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Eleanor Janet Kristen Bell D'arcy Carden The Good Place NBC

The Good Place has thrown some crazy twists at fans in its first two seasons, so it's understandable that some people may think the series had yet another trick up its sleeve regarding the Season 2 finale twist. Did Eleanor and the gang really get sent back to Earth, or was this just another sneaky trick to hide that they're actually somewhere else in the afterlife? Series creator Michael Schur finally put all speculation to rest, explaining exactly where Season 3 will take place:

Normally I don't like to just flatly state what's going on, 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.

Michael Schur revealed there are legitimately no tricks this time, and The Good Place actually did send Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason back to Earth in an alternate timeline where death did not become them. The clarification puts to bed an increasingly popular theory amongst fans that the humans are merely inside of a simulation that would help Michael convince the Judge that the afterlife judgment system is flawed. Schur's clarification may sound ridiculous to some fans who clearly understood what was happening in the Season 2 finale without the need for robust guesswork. Still, the theory had some convincing evidence going for it, which is probably why Schur decided to speak out.

Surely there will still be some fans thinking they exposed The Good Place's next big reveal, leaving Michael Schur to scramble while changing things up, but they shouldn't be so sure of themselves. The creator has clear proof this is where he's been taking the series all along. Referring back to the conversation between Michael and the Judge at the beginning of the Season 2 finale, Schur confirmed to Rolling Stone that they were discussing sending the humans back to Earth. Plus, Schur also explained why sending the humans back to Earth was important for the series' overall growth:

Yes -- Michael gets the idea, she immediately understands what he's hinting at and is reticent to do it because it means changing the timeline on Earth. That's why he says, 'It's only four people!' Like, 'Eh, in terms of timeline-changing, it's not that big a deal.' . . . . A lot of the progress they have made as people has been sort of theoretical, because it's all come after they've understood that they are dead and in the afterlife. It seemed like a natural move to send them back to a time before they made that progress, and to use the idea of nearly dying to test their ability to improve. Especially because now that Michael has watched them improve, over and over, he has started to wonder whether or not there is something fundamentally wrong with the way humans are judged.

Should the humans manage to change their lives around, it could have some serious implications for The Good Place's afterlife structure. As Michael hinted in his plea to the judge, scores of humans who died before living a full life may have been unfairly judged, making the afterlife's entire grading system fundamentally flawed. Eleanor has a good shot at turning her life around now that Chidi is in the picture, too, although fans should know by now it's the devil's work to try and predict where The Good Place is headed.

The Good Place returns to NBC this fall Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET. For a look at the network's full fall lineup, click here. Those looking to see what television is making a premiere tonight or in the coming weeks should visit our summer premiere guide.