The Good Place proved in its first season that it's adept at major cliffhangers, and its second installment doubled down. Last we saw of Eleanor and co. they'd been miraculously reincarnated after, at least what felt like, several years spent in the afterlife. But given the show's proclivity for twists, it's worth asking: Is everyone really alive on The Good Place?
At the end of the Season 2 finale, Michael and the Judge worked out a way to test whether or not the four humans were really capable of being good: Sending them back to Earth for a second chance at life. So with just a snap of her fingers, Judge Jen transported Eleanor to what were her final moments — only this time, someone saved her from her impending death. By the end of the episode, and with just a little nudging from Michael, she'd jetted off to Australia to find Chidi.
That all seems to suggest she and the rest of Team Cockroach are really, truly alive again, but The Good Place has certainly pulled the wool over our eyes before. So, in the words of Oprah: What is the truth? For once, we have a concrete answer. "Normally I don’t like to just flatly state what’s going on," creator Mike Schur said in an interview with Rolling Stone, "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."
It also seems like the group will be on Earth for a while. “This season has gone everywhere," actor Manny Jacinto, who plays Jason, teased in an interview with TVLine. "This is the most we’ve shot on location… we definitely go through a ride this season.” Since Michael's neighborhood on The Good Place is highly stylized, and created in a studio, shooting more on location indicates the characters will spend most of their time in the real world.
In the first four minutes from Season 3, which is available for a sneak peak thanks to Entertainment Weekly, it is confirmed that Michael got a special ruling from the judge to actually go to Earth and reverse the deaths of his mortal friends. "It's kinda tricky," he tells a character called "The Doorman," played by Mike O'Malley. "[It] starts up a new timeline, so there may be some ripple effects. But it's necessary for the experiment we're doing."
All Michael has to do is go through a magic door and do a little meddling to prevent the deaths of all four characters. After that, not only are Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani really alive, but in this new timeline, they were never dead to begin with. Bonus? Michael finally gets to experience what it's like to be a human, from riding a bike to pigging out on Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
As Eleanor proved in the Season 2 finale, just that near-death experience was enough of a push to get her to be a better person — meant literally, since Michael physically pushed her, Chidi, and Tahani out of harm's way (Jason, who Michael rescues from a locked safe, is the one exception). Interesting, isn't it, that these four humans all died in an accident? What if this was part of the plan all along? Michael doesn't have his powers on Earth, so he couldn't very well run this experiment if one of his subjects died from disease or natural causes.
Pocket that, and any other fan theories, for now because The Good Place is back and there will probably be an eternity's worth of hilarious new developments to ponder. Knowing The Good Place, life on Earth is about to get pretty weird now that our four heroes are actually, really, alive.