With only five episodes left coming into tonight, you’d think that The Good Place would want to spend that time trying to work through the absurd amount of plot that must be left to wrangle.
But of course, on this show, they zag when you think they’ll zig, which is how we ended up with an episode that covered only about a minute (ish) of time with the characters in the “present” — and the rest of that time spent within Chidi’s memories.
That’s right, it’s a The Good Place-style clip show! And I’m sure like all clip shows, this one will be full of laughs and not leave us as emotional wrecks by the end.
Now then, let’s get to the supposed point of this piece, which is, as always, trying to find the deep callbacks and hidden jokes of the episode!
Back in the season two episode “Best Self”, Chidi described his brain as sounding like a fork in a garbage disposal - and here we finally get to hear that grind literally, after Allesandra breaks up with him.
Maybe not a joke, but that certainly feels like a Mike Schur-style name.
Of course the boots (which Chidi wears out of guilt after receiving them as a gift from his poor friend Henry) make a return, as well.
Ted Danson Hates You
Given how supposedly nice he is, these slow motion shots may be the closest we ever get to having Ted Danson give us the finger.
For what may be the last time, one last callback to the fact that Chidi, despite being his insanely indecisive self, really, truly loves his almond milk - and it’s even extra filmy, just the way he likes it.
Another season two callback, this time to “Dance Dance Resolution”, as Lerf (Eleanor’s soulmate from attempt #291) is hanging out in the background!
(Fun fact: Lerf is played by Tom Zawacki, who worked in the show’s property department!)
Memories Montage Revisited
Now we get to the Chidi-Eleanor stuff, which also means the show just had to go and recreate one (previously unseen) moment from the memory montage in the season three finale, “Pandemonium” (which I definitely did not have to go back and rewatch a bunch of times, and definitely did not cry the whole time):
Although we didn’t get to see it in the actual episode (“Chillaxing”) earlier this season, it’s nice that in the rapid-fire clips they managed to find a use for the footage of Jason breakdancing in Chidi’s apartment.
I’m sure you all heard it, but it’s too good to pass up: when Chidi asks everyone if he’s been super annoying for the past three hundred years, and the rest of the group hems and haws: that last, sad “Yes” from Jason just before the cut is perfect.
Alright, let’s talk about the forking note.
First of all, to fulfill my contractual obligations here: his act of using a note is a callback to the end of season one, when Eleanor sent herself a note via Janet that read: “Find Chidi”.
Now, as we head into the break, what does the note actually mean? As a consequence of the episode, we (and Chidi, as he regained all of his memories) learned that as far as anyone (even Michael) knows, there are no hard and fast answers - and probably no soulmates. But we also learned that the way Chidi’s parents managed to stay together wasn’t because Chidi solved their problems with his adorable presentation, but that they were convinced to keep trying.
Armed with his memories and his new understanding of the world, Chidi is finally at ease, no longer crippled by his inability to make a decision. He seems to understand (much like the Judge now does) that people can always get better - and by extension, instead of soulmates (the relationship equivalent of there being true, definitive answers to life), relationships, too, are defined by the fact that they can always improve… if the people choose to try.
And that’s why Eleanor is the answer - not just to his own romantic happiness, but perhaps, to the whole experiment itself - because they were never soulmates. But reboot after reboot, they kept trying, and finding, and choosing each other.
All of this seems to be adding up to a nice, tidy ending about how trying is the point as we head into the last few episodes when the show returns.
Except, of course, never forget.
This is The Good Place.
Which means things are never quite what they seem.
Thanks, and we’ll get back to it in January!
Header Image Source: NBC