NBC's The Good Place started as a fun, high-concept comedy about four humans navigating the afterlife, but the Season 1 twist that the heavenly Good Place they thought they were in was actually the hellish Bad Place designed to torture them forever turned the show into a massive puzzle box.
As we all know, it's the internet's job to ruin the mysteries of shows by forming a hivemind to go over every single possible permutation until it lands on the series' big secrets (see: Mr. Robot, Westworld and more). The Good Place isn't immune to the internet's desire to figure everything out, and with last week's game-changing episode, we decided to comb The Good Place's subreddit for the best updated theories about what the show is all about.
I hope they're all wrong and we're all treated to the same surprise as the end of Season 1, but here's a look at some of the nuttier theories anyway.
1. An expansion of the "This is Michael's Bad Place" theory
We've all wondered it at some point — if Michael (Ted Danson) is having such a hard time making this new Bad Place, then maybe it's actually his bad place. It makes some sense; this season, especially, Michael has been the one who has been tortured the most. But one Reddit user poses the idea that it's not just Michael's Bad Place, it's everyone's BUT Shawn's, Janet's and Derek's, including the frustrated workers who populate Michael's Bad Place. The idea is that everyone but those three have been showing "real" emotion now, therefore they're getting tortured as well. Unless Michael is pretending, in which case we can throw this theory in the trash.
2. The Human 4 will begin making a Bad Place with Michael
You want to get wild? How about this one that posits that Michael and the four humans — Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Jason (Manny Jacinto) — have leverage over Shawn since the new "Good Place" has been deemed a success but it has actually been a total failure with reboots. If Michael or someone else went above Shawn and let them know Shawn was in charge when Michael repeatedly failed, it would threaten Shawn's job. So Michael and the humans make a pact with Michael to start over with a new "Good Place" (or a regular old Bad Place) where they devise torture methods for the afterlife. "Can you imagine Chidi designing a torture plan?' Ooh, that's a great mental image.
3. The humans will get a second chance at life
This end-of-series theory says that all of the humans' deaths were pretty avoidable and occurred when they were knee-deep into their sin — Tahani was at her most jealous, Jason was at his dumbest, etc. Their current Bad Place is actually a testing ground for their ability to morally improve their lives, a cornerstone of the show, and since they've shown they have the capacity to become better people, they'll be magically transported back to their lives before their deaths with the hope that they will be able to avoid dying again. Also of note — we never actually saw them dying, allowing for some cosmic force to push them back into the moments before death to right wrongs. And maybe they can find each other in real life and bond as the soul mates they're meant to be. It's a happy ending for everyone, right?
4. They go to the Good Place, don't really like it
How's this for a season ender and show-changer? The six characters (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, Jason, Michael and Janet) do get into the real Good Place and have to pretend that they belong. However, they find it so... bland and boring as everyone is a goody two-shoes and everything is handed out willy-nilly without any effort. Philosophically, it would support the idea that everyone needs a balance of both good and bad in life. Maybe they then try to get into the Medium Place and begin life there, making themselves better people, but not too good. It's a statement on life. Hopefully, Mindy St. Clair still has some cocaine left for everyone.
5. It's all an allegory for The Wizard of Oz
Eleanor is our Dorothy, waking up in a magical place where a wizard is pulling the strings. Chidi is the lion without courage, Tahani is the tinman without a heart and Jason is the scarecrow without a brain. Their journey through the land of Oz will help them realize their character flaws, ultimately leading them to The Good Place. If a house falls on Vicky in the next few episodes, we've got some major support for this one.
6. Michael is actually God
We all know Ted Danson is a god, but is he actually playing one on TV? This theory says all this is a set up by God to test their goodness before sending them on to Heaven. Sure, why not?
7. We're all overthinking this and we should just trust showrunner Michael Schur to come up with something better
This is my personal theory!
The Good Place airs Thursday nights at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.