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Khloé and Tristan Test the Limits of Forgiveness in The Kardashians Season 4

After months of tension, the co-parents have a brutally honest conversation about Tristan's infidelity and their current relationship status.
  • Khloé Kardashian in The Kardashians Season 4 (Photo: Hulu)
    Khloé Kardashian in The Kardashians Season 4 (Photo: Hulu)

    The Kardashians Season 4 got off to quite the inauspicious start. Beyond Kim and Kourtney's fiery fight (over Kim's new Dolce & Gabbana collection), the premiere was filled with laughably out-of-touch moments — including the sisters' first sips of beer and slow-motion shots of them descending the steps of a private jet in Mexico — creating the impression that this season will be as fluffy as the last. But just when it seems like Season 4 will be yet another highly manicured look at the Kardashians' privileged lives, the second episode, "When Is Being Me Gonna Be Okay?" delivers something unexpected: a frank conversation between Khloé and Tristan Thompson, who have entered a new chapter as platonic co-parents to their two children, True and Tatum Thompson.

    Khloé and Tristan spent much of Season 3 on the outs after he admitted to having a monthslong affair and fathering a child with Maralee Nichols, but in the finale, she flew to be by his side after the sudden death of his mother Andrea Thompson in January 2023. A few days later, Tristan suffered a major setback while renovating his home, and Khloé invited him and his 16-year-old brother Amari, who is disabled, to move in with her. "This is what family does," she said at the time. "I'm grateful I'm strong enough and brave enough to be a support system for someone else that has no other support system right now. You don't have to treat me right for me to treat you right."

    When Season 4 picks up a few weeks later (filming ran from February to July of this year), Tristan and Amari are still living in Khloé's home. Their new normal is one of Episode 2's most consistent storylines: Kim reflects on her own relationship with Tristan, whom she insists is "such a good friend and such a good dad" despite his pattern of infidelity, while Kris Jenner gets emotional about the positive impact Amari has had on her family.

    But it's not until the end of the episode that Khloé and Tristan finally have a real conversation about the boundaries they've set in their relationship — something that would have been unthinkable months prior. Khloé is clear that the goal is for Tristan to return to his own home once his roof is fixed, as she doesn't want him to get the wrong impression about them getting back together or feel as if he's been "misled" about her feelings. A comment about male athletes being "groomed to be so tough, with a 'f*ck you' mentality" then leads to some introspection about how that attitude has played a role in Tristan's treatment of Khloé. "The last thing I want [True and Tatum] to do is ever feel embarrassed that I'm their father," he says. "I know how much I care about you; I know how much I love you; you're my best friend. How come I meet my person — how come I've done so [many] wrong things to them? Why put you through that?"

    While Khloé appreciates Tristan taking ownership of his behavior, she's hesitant to believe him, as she's "heard this" in the past. "Of course it's angered me before because it's like, 'Well, if I f*cking am [your person], then why would you have treated me this way? And how many times?!" she says in a talking head interview. "I love love, and I am a hopeless romantic, but that's not going to change how I feel and what happened."

    Still, despite her insistence that she's "not going to forget" the "very traumatic experience" of discovering Tristan's latest affair just days after they transferred an embryo to a surrogate, Khloé believes it's important to find a way forward. "We're gonna be in each other's lives for the rest of each other's lives because of our kids. So I'm not going to fight that. I'm going to make sure it's as nice as possible for me," she tells Tristan.

    "I'm so proud that I'm able to be kind and mature and show my children that mommy and daddy can coexist and be co-parents," Khloé adds in an interview with a producer. "I don't care what you did to me — this is something beyond my pain. My moral compass is saying for me to be a good person and to be supportive when someone is in need. So, everyone, you do what your moral compass says; I'm going to do what mine says."

    The nearly 10 minute-long scene may be the first time Khloé and Tristan have had such an open and honest discussion on The Kardashians, and it offers a beautiful lesson in forgiveness. Sometimes, the people we love do horrible things to us, but as Khloé tells her ex-fiancé, "Just like you can do dumb sh*t publicly, you can do incredible sh*t publicly." Forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean ignoring the bad and focusing only on the good — it means holding that duality in our minds as we carve out a new path.

    Of course, no matter how mature and surprising it proves to be, this conversation likely won't prevent fans and gossip sites from speculating about whether Khloé and Tristan are back together. But the fact that it ends in such an open-ended way, without a clear resolution or plan for their future, is particularly powerful. For a show packed with so much filler, Khloé and Tristan's big moment may be the realest thing we'll see all season.

    New episodes of The Kardashians Season 4 drop Thursdays on Hulu. Join the conversation about the show in our forums.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: The Kardashians, Hulu, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Tristan Thompson