Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Sunday’s God Friended Me series finale. Proceed at your own risk!
God Friended Me’s story has come to an end, but its central mystery will continue to live on.
In Sunday’s two-hour series finale, a complication during Ali’s lumpectomy led Miles back to the church, and after Ali survived, he even rediscovered his faith. In the ensuing months, Miles and Cara fell back in love and have been together ever since, Miles’ voiceover informed viewers as a montage of scenes from past episodes played. Meanwhile, Rakesh and Jaya got engaged, and a healthy Ali decided to follow in her father’s footsteps by joining the seminary. Then, a year from the date that Miles got Ali as a Friend suggestion, he received a new message from the God account, instructing him to come to the Annapurna Himalayas for his answer. In the final scene, he was greeted by a child on that snowy mountaintop, who told him, “Miles, follow me. She’s been waiting for you.”
Here, executive producers Bryan Wynbrandt and Steven Lilien explain that mysterious ending to the question of who’s behind the Almighty account and tease what would have happened in Season 3.
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TVLINE | At what point in Season 2 did you know that the show wasn’t going to come back?
BRYAN WYNBRANDT | We didn’t really know for sure until after we finished filming the finale. We ended before we had planned to because of the virus situation in New York. And then when we got back, [during] post-production of that episode and discussing whether or not we would go back to finish it up, it became more and more obvious that things were going to be shut down longer. It started to get apparent to us that the show was coming to an end and that it was likely not going to be renewed, and that’s when Steven and I went to the studio and network with the plan for finishing the finale, which is what you saw.
TVLINE | What adjustments did you have to make to that final episode to make it work as a series finale?
STEVEN LILIEN | The spine of the episode, [we left] intact, because it was all about the Ali storyline and Miles’ journey, but we did make the ending work. We had shot that footage on the mountaintop in the pilot, [which] we never used, because we always imagined that would be the ending. Very early on, when we did the pilot, we were thinking about maybe using a flash-forward, but we pulled back on that. So we always had that footage waiting for us if that day came. So it was just a matter of transitioning from out of this episode and giving a little understanding that time has passed to get him to that mountain. But oddly, everything aligned in terms of Miles’ journey in this season and the last episode to then understand how he would end up on that mountain. Honestly, it was just sort of a stroke of good luck and some voiceover and movie magic in the editing bay that we were able to finish the episode since we still had a few days left to film before we shut down.
TVLINE | That final scene of Miles on the mountain, being told, “She’s been waiting for you,” was something that you envisioned as the end of the series, or something you envisioned as, “This is our Season 2 finale twist to launch us into Season 3”?
WYNBRANDT | In some ways, the answer is both. We had talked about a version where Season 2 would end with the vision of the mountaintop. But then when we started to get the feeling that the series was coming to an end, we just revisited it as it was always intended to be, which was the series ender. But it has the ability to kind of launch us into what would have been a Season 3, in which Miles would have been on a journey to discover who the “she” was and all of that. But as we got closer and closer to the end, we realized we wanted it to be what it was always designed to be, which is he actually was on that mountaintop, and he was being taken to the person or deity who was behind the God account.
TVLINE | So you never intended to explicitly answer the question of who this mysterious “she” is?
WYNBRANDT | [Laughs] It’s in the eye of the beholder. A show like this, it always seemed like it would be a hard ending to say anything definitively, because Steven and I both believe that, like religion itself or like many things in life, it’s what you take from it, and we didn’t want to impress upon our audience an absolute. But I think it’s clear that it’s a spiritual “she.” I don’t think he’s being brought on that mountaintop by the CEO of Facebook. But no, we never wanted to explicitly say.
LILIEN | Also, it’s the tone of it. Miles on the mountaintop, when you look at him, he feels at peace with his journey from where he started two years ago, 42 episodes [ago], [and] that he’s accepted this role, that there was something bigger at play. Luckily, Brandon [Micheal Hall], who’s such a star and so incredible, he gave that to us back when we shot the pilot, knowing that he would have to get there. In a way, it’s satisfying for us to be able to share that as the conclusion to the show.
TVLINE | Was the journey of Miles getting back his faith more important to you than answering, explicitly, who or what is behind the God account?
