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Worldly Distractions: Community 5.5 - Geothermal Escapism


crazyforkate

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blog-troyandabedaredeparting.jpg 

troyandabedaredeparting

Well, guys, here we are. It's Donald Glover's last episode of the series. Let's join the gang in one last romp, and hope that they make it a good one.

The friends throw Troy a going-away party, where everyone's optimistic mood is brought down by Britta's usual buzzkill. Aww, someone's disappointed she didn't get invited along for constant ship sex. All joking aside, this does pull everyone into a sombre moment of reflection. At least until the Dean breaks it with an announcement.

You see, Abed has decided to override the entire school day with a campus-wide game of Hot Lava (AKA The Floor is Made of Lava). Everyone breaks out in joy, except for Britta, who demands that everyone process their feelings. Too late. The Dean has somehow given permission, everyone climbs up on the furniture, and the game is on.

Abed briefly takes the PA system to announce the rules, as well as a prize for all the joyless people like Britta who refuse to participate - a rare comic of Abed's worth $50,000. He starts a countdown, and the school breaks into lava-induced chaos. We even get a disaster movie-inspired opening credits, dubbing Community "Lava World".

People quickly fall into savagery, mindlessly pushing others into fake lava. Britta talks to Professor Duncan, who is desperate for the prize. She confides that she's worried about Abed and thinks this game is an avoidance technique. Duncan's response is to attack her, but fortunately Jeff and Annie step in and push him to the ground. Between Jeff's Gollum parody and Annie's alliance talk, I'm not sure if this is supposed to parody Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games, but Britta joins their alliance anyway.

As they inch through the hallway on a series of chairs pushed back and forth ("the centipede"), Britta continues her psychobabble. Jeff just chalks the game up to the general Greendale insanity. They are attacked by a group of "locker boys". Chang numbers among them, a bright red streak in his hair, and he's out for the kill. Lots of combination jokes ensue. As he threatens to torture them, Troy and Abed show up in commando outfits. They repel the boys with their "intimidation stance". However, just as things are looking up, a begoggled old man drives in on a working car made of furniture and fire extinguishers. It's Hickey!

The group flees. Britta implores Abed to work through his pain honestly. Abed, meanwhile, counsels everyone to get to "Shirley Island". Abandoned, Britta is at the mercy of Hickey, who invites her onto his furniture car and complains of how much his son's upcoming wedding will cost him. Her response? "I understand. I lived in New York." They form an alliance, but it can only last so long - for only one can win.

Troy and Abed arrive at Shirley island, which is a conflict-free zone covered in chairs and tables. The students and staff sit on their perches and listen to stories. Shirley brands it as a place "where all your dreams come true". She also has a board for "the fallen" (divided into Secular and Christian, of course), which commemorates all those who hit the lava. Believing Britta to be lost, they place her picture there.

However, there is more to this place than one imagines. Shirley's Island holds the mysterious orb, presumably made up by Abed, which may or may not give the bearer magic powers. Abed asks for it, while Troy pleads him not to make his last day one of hatred. "Last day," says Abed, seeming to realize it for the first time. Just then, though, an announcement interrupts the peaceful oasis. It's Hickey, driving in with his band of "chair walkers". He demands that they all give in and touch the floor, or else there will be violence. Britta, puffed-up hair and all, steals the megaphone and makes an announcement of her own, imploring them all to face their feelings - or else the chair walkers will force them to grow up. Troy and Abed are forced to confess that they left her for dead, making them instant pariahs.

The chair walkers attack, causing instant chaos. Jeff appears with a rolling chair and a badass action movie line. Annie is taken out, leaving Jeff and Britta in mortal combat with a pair of toilet plungers. They engage in some really terrible combat talk, which is of course hilarious. Shirley reveals to Troy and Abed that the island is actually the orb.

Jeff and Britta get their toilet plungers stuck together, and struggle in deadlock until Britta finally unseats him. She appears to be the victor, but is soon barreled down by the Orb, occupied by Troy and Abed. It looks like a giant hamster ball. We naturally get the hit "Troy and Abed in a bubble" jingle.

So now it is down to four - Britta, Troy and Abed and Hickey, with their awesome makeshift vehicles. They play chicken for a bit. Hickey guts the Orb with a knife while Britta scuttles away. Out in the hallway, Starburns joyfully exclaims about his continued existence, unaware that there are others out there. Just as he gloats about his sudden windfall, Troy and Abed spin through and run him over. They are pursued by Britta, who screeches that "YOU CAN'T OUTRUN YOUR EMOTIONS!"

