The television ratings tell me that millions of viewers are missing out on great television each week, because COMMUNITY is one of the best comedies on television – not just now, but of all time. That being a conversation for another day, tonight marked the end of the season for the Greendale-based awesomeness, and I loved all 90 minutes of it.

(Read all the way to the end for some feedback polls!)

Digital Estate Planning

Starting out the night was an episode which will be talked about for years as one of the top offerings of the series. The Greendale Seven were approached by a former assistant of Pierce Hawthorne, who set the stage for the group to work to earn Pierce the Hawthorne inheritance. Adding to the weird dynamic between Pierce and his deceased father, the patriarch took Pierce’s advice to heart 30 years ago when he advised that video games were the future, not moist towelettes. The Elder Hawthorne created a video game with himself as the ultimate villain, and the game’s victor will get his life’s spoils.

The long time assistant and will executor Gilbert Lawson was portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito of BREAKING BAD fame. Fans of his work as the fast food chain owner with a penchant for distribution will no doubt be pleased with his performance in Digital Estate Planning, and the secret his character reveals in the second act.

Anyone who has played a dozen or more Nintendo games from the 80’s (or some of the throw-back RPGs of recent years or ANYTHING resembling Final Fantasy) will love the attention paid to all aspects of this episode. The digitized show opening credits had me considering saving this episode on my DVR until the DVD is released. The expression-painted faces of the digital characters throughout their adventure cemented the decision.

Even for non-gamer viewers, the episode still had plenty of laughs to go around, particularly with the interactions between Annie and Shirley. Abed may have spent the majority of his time in 8-bit, but he evolved as much in this episode as he had in the first two seasons alone.

The First Chang Dynasty

Providing the meat in the night’s Community sandwich was the Community Seven’s efforts to dethrone Chang as Greendale’s dictator. Spoofing OCEANS 11 pitch perfectly, the episode showed how excellent the show’s writing staff has become at parody. Faux-serious absurdity mixed subtly with the one-liners the show has become known for, the season’s biggest storyline came to its fruition. As the episode came to a close, we also got some seriously heart-felt moments as one character came to grips with the reality of their situation. The interactions in the closing moments between Abed and Troy could easily be put up against any great moments in television history.

Okay, so maybe that’s hyperbole, but they did make it touchingly emotional while still getting a good laugh out of the situation.

Introduction To Finality

In what, at one point, might have been written as the series finale, just about all of the members of the Greendale Seven get moments in this episode which take their characters to a whole new level.

  • Abed shows just how emotionally deep he is and his ability for introspection
  • Britta gains credibility and some acceptance from the group as a psych major
  • Pierce determines the worth of friendship in comparison to wealth and perception
  • Troy displays an understanding for the appropriateness of absurdity and maturity
  • Jeff reexamines his values and makes a decision which has significant impact on his future.

Death comes to Greendale. Judgment. Two characters make memorable returns. A Jim Belushi reference. And in addition to all of that, did I mention that this was the return of Evil Abed, and with him, a bone-cutting saw?

If you didn’t watch it on Thursday night, you deprived yourself. I hope it was worth it.


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