It is never easy when one of your favourite actors decides to leave one of your favourite shows. I’m still not over Claudia Christian leaving Babylon 5. Or Anthony Edwards leaving ER. Or pretty much everyone leaving Misfits.
We've had a lot of time to get used to the idea of Troy leaving, but that hasn't made it any easier. Donald Glover has been one of the best things about the show since day one. Losing him is going to be a major blow to the series, especially since it is also going to result in the break up of one of the best comedy double acts on TV right now.
Troy and Abed are in many ways the heart and soul of the show. Theirs is a story of love between two men who found in each other what they had been missing. Abed finally found someone who, while never fully understanding him, understood him more than anyone had ever done and accepted him regardless. For Troy, Abed's friendship allowed him to shed the jock personality he had acquired in high school and embrace his geekier side. The relationship wasn't always blissful, they had their ups and downs, were probably too co-dependent (which is why some time apart might do them both some good), but it was always the healthiest, purest relationship of the entire group.
As it should be, the focus of this episode was on Troy and Abed and how Troy’s looming departure was affecting his other half. As previous episodes have shown, Abed has some serious abandonment issues so he was never going to take Troy leaving well. To Abed, Troy is more than just his best friend. He is part of his soul. So it should come as no surprise that he would go to extreme lengths to prevent Troy from sailing away on that boat. Don't let that adorable exterior fool you, Abed can be ruthlessly Machiavellian when he wants to be. This is someone who created a fake boyfriend for Annie just to ensure a higher quality of breakfast.
Abed's default coping mechanism in the past has always been to escape into a fantasy world inspired by the movies and TV shows he consumes like a machine (the guy is just one robot army away from being Skynet). This time he remakes the real world to match his imagination, devising a scenario that, assuming he and Troy were the last ones standing, would result in deadlock because neither would ever turn on the other thus prolonging the game.
Abed knew exactly what buttons to push to escalate the situation and keep Troy around longer. After all, this is a school that turned the building of a blanket fort into a full scale war. All he had to do was wave a valuable prize in front of everyone (like a comic valued at $50,000) and a simple, sweet children’s game quickly turned the campus into a post-apocalyptic landscape complete with vicious Mad Max-style
This was also a great episode for Britta, the best she's had in years. The writers pretty much acknowledged in 'Repilot' that they went too far in making Britta the group dunce and are now making efforts to correct that mistake. It really felt like we had season 1 Britta back. Rather than being 'the worst' she was the nagging voice of reason, the one who wanted everyone to deal with their true feels regarding Troy’s departure -- whether they wanted to or not. Because of this she was sort of the villain of this episode, albeit a well-intentioned one. Without her, Abed would never have found a way to finally let go of Troy. Britta may be the worst sometimes, but at heart she is always the best.
And so came to pass that everyone, audience included, bid a sad goodbye to Troy Barnes (or at least his older, wiser, no longer catatonic in the presence of LeVar Burton clone). We just couldn’t have asked for a more perfect swan song than this. It was the fond farewell that Glover and Troy had earned and deserved. So farewell, Donald Glover, and thank you. We're all going to miss you, and Troy, and wish you well with your future ventures.
Now comes the truly hard part, because the only thing more difficult than saying goodbye to someone is learning to live without them. Abed may have been able to let go of Troy in his own way, but how is he going to cope without Troy around all the time? Will someone new come along and take Troy’s place at the study table the same way that Hickey has (rather successfully) replace Pierce?
Notes and Quotes
--Is this the first time they have openly stated that Greendale is in Colorado?
--Just what is a 'Best Boy'?
--Jonathan Banks is really fitting in well as Hickey. So well that I wish he had been part of the group from the start.
--What happened to the Dean? We never saw him again after the cold open. Was he taken down early? Or was he locked up in his office hiding on his desk?
Prof. Duncan: “Real nice, Winger. This is why the British never win any sports: Because everybody else cheats.”
Troy: “Sorry, Britta, Abed knows best. But I’ll always remember you as kind of slowing us down and complaining a lot.”
Britta: "Who's there, bitch? Floor! Floooooor!"
Magnitude: “I’m actually British!”
--Yeah, and you went to Hogwarts. You're fooling no one, Lee Jordan.
Troy and Abed: “Troy and Abed in a bubble!”
Abed: "In a cool way like Keyser Sozë or a lame way like Jewel of the Nile?"
Britta: “There I go — I almost Britta’d our goodbye.”
Jeff: "Sweet, sweet portable chairs! Plastic gold, four-legged diamonds! You claiming this? Lava joust?"
LeVar Burton: “You know, starting a sea voyage from landlocked Colorado may not have been the best idea.”
Four out of four same sex celebrity crushes. For the record mine is, as I'm sure some of you already know, Alexander Skarsgård. Right, I've told you mine, now tell me yours.