I’m going to spoil the heck out this episode, so consider this your warning.
The Good Place handled the finality of death with dignity. Obviously, it was inspired by various beliefs, but it never got preachy and pushed any particular dogma. As a Buddhist, I loved the Buddhist approach on death that was mentioned by Chidi in the final episode, because I guess that’s probably the closest to what I believe may actually happen.
Picture a wave, in the ocean. You can see it, measure it: its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through and it’s there. And you can see it, you know what it is. It’s a wave.
And then it crashes in the shore and it’s gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be, for a little while. You know it’s one conception of death for Buddhists: the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it’s supposed to be.
I love that the show gave us true final endings for each of the characters. Chidi was able to experience life and love. Jason was given a monk like peacefulness. Tahani was given a purpose and provided for herself. Michael became human and was able to redeem himself. And Eleanor, gave up all her selfish ways to help the people she loved find peace.
Yesterday, I had one of those moments and initially I failed at being a good person.
I had a rough day and was tired, but I needed to stop by the grocery store to get dinner. On my ride home, I found the sounds of New Found Glory to be soothing, so I decided to put no my earbuds and listen to music as I shopped. Things were going swimmingly until I noticed a lady getting closer to me while I browsed the shredded cheese section. I pulled out my earbud and she apologized for interrupting my music but asked if I knew where the cream cheese was. I pointed over towards a case where I thought it was and went about my business.
I ran into this same lady a few minutes later and the cream cheese was not where I said it would be. She said she couldn’t find it and I told her with a deadpan voice, “That’s weird” before walking away. I instantly regretted it.
A few minutes later, I decided to go find the cream cheese and then track down the lady. I apologized and told her I had forgotten my manners and was just having a rough day, not that it was an excuse. I helped her find the cream cheese and then went to finish my shopping.
My day was sucking. Heck, my week has sucked, but maybe hers did too. Maybe she was diagnosed with cancer or maybe she was caring for a sick relative that only wanted cream cheese. I don’t know, nor should it really matter. As a person, I should have taken a minute out of my day to help make this person’s life a little easier since it was within my power. I’m glad I went back to make things right, and hopefully a show like The Good Place will encourage others to do the same.