Amazing, as usual. My Community reviews probably sound a bit like a broken record. “This was a great episode!” “Clever and witty, but with a sentimental heart.” “Hilarious!”
Well, it was. All of that. “For A Few Paintballs More” parodied one of the most-parodied film trilogies of our times. However, the Star Wars references didn’t overpower the story, jokes, or character development. Many shows can insert funny references. The brilliance of Community comes in the fact that you can completely miss all the pop culture references, and you’ll still have a good time watching.
While not as thematically or stylistically strong as last week’s episode, the season finale wrapped up the season and tied it with a neat bow. This episode followed where last week’s “A Fistful of Paintballs” ended. A huge paintball fight at school, with a prize of $100,000. The cliffhanger twist involved Stormtrooper-like professional paintballers streaming out of a van, set to invade the school.
Oh, and they kicked Pierce out of the group again.
There has been endless critical discussion re: the character of Pierce (Chevy Chase), and the development of his role as an integral part of the group to the group’s main antagonist. However, this season finale rounded Pierce’s character arc perfectly. I loved the ending, but we’ll get to that later.
First, the nitty gritty.
The remaining Greendale survivors band together, with a struggle for power between Troy (Donald Glover) and Jeff (Joel McHale). They decide that, whoever wins will donate the $100,000 back to clean the school. Abed (Danny Pudi) dives into a Han Solo persona, complete with Starburns’s vest. We see the reappearance of bit characters–Leonard (Richard Erdman), Fat Neil (Charley Koontz), Vicki (Danielle Kaplowitz), Starburns (Dino Stamatopoulos), Magnitude (Luke Youngblood), Quendra with a Q-U-E (Marcy McCusker), Garrett (Erik Charles Nielsen), and probably others that I didn’t catch on first viewing. All of the above have distinct roles in this episode, which is a testament to the intricate plotting we expect from Community‘s writing staff.
The survivors create a plan–two plans, to be exact–to beat the Stormtroopers from the ice cream company. Of course, it turns out that there is no ice cream company. The whole snafu was a ploy by the dean of City College, to force the Greendale students to trash their own school. The CC dean and his troops find Pierce, who begins to feed them useless information in return for not shooting him.
A lot of paintball shooting occurs. Characters run around. Paint splatters. Reviewers comme moi start thinking about how much it probably costs to destroy a set like this.
Anyway, key points: Annie (Alison Brie) falls for Abed’s Han Solo, and the two kiss. Troy uses his magical Good Will Hunting plumbing skills to rig a trap in the library. Jeff’s plan almost works, with Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as the last two apparent survivors. However, just as Shirley celebrates winning the competition, she is shot.
The remaining three stormtroopers congratulate each other until, oops, one shoots the other two. It’s Pierce in disguise. Not really a surprise to a discerning audience, but still welcome. He shouts that he won, and to make the check out to Greendale. End scene.
Well, not quite. The ending to this episode is wonderfully unsettling. The gang debate what class to take. Abed is back in his Abed self, disappointing Annie, but setting things back to status quo. Jeff and Troy make up. Pierce walks in the room, and the group welcomes him back. However, he rejects their offer and leaves. Everyone waits for him to return but…he doesn’t.
This is probably the gutsiest move Community has made since demoting Ken Jeong’s Señor Chang to just Chang. The past few episodes have dealt with the change in Pierce’s place in the group. However, to have him reject the group, and not the other way around, puts things in a new perspective. In all likelihood, Pierce will be back in the group before next year’s midseason break. However, there will still be at least one or two episodes where Pierce will have a new role, upsetting the balance of the group. And what does this mean for Chang’s role as another group hanger-on? Only time (and season 3’s premiere) will tell.