‘The Good Place’ season 4 episode 9 recap: A glimpse into Chidi’s past
It’s no surprise that The Good Place episode entitled “The Answer” is all about our boy Chidi (William Jackson Harper). Chidi has been searching for answers his entire life, as we’ve seen through his flashbacks. So to bring Chidi back to current time while also giving him every memory he had, it’s going to give us the answers to the universe. The answer might be a little different than you think.
We’re here to recap the best parts of Chidi’s time on earth and in the afterlife, to answer the real question: was Chidi really annoying the past 300 years? It’s also to give us some closure for this fall finale before we find out about the end of the world in January when The Good Place returns.
The beginning of the end . . . for Chidi
It seems Chidi has been unusually indecisive all his life, but we really get a look at what inspired him to go into ethics & philosophy in “The Answer”. When Chidi was a young boy, he woke up one night to the sound of his parents fighting. So Chidi did what Chidi does best: read up on the topic of divorce and prepare a presentation for his parents about why they shouldn’t get divorced.
Of course, the minute after this, we cut to a young Chidi bragging to a friend of his at school, arguing that every problem has an answer. So when his teacher comes in telling him to find his seat, Chidi has to debate to find the best answer of where’s the best seat in the classroom – which, of course, takes way too long.
This moment will forever tie to Chidi’s future, as it moment set his path in life to become the Chidi we know today. But as the episode moves along, Chidi begins to realize the truth behind this moment and it leads him to the answers he’s been looking for – but that’s for later.
“My brain is grinding like a fork in a garbage disposal.”
We get a look at the one girlfriend from Chidi’s time on earth, when he tried to break up with her. Allesandra made it clear she’s annoyed by his indecisiveness, but dinner with his parents really clued her into what was wrong. While discussing the story of his parents’ near-divorce, Chidi ends up having a crisis deciding if he should switch to physics.
Even when Allesandra is explaining her emotions to him, Chidi can’t help but turn to philosophy to try and solve their relationship. No wonder she walks out on him – she can’t get through to him! Chidi lets the fork that fell into the garbage disposal grind around, simulating how his brain felt in that moment.
(One of) Chidi and Eleanor’s first kiss(es) & some great advice from Tahani
Soulmate Game Night is a bit too much for Esmerelda! She’s definitely strange and sets Chidi up for disaster anytime she moves. But Tahani (Jameela Jamil) has come in to save the day, pairing Chidi up with – guess who! Eleanor (Kristen Bell)!
The two hit it off with great chemistry (surprise, surprise) and Chidi ends up leaving with Eleanor to get some ethics help. Later on, Eleanor is walking home with Chidi and kisses him, arguing that Esmerelda isn’t his soulmate.
But what really makes the scene is how Tahani explains why she paired up Eleanor and Chidi. She’s thrown bad parties and has had her fair share of failures, so she’s learned to just go with the flow and fix what she can. Not everything is out of her control.
Chidi & Eleanor’s greatest hits
Cheleanor shipper! This is the episode for you. If you wanted a montage of the cutest moments in Chidi & Eleanor’s past, director Valeria Migliassi Collins has you covered. You got the kiss that saved Janet’s void, Chidi’s heartfelt speech after “Some Memories You May Have Missed”, and Eleanor being her usual cocky self (while also being a sweetie).
While plenty of moments could’ve ended up in this clip montage, the right ones that really show off Chidi & Eleanor’s relationship made it in. The Good Place has changed its stance on soulmates throughout the series, but it’s clear that time after time, Chidi & Eleanor find each other and we’re here for it.
The note that turned fangirls into bawling babies
Don’t worry – we’re all on the same page. We get a look at the moment before Chidi got his memories erased, where Michael (Ted Danson) gives this dramatic speech about soulmates. “They’re not found, they’re made.” Michael also tells Chidi that his presentation to his parents reminded them they love each other, which was what really kept them together.
Thus Chidi has learned that there is no “final answer to the universe and life”, and has Janet hand him a notepad so he can write a note to future him to remind him of the truth. That truth? “There is no ‘answer’ – but Eleanor is the answer.” After all this time, we’ve been waiting for Chidi to wake up and give us the answer, but the answer has been in front of us this entire time. Eleanor will be the one to save us all . . . we hope.
While we have some closure on Chidi’s story, we’re still stuck wondering what will come of the end of the world. The Good Place returns January 9th, so we have time to contemplate what the answer to the flaws in the Point System will be.