Chapter 34: The Worst Possible Use of Free Will is the 8th episode of Season 3 of The Good Place.

Synopsis Edit

Michael helps Eleanor recall forgotten events from her past with Chidi, causing Eleanor to fixate on the philosophy of determinism.


Eleanor and Michael arrive at a public library in Arizona. Eleanor wants Michael to give her back her memories of being in love with Chidi. She needs to see for herself because she thought she was incapable of loving anyone. Michael hands her some earphones and connects her to the machine that will help her remember her memories from the afterlife. Unfortunately, there are some side effects such as losing all your hair and teeth. Michael reassures her that she'll be back to her regular self in twenty minutes.

After she recovers, Michael shows her memories from reboot 119. Eleanor watches her interactions with Chidi. One memory has her sitting with Chidi as they study philosophy. Another has Chidi, Eleanor, Jason, and Tahani at the neighbourhood meeting where it's Pick-a-Pet Day. Chidi has trouble picking between two puppies. Tahani is introduced to a mirror centaur that takes on its owners appearance. She is very impressed. Chidi finally decides to take the black puppy but when he returns to claim it he finds that both puppies have already been adopted. Chidi is forced to chose from the leftovers so he chooses an owl. Back at home, Eleanor is excited about her new pet but learns that Chidi's new owl attacked him and scratched up his arm. She tells him to just ask Michael for a dog but Chidi is stubborn and says no. Eleanor helps bandage his arm. She suggests that she talk to Michael for him. Chidi is grateful and the two of them smile at each other.

Michael pulls the earphones out of Eleanor's ears. Eleanor is upset but Michael tells her that the rest of the memories are boring. Eleanor suspects that Michael doesn't want her to see something. She takes the earphones back and demands that he shows her more. Back in Eleanor's memories, Eleanor asks Tahani if she can ride her centaur but Tahani says that Tahania is very particular over who she allows to ride her. Michael walks over and Eleanor asks if it's possible for Chidi to swap his pet for a puppy. Michael says sure because this is The Good Place. But he goes on to tell her that he may want to wait because tonight at the party they're going to be able to transform into their pets for a few minutes. Michael asks Tahani if she'll host the party at her mansion. Tahani says of course.

Eleanor can't find her pet lizard. Chidi suggests that they ask Janet to find it but Eleanor is worried that that'll cause them to realize that she isn't the real Eleanor. She sends the group ahead to the party while she looks for the lizard. Chidi returns to help Eleanor search but she's on edge so she pushes him into the water when he says hi. After he dries off, Eleanor asks why he isn't at the party. He tells her that he would rather be with her. Eleanor says that he's amazing. She leans in and kisses him. Michael tells Eleanor that after that they were inseparable. Eleanor watches as she says I love you to Chidi and he says it back before pulling out the earphones. Michael says that that's the story and asks if they can go now. Eleanor asks how did it end and Michael says that it ends with him rebooting all of them. Eleanor asks him to show her.

Eleanor and Chidi confront Michael and tell them that Mindy St. Claire told them everything. How this is the 100th time that he's rebooted them but that this time it's different because they are in love. Michael tells them that he made it all up. That he orchestrated all of it. He sighs and snaps his fingers. Eleanor removes the earphones and Michael apologizes for how he was. He swears that he's a changed man. Eleanor tells him that she isn't mad at him. She's just sad that for a moment she thought she was capable of love. But in reality, Michael had manipulated her into falling in love. She brushes it off and asks Michael if he wants to get some burgers. Michael asks her how she came to the conclusion that she's incapable of love when she just watched herself fall in love. Eleanor says she fell in love because of Michael. Michael agrees that yes he put them together but only so that they'd drive each other crazy. Not fall in love.

Eleanor suddenly remembers Determinism which is the theory which we have no control over our actions. Eleanor says that she didn't choose to fall in love with Chidi because Michael chose for her. Michael says that he didn't. Eleanor tells him that everything in her life has been determined by upbringing, genetics, and environment. Even in her afterlife, everything was determined by Michael. She comes to the conclusion that there is no such thing as free will. The library closes so they head to a diner called The Sandy Spoon. Michael tells her that he'll prove to her that she made a choice. He finds a memory from the very first attempt. He shows her when she stood up and revealed that the problem in the neighbourhood was her. Michael says that she chose to sacrifice herself in order to ease her friend's pain. Michael says that wasn't him manipulating her and that she ruined his whole plan. Eleanor still doesn't believe that there is free will. He tells her that she was constantly doing stuff he didn't anticipate. He even complained to her once about it in reboot 445.

Michael tells her that he tried to script her whole afterlife but Eleanor made choices that he never saw coming. He calls that free will. Eleanor still doesn't believe him and goes on to throw out some crazy conspiracy theories. Michael gets fed up and pours his glass of ice tea on her. She asks why he did that and he says because he has free will and she was annoying. Michael asks her if she really doesn't see what's happening here. He tells her that this is her defence mechanism and she's using determinism to rationalize that the feelings she had for Chidi aren't real. That she hates to be vulnerable. Eleanor says he doesn't know her but Michael says that he does. Michael decides that he's going to use his free will and go pick up their friends from the airport.

Jason is so excited about having flown first class. Tahani still can't believe that they are legally married. They all get into the car but first Eleanor apologizes to Michael. She tells him that he was right. He accepts her apology and apologizes for having spilled ice tea on her head. Eleanor says that she realized that maybe they are the freest in the galaxy because they actually know what happens in the afterlife. She says that the soul squad needs to go bold. Michael says that they need to find someone to serve as a blueprint for humanity. Eleanor suggests Rihanna but Michael says that it's someone much cooler. He tells the gang that they are going to Canada.

Meanwhile, Shawn has built an illegal doorway to Earth. He frees Vicky from her cocoon, sends her through the doorway and he, Val, and Glenn follow her through.

Cast Edit

Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop
William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye
Jameela Jamil as Tahani Al-Jamil
D'Arcy Carden as Janet
Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza
and Ted Danson as Michael

Recurring Cast

Marc Evan Jackson as Shawn

Guest Starring

Bambadjan Bamba as Bambadjan
Tiya Sircar as Vicky
Jama Williamson as Val


Josh Siegal as Glenn
Todd Aaron Brotze as Scott Fupple
Lynette DuPree as Laverne

Trivia Edit

  • This episode was previously titled 'The Lizard and the Owl'.
  • Although the episode implies that the library scene takes place in a public library, it was actually shot in an academic library because it uses the Library of Congress' library classification system instead of the Dewey Decimal system.
  • The library the episode begins with is ‘Tostitos presents a Public Library brought to you by GoDaddy’.

The Good JokesEdit

  • "I’ll swear on a Bible, like you humans do. I can grab one right now. It’s the only book they have in the sex-ed section." - Michael
  • "We can get mythical animals? Maybe I’ll get a penguin!” - Jason
  • "Fabulous! I haven't had a pet since Barbra Streisand gave me one of her cloned siamese cats and it killed itself." - Tahani
  • “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna use my free will right now to pick up our friends at the airport. Worst possible use of free will, but I’m gonna do it anyway, because I care about them.” - Michael
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