Chidi and Eleanor were more than just a good romance in The Good Place — their unlikely pairing was essential for the show’s themes. Though they were supposed to torture each other for all eternity, they ended up helping one another improve ethically, which ultimately extended to the rest of the group. The Good Place is known for challenging the standard expectations of the afterlife, the concept of human souls, and the idea that humans are morally black and white. Ultimately, each of these topics was supported by the connection between Eleanor and Chidi.
Throughout the four seasons of The Good Place continuity nightmare, Chidi Anagonye, Jason Mendoza, Tahani Al-Jamil, and Eleanor Shellstrop became the best versions of themselves, even though each had been eternally damned to hell after their deaths on Earth. They did this through their connection, but this was never part of the Bad Place’s plan. Michael’s experiment meant to put them all together so they would torture each other (as opposed to demons doing all the work). But, of course, this didn’t work out — and it all came down to Eleanor and Chidi.
4 Chidi & Eleanor Were Supposed To Torture Each Other In The Good Place
When Eleanor first arrived at the fake Good Place after her death, Michael told her that Chidi was her soul mate. In truth, he had paired them together because they were uniquely qualified to torture each other. Eleanor hated nothing more in The Good Place than characters that made her feel inferior, so sticking her with a moral philosophy professor should have been the perfect way to make her resentful and bitter. Chidi hated any conflict or uncomfortable dilemma, so the knowledge that Eleanor was not supposed to be in the Good Place was meant to send him spiraling.
Of course, this didn’t happen. Without the real world’s problems, Eleanor put aside her moral insecurities and worked to become a person worthy of being in the Good Place. This helped Chidi see his faults, and together, they improved. It’s a great love story, but the significance of this is how it revealed how anyone, even Arizona trashbags like Eleanor, can improve when given a chance. The real world is too complicated to give people their best shot, but the right kind of adversity in specific environments can make all the difference.
3 The Good Place’s Michael Realized That Anyone Can Change
Over and over in The Good Place‘s afterlife system, Michael rebooted Chidi, Eleanor, Tahani, and Jason, hoping they would finally begin torturing each other. However, no matter how much he tried, the romance between Eleanor and Chidi profoundly impacted the group’s overall morality, and they would find a way to work things out between themselves. It took around 300 years, but Michael finally began to realize what this meant — humans are capable of change even after they die.
By all logic, Chidi and Eleanor shouldn’t have worked, and if they had met in the chaos that was Earth, they likely wouldn’t have. However, The Good Place proved that their relationship with each other and those around them ensured that they didn’t stop evolving. This ultimately took the series into its next step — proving that no human deserved to be eternally damned to an afterlife of torture in the Bad Place when they could learn from their mistakes and grow instead, just like Eleanor and Chidi.
2 The Good Place Challenged The Idea Of Soul Mates Using Eleanor & Chidi
In The Good Place season 4, Michael revealed that he had no idea if soul mates were a real thing or not. He had told Chidi that Eleanor was his soul mate in season 1 simply because he knew that was something the indecisive philosopher would expect in the afterlife. This provided ample ammunition for Chidi’s torture since learning that his soul mate was someone entirely different than he would have expected would have meant a severe disappointment. At first, he was right, but it seemed that Michael unknowingly made a perfect match instead.
The fact that Eleanor and Chidi always seemed to end up together no matter what Michel threw at them implied that they genuinely were soul mates, after all. However, if they had met organically on Earth (before the “near-death experience” seen in The Good Place season 3), they wouldn’t have had the same results. Destiny had very little to do with the events of The Good Place — if anything, it demonstrated an entirely chaotic system. Therefore, the idea wasn’t that Chidi and Eleanor were actually soul mates but that they challenged each other in all the right ways and entirely by chance.
Eleanor and Chidi’s relationship summarized The Good Place‘s themes that anyone could change and that people’s choices dictate their outcome (not fate). This was not the end of the series’ moral lessons, however. The fact that the duo was supposed to be terrible for one another in The Good Place‘s afterlife concept was a metaphor for the road to personal improvement in the real world. This demonstrated that if people are to become their best selves, they must expose themselves to different ideas and opposing worldviews. In the case of Chidi and Eleanor’s relationship, seeing the world from one another’s perspective allowed them to grow.
The Good Place often poked fun at humanity’s shortcomings, including the tendency for individuals to resent and segregate those who are different from them. Still, Chidi and Eleanor’s connection represented the changes that happen when these kinds of barriers are broken down. By The Good Place season 4, all the terrible people that any of the characters had ever known wound up in the real Good Place, and it was all thanks to their interactions outside their normal thought process. Ultimately, Chidi and Eleanor may have been a fictional couple in The Good Place, but they represented a very real dynamic.
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