May 17, 2012

Quick Thoughts: COMMUNITY, "Digital Estate Planning," "The First Chang Dynasty" and "Introduction to Finality"

NBC decided to air the final three episodes of Community's third season all in one night. Now, I'm not complaining because each one was a pretty decent installment, but even I have my limits when it comes to how much pop culture/meta/insane jokes I can take. Regardless, "Digital Estate Planning," "The First Chang Dynasty" and "Introduction to Finality" were solid and a nice way to wrap things up.

"Digital Estate Planning" didn't have anything to do with the larger story arcs of the season, but it was an example of Community doing what it does best since the bulk of the episode took place in an 80's style 8-bit video game (think The Legend of Zelda with really sarcastic avatars). The story about Pierce having to earn his father's inheritance from his illegitimate half-brother was out of nowhere, and it didn't really go anywhere, but it was fun watching the Study Group jump around the screen as video game characters.

"The First Chang Dynasty" brought the show back to the final arc about Chang taking over Greendale, and I figured that I was going to dislike it since it was obviously going to be a Chang-heavy episode, but it won me over because it was a spoof on elaborate heist films like Ocean's Eleven. Since I'm a sucker for those types of movies, I was immediately hooked and forgave it for forcing me to watch Chang be an idiot for twenty-plus minutes.

Lastly, "Introduction to Finality" felt like it was shot as a series finale just in case NBC canceled the show, and it would have worked well if it had been since it was able to tie up the emotional journeys of most of the main characters. We got to see them finally grow and become the family that they were destined to become, and it would've been a fitting end. Honestly, I'm going to be interested to see what's in store for Season 4 now that things feel settled.

The common thread between all three episodes was Troy's awesomeness, and he was by far the MVP of the season. We got to see him be wacky in "Estate Planning," self-less in "Chang Dynasty" and heroic in "Finality," and his growth as a character was by far the best thing Community's done over its short run. Once again, I'm interested to see where he goes in Season 4 since he was being groomed to become the leader of the group, and I don't think we're done seeing him butt heads with Jeff, which is fine by me.

So, that's another year of Community in the books, and I have to say that it was by far one of the strongest seasons to date. Sure, there were some definite misfires, but it was also able to refocus after its hiatus (and remove its head out of its own ass), and the final stretch of episodes were pretty great. While I would've been OK with "Finality" being the end, I'm glad that we're getting some more from the Study Group. Four Seasons and a Mini-Series.


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