The first half of Community‘s epic Troy and Abed battle was an absurd delight, but one of the most puzzling parts was the reappearance of John Goodman as Vice Dean Laybourne.

He showed up to help turn Troy and Abed against one another, only he was noticeably different. He had a goatee and a pony tail, explaining to Troy that “I’m going through some stuff right now, Troy. Don’t worry about it.”

But should we worry about it? The end of last week’s episode featured Abed entering the Dreamatorium, by himself, and meeting Evil Abed, his doppelganger from the Darkest Timeline, an alternate reality the show first established in ‘Relative Chaos Theory.”

Is it possible that the new, goateed Vice Dean, is actually from this Darkest Timeline? Is he even real? These are questions that might belong in a surreal sci-fi drama like Fringe, not on a comedy, but in the world of Community, anything is possible.

I’ve come up with four ridiculous yet plausible theories to explain the return of the Vice Dean. See which one you believe.

Theory #1 The Vice Dean is from the Darkest Timeline

In the Darkest Timeline, full of evil doppelgangers of all the characters, the Vice Dean found a way to travel between timelines. He transported himself into the primary timeline in order to drive a wedge between Troy and Abed, all to further some secret, evil agenda.

Theory #2 The Vice Dean is a Shared Hallucination of Troy and Abed

This makes slightly less sense, but what if the Evil Vice Dean in this episode is just a hallucination being shared by Troy and Abed? Created from the rift the two began to develop at the end of the last episode, the imaginary Vice Dean might be a subconscious vision representing their separation. Also, in the photo above, the framing of the shot makes the Vice Dean look a bit like the Great Gazoo from The Flintstones, which supports my theory that he’s a hallucination.

Theory #3 It’s All in the Dreamatorium

This might be the dumbest theory, but what if the entire two-part blankets vs. pillows epic is all in Troy and Abed’s Dreamatorium? The “it was all a dream” plot device is incredibly lame, but since we saw Abed venture into the Dreamtorium by himself (where he also envisioned Evil Abed), maybe he kept creating a dream world where he and Troy have an epic battle.

Theory #4: The Vice Dean Grew a Goatee and a Pony Tail

Maybe the Vice Dean really is “going through some stuff” and he grew out his hair. Maybe none of this means anything and it’s just a silly coincidence due to the fact that John Goodman was filming another project that required him to have a goatee.

When it comes to Community, anything is possible. Do you think the Vice Dean has been replaced by his evil, Darkest Timeline doppelganger? Or is it all a dream?

Find out when Community concludes it’s two-part on Thursday at 8pm on NBC with “Pillows and Blankets.”

(Image courtesy of NBC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.