"It starts, as all things on this show do, with philosophy," Schur says of Thursday's episode. "A lot of the reading that we did and a lot of the discussions we had over four years was about this inescapable truth that any version of eternity is bad; you cannot design an eternity that is satisfying because when things go on forever everything loses meaning." He adds of incorporating the real world into the storyline: "We recognized very quickly in discussing the story that this is echoing a real-life political and moral question that people face a lot and that has been hotly debated, but it’s not the first time that’s happened. A couple of episodes earlier when they’re trying to redesign the afterlife and Chidi is talking about that Judith Sklar essay 'Putting Cruelty First,' he explicitly says there’s a problem in real-life moral justice — which is that people commit crimes that are not cruel and then their punishment is cruel. There’s an asymmetry there. That is very obviously and consciously attempting to be a discussion about criminal justice in America and elsewhere. And one of the most fun aspects of making this show is we had all of these guest lecturers come in to teach these classes, and when we were breaking that part of the season we had DeRay Mckesson come in and he talked about Black Lives Matter, he talked about criminal justice reform — and specifically the idea of how cruel punishments are in America for crimes committed that are in no way cruel. That was really intense and fun and interesting and gave us a lot to chew on."