Sorry for the late arrival of the Thursday recaps, guys. There are two reasons for this. One, ever since my triumphant return West we have been inundated by relatives bearing delicious seafood feasts, giving me little time to slip away and watch TV. Two, I am extremely reluctant to go through the end of Community. This is the second last episode ever, guys. Itâ€™s like losing 30 Rock all over again. No matter. Next week I will undoubtedly be a basket case, but by gum, the show must go on. Letâ€™s do this.
The study group (sans Pierce â€“ take a drink, another Chevy Chase write-out) are in their usual habitat. Abed asks Shirley if she ever dated Roger Ebert, and Britta if she ever posted pictures of her feet online for money. Clearly he is cooking up some kind of scheme. Since Abedâ€™s schemes are always entertaining, I have a lot of hope for this episode. It was a rocky season, but letâ€™s give these finale episodes a chance. Jeff demands that they get back on topic for their upcoming history file, because he absolutely has to pass. Apparently Professor Cornwallis has suddenly decided to get serious, leaving them utterly unprepared. During the subsequent discussion we learn Pierceâ€™s whereabouts â€“ he is donating a kidney to Gilbert (his long-lost half-brother introduced in Digital Estate Planning, played by Giancarlo Esposito â€“ I think he had a really brief appearance an episode or two back).
Fed up with their procrastination, Jeff screams that they need to start studying history. Abed counters that he is studying their history. Naturally, that is the kind of history that matters most to him. An exasperated Jeff tries to dismiss him, but he explains that itâ€™s a graduation gift. Apparently, the Greendale Seven has crossed paths many times before, rather than simply meeting at community college. Abed is going to track these origins down and chart their destiny. Mr. Skeptic Winger protests that they absolutely must study, but the rest of the group seems thrilled to follow Abedâ€™s project, so he is stuck. â€œThis is the real world,â€ Jeff says, â€œnot some comic book adventure.â€
A few feet away, Chang spies on them with binoculars from behind a bookcase. Having dropped his Kevin shtick, he explains to his contact that he has successfully infiltrated both the school and the study group. He has fooled them all into trusting him. After being destroyed along with the Changlourious Basterds last year, itâ€™s time for revenge. His contact, who sounds like the villainous dog from Up, Â is revealed to be â€“ the Dean from City College (using a voice modifier from Skymall). Cut to opening credits.
After a large amount of research, Abed is missing the final pieces of information that will be a clue to their heroic origins. He brings out a giant chart, â€œThe Crazy Quilt of Destinyâ€, which demonstrates all their connections. Jeff expresses his doubts, and in doing so uses a Star Wars quote. Abed stuns him by recalling the exact date, time and place that Jeff first saw Star Wars, the best time he ever had with his father â€“ all of this information gleaned from a ticket stub Jeff keeps in his wallet. Jeff snatches the stub back, and Abed begins his tale. The screen switches to comic book format (each frame is a panel) as we are taken back to 2008...
A live-action Annie, complete with glasses and braces, practices a speech into her high school locker. Stumbling over it, she pops some pills and instantly feels better. Troy walks by surrounded by friends and quoting There Will Be Blood. Annie shyly goes up to him and offers to be his algebra tutor. Troy turns her down, as he is counting on a football scholarship instead. â€œI donâ€™t care about math, all I need is statistics.â€ Nerdy Annie is adorable.
A few comic book panels take us back to the present day. Annie protests that we all know about Annie and Troyâ€™s non-existent high school communication. Troy says (suspiciously quickly) that he had no idea who Annie was and weshouldjustdropit. Britta suddenly notices that Pierce is not on the chart. Abed shows her a Post-It note saying â€œPierce Hawthorne. Fixture at Greendale. Unavoidable,â€ which summarizes the manâ€™s entire existence. Wow, they are really throwing Pierce under the bus this season, eh? Chevy must have been a real diva.
