Fresno Beehive

This could be Heaven, this could be Hell

Kristen Bell plays Eleanor -in the NBC comedy “The Good Place.”
Kristen Bell plays Eleanor -in the NBC comedy “The Good Place.” Justin Lubin/NBC

Under the category of “didn’t see that coming” falls the season finale of the NBC comedy “The Good Place.” It was a forkin’ mind blower and if you didn’t see it, be aware that spoilers are coming.

After a season of Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) trying to hide that she’s died and gone to the good place by mistake, the finale revealed that she’s actually been in the bad place all along.

The caretaker of the town, Michael (Ted Danson), had grown tired of constructing torture areas in the bad place. He decides to try an experiment where he creates an area that looks ideal but is just a place where four people can end up torturing each other.

Before the finale, members of the cast and crew met with TV critics. Series creator, Michael Schur, may have offered a clue to the big switch when talking about the point system to measure people that exists in his good place.

“That was simply like a feeling that I have when I walk around the earth and observe behaviors and wish I wished that there were a point system,” Schur says. “It’s not about religion or what you believe or who God is or anything; it’s just like we’re all here together, we all share the same little tiny bit of dirt, and if we could just agree on certain rules of propriety and behavior, I think that everything would be better off.”

That kind of evaluation wouldn’t be necessary in a place where a person has already been judged as being good. If you watch the episodes, there are plenty of other clues that they are really in the bad place including all of the bickering among the four main characters. If this really was the good place then they should not have had any problems with each other.

Even the main idea someone who doesn’t belong in the good place would get in by mistake should have been a major red flag something was amiss. Go back and watch the episodes with this new knowledge in hand.

Bell’s talk about how bad her character was before her death ends up being another hint of the finale to come.

“One thing that I love doing is finding someone inherently unlikeable on the page and figuring out how to challenge myself to reformulate her and physicalize her into someone that you have to root for,” Bell says. “I wanted to know what I was dealing with and how bad because I don’t know how much I can handle.

“If I can find a justification for her actions on earth, then I can play her and make you sympathize with her. I was very curious as to how bad he wanted to go in order to make sure that I could still do a job that I felt proud of.”

Her character was bad enough she should have gone to the bad place no matter the circumstances.

The cast get to start over if there is a second season. The finale ends with the memories of the four being erased and another effort made to have them torture each other. The big difference is now the audience knows “The Good Place” is taking place in a bad place.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

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