Three episodes of Community in one night? That, my friends, calls for a viewing party. So last night I gathered with three Community loving pals to watch the last three episodes of the season. Since we know there will be more to come, it was a very joyous occasion.
Thanks to Allison, Vanessa and Melanie – who aptly brought chicken fingers to snack on – for coming!
Digital Estate Planning
I think this might have been my favorite episode of the three, even though I’m not a big video game person. I do have a grasp on what old video games used to be like, so I think I was able to appreciate it. This felt like a classic, memorable Community episode and I loved that one of the three episodes just focused on the study group, and not the Greendale/Chang storyline.
Basically, Pierce’s evil dead father had created a video game to be played upon his death, and the winner would receive the inheritance Pierce had expected to get. The gang wasn’t going to compete for the Hawthorne fortune because, despite everything, they’re Pierce’s friends – but Pierce’s dad’s old personal assistant, Gilbert.
There were a lot of laugh out loud moments in this episode for me, and my favorites were Abed’s serious relationship with the video game girl, and Annie and Shirley killing a man and his entire family, except for the girl Abed had fallen in love with. I also loved how absolutely offensive everything was, because the game had been designed by Pierce’s racist, homophobic, hippie-hating father.
In the end, the twist was that Gilbert was Pierce’s half-brother, and he could only claim the Hawthorne fortune by agreeing to deny his true heritage. When Pierce discovered the truth, he told Gilbert that he deserved the inheritance a lot more than Pierce himself did. It was a surprisingly sweet ending.
The First Chang Dynasty
The second to last episode returned us to the Greendale Seven storyline. As much as I liked “Digital Estate Planning”, I will say that it felt dropped into the season from nowhere. The last two episodes were more focused, and I think wrapped up the storyline quite nicely. As I’ve said before on the blog, I’m really not a Chang fan. In fact, if this had been his swan song I would have been quite pleased. But despite my distaste for Chang, I liked this storyline a lot.
This episode played around with classic heist film tropes, and it did a really good job. The complex plan, the hilarious costumes, the sacrifice Troy had to make – it all really worked. I especially liked how the Greendale Seven thing managed to tie in with the air conditioning repair school thread. That was a really nice bit of writing.
If the episode has a flaw, it’s Chang and his army. Look at the finale, in which Troy insists the other air conditioning repair school students take a murderer to the police, rather than settling it themselves, because THAT’S WHAT YOU DO. Chang held the Dean captive for months, but there were no real world repercussions for him. And the child army? It was funny in moments, but I think it required a little too much suspension of disbelief.
Luckily, the rest of the episode was so well-written and packed with jokes that I could easily overlook my Chang issues. Abed cracking jokes about his “wife” when he was posing as a plumber were some of my favorites, but I think everyone had the opportunity to shine.
Introduction to Finality
The last episode primarily dealt with the aftermath of Troy’s sacrifice – in order to save his friends, he had to agree to sign on with the air conditioning repair school. They live separately, eat separately, and are generally really weird and have their own society.
At first, Troy just missed his old life and was moping, even though he’s got a weird gift for fixing air conditioners. But when someone killed Vice-Dean Laybourne and tried to pass it off as an accident, he stepped up as leader. The whole thing was completely wacky and ridiculous without ever losing me, which is a thin line that Community is almost always able to walk. Since Troy is now the Messiah of the Anex, he abolished the rules about how air conditioning repair school students can’t talk to other students. Looks like he’ll be able to use his talents and hang out with his friends! The reunion with Abed, and then Britta, was pretty funny.
Meanwhile, Jeff represented Shirley in Greendale court (there sure has been a lot of lawyering lately!) because she and Pierce were fighting over ownership of Shirley’s Sandwiches (Subway is out) but really, it was about Jeff facing the fact that he might not want his old job back after all.
We also returned to the idea of the darkest timeline with Abed and Britta’s storyline. One of the things I love about Community is also one of the things that makes it hard for new viewers to get on board – they revisit episodes and jokes a lot. For the loyal viewer, this is what makes the show great. But I recently watched an episode with my boyfriend, and while I loved it he just thought it was OK. Why? Because he’d never seen “Remedial Chaos Theory”, which is basically a human tragedy. It’s a benchmark episode for the series, and not having seen it means that every time another episode references it you’ll be left in the dark.
But my boyfriend wasn’t at my party, so that didn’t matter. I loved seeing Abed, who was miserable and vulnerable without Troy, get sucked into the idea of making this timeline the darkest. And I’m sorry, but seeing him realize that the cord for his bone saw wouldn’t reach to Jeff was freaking hilarious.
I need to re-watch the last scene (not the end tag with Leonard reviewing chips while a muscular black man wandered through the house, I was able to appreciate that upon first viewing) because there was a lot going on. Thankfully Allison recognized City College, which Chang was observing from an air duct. And what was going on at Chez Abed/Troy/Annie? Was Britta moving in? Was someone moving out? What will they do with the Dreamatorium now? I did love Abed’s makeshift one.
I know I normally list all my favorite lines, but you guys, there were just too many. We laughed out loud a lot last night, so instead of posting any quotes I’m just going to encourage y’all to head to the comments and hit my with your favorites.