‘The Good Place’ Finds an Answer by Showing Chidi’s Past

Warning, this article contains spoilers for the newest episode of The Good Place. The show never shies away from twists, and “The Answer” is no exception. Much like “Janet(s)” or “Janet and Michael,” the episode of The Good Place deviates from its typical story formula.

A majority of The Good Place has been from Eleanor’s point of view. “The Answer” is centered around Chidi’s backstory. In the episode of The Good Place, fans get to see Chidi’s journey in the afterlife.

The Good Place
William Jackson Harper of ‘The Good Place’ | Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Fans see Chidi’s childhood in ‘The Good Place’

Before showing Chidi in the afterlife, The Good Place shows his childhood and time as a professor. The episode reveals that Chidi became interested in philosophy after he convinced his parents not to get divorced through a presentation he put on as a child.

Fans also see Chidi struggle with his indecision when he can’t pick a classroom seat. As a professor, he develops a dependence on philosophy and with finding answers. This leads to strife between himself and almost everyone in his life. With his backstory, viewers of The Good Place discover why Chidi is so plagued with indecision.

‘The Good Place’ episode shows Eleanor and Chidi’s relationships

“The Answer” shows the afterlife from Chidi’s perspective. Viewers see him during the first experiment all the way up until when his memory is erased before the last experiment from the fourth season. As soon as Chidi arrives in The Good Place, he wants to know if soulmates exist.

The episode shows different scenes from all of the reboots, and in doing so fans get to see the reboot where Eleanor and Chidi fell in love. “The Answer” also shows how Chidi bonded with Tahani and Jason. Because the show typically focuses on Eleanor and Michael, this was a rare treat for fans of The Good Place.

After Jason and Janet married in the first experiment, Chidi asks Jason how he was able to make such a big decision. In a moment of humor, Jason affectionately refers to Chidi as a high school principle instead of a professor. Later in the rebooted experiment, Tahani gives Jason advice on how to have confidence.

Chidi makes a realization before his memory is wiped

The emotional moments of The Good Place episode come in the last few minutes. After Chidi says goodbye to Eleanor, he asks Michael about soulmates again. Michael admits that he does not know if soulmates actually exist and he believes they probably do not. He then tells Chidi that soulmates can be made.

Just before Chidi’s memory is wiped, he asks for a piece of paper and pen from Janet. Chidi writes a note for his future self and tells Janet to give it to him if they ever reunite. It’s unclear what he writes, but it’s easy to sense whatever he writes has importance.

Once Chidi wakes up in Judge Gen’s chambers, he apologizes for being so annoying throughout his entire life. Eleanor fills him in on their dilemma and asks if he can help create a new afterlife system. Chidi asks Janet for the note and states it’s the most important thing he’s ever written.

Janet hands it to him and it reads, “There is no answer.” Chidi unfolds the paper even more and it says “Eleanor is the answer.”

‘The Good Place’ returns in January

In the first season of The Good Place, Eleanor writes herself a note and sticks it in Janet’s mouth before everyone’s memory is wiped. The second season of The Good Place reveals Eleanor wrote “Eleanor – Find Chidi” so she could search for him if they were separated. Chidi writing “Eleanor is the answer” right before his memory is wiped is a direct parallel to this. Can you say soulmates?

Much like the first season finale, “The Answer” is the mid-season finale of The Good Place. The episode ends with a cliffhanger involving a note, and fans have to wait until 2020 to find out what happens next. The Good Place returns Jan. 9, 2020.