LILIEN | Yeah, a hundred percent… When we talk about Miles, it’s all about his journey, his journey with his family, in wrestling with the idea of what faith is to him [and] people. To end the series correctly, it had to be satisfying on the Miles level. I mean, people are tuning in every week to see our characters and to see what’s going on with their lives, more so than just who’s behind the God account. You can’t touch that, you can’t feel that, you don’t cry over that or laugh over that. You do that with our characters. So it had to be that journey that ended the show.
TVLINE | Was it a very intentional decision to have it be, “She‘s been waiting for you,” not he? And why “she”?
WYNBRANDT | Oh yeah, definitely. Very intentional. For us, “she” represents many things. But why does it have to be a “he”? Why can’t it be a “she”?
TVLINE | It almost feels like it could be a spiritual presence like his mom.
WYNBRANDT | Yeah, that’s something we talked about. That’s an interpretation, for sure.
LILIEN | Yeah, a hundred percent.
WYNBRANDT | We’re fans of that interpretation. I like that interpretation. Not saying it’s the right interpretation, but I like it.
TVLINE | Did Miles not get any more friend suggestions after Ali?
LILIEN | We never stated it, but in our mind, it wasn’t about, after Ali, the God account stopping. That wasn’t the intention. He was at peace with helping friend suggestions, so I imagine that he continued to do that. We had this idea very early on, that down the road at some point, Miles wouldn’t necessarily need the God account anymore, because you don’t need that to make a difference. But our intention was he kept doing that and he kept spreading it, paying that forward to people, and if we did get a Season 3, we loved the idea of just seeing those friend suggestions come back into his world and see how their lives have changed and how maybe they’ve gone on to change other people’s lives.
TVLINE | Turning to the montage at the end, was that something you added in, just compromised of old footage and voiceover after you found out about the cancellation?
WYNBRANDT | Yes, that was conceived for this version of the episode, which is a series finale. That was footage from the show that really spoke to the moment and told the story the way the words were telling the story.
TVLINE | Cara seemed pretty adamant that she no longer had the same type of feelings for Miles that he had for her, but we did find out that they eventually reunited. So was she not being truthful with herself, or did something just change over time?
WYNBRANDT | I think she was protecting herself from being hurt, [the possibility] that Miles was going to choose the God account over her time and time again. [But] he found his peace after helping Ali, and he evolved as a person through the finale. He opened himself up to possibilities, as Ali’s letter asked him to do, and I think Cara would have seen that his devotion to his family and friends would have trumped his decision to search for who’s behind the God account or choose the God account over them. Once she started to see that, I think she opened herself up again to the person that was the love of her life, which is Miles.
TVLINE | I loved that Rakesh and Jaya got back together. Was that something you always had planned for? Or were you just adamant about squeezing that in before the show ended?
LILIEN | [Laughs] No, we introduced Jaya at the end of Season 2 because we wanted to relaunch that [in Season 3]. It’s so funny, from the very pilot episode when Rakesh declares that there’s no such thing as a soulmate, and then he meets Jaya in the pilot, there was a great love story between them. We’ve joked, like, if this was 20 years in the future, they’d be married, they have kids, they have a family, they had an epic love story. It was really important for us to let the fans know that that was the intention, and we wanted to let them know that that’s how they ended up.
TVLINE | And how did you decide on what Ali’s future was going to be like, especially after you put her through such a rough time this season?
LILIEN | That was the plan for Season 3… She had already started to have a question of whether she wanted to be a therapist, and she was at a crossroads. And then we wanted the idea of when she made it through the other side of cancer that [in] Season 3, she was going to make the decision to go into the seminary, follow in Arthur’s footsteps. That was actually always the plan. It was just sort of, like Bryan said, finding that footage that we had to illustrate that her future was up on that pulpit, speaking to people.
TVLINE | A feel-good show like this is such a rarity. What did it mean to you to bring the show to TV? And what do you hope viewers take away from it?
WYNBRANDT | It was a dream come true for us to be able to do this show, to be able to make it with the cast and our crew and our writers. The love that we have for the show, it really comes through in the episodes, and I hope what people take away from it is this message of just taking care of one another, looking out for one another and being open-minded to each other regardless of our differences.
LILIEN | We always talked about we didn’t want to have violence and guns in our show. And till the end, it wasn’t a show about that. It was a show truly about just people helping people, and we’re really proud of being able to stay true to that for 42 episodes.
What did you think of the series ender? Grade it below, then hit the comments!