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A Surprise is Just One Reason for Tuning in the Final Four Episodes of 'The Good Place'
January 9, 2020  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

In case you still needed any further encouragement to watch the last four Good Place episodes, the first one has a great guest star.

If you've avoided learning the identity of that guest star up to this point, we're not going to be the spoilers. But there's no way not to like it.

The Good Place, TV's best sitcom, starts its run to the finish line at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday. After that night, there will be just three more episodes, giving the show a total of 52 over its four-season run. Subtracting commercials, that's less than 20 hours of television. There are some reality shows where one episode feels longer than that.

It's often been said, accurately, that it's better for a show to end with the fans wanting more than with the fans secretly wishing it had wrapped a little sooner.

The Good Place may stand as proof that little homily is accurate. We're still going to miss it.

Guests aside, the show naturally finishes by honing in on its six core characters.

Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, top), Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper, top), Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto, top), and Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil, top) are four dead people who meet in the afterlife.

They think they're in The Good Place, where life is all frozen yogurt shops because that's what they've been told by Michael (Ted Danson, top), who runs the operation.

Michael, spoiler alert from several seasons ago, is actually a demon from The Bad Place, who figured that tricking these humans would be another way to torture them.

They aren't totally surprised since, in fact, they all led questionable lives back on Earth. Eleanor was selfish, Jason was a petty crook, Chidi was indecisive, and Tahani was insufferable.

But then a funny thing happened. Through a series of delightful adventures and trials, they all became better people. Eventually, Michael saw this and changed his mind about torturing them. They belonged, he declared, in an actual Good Place, and their transformation convinced him that many humans who had been sent to The Bad Place were in fact capable of changing and becoming good. Or at least better.

This was not a widely shared view among other demons, however, and as things escalated over the last two and a half seasons, we seemed to have reached the brink of a decision to eliminate all human life and start the planet over again.

The last four episodes see our intrepid quintet, aided by the increasingly human-like robot assistant, Janet (D'Arcy Carden), fighting to save the past, present, and future of the planet.

In Thursday's episode, that's where the great guest star comes in.

Creator Michael Schur's wit has not diminished as we head toward the hour of decision. If there are perhaps fewer pop culture references, the ones that remain are just as cleverly directed. Schur also does not overdo his trademark substitution of everyday words for profane exclamations.

The actors all blend deliciously into their roles and their camaraderie. The last four episodes of The Good Place are 88 minutes to savor.

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As much fun as it's been to watch the first-run episodes on NBC, the show is even better when you binge-watch it on Netflix without all the interruptions. Being able to stay with the continuity of the plot and dialog, and having the ability to rewind and re-view moments that shot by too quickly to catch some embedded joke, makes them even more enjoyable. Bravo to everyone involved in creating and producing this little gem, and may they all end up in their own Good Place.
Jan 9, 2020   |  Reply
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