EDIT: Since this episode aired, I have learned that the show has been renewed for Season 5. It just goes to show, never say never. Great success!
What can you say about a beautiful series that died? That it loved genre subversion, pop culture parodies â€“ and me?
Yes, that is a facetious reference to 1970â€™s incredibly trite Love Story, but at its heart there is some truth. Community was a show that loved its fans. It didnâ€™t condescend to them, it included them, and always offered plenty to enjoy for those who deigned to pay attention. And we loved it in return. Through long hiatuses and Dungeons and Dragons parodies, through a lacklustre Season 4 and the most epic paintball wars ever conducted, we have stood faithfully by, and now we see our darling come to an end. Letâ€™s take the last step of this journey together. Goodbye, Community, and letâ€™s see what you have to show us.
Jeff is offered a sweet position at his old firm. Not bad for someone just out of community college. With a ton of perks, he accepts his â€œnew old lifeâ€.
The study group gather in the old haunt, where they complain about their various classes and tell Jeff theyâ€™re sorry to see him graduate â€“ before they unfurl a banner and celebrate. They congratulate him for graduating with no effort whatsoever, to which he says that he majored in education. He says that he doesnâ€™t want to join in a graduation party, which disappoints Annie to no end. They help him take his transcripts down to the office. They started as a study group, they will end as a study group. Opening credits.
The Dean has to give â€œthe old John Deancockâ€ to his paperwork, and although he is grieving the imminent loss of Jeffrey, heâ€™s prepared to do it. Unfortunately, he then comes up with the idea of a diploma-signing party, which Annie enthusiastically joins in. It begins to sound suspiciously like a wedding. (Abed will later remark that this is okay because â€œit tests wellâ€.) With their elaborate preparations (a string quartet?), it seems like more than Jeff is prepared to handle, which he confesses to Britta. He says heâ€™s worried about how the group will function upon his graduation. Britta replies that her â€œtherapizingâ€ is making Abed better, because heâ€™s not talking so much about the darkest timeline these days. Good grief. Everyone knows the darkest timeline is real. If he gives Abed a chance, maybe he will stand on his own two feet.
While the group plans to take Astronomy next semester, Jeff walks in and they begin to plan the party. They roll a dice to decide which one will bring the soda. Itâ€™s of course a fiendish plan of Jeffâ€™s, hoping to give Abed some sort of stability as he leaves. It lands on nothing, leaving Abed and Troy to conclude it means nothing. They depart, and Jeff is stuck.
As the Dean is finishing up his Jeff-Dean collage while humming a mash-up of â€œPomp and Circumstanceâ€ and the wedding march, Evil Jeff appears in his office. Oh, shit.
Evil Jeff and Britta converse in the hallway, where she notices absolutely nothing wrong. Evil Annie joins him, snapping his Star Wars-esque prosthetic hand into place. He complains that they made Jeff too lame to leave Greendale, and they have to get him to take the job â€“ which means getting the study group to turn against him. They then make out.
As Annie plans the party, Evil Jeff walks in and tells her that heâ€™s hot for her. She totally buys it, but then he starts in on how sheâ€™s going nowhere â€“ Annieâ€™s greatest fear. Treating her like a child, he quickly reduces her to tears. Bastard.
â€œStreaking on the last day of school?â€ Fat Neil tells a confused Jeff. â€œAwesome!â€ Chang asks if he should bring a date to the grad-wedding. Annie runs in and screams at him, telling him to just leave. Jeff is understandably confused. Just then, Chang notices Evil Annie. Something is up.
Abed is onto Evil Jeff right away, because he knows an evil personality when he sees it. The Evil Study Group canâ€™t afford to have him around, so Evil Jeff shoots him with a sort of paintball phaser, which sends Abed somewhere strange. The school is controlled by Chang and everyone is mean. He suddenly realizes that he has reached...the darkest timeline!
Dark Annie, pretending to be Annie, tells Jeff that she made it all up because she was going crazy. She then gives him a hug â€“ and steals his phone.
Troy and Shirley make up breakfast food in Shirleyâ€™s shop, where Troy proposes a â€œTroyjan horseâ€ sandwich. Jeff arrives and taunts them, saying that Shirley neglects her family and Troy is basically stupid. They are outraged. He moves on.
Abed moves into the darkest timeline, meeting Evil Abed complete with goatee. Heâ€™s the only one left, as Evil Troy moved out. Evil Jeff is working at the law firm. Furthermore, The Cape still exists. To set things right, Abed must be sent home. With a paintball gun, of course.
The Dean comes in, wedding dress and all, his mascara running, and wails about how Jeff insulted him in the office. He throws Jeff the diploma and tells him to just leave already, wailing about â€œlifestyle choicesâ€. Am I the only one who wants to know what Jeff said?
