by Josie Kafka
In a season in which the tag for each episode—if not the episode itself—has not only pulled the rug out from under us, but reminded us that there is no rug, only the bare floor of despair, I was delighted to see an ostensibly cynical episode end with a heartwarming semi-redemption. Not to mention the bear dance.
While I mourn the loss of Donald Glover as much as the next Communitarian, I'm happy to report that a Troy-less Community is still wonderful. In fact, although this episode lacks the memorability of a so-called “concept” episode, it was basically perfect. Perfect, with a side of Nathan Fillion and Robert Patrick.
The Hickey/Annie journey through the labyrinth of institutional laziness and horse-trading may be the most important lesson Annie has learned in her years at Greendale: you can’t fight City Hall. Or its janitors. Or custodians. The real appeal, though, was the give-and-take rhythm of Annie’s idealism and Hickey’s gimlet-eyed view of the world.
Hickey needed Annie. His bulletin board of shame, a sort of anti-trophy case, shows just how bitter he has become after a life in a variety of institutional systems. Annie made Hickey realize what I’d realized in the opening Save