Abed brings out a receipt he filched from Shirleyâ€™s sock drawer, which proves they were all at the mall on a certain day. Shirley, wearing an Obama â€™08 shirt and sporting a different hairstyle, walks out of â€œThe Love Hutâ€ telling her husband over the phone that she is â€œso excited about tonightâ€. She has planned a little surprise for their â€œadult timeâ€. It sounds like Andre has a surprise of his own, and if it doesnâ€™t with â€œsâ€ and end with â€œtripper slut he ran away withâ€ I will eat my hat. She walks by Abed. Thatâ€™s it. Seriously. We go through some comic book panels again, and arrive back at the present. Shirley seems genuinely shocked that, you know, two people in the same area went to a mall on the same day. Abed is slowly winning them over.
In his office, the Dean licks envelopes while Chang schmoozes. â€œKevinâ€ has always been tasked with taking the mail. However, the Dean will not allow him to do it today. Heâ€™s sending out Greendaleâ€™s lease renewal (they sublease from some Rappahoe Indians), which is too important to entrust to someone with Changnesia. Wounded, Chang!Kevin asks if the Dean only trusts him with busywork. One glimpse of Â Chang!Kevinâ€™s puppydog eyes and the Dean is won over. Soon enough, the lease renewal is in Changâ€™s treacherous hands and the Dean is obliviously off to the seamstress. What exactly heâ€™s doing there will be left to the imagination.
Using a back issue of the Greendale Communist Worker, Abed charts what he believes will be the key evidence for their backstory. The paper chronicles a protest by Brittaâ€™s â€œAnHerChistsâ€ at the local courthouse. While she looks back at it fondly, Abed tells her that Jeff is also in the picture. Both Jeff and Britta jump to look at it. We jump back in time. Jeff has just successfully defended a woman for tax evasion by claiming that her strip show was non-profit performance art. Britta, with violet hair and some kind of chain dangling from her nose, runs in and thanks Jeff for defending a womanâ€™s right to use her body however she wants. Jeff assures her that this right is very important to him. They bump fists. Who would have guessed that in a couple of years they would be shagging? Britta turns back to her group and suggests that, in the name of animal rights, they go and protest a medical lab nearby. One of her comrades says no, itâ€™s their â€œlast hurrahâ€. Theyâ€™re done with protests â€“ â€œI had a hamburger the other day and suddenly Iâ€™m not cold all the time.â€ Britta says she doesnâ€™t need them anyway, but as the AnHerChists leave, she descends into despair.
Back in the present, Shirley wonders â€œHow could you?â€ Jeff explains that it was his job at a lawyer. But no, Shirley tells him that the defendant (Misty) was the stripper that came between her and Andre. If she had been found guilty, she would never have had the opportunity to meet Andre, so Shirleyâ€™s separation was indirectly Jeffâ€™s fault. She is outraged. Abed points to this as proof that they were destined. The group looks less convinced.
Abed is delighted with these â€œplot holesâ€, adding the Misty incident to his file on Jeff and Shirley (which includes the Rec Centre story). Shirley is done with the origin story, telling him that her life is not a plot hole for his twisted machinations. Abed does not get it. Jeff protests that this was not his fault, and Shirley should direct her rage elsewhere. Furthermore, he adds, this was the case that led to his downfall. We go back to the past, where he is getting wasted with a triumphant Misty. His boss comes in and asks to talk with him for a moment. He tells Jeff that there have been some rumours about the status of his undergraduate degree. Jeff denies any wrongdoing, but the boss is insistent â€“ until itâ€™s cleared up, the bar wonâ€™t let him practice. Winger is screwed.
Upon hearing this story, Shirley is no more tempted to forgive him. As she sees it, his problem was nothing compared to hers, and therefore he has no right to feel bad. Jeez, Shirley, give it a rest. Troy interrupts their argument to say that he thinks itâ€™s cool theyâ€™re all connected, and would like to take the opportunity to thank Annie for ruining high school. Sheâ€™s naturally confused by this, so he explains. We are taken back to Troyâ€™s infamous keg flip, the one that destroyed both his knee and his college hopes â€“ although Troyâ€™s agony is not quite bad enough to keep him from asking for corn chips. Donald Glover, you are priceless.