Britta manages to get on top of the orb, while Troy wails that he had a sex dream like this once. Eventually, the Orb goes rolling down the stairs and gets busted for good. The boys sneak away. Abed says something about staying hidden so the game can go on forever. Troy gently tells him that the game has to end sometime.

Abed confesses that now that Troy's leaving, he sees the floor as real lava - so he made up the game to make everyone else see the same thing. Troy looks down, and for a moment, he can see the lava too. Abed says that the only way to stop the lava is for Troy to stay.

Just then, Britta and Hickey ride down the stairs on a bookcase (ouch), where they prepare to send Troy and Abed to their doom. Troy tells Britta what Abed's seeing, and to her credit, she drops her crusading schtick immediately. Hickey, however, is much less sensitive to Abed's quirks, and lunges forward to destroy him. All the furniture in the room crashes like dominoes. Abed grabs onto a pipe, but his grip is much precarious. He dangles inches from the floor. Britta gets fed up and pushes a protesting Hickey into the lava.

Troy, also clinging to furniture, begs his friend not to give up. Abed is prepared to forfeit, as it occurs to him that in order to break the illusion, he must finally let go. As in the zombie episode, he sacrifices himself for his friend. A lone singer wails a mourning song as he lies prone on the floor.

Britta tries to tell him it's fake, but Troy is too angry to listen. He forfeits the game and hands her the priceless comment. A rant follows about how he's the only one who gets Abed, and the whole debacle is his fault, so he'll just have to commit fake suicide. Britta offers to fake fix the situation. She'll get his DNA, Troy will find the technology, and they'll clone him. All without touching the lava. At first they're a little awkward, but they soon get into it, and Abed is cloned. However, new-Abed is quick to point out that her work was sloppy, and he's missing his emotionality. This means he can let Troy go.

Troy admits that the trip scares him, and Abed suggests that maybe his clone could go instead. Crossing his arms across his chest, Troy falls back into the lava...

...and walks into the study room, looking peaceful and content. He and his friends gather at Greendale's entrance, where they reveal that they've all been cloned so they can let Troy go. The Childish Tycoon pulls up. Troy bids goodbye to everyone. He tells Britta that she's the best (and gets confirmation that he's better at sex than Jeff), and wishes that he hadn't missed out on four years of high school friendship with Annie. He assures Jeff that he's the coolest person ever, to which Jeff replies that Troy is way cooler just by going on this trip - suave Winger has never even left Colorado. He tells Shirley that she's a badass, far from the boring old mom that she thinks he is. And at last we get to Abed. I'm crying already.

First of all, they can only address each other as "Clone", because it's too painful otherwise. Second, Abed tells Troy that he used homing pigeon DNA to recreate him, so one day he may feel the instinct to come back. They share a clone hug.  I'm dying over here.

Jeff expresses some concern about Troy sailing alone. In fact, Pierce has assigned someone to sail with him, both for companionship and to make sure he completes the voyage. His choice? Being Pierce to the end, he picked LeVar Burton. Troy's eyes widen, and Abed wishes him courage.

Fortunately, since this is Clone Troy, he can talk to LeVar with no difficulty. A beautiful acoustic version of "Come Sail Away" plays, the boat is towed away, and Troy leaves Greendale forever.

My heart is broken.

 

Tag scene: Troy and LeVar reflect on how it was a poor choice to start a sea voyage from Colorado. To pass the time while they get towed through traffic, Troy asks if he can share his Star Trek questions. LeVar says yes, then regrets it when Troy pulls out a long and inane list.

Danny Pudi killed it in this episode. Yes, he's always been great as Abed, but this time he was just plain awesome. Glover was no less wonderful, pulling off an excellent performance in which he grew from unsure to confident, completely seamlessly. We had some great moments with the rest of the study group, but Britta proved to be a standout too, having to put aside her rationality and join Abed in his game.

The actual gaming part was fairly weak - they did much better with pillowfights and paintball, and we had basically seen this episode before - but once they got to dealing with the actual goodbyes, things really took off. Even in the midst of total change, we saw the characters we knew and loved, from Britta's inept roleplay to Abed's strict categorization of the world to Troy's Cloud Cuckoolander moments. LeVar Burton's unexpected appearance was the icing on the cake, and so true to Pierce.

It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to Troy and to Donald Glover, but the episode provided an excellent send-off. For any Community fan, it was touching, funny, and felt completely right. Farewell, Troy - the mark you left on this show can never be forgotten. 

troyandabed

 

 

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