[Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of “The Good Place.”]
It’s perhaps reductive to say that NBC’s utterly charming sitcom “The Good Place” loves twists, but the Michael Schur-created series has unspooled a number of them over its two-season run, most to great acclaim and genuine surprise. While the first season ended with the reveal that oops, the so-called “Good Place” (i.e. Heaven) was just the opposite, a very special Hell created just for leading characters Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto), the second season concluded with yet another twist on that big idea: putting them back on Earth. Or did it?
Fan theories abounded after the episode “Somewhere Else” ended with Eleanor — back on Earth and not loving it — traveling halfway around the world to find Chidi, who didn’t seem to remember her when she burst into his university office. In short, there were two many camps: those that believed this was just another simulation to test the Good Place-rs and those that were convinced that they had been sent back to Earth, where they never actually died. It seemed like the kind of good-natured battle that could rage until the show returned, but now in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Schur offers up the rare definitive answer, and it’s a bit of a doozy.
Asked if Eleanor and her pals had been brought back to life or just placed in another simulation, Schur told the outlet, “Normally I don’t like to just flatly state what’s going on, but here I don’t see the benefit of people experiencing ambiguity: The four of them are straight-up back on Earth, in a new timeline where they didn’t die.”
Schur also offered reasoning as to why this twist makes sense in the context of not just the show, but the actual growth constantly being exhibited by his characters. “A lot of the progress they have made as people has been sort of theoretical, because it’s all come after they’ve understood that they are dead and in the afterlife,” he said. “It seemed like a natural move to send them back to a time before they made that progress, and to use the idea of nearly dying to test their ability to improve.”
You can check out the full interview over on Rolling Stone.
“The Good Place” will return later this year.