Annie says it couldnâ€™t have been her fault because a) she wasnâ€™t involved, he doesnâ€™t remember her from high school, and c) he faked his injury anyway, which he admitted a while back. Troy says that he lied about b and committed c because of what Annie said. We go back to find Nerdy Annie standing there looking awkward while a popular girl announces that itâ€™s time for â€œSenior Class Superlativesâ€. Troy wins Most Handsome, Most Popular, Best Smile, Best Moves, Best Practical Joker, and Coolest Locker. When it comes time to present Most Likely To Succeed, Annie says to no one in particular that obviously it has to go to her because thatâ€™s just an indisputable fact, I mean duh. However, Troy carries the day, causing her to go into shock. She screams in a manner reminiscent of the Model UN episode and says that Troy canâ€™t be Most Likely to Succeed, because sheâ€™s valedictorian and student council president and the head of Campus for Christ despite being Jewish. Troy, according to her, is just a mindless robot who does what his coach tells him, and his accomplishments are nothing next to hers. Troy belittles her, saying â€œDo you go to my school?â€ Annie screams, running through the glass door and out the backyard. Magnitude, sitting nearby, is inspired to say â€œPop-popâ€ for the first time.
Troy says her words cut him deeply. She tells him of her difficult withdrawal and six reconstructive surgeries. Troy points out that he had to smile when he didnâ€™t feel like smiling, and that hurt. Shirley asks for everyone to stop talking about the past, saying that Abedâ€™s web only proves the fragility of happiness. She begins a string of â€œIf onlysâ€, ending with â€œIf only I didnâ€™t have to pick up my kids at the mall.â€ This sets off Abedâ€™s alarm. He flips through the book. We go back to the past, where Abed is in line for a movie. Shirleyâ€™s two sons turn up behind him. They tell him theyâ€™re going to see The Phantom Menace (in 2008? Huh?). Abed immediately tears them down, delivering a venomous Â lecture on how theyâ€™re ruining Star Wars by the mere act of seeing the film. The younger son bursts into tears, and the older one asks why heâ€™s even there. Abed explains that he goes to theatres where it plays to warn people off. Suddenly it all comes together. Shirley gets a phone call from her hysterical boys and has to interrupt her date night with Andre to go get them, whereupon he meets the stripper. Abedâ€™s dad takes him to a psychiatrist, where he points out Annie stealing a prescription pad. Annie runs outside the office only to run into Britta, who is being attacked by the monkey she tried to â€œliberateâ€. The monkey in question? Annieâ€™s Boobs, of course.
In the present, Shirley has realized that Abed was the crazy man at the movie who scared her boys. Annie has realized that Abed was the one who busted her addiction. Troy is just offended that Abed wasnâ€™t looking for him. Abed concludes that he knows what brought them together, the one thing every superhero needs â€“ an enemy. He is the supervillain, which he should have known all along. Britta says no, itâ€™s her fault, because she unleashed the monkey without thinking of the consequences. Jeff tells them that theyâ€™ve all made bad decisions, but heâ€™s definitely the biggest villain of them all. We go back to see Misty joining Jeff at the restaurant table, covered in glitter and sexy as hell. She tells him that a married guy gave her his number, and can you believe his wife left him on their anniversary? He encourages her to â€œgrab what you want in this lifeâ€, which she gleefully does. In his pique over losing his license, he is taking no prisoners. So Andreâ€™s affair was Jeffâ€™s fault after all. In the present, Jeff tells Shirley that he did a bad thing but has grown beyond that guy, and she did once make him pee himself a long time ago anyway. Shirley admits that theyâ€™re even, but is still pissed. The group breaks up to finish studying at home, leaving Abed alone. Crap, is this the end of the Greendale Study Group? Tearing them apart by discovering what brought them together?
