‘Community’ Recap (Season 3, Episode 22): “Introduction to Finality”
This is it: the finale of Community’s third season. I can safely say, that this has been my favorite season of any TV show I’ve ever watched. It’s been so weird, so unique, and so brilliant, that it’s almost hard to fathom how a show like this can even exist. How do you cap off a season where entire episodes have been spent in war documentary format, horror movie parodies and even alternate timelines? You deliver the most heart-warming, crowd-pleasing send off to ever air on television.
The main plot of this episode is almost inconsequential to the emotional current running throughout. The stakes are even higher than they were in the paintball finale of last year, especially for Troy, who’s defected to the Air Conditioning Repair School to save Greendale. Now he’s at the mercy of Vice-Dean Laybourne (John Goodman). In a twist, Laybourne dies in a gas eruption, and Troy suspects foul play on the part of the new Vice-Dean. Meanwhile, Shirley and Pierce go to court over who has the title deed to “Shirley’s Sandwiches.” Jeff represents Shirley in fake-court (over which the Dean presides) and Jeff’s old lawyer nemesis Alan represents Pierce. In a third plot, Abed has fully embraced his dark-side, despite Britta’s attempts to council him. Now Evil Abed roams the hallways of Greendale popping balloons and smoking cigarettes all while wearing a felt goatee.His mission?Bring the darkest timeline to everyone else by making them unhappy…and also cut off Jeff Winger’s arm.
I didn’t expect the breath-taking emotional sucker punch that is this episode. In his closing remarks to the court, Jeff delivers one of his best speeches to date, knowing fully well that losing to Alan means he won’t have a firm to return to upon his graduation from Greendale. Simultaneously, Troy wins out against the new head of the AC repair school in a duel to the death (of fixing air conditioners) but saves his opponent’s life. Upon hearing Jeff’s speech and hearing Pierce drop his case against Shirley, Abed returns to normal as well, and gives up on cutting Jeff’s arm off.
The episode ends with a montage of things returning to normal that’s literally the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on TV. I’m not making this up or trying to be overly sappy about this, but as I was watching this, my brain could barely process what I was seeing. Every loose end from the season, every plot line, was all simultaneously tied up in true Greendale fashion, set to the main theme song. There’s a shot of Britta and Troy moving in together to a room that USED to be The Dreamatorium. There’s a shot of Dean Spreck of City College poising his tanks at Greendale for another assault (a possible direction of season 4), as Chang watches from the air vents. There’s a shot of Shirley and Pierce’s Sandwich shop opening, a shot of Jeff searching for his father on the Internet and even a shot of Starburns being revealed to still be alive. The last shot of the season (not counting the end-tag featuring Leonard reviewing a bag of chips on Youtube) is Abed secretly assembling a makeshift mini-Dreamatorium, and blasting off into it as the screen fades to white with the phrase “#Sixseasonsandamovie” on it. It’s a big thank you to the fans, and a truly emotional moment seeing the show come this far.
You can tell that as they made the ending montage, they weren’t entirely sure they were going to get a fourth season. I’ve tossed and turned for two years now wondering how a show as perfect as Community could ever end. That wasn’t quite good enough to end the series, but the fact that the penultimate season finale was this amazing gives me complete faith that no matter how the show ends, it will be touching and it will be appropriate. You can’t end the best show of all time with anything short of perfection, and I have faith Dan Harmon will do nothing but that. He cares about the show.It’s his baby. Regardless of rumors that he might not return for a fourth season, I have faith that he’ll be involved in some capacity.
It’s been a true pleasure to watch this show this year, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as involved in a TV fandom or so actively campaigned to keep something on the air. We worked for it because it deserves to be seen through. It’s special and it’s unique and there’s literally no other show like this one. It’s hard to go back to watching regular television after a season finale like this, but I’m going to have to try to waste the summer until we can be given some more time in a dream.
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