So how to end the season (and probably the entire show)? By bringing back paintball, of course. And evil beards.
The darkest timeline strikes back, and Evil Jeff arrives Terminator-style in the Dean’s office to make sure that good Jeff turns bad or else… But since Community has firmly established that this sort of thing does not happen within the reality of the show (unfortunately), it’s clear from the start that events are unfolding in someone’s imagination, or it’s a dream, or Abed made it up, etc. Except that it’s not Abed. It’s Jeff, experiencing anxiety about his graduation, and here’s the problem: Why keep this ambiguous at first and then suddenly reveal that “it’s all in his head”? Why not do the usual wavy thing instead, before zooming in on Jeff’s face, or whatever? That would not have been original either, of course, but at least it wouldn’t have felt like a desperate cop-out or a cheat the way this did. As it is now, it creaks badly and it doesn’t fit. This is Jeff, after all – why would he suddenly start imagining things that seem to be coming straight out of Abed’s head, complete with subplot, and not his own?
I love the darkest timeline and the dimension-jumping – what true geek and Community connoisseur wouldn’t? – but the way it was mishandled here makes it seem as if two completely separate episodes were forced together, violently. But at least the episode managed to avoid the kind of over-emotional, tearjerker crap fest that was looming threateningly on the horizon for a while there. At least that part was nicely balanced, by being minimized.
And Pierce was back again, for the very last time (that much, at least, is certain). He wasn’t killed off and he wasn’t abandoned without being written out, instead he simply graduated. So much for that. And what happened to Dean Spreck and his evil plot? That was left hanging with no resolution and not even a mention, and it’s likely to remain that way unless (by some miracle) there really is a season 5.
And now I really have to start catching up on some other shows. If only there weren’t so many…
(Addendum: The miracle occurred. Guess the bear knew what he was talking about.)
Chevy Chase spots a doughnut