Abed sits in a frozen yogurt shop, looking more depressed than Iâ€™ve ever seen him. He is soon joined by Jeff, who seems pretty concerned. Abed says that he should probably apologize to George Lucas, because he too tried to make something cool and ruined everything. Jeff assures him that he didnâ€™t ruin it. Just then, Shirley walks by, and tells Jeff that she knows heâ€™s not that person. They reconcile. Within moments Annie, Britta and Troy have all appeared. Apparently they all wanted yogurt. Coincidence? Or destiny?
Troy tells them that this was the place where he first decided on Greendale. Annie and Britta both say that they decided here too, and suddenly Abed has an idea. We cut to Senor Chang and a very conservative-looking Dean walking through the mall with fliers. Chang is assigned to pass them out at the yogurt place. Shirley, in tears, runs out of the Love Hut after an unsuccessful attempt to return her fancy underwear. The Dean picks up the underwear and whispers that â€œThis better not awaken anything in me.â€ She sits down at a table in the yogurt place where Chang has just left a flier. Troy, leg in cast, is chatting with friends when Chang walks by and passes him an ad. Just before Annie finds her own flier, she is seen at a table with her rehab buddies telling them sheâ€™s ready to get her life back on track. Abed tells his dad he will not apologize to the theatre owner because of â€œMidichloriansâ€. His dad angrily tells him heâ€™s never going to film school. Britta comes in and asks for a job application, and Vegan FroYo, which does not exist. As â€œDonâ€™t You Forget About Meâ€ plays (Breakfast Club reference! Pilot! Ahhhh!), Troy balls up his flier and throws it at the â€œdweebâ€ across the room, who will one day be his best friend. The look on Troyâ€™s face reveals that he really doesnâ€™t like the person heâ€™s becoming. Chang passes a flier to Britta and tells her that â€œTheyâ€™d give a degree to a monkey.â€ Jeff overhears this and asks if Ian Duncan still teaches there. When he hears that â€œthe drunken Limeyâ€ has tenure, he decides itâ€™s time to call in a favour. Pierce (never seen in full) breaks the yogurt machine and fakes a heart attack to try to distract them, which everyone laughs at. Abed uncrumples the flier and says â€œcool cool coolâ€. History is in the making.
Back in the present, Britta asks if the old guy was Pierce. Annie says theyâ€™ll never know because heâ€™ll never remember. Under the bus? Try under a Mack truck. The group agrees that their previous encounter was tremendously surprising, and Jeff wonders if it means they were meant to be together. Even though their paths crossing lead to all kinds of disasters, it brought them to where they are â€“ and he wouldnâ€™t have it any other way. It looks like everyone agrees. After a labored Spiderman comparison, Shirley brings up the villain again. Abed says heâ€™ll be right back.
At Greendale, Abed returns to the study room. Hearing something from the vents, he calls out â€“ and Chang emerges from his former home. Abed explains that Chang is what linked them together and caused everyone to go to Greendale. Chang was their creator, and therefore always one of them, so Abed invites him for frozen yogurt. Chang Â says itâ€™s all he ever wanted â€“ but itâ€™s too late. Abed says that, like them, he deserves a chance to reinvent himself. He calls him Chang, to which the former professor responds â€œHow long have you known?â€ â€œOnly you know who you really are,â€ says Abed. Does Abed know, or is he just letting it slide? Methinks itâ€™s the latter. He turns to leave â€“ and beckons Chang to come with him. With one last fond look at his vent, Chang agrees. However, heâ€™d like to stop at the post office first â€“ thereâ€™s something heâ€™d like to mail to the Dean.
Closing credits: Over the phone, Chang tells City College that he has Changed his mind. He then buys refills for the entire group. A comic panel assures us that all ends well. Or does it? The Dean from City College moves on to Plan B. Something to do with solar-powered spiders...
A little too light on the Chang-City storyline, but Iâ€™m sure it will pay off in the finale. All in all, it was a very strong episode, with so many jokes I could barely keep track. I love getting glimpses into a characterâ€™s past, and the way they created these intricate connections without losing track really shone. As well, they set up for a truly gripping finale. Itâ€™s pretty awful to think that we only have one episode left â€“ but dammit, all reports indicate itâ€™s going to be a good one.