'The Good Place' Season 4 Episode 12: Solution to fix paradise has some terrible implications
Spoiler Alert for Season 4 Episode 12 of 'The Good Place' — 'Patty'
In Episode 12 of 'The Good Place', the team of human souls who have been trying for all four seasons to earn a place in heaven have finally managed it, and have entered paradise for the first time. Eternal paradise, however, is not all that it’s chalked up to be. Eternal bliss has led to mental stagnation and the residents of the actual Good Place exist in a mindless, aimless daze. Their eternal reward quickly turns out to be eternal boredom.
Michael (Ted Danson) with some help from Eleanor (Kristen Bell), comes up with the solution of creating a door that once walked through will end a soul's existence — permanently. Though they are careful about not actually saying the word, what they have essentially come up with is a way for the souls of the Good Place to commit suicide — and that needs to be talked about.
The 'Whenever You're Ready' door is great for the show in terms of readying its audience to say goodbye to something we wish would go on forever, but it is hard to believe that there were no other solutions available.
One of the Good Place's real problems is that it is walled off from the rest of the universe. With its strict barriers to entry, heaven might be able to instantly give you any material thing you want, but will it allow you to spend time with your true love if they are in the Bad Place?
Another problem may just be that the residents have no sense of purpose. They are in their afterlives, in a place of infinite perfection, where no action matters because both small and grand actions are equally satisfying — not to mention easy. Actions become meaningless in such a world.
Think of Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson). A demon with a seemingly eternal life, doing what makes him happiest — torturing human souls. After countless Jeremy-Bearimes, he was starting to feel the same pleasure fatigue as the residents of the Good Place, until Michael provided conflict. It gave Shawn something to fight for. It established stakes that renewed Shawn with a new sense of purpose. Infinity must have an infinite number of ways to surprise, challenge and excite, if only the Good Place would allow just enough imperfection to give its residents a challenge.
Is the Good Place so strict about keeping imperfection out that it would allow its residents to end their existence before allowing them a sense of challenge and purpose?
The exclusivity of the Good Place abandons the central question of 'The Good Place' — "what we owe to each other". With a new system of afterlife judgment being geared for redemption, what better way to give humanity's best a sense of purpose than to help bad souls learn how to be better people?
For over 500 years, the residents of the Good Place have seemingly not cared that no new faces were joining them. They keep up with Earth trends, meaning they can see the Earth, but none of them felt sadness, pain or anguish about anything happening on Earth and nor did any of them care about souls experiencing eternal torture. The Good Place is either filled with selfish people or its residents have been prevented from caring about anyone not up there in heaven with them until they were blitzed out on infinite pleasure.
Holy motherforking shirtballs! Maybe this has been the real Bad Place all along.
The series finale of 'The Good Place' airs on January 30, on NBC.