good Place - Mindy St. Claire and Michael's Gambit (Season Finale) - Review: "What The Fork Is A Chidi?"




In the two part season finale, Eleanor, Jason/Jianyu and Janet make it to The Medium Place and meet Mindy St. Claire, who was a terrible person on earth but then had an epiphany and withdrew all her money to give to charity. She then died before she could give away the money, but her sister found her plans and started the charity with her money, begging the question: should Mindy get those good morality points? Meanwhile, Sean questions the rest of the gang and, using Janet as a loud speaker, tells Eleanor that he will send Chidi and Tahani to The Bad Place if she does not return to face her judgement. Eleanor realizes she needs to sacrifice herself to save her friends and returns with Jason/Jianyu and Janet. Upon arrival, Sean announces that he is owed 2 people to go to The Bad Place and has Eleanor, Jason/Jianyu, Tahani, & Chidi decide which 2 of the 4 of them are going to go. While they are all arguing, Eleanor realizes that they are actually in The Bad Place because it’s a world of their anxieties and they have been driving each other crazy since day 1. Michael owns up to this and explains that it was his master plan to come up with a more creative way to make people miserable in the afterlife. In the end, Michael decides to wipe everyone’s memories and start over with a few changes, but Eleanor manages to slip Janet a note that says “Eleanor - Find Chidi,” which Janet gives to Eleanor when she arrives in The Good Place for the second time.

Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. That twist was absolutely incredible. I think the reason it worked so well is that not only was it shocking, but also because the writers used flashbacks dating back to the beginning of the season to show exact moments that this was all a hoax and, unlike some other shows, *cough* Gossip Girl *cough*, everything lined up and made perfect sense. Even more, the fact that they were able to take Tahani and Chidi’s "time on earth" flashbacks, which made me feel as though they were worthy of being in The Good Place when I was first watching them, and use them as believable reasons why they ended up in The Bad Place is crazy difficult and impressive. And here I was wondering week after week in my reviews whether Eleanor would stay in The Good Place when in actuality, she was never there to begin with! This twist gives us so many more compelling questions and an awesome direction should the show be picked up for another season. I personally would love to see season 2 be all about the gang fighting the conspiracy but honestly, I’m done saying what I want them to do. The writers have more than proven that they know exactly what they are doing and I’m so happy to be along for the ride.

Okay now that I have gotten all of the twist related shock and awe out of my system, let’s dive into some of the specifics of the two part finale, starting with Eleanor’s morality. Even though the entire season proved to be a sham, Eleanor trying to earn her spot in The Good Place and become a better person was very real for her and for me as a viewer so watching it all culminate was extremely rewarding. In a way, deciding that she would go to The Bad Place so that her friends would not have to was her ultimate morality test and she passed with flying colors, especially considering that in the previous episode she had a huge relapse and ran away to The Medium Place. I got pretty emotional watching her finally understand that sometimes you need to sacrifice yourself to protect others. My only concern is that now that her memory is wiped, she is back to square one in terms of her moral development and we are going to have to watch her become a good person all over again. Hopefully the writers have something up their sleeve that will help expedite that in the next season so that we don’t have a complete repeat of the first season, but overall, I loved watching Eleanor go from medium person to great person.

Unlike Eleanor, Michael went from great person to the literal worst in a matter of seconds and I’ve got to hand it to Ted Danson, his acting was really what sold the entire twist. He was so good this entire season at playing an overly emotional, stressed out worrywart that when he revealed his true nature, I was left shocked and amazed. It was also so great to finally see his backstory and see that he isn’t just some sadistic architect, but rather has ambitions and views The Good Place/Bad Place as his baby and ultimate career milestone. Even though he was running the craziest con that tortured the characters I loved, I still cared about him at the end of it all. Now that’s some good writing and acting. Hopefully we get a season 2 so that we get to see more of this crazy side of Michael!

Even though the pause button was hit on all the love storylines, I’m excited to see how they are revisited in a potential season 2. Now that Eleanor was given a new soulmate, who did Chidi end up with? Is Eleanor’s new soulmate a 5th person being added to the experiment or a Michael plant? Additionally, did Tahani and Jason/Jianyu end up as soulmates in the beginning as well? Maybe Oleanor is back to playing a part in all this. So many questions, I don’t even know where to begin! Right now, all I’m focused on is making sure that Eleanor can get back with Chidi so that they can start to put the pieces together. Oh and that Jason/Jianyu and Janet find each other again ASAP. That is essential.

The final thing I want to discuss is Mindy St. Claire. She was absolutely hilarious and I loved her casual coke addiction. My only thought is that I felt as though the existence of The Medium Place and the importance of Mindy St. Claire was kind of tossed aside because the finale reveal was so huge and turned everything we thought we knew on it’s head. I’m wondering if the existence of The Medium Place will come into play later in the series, but when looking at the season 1 narrative and how much Eleanor talked about wanting to be in a Medium Place, it almost feels like a red herring to throw us off the scent of the actual season finale twist. I guess only time will tell!

Overall, season 1 of The Good Place was a pretty dang good season of comedy television. It was original, left us with cliffhangers each episode, and knew how to turn everything on it’s head at the right times. Hopefully NBC does the right thing and gives us a second season so that we can continue on this incredible journey!

Overall 2 Part Episode Grade:
A+. The perfect culmination of all of Eleanor’s hand work with an incredible, believable, and jaw dropping twist. One of the best 40 minutes I’ve seen of a comedy series in at least the last 5 years.

Overall Season Grade:
A-/A. Although it stumbled a little in the beginning, The Good Place quickly figured out exactly what kind of show it was and had an incredible master plan that made for some ridiculously funny and well plotted television.

Favorite Quotes:
Tahani: We must remain emotionless. I'm talking Kristen Stewart on a red carpet level of emotionless.

Tahani: I'm going to miss these perks when I'm down in The Bad Place, being forced to wear knockoff handbags and drinking tap water!
Chidi: ...That's what you think hell is?!

Cashier: So, big plans this weekend?
Eleanor: Yup. I’m going to sit alone in my house, watching wedding fails on Youtube, drinking margaritas through a Twizzler straw until I pass out on top of my vibrator.

Jason/Jianyu: Chidi’s done worse stuff than me. He murdered Janet! He killed my wife!
Chidi: I was trying to stop you from doing-
Jason/Jianyu: Yeah, but you did it. He who smelt it, murdered Janet.

Bambadjan: Michael! I just found an obscure precedent in the rules that might just save everyone!
Eleanor: Buzz off, Bambadjan! Don’t need it.

How did you feel about the 1,000,000 things that happened in this finale?! Let me know in the comments! On a personal note - I’ve loved reviewing this amazing show for you all each week. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope The Good Place comes back so I can keep reviewing it for you!

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