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This Character Had The Best Story Arc On The Good Place

The world of The Good Place is filled with characters who go through enormous transformations over the course of the series. The show's premise suggests that four people who are initially doomed to torture each other for all eternity prove can become better people through hard work and determination. One of the hallmarks of the series is that each of the show's central characters change tremendously over the course of the show's run. They become better, more caring people. 

Although all four of the show's core human characters change tremendously, the biggest changes on The Good Place are for the two characters who are not human when the series starts. Janet (D'Arcy Carden), an afterlife version of Amazon Alexa who is capable of providing anything that a person asks for, and Michael (Ted Danson), the reformed demon who eventually becomes a friend and ally to the show's human cast. Although both transform tremendously over the course of the series, it's Michael who had the best character arc over the show's run. 

Michael starts the show as someone who loves torture

The first season of The Good Place is built on a false premise. Eleanor (Kristen Bell), thinks that she's been sent to the Good Place by mistake, and she has to keep Michael and the rest of the afterlife's actual residents from finding out. The twist, as we discover at the end of season 1, is that Eleanor and her human friends aren't in the Good Place after all. They're in the Bad Place, and they've been trapped there by Michael in a new attempt at human torture. 

Michael's idea was that the best way to torture people was by surrounding them with other people. He created a series of impossible circumstances, and forced the human characters to fight with one another over what the right move was. It worked well — until Eleanor discovered what was really going on. When she does, Michael resets things, attempting to torture the humans all over again, believing that humanity is essentially worthless and that these people deserved to suffer for their actions while they were alive. 

Michael comes to appreciate the good things about humans

After Michael resets the afterlife, he discovers that Eleanor and her friends are going to keep figuring out that they're actually trapped in the Bad Place. What's more, he sees that Eleanor is working hard to earn a spot in the Good Place. She's studying philosophy with Chidi (William Jackson Harper), and they're both becoming better because of their time together. 

Eventually, Michael realizes that the humans he's trapped himself with for several afterlives aren't the terrible people that he thought they were. He comes to understand that they can change and grow, and that's what makes them special. Michael, who is a demon who loves torture, becomes better because of the growth he sees in Eleanor. He comes to understand that he doesn't have to be defined by his nature, and he eventually decides to help his human friends get into the actual Good Place, and prove that the system used to determine who should get into the afterlife is flawed.

Michael decides he wants to be human

While the humans on The Good Place decide to end their afterlives at the end of the series, Michael follows a slightly different path. Instead, he decides that he wants to try being human. He's an immortal being who has existed for millennia, and in that time, his only purpose had been to devise creative new ways to punish the humans that he felt deserved his wrath. 

By the end of the show, though, Michael has evolved into someone who doesn't just appreciate that there is good in humans. He realizes that being human is what he wants most of all. He wants to experience all the mundanity and ordinariness of human life, and he wants to learn and grow the way he saw his friends change. Michael has the show's best character arc because he completely reverses his position on humans, so much so that he becomes one himself. He embraces what it means to be human, including its absurdity. That's what makes his arc so moving.