The Good Place‘s “Help is Other People” marks the midway point of this, the final season of the show, and there’s a lot we could discuss at this point, from the messaging (which remains on point), to the way these actors have created people that feel real to us (and will forever feel like our friends), to the fact that we have no idea how in the world this is going to end (time-wimey stuff?), but instead we’re going to take this time to talk about just one character, Chidi, and how he represents the best – and sometimes the worst – in all of us.
It’s hard to poinpoint when Chidi became not just my favorite character on this show, but one of my favorites on TV in general, but this episode was a great reminder that we should all be stanning not just Chidi, but the actor that plays him, and a writing team that has allowed him to be so much more than the stereotype, that has allowed him to grow and change and remain one of the kindest people on TV.
The kind we should strive to emulate.
Sure, a lot of Chidi’s goodness comes from his mind, from the knowledge of what goodness is, and what he should be doing to be good. But that doesn’t mean everything that Chidi does – like in this episode, trying to save Brent, who absolutely didn’t deserve it – is tainted, or the points don’t count, or whatever Bad Place nonesense Shawn would try to sell you.
No, Chidi’s goodness is who he is, and the fact that he can articulate why he should be that way doesn’t mean he isn’t being truthful. In fact, think about the arc of this show, just pause for a second and considering all the four humans we’ve followed on this journey have grown, and you start thinking …was Chidi so bad?
I mean, yes, he was indecisive to a fault, and that often hurt people. And yes, in that regard he has grown – part of the message of the show is that anyone, bad or good, can get better – but, and this is a big but, was Chidi in any way comparable to Eleanor, or Jason?
You know as well as me that the answer is no.
Chidi was always a good person. And yes, he could learn to be better, same as all of us, but the point system has been flawed from the beginning. That’s the basic premise of the show. We’re all going to hell anyway, because THE POINT SYSTEM SUCKS.
Even in the Bad Place, though, there are Brents and there are Chidis.
So I guess the point of all of this is that Chidi Anagonye inspired Eleanor, Tahani, Jason and even Michael to become better about a gazillion times over, and watching him has also made me think about how to actively be better, which is already a win, because yes, sometimes we are kind by default, and that’s amazing, but I also find great value in choosing to be kind, even when it’s hard.
Especially when it’s hard.
Cheers to Chidi, and cheers to William Jackson Harper. This whole journey has been a pleasure, and if the ending of this episode is to be believed, we’re still in for some more fun (or torture?) before this story finally comes to a close. Whatever happens, though (HAPPY ENDING, HAPPY ENDING!), I’m glad I got to know Chidi, and that he got to teach me how to be better, just as he did with the rest of team cockroach.
Just in case you need a reminder, though, here’s Chidi, with some words of wisdom:
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “Help is Other People”? Share with us in the comments below!
The Good Place airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.