Evil Annie comes in wearing a clingy strapless dress and tries to seduce Jeff. Putting on the â€œbaby actâ€, she asks him to call his boss, Mark. As Jeff leaves, Annie calls for backup to stop him, and he ends up running into Evil Jeff. Evil Jeff tells him that he must take the job to ensure their futures. He must leave Greendale. â€œNot without my study group!â€ he cries. Evil Jeff tries to get him to stay with a paintball phaser, but Chang heroically leaps in front, getting sent to the darkest timeline. â€œLetâ€™s burn this mother down,â€ says Evil Jeff. Evil Shirley, Evil Britta and Evil Troy appear. Disaster is imminent.
Annie, Shirley, Troy and Britta are gathered in front of the television, complaining about Jeff and glad to miss his graduation. Jeff comes in and tells them that Evil Jeff did everything. Naturally they need a little convincing. Abed comes in, proves it by bringing in the Doppeldeaner, and promptly reveals his paintball warp gun. â€œItâ€™s either us â€“ or us!â€ he declares. The war begins.
Evil Pierce is alive! As the Evil Study Group stares at him, he explains that he faked his death. Heâ€™s mad that theyâ€™re planning an invasion without him (despite, you know, being dead), but suddenly disappears. I love Troyâ€™s voice box. Evil Britta then disappears, and Evil Jeff believes that sheâ€™s shot herself â€œas usualâ€. Real Britta tells them not to be mean to her. Suddenly the study group appears, ready for battle. All hell breaks loose. Evil Annie taunts Annie by saying that sheâ€™s sleeping with Evil Jeff. Annie holds firm and kills her anyway. Shirley tells the alcoholic evil Shirley to get some help, Troy kills his alter ego after finding out that Evil Troy is both a priest and gay. Jeff jumps behind a couch, where Abed explains how this world works. Jeff has dreamed up the universe of the darkest timeline, but it was the Jeff of four years ago - and heâ€™s certainly a better Jeff now. Jeff has to kill Evil Jeff, and once again paintball will save the day. Winger is on a mission, thanks to Abed. Godspeed. Â He confronts his alter ego, kills him, stops the paint bullet intended for him and sends himself back to his own universe. Jeff, holding the die in his hands, says he canâ€™t roll to decide. His decisions donâ€™t have to be made by chance - he has his friends. No timelines are necessary, and those created have been sewn up neatly. If this description sounds rushed, so was the episode.
The Dean conducts a ceremony celebrating a sacred bond between man and school, and two men who find each other very - but Jeff cuts him off there. He pays tribute to the study group and how they have changed his life. His love is immeasurable, he says, and his life has been forever changed by the influence of this group. Itâ€™s syrupy, but itâ€™s sweet, and the group appreciates it. Pierce bangs on the window, like in The Graduate, and announces that Jeff can graduate â€“ but heâ€™s ready to graduate first. Itâ€™s about time, buddy.
Over wine, Jeff details his future intentions. He plans to work with local farms, fight for the little guy for a change. They take this as an opportunity to toast him. The camera goes back to the Greendale sign â€“ â€œa path to a brighter future.â€ My eyes fill with tears. Shut up.
Evil Troy and Evil Abed have Troy and Abed in the Morning, where they are visited by Greendale Lord and Master Chang, who wants to talk about Squash. They do their daily timeline check, where they go to Timeline 5. Britta and Troy have a baby named Chewbacca (an authentic African name meaning â€œhe who hunts bountiesâ€) and Britta is more defiant than ever. Dodged a bullet in the real universe, Troy. Evil Jeff comes in to remind them, once again, that the showâ€™s not real, which they take with good humour. They sing â€œTroy and Abed in the Morningâ€ one last time. Hear that sound? That was me whimpering with sorrow.
Honestly? It was pretty weak. Boring paintball episode (I never thought Iâ€™d say that), shitty detailing of the timelines. I wish they had resolved the timelines last season, to be honest. At the same time, there were many fun callbacks to previous episodes. On the whole I would call it rushed. There was not enough character development. Not enough jokes, not enough time to rest on the poignant moments. For heavenâ€™s sake, I just left college and am extraordinarily sentimental about leaving friends, and it really didnâ€™t affect me. Itâ€™s a shame that Community couldnâ€™t go out on a better note, really. If they had concentrated more on one part it would have worked much better. Iâ€™m sorry, Community. You were a fantastic show, and even if my laughs tonight were from nostalgia, they were there. Itâ€™s hard to say goodbye, but mostly to the show you once were, rather than the show you became.