Is There a God in THE GOOD PLACE?

The Good Place might revolve around the afterlife and eternal damnation, but the show rarely addresses religious concepts in an overt manner. Even relevant terms like “Heaven” and “Hell” are used sparingly. But the omission of the theological concept of God has always stood out. The idea of a supreme power has been almost entirely absent from the show during its first three seasons. But some of the most obvious questions to ask about The Good Place‘s mythology are, “Who is in charge?” and, “Who created all of this?” Is The Good Place playing coy, or is God not mentioned because no higher authority exists?

The answer might be found in a different kind of good book. Janet’s manual points to a greater authority—more specifically, authorities—who are likely to be introduced in the series’ fourth and final season, which will see the afterlife point system itself put on trial.

In season two’s sixth episode, “Chapter 20,” Michael looks to Janet’s operating manual to learn why she’s malfunctioning. It opens with this line: “Hello, and welcome to your new Janet. Janets are brought to you by the Makers of Light, Darkness, and Everything.” Michael quickly skips over this intro and it is never mentioned again, even though this is the closest anyone has ever come to describing what appear to be god(s) in this universe. These “Makers” are seemingly responsible for creating “everything,” so they must predate humans, Earth, other supernatural beings, and the Good and Bad Places.

And (unless they are lying about what they really are) no character on the show qualifies as a Maker. Janets were created to help demons and their ineffectual counterparts run their respective afterlife domains. Jeff the Doorman and Neil the Head of Accounting seem to be even older than Michael and Shawn, but they are employees who work between both worlds. The closest thing to a god on the show is Gen the Judge, the ultimate arbiter of human fate. But she doesn’t predate “everything” either. She told Tahani her name is short for Hydrogen, “the only thing that was in existence” at the time she was born. The Makers must have made the first periodic element before creating the Judge.

So who/what could the Makers be? We don’t know where they came from or how they got their powers. But since they created everything, including the literal concepts of good and bad, they could be a group of impartial eternal beings, or a panel made up of equal parts “good Makers” and “bad Makers.” They might be uncaring assholes (sorry, “ashholes”) who got bored of talking to each other for eternity, so they whipped together a universe of conscious beings who experience joy and pain in arbitrary and meaningless ways (after all, existence is the ultimate reality show).

It’s equally possible they are caring, benevolent, loving deities. However, since the show is more concerned with the idea of treating each other with kindness and empathy here on Earth without worrying about “moral dessert,” it’s doubtful any godlike figures will prove to be what humans would hope for.

What we do know is that the Makers also created the afterlife points scoring system, which will be put to the ultimate test in the show’s final season. And from what we know about how the afterlife works, Eleanor, Michael, and the rest will have to plead their case to the ultimate authority if they want to fundamentally change it. You can’t overhaul an entire organization without the Board of Directors, and you can’t overhaul the entire afterlife without the Makers. The good news for the Brainy Bunch is that even if the Makers don’t turn out to be loving gods, they’re probably not evil ashholes either.

They did create Janets after all.

Featured Image: NBC

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