As a mid-season finale, The Good Place‘s “The Answer” does a great job of reminding of us of the journey and setting up the 5 remaining episodes that are to close out this show for good. But, as always, that’s not the only thing the show does, no. In fact, the mid-season finale also manages to make us …well, feel, even as we learn something new about a character we thought we already knew everything about.
The magic of good writing.
Because Eleanor, Jason, Tahani, Michael and even Janet were all, in some way, waiting for our Chidi to come back, the Chidi that had once proclaimed that “every problem has an answer” and that answer can always be found if you try hard enough, if you think hard enough, if you learn enough things.
In many ways, as we say this episode, Chidi’s journey was about finding out that this isn’t the right way of looking at life, and more importantly, that not everything has an answer. Any given situation can have multiple answers, depending on many different things. There is no black and white, and there is no set right and wrong, in most situations in life.
Except, when you know, it involves Nazis or putting kids in cages. There’s a very clear right/wrong divide there.
But back to Chidi, and to answers… the journey has been about finding out that if there is an answer (and there isn’t), it won’t be found in books, and it’s not necessarily tied to knowledge. If anything, the answer is tied to …well, love.
And that’s why, for Chidi, Eleanor IS the answer.
Not the only one that matters, because we are talking about the END OF EXISTENCE here, but the only one that makes sense, even – or especially – to a man that has relied on thinking instead of feeling for the entirety of his life and afterlife.
And I gotta admit, even though I try to keep my theories to a minimum when it comes to this show, I legitimately did not see this being the answer. In fact, when it became clear the show was going to pursue, in some way or another, a romance between Chidi and Eleanor, I thought they were just succumbing to the pressure. Every show has to have a romance, right?
Except, I, of course, played myself in that kind of thinking. Because the truth of the matter is, most of us want romance. Most of us chose to live our lives with someone else. And it’s not wrong to want that, and certainly not wrong for a show to portray it as what it is – both normal and special, but something that happens every day and something that can absolutely change your life.
That’s what love is.
Human. Complicated. Hard to understand at times. And, also, quite possibly, the answer to …life, the universe and everything?
Someone go tell Douglas Adams he got it wrong.
Now, of course, how this ties to the larger story, I do not know, but I’m increasingly sure that whatever this writers are going to come up with to tie this story together, I will enjoy. Because one thing this show has done, other than surprise us at every turn and entertain us with every second, is make us think about things we already knew but had likely never really taken the time to really and truly dissect.
And yes, in the break between now and when the show returns with its final two episodes, in 2020, I will be re-watching this episode, and especially the final frames, over and over again.
There is no answer.
But Eleanor is the answer.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “The Answer”? What do you hope the show does in the final 5 episodes? Share with us in the comments below!
The Good Place airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.