DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Good Place episode “The Answer” is rife with forking spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, messy benches! The Good Place blessed us with its fall finale. “The Answer” reiterated the message this series has been conveying all along – that soulmates aren’t found, they’re made. Love takes cultivation, dedication and just a ton of forking work. It was also incredibly Chidi-heavy, which made my Chidi fan girl heart burst with joy.
Alright, ready to delve into “The Answer?” Just be sure to keep the Kleenex box within arm’s reach. Your eyes will inevitably leak.
We open right where we left off – with the Judge (Maya Rudolph) marbleizing Janets one by one in her search for her “decimating Earth” button. The clock is ticking, and our Soul Squad must act quickly if they’re to successfully save humanity…again. Michael (Ted Danson) is in the middle of snapping his fingers to waken Chidi (William Jackson Harper) when time slows down immensely. We see Jason (Manny Jacinto) slowly dropping his drink while Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and Tahani (Jameela Jamil) are on pins and needles. Who knows if Chidi will truly be restored to his former self. Perhaps he’ll come back a bit wonky after all the reboots he’s endured over hundreds of years.
Now, we’re traveling back in time – back to Chidi’s birth. We hear his parents decide on his name, and little Chidi experiences his first tummy ache borne of indecision.
Next, Chidi is eight years old. He overhears his parents vehemently bickering outside his room. Thus, he springs into action – he procures a philosophy book and searches for the answer to his parents’ crumbling marriage. Then, he presents them with an in-depth presentation containing plausible reasons for why they should stay married. Not bad for an eight year-old!
Now, we fast forward to Chidi in the throes of adulthood. He’s with his former girlfriend Alexandra. The pair are having dinner with his parents. During cleanup, Alexandra reveals that she believes they should put the kibosh on their relationship. Chidi utilizes philosophy to find the answer to their problems. Alexandra urges Chidi to feel, to act on passion instead of reason. Life is also meant to be felt, and some things cannot be answered. Just feel, man.
Later, Chidi is meeting with his grad school professor. We see his thesis laying on the professor’s desk. It’s over 3,000 pages. His professor, overwhlemed by the prospect of delving through the thesis in its entirety, urges Chidi to pick one philosophical theory to dissect. Naturally, Chidi being Chidi, can’t make a decision. He wishes to dissect all of them, to find answers to every conceivable problem known to humankind. His professor tasks Chidi with some rewrites.
Next, we see Chidi arguing with his roommate prior to his death by a falling air conditioner. Then, Chidi is back in the afterlife, amid Michael’s first neighborhood experiment. Back when Michael was a devious demon. We see him meet Janet for the first time. Michael reveals that Chidi has a soulmate named Eleanor, and scenes from Season 1 flash by in a montage.
Later, Chidi is chatting it up with Jason and Janet after their marriage ceremony. He seeks advice from Jason. How does one act with spontaneity? Chidi doesn’t think he could act without initially sussing out the pros and cons. Jason tells him that sometimes if you freeze before a presented opportunity, you miss the best of what life has to offer. My little cinnamon roll is so smart!
Now, Chidi is at a game night gathering courtesy of gracious hostess Tahani. Chidi has gone through a slew of soulmates. If you’ll recall, Michael rebooted Team Cockroach over 800 times during Season 2. His current soulmate is a goth girl who spends more time with her ravens than him. After she storms out, Tahani pairs him with Eleanor.
Then, Eleanor and Chidi have spent quite a bit of time studying philosophy and ethics. One night, Eleanor makes a move on our favorite philosophy professor – she plants a smooch. Chidi reminds her of his goth girl soulmate. However, Eleanor reminds him of their shared chemistry and that it’s crystal clear Chidi digs her. Thus, the seeds of love were sown.
Next, a montage of Eleanor and Chidi scenes play out before us. We’re once again subjected to the heartbreaking Season 3 finale scene when Eleanor and Chidi bid each other farewell prior to the latter’s memory wipe. Even thinking about this scene makes my eyes leak. My emotions!
Now, Chidi is given some parting advice courtesy of Michael. Not everything in life can be answered. Before his memory wipe, Chidi gives Janet a slip of paper containing undisclosed writing. He asks her to give it to him should they meet again. Secret messages!
Finally, we return to the present. Michael finishes snapping his fingers. Time moves normally once again. Jason’s drink unceremoniously clatters to the floor. Chidi opens his eyes. He appears to be in proper working order, and he remembers everyone present. Success! Eleanor gives him the Cliff Notes version of their current scenario. You know, the Judge wants to cancel Earth and they have only one hour to save humanity. Chidi reveals that there could be an infinite number of solutions to said scenario. And, knowing Chidi, he’ll want to explore all of his options before making a decision. Bring on the incessant tummy aches!
However, Chidi asks Janet to give him the note from the previous scene. Janet is taken aback, since he clearly remembers writing said note and what’s in it. But Chidi needs a friendly reminder. We see the message within: “There is no ‘answer,’ but Eleanor is the answer.” Cue the waterworks. The pair share a sickeningly sweet glance.
Shirt, The Good Place is so adept at tugging our heartstrings in one scene and immediately tickling our funny bones in the next. Full of heart and humor. Harper was a knockout in this episode, and Chidi’s character arc has made his progress all the more impressive. He went from someone who was indecisive and overly-analytical in every way to loving with spontaneous passion. Eleanor elicited that side of him. “Love is made” should be the mantra of The Good Place. That, and “not everything has an answer.”
Do you think Chidi will come up with a viable solution to save humanity despite the time crunch? Will the Judge spare Earth from cancellation? Will we see Jason throw a Molotov cocktail any time soon? Join me in 2020 as I recap the final episodes of The Good Place, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Good Place will return Thursday January 9th on your NBC affiliate.
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