Photo courtesy of NBC
Story by Leah Donato / Contributing Writer
This post contains spoilers.
The new hour-long season three premiere of “The Good Place,” which aired Thursday night on NBC, showed how this philosophical comedy is only going to get better and better from here.
Nowadays, I’ve seen that most cable TV show comedies are on the lines of being more cheesy or just trying to make the audience laugh rather than creating a meaningful story. Most shows never really fully create a new and different world that viewers can be sucked into. However, that’s where the “The Good Place” comes in and changes that perspective.
“The Good Place” is one of those shows that’s entirely different from what’s on the surface, and its use of moral philosophy in the narrative only makes that difference all the more special. The show centers around Eleanor Shellstrop, played by Kristen Bell, who goes into a place in the afterlife called “The Good Place,” which is perceived as a perfect utopia for everyone that was a “good person” during their time on Earth. However, Eleanor soon realizes that she’s there by mistake. After meeting Chidi, played by William Jackson Harper, along with her neighbors, Tahani, played by Jameela Jamil, and Jianyu aka Jason, played by Manny Jacinto, Eleanor learns how she can possibly become a good person.
The incredible mix of comedic philosophy, original characterization of everything in the afterlife and unpredictability have always been a unique quality of “The Good Place” since season one. With the season three premiere, it’s clear that the show is only going to make that mix even more incredible than it has before. The show still continues to use its original and unique style of comedy throughout the episode and never faults in any deliveries from the actors. The show also continues to maintain its world full of philosophical thoughts and ideas, light-hearted and likable characters and the overall good that’s found in life.
The episode begins right where we left off in season two, with Michael going to Earth to prevent Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason’s deaths and give them a second chance in life so that they can possibly become good people. Michael and Janet watch how they live out their lives and try to ensure that they are truly becoming better people than they were before. From this point on, it seems like this season is going to be centered on whether or not the characters having a second chance at life will make them want to become a better person and if they can truly change, which is an incredible and thought-provoking philosophical idea for a show to be using.
As the episode continues, Chidi and Eleanor organize a group for people who have had near-death experiences and want to become better people, and Jason and Tahani soon join, thus getting this group back together, thanks to Michael for strategically destining them to meet in this way. We then see how each of the characters try to become a good person and see how that comes about with each individual point of view in flashbacks. This is especially interesting with how they each have tried to become better people based on their personalities, which also was a nice detail. It was also interesting how Jason was the only one out of all of them who didn’t work to change himself after having his near-death experience. He realizes this later on and doesn’t know how to exactly go about changing his life. However, after Michael talks to him about the group, Jason sees that as an opportunity and goes to possibly find more to his life.
The ending of the episode is unpredictable as it is both shocking and a major cliffhanger. We see that a minute before the episode ends, the devil, played by Adam Scott, comes in and randomly joins the “near-death experience” group, and then it cuts to black. It’s shocking that he suddenly got to Earth, and it’s almost been an entire season since we saw him, so he was nearly a forgotten part of the show. However, it is thrilling to see where this is going to go and how this interferes with the story.
I think that the rest of this season is going to be more philosophical on the ethics and morals of what exactly makes a person good or bad and how to know if we’re living our lives in the way that we deserve. I also think Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason are going to find exactly what they can do with this second chance at life they’ve been given and actually be sent to the good place in the end. I’m also guessing that this will likely be the last season because the narrative has been developed so well that it feels like the writers have chosen this to be the last general plot point before the show gracefully ends. However, I think it will be interesting to see if it will still feel this way as more episodes come out since this show has continued to create unpredictability in the ending of each episode.
With that being said, I am looking forward to next week’s episode, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next.
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