This week's episode was fairly straightforward: the group grapples with the death of skuzzy classmate Star-Burns after a freak meth lab accident. This means Jeff and Britta (the two "worst" of the group) predictably take their stances as indifferent pessimist and 'expert' grief counselor, respectively. We probably could have watched the two fight it out over how to mourn (Britta's flailing attempt to role-play as Star-Burns was particularly enjoyable), but the Dean can-cans in with some (possibly) worse news: Professor Kane has resigned and they must all take summer school to make up the biology credit. It is this incident - rather than Star-Burns' unfortunate death - that incites the momentum of the episode.
Star-Burns' Memorial Service: A Riot Waiting to Happen
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Still in shock from the news that their summers have been ambushed, the study group attends Star-Burns' memorial service vengeful and bitter. This colliding of poorly timed events results in a series of eulogies that end up being a platform for the group's discontent with the Dean's inability to run Greendale. First up is Jeff, who paves the road of resentment by saluting Star-Burns for leaving (albeit involuntarily) Greendale, a "Fallujah of higher learning that is a prison from which none of us will ever escape."
The Dean quickly tries to add some "sugar" to the "spice" by asking Annie to share a few thoughts. The normally optimistic Annie proceeds to give this empowering speech:
I've given this place my childhood, my enthusiasm and my loyalty. And in return, Greendale has warped me like a Barbie in a microwave. Our school flag was an anus! We're not even the best community college in our community - let that sink in. And the cherry on top of this total lack of sundae: I'm failing a remedial biology class on a technicality all because you [the Dean] don't know how to run a school! Shame on you, Dean - SHAME ON YOU. Edison out!
As a last-ditch effort, the Dean rushes Shirley the Christian to the podium, but even Shirley can't avoid returning to the wound that is her stolen sandwich shop (which Greendale replaced with a Subway). The Dean finally breaks and gives in to Chang's request for increased security measures (including martial law and involuntary cavity searches). By the time Trobed have finished a "Greendale - sucks!" chant with the crowd and Pierce proclaims war, Chang's army of tween boys is in position to pepper spray anything in sight, and the cafeteria becomes the location for the second uproar
The Demise of the Greendale 7
The Dean frantically convenes with the study group in the student health center, bemoaning the meeting of the school board to investigate the "ringleaders of the riot," or as they have become known, "the Greendale 7." In an unexpected moment of pragmatism, Pierce suggests they simply tell the truth and place the due blame on Chang and his poisonous herd. But Chang is onto their plan and swiftly captures the Dean and replaces him with a look-alike (it appears Jim Rash has a lot of those).
At the school board hearing, the group tries to explain their case, but Chang enters, bearing a basket of cookies and sleazy compliments to win over the board. Despite Jeff's persuasion skills, he's no match for Chang's maniacal ways and the group is hastily expelled.
The Perfect Timeline
At Troy/Abed/Annie's apartment, the group gathers, once again in shock, to commiserate over pizza. With the seven gathered around the table and the pizza delivery guy buzzing, that significant episode of diverging timelines ("Remedial Choas Theory") is brought to mind. But this time they're in no mood to roll a dice, and Abed questions whether they've been living in the darkest timeline all along - one that led to their expulsion from their place of community.
But it's Troy who rallies the troops, asserting that as long as they have each other, they'll be fine. There have been many of these sweet group moments of exchanged smiles and feelings of kinship that I'm inclined to think this third (hopefully not last) season of Community
isn't the darkest, but actually the most fortifying. There's no denying this group of misfits has officially become a family, and whether this is their last hurrah or the most encouraging season yet, I don't think we can call this the darkest timeline any longer.
(Image courtesy of NBC)