I’m still not ready to talk about this episode or The Good Place in its entirety as a series. I might never be ready, but that’s the point isn’t it—to take the leaps even when we aren’t fully there? The Good Place is an incredibly special show. It’s remarkably unique and its series finale singlehandedly takes the crown in nuanced comedy.
My immediate thoughts with tears streaming down my face went as followed: “I’ve loved and appreciated a lot of endings, but there’s something about the timing of this one that’s so perfectly fitting for the world right now. The performances, the organically meta storytelling, and the ode to “Pandemonium,” one of my all time favorite TV episodes ever. There are always going to be good days and bad days, slow days and quiet days, heartbreaks and healings. But there’s magic in the uncertainty and I believe that with a fervency so deep, I can’t imagine who I’d be if I didn’t. What a beautiful way to go while effortlessly leaving such a tremendous mark on television. I hope this inspires future writers to see that the world isn’t tired of touching stories that reflect on humanity, our complexities, and the friendships we find along the way. “Whenever You’re Ready.” What a hearty, perfect title. As much as I understand the idea that there are things we’ll never be ready for and we’ve got to take risks in life, sometimes you have to wait. It’s comforting to be left with the clarification that it’s okay to wait.”
January 13, 2020 seems like a lifetime ago—we might have been ready for a great number of things back then, but a full-fledged global pandemic wasn’t one of them. (And one we’re still dealing with. P.S. firmly believe that wearing a mask will land you points into the good place. Get on it.) Kristen Bell’s characters have been busy spreading some of my favorite messages this year, technically last year with Frozen’s Anna, but between “Do the Next Right Thing” and “Whenever You’re Ready” serving as glimpses of hope in this darkness, I’m grateful.
“This is the whole story. No one is beyond rehabilitation. Brent spent a year being an absolute diaper load of a human being, and the points total tells you that. But what that number can’t tell you is who he could have become tomorrow.”
The most unsurprising fact at this very moment is that throughout the final season of The Good Place, there have been far too many great scenes to choose from, and there was no shortage of great scenes in “The Funeral to End All Funerals.” Kristen Bell’s direction of the episode felt incredibly important for Eleanor because there’s not a single scene in the latest episode that didn’t feel like a punch in the gut in all the right ways. How this show manages to make me openly weep every single time is still so astonishing. For instance, Bell’s voice breaking while maintaining stoicism as Eleanor said “wake him up”, all the eulogies and how these merry band of misfits healed one another through the entirety of their journey? “The Funeral to End All Funerals” was a masterful episode, but we’re all still thinking about the scene right? You know the one, the one with all the Janets, another perfect performance by D’Arcy Carden and what it meant for humanity.
For the past few years, this category’s been the most difficult — trying to pick through my favorites without too much repetition from past years and the desire to give other characters the opportunity to be on here as well. But my inability to choose could’ve been due to the fact that there just weren’t that many options in the first place. And this year’s special — in both the TV verse and cinematic. And these ten characters are ones I’m certain I could not love more even if I tried. Some old with exceptional growth and some new pushing me into a state of gratitude for just how great TV’s been this year.
I don’t think there’s ever been a character as adored as quickly as Timeless’ Lucy Preston. And season two pulled the darling historian through the darkest of revelations only to have her come out of it even more generous than before. Lucy’s heart is inexpressible –there hasn’t been a character like her in a while, and it’s been a stunning ride watching her continuously open her heart despite the fact that the one person she trusted most in her life turned out to be the villain in her story. Whether it was fighting alongside the women who were to be executed during the Salem Witch Trials, standing with Suffragette Alice Paul, or welcoming Jessica to the team despite her feelings for Wyatt — Lucy’s benevolence is selflessness in its most evident form. She is nobility personified, for even when she could be choosing for herself, fighting for her own future, the other person’s effect is always taken into deep consideration, too. But the thing I appreciate most about Lucy is that even with all the compassion running in her veins, she’s not one to allow anyone to take advantage of her — she understands that goodness and naiveté aren’t the same thing. She’s fought back when she needs to. She’s cried when she’s been in pain. She’s doubted. She’s believed. She’s gotten excited. She’s shown viewers a wide range of emotions authenticating the fact that women are beautifully complex. She’s many things, but above all, she’s a woman who’s walked through fire and instead of letting it burn her, she’s used it to fuel the good fight instead. She’s walked out with the flames as phoenix feathers — stronger, wiser, and even more compassionate than before.