In The Good Place season 3, Eleanor Shellstrop and her friends have been granted a second lease on life - their deaths averted so that they can have a shot at becoming better people while still on Earth. If they succeed, they have a chance at finally scoring themselves a spot in the Good Place, where they can exist in peace and happiness for all eternity with no frozen yogurt in sight. It sounds almost too good to be true...
When the series began, Eleanor believed that she was already in the Good Place, and that she'd been sent there accidentally after a case of mistaken identity. In the season 1 finale, however, it was revealed that she had actually been in the Bad Place all along, and Michael had been tricking Eleanor, Jason, Tahani and Chidi into torturing one another as part of an elaborate experiment. At the end of season 2, the gang pleaded with Judge Gen to let them go to the Good Place, but everyone except for Eleanor failed the tests put before them. Once again, the Good Place was pulled out of reach.
Now, once again, these four misfits are trying to become better people - this time motivated by their near-death experiences. But as The Good Place season 3 gets underway, a Reddit user has posited an interesting theory: what if the Good Place doesn't exist at all?
- Page 1: Why The Good Place May Not Actually Exist
- Page 2: If The Good Place Doesn't Exist, What Does That Mean?
There Is No Evidence The Good Place Exists
What have we actually seen of the Good Place so far that might confirm its existence? You could argue that the existence of Janet - whose cheery and helpful demeanor is the polar opposite of Bad Janet - is proof that there must be Good Place neighborhoods that Janet was built to serve. However, Janet did not come from the Good Place, but from the Janet Warehouse in a neutral zone accessible from the Bad Place. Michael was able to waltz right into this warehouse and steal a Janet, and while Michael explained that he was able to do this because the people in charge of the Good Place are stupidly trusting, it seems odd that no demon has ever tried to steal a Good Place Janet before - for target practice, if nothing else.
Then there's the orientation VHS tape given to Mindy St. Claire upon her arrival in the Medium Place, in which Demon Trevor and a representative from the Good Place explained her situation. But given that everyone in the original "Good Place" except for the four humans turned out to be a demon posing as a good person, that tape doesn't prove much either.
What we do know about the Good Place only makes it all the more difficult to believe in. We've heard mention of many people who ended up in the Bad Place (including all philosophers, and all French people), but there hasn't been mention of anyone who ended up in the Good Place. The scales seem to be suspiciously tipped in favor of sending people to the Bad Place; while everyone on Earth dies with a net positive or negative number of points, you supposedly need to be hundreds of thousands of points in the positive before scoring a spot in the Good Place. The requirements for getting into the Good Place are virtually unattainable (i.e. ending slavery, or living a life of total moral purity), and "good" actions can be rendered worthless by something as simple as having the wrong motivation (like Tahani's fundraising efforts).
Are Michael & Janet Aware?
The two main characters in the show who appear to know most about the Good Place are Janet and Michael. However, Janet had no idea that she wasn't in the real Good Place, and happily helped to facilitate the torture of the four humans. She can summon a train to take everyone to the Medium Place and the Bad Place, but has no means of getting to the Good Place. Michael seems to have a good understanding of what the Good Place is, but he's never been there and has admitted that he doesn't know how to get there.
If Michael really does believe that the Good Place exists, our attention should next turn to Judge Gen - ostensibly the gatekeeper to the Good Place. The Judge seems friendly enough, if only because she's unutterably bored in her job, but she's also dangled the prospect of reaching the Good Place in front of the gang while carefully keeping it out of reach. Jason's Good Place test, for example, was primarily a test of his lateral thinking skills, which is a pretty unfair challenge considering that Jason struggles with any kind of thinking (being stupid isn't the same as being immoral). More to the point, the Judge's office has two portals: one of which opened up to allow entry from the Bad Place, and another that opened up to send everyone back to the Bad Place. We've still yet to see any route to the Good Place - whether by portal, train, or magical golden hot air balloon.