At the conclusion of its third season, “The Good Place” left its mismatched soul mates Eleanor and Chidi in a very bad place indeed. But Kristen Bell’s here to re-kindle your hopes and dreams for the show’s central couple.
In the season finale, as part of the elaborate competition with The Bad Place’s head meanie Shawn in which the Soul Squad, to avoid eternal damnation, is attempting to guide a group of four people toward moral and ethical redemption, the group discovered that Shawn has stacked the deck by choosing four candidates from each squad member’s own past — including Chidi’s ex, Simone, who on paper always seemed so much more well-suited for him.
To level the playing field, Simone’s memories of her encounters with Chidi and his Good Place friends — but Chidi insists this his memories be wiped too, lest he compromise the experiment and doom his friends. But doing so means he’ll forget the deep, messy history he shares with Eleanor — and the love that bonds them. Worse, he may re-fall for the otherwise ideal Simone.
At San Diego’s Comic-Con International, Bell and her show-mates made the press roundtable rounds to discuss the show’s upcoming season, and her thoughts on the beauty of the Chidi-Eleanor bond will fill even the most concerned viewers with optimism. And not just for the TV relationship in question, but any relationship.
“What I love about Chidi and Eleanor is that they are not perfect matches, they are not the puzzle piece that was waiting for one another,” said Bell. “They are two polar opposites who challenge each other and force one another to grow. And they balance each other, and for me what I took was maybe that’s a great thing for the human soul. Maybe growing together is what makes everyone their healthiest. And maybe what love is, is a commitment to grow with one another.”
“Yes, it’s a choice, and Simone is so much more like Chidi — she’s also just so spectacular and wonderful, it was hard not to want Chidi to go with Simone, to have that,” the actress continued. “But the very important thing is, they never let you forget about the history of growth with Eleanor. And I think there’s something to be valued in your history of growth with someone. That life is not going, ‘You’re great, we’ve been through a lot. Let me see who’s over your shoulder.'”
“This definition of love that we’re all searching for is looking at the person in front of you, recognizing their flaws, recognizing your own and saying let’s get through it together. Not searching for a different perfect person,” Bell added.
Bell’s co-star William Jackson Harper also revealed that, as the show heads into its swansong, he was unconcerned about the show successfully wrapping up its fantastical yet philosophically fraught story, whether the ending is revered like “Breaking Bad” or somewhat inscrutable like “The Sopranos.”
“I want the audience to feel a certain thing, but I think it’s more important to me that the audience feels something specific and individual to them, no matter what that is,” said Harper. “I feel like there’s something in the way that we make the show where the journey does sort of feel like the destination, a little bit…I hope that that’s something people can weigh with in some capacity. But that’s not necessarily the central tenet of the feeling that we’re trying to get out there.”
That said, Drew Goddard, one of the show’s executive producers, said he expects creator Michael Schur’s finale is going to resonate with devoted viewers.
“This is me just speaking now as a fan: when I read the script I thought oh, I suspect people are going to be satisfied by this,” Goddard said, admitting he was initially against wrapping the show in its fourth season. “I’ve been trying to get Mike to keep going, until I saw the scripts, and then I saw the scripts and went ” This is the perfect way to end this show.. I think when everyone sees the finale they will understand exactly why it needed to end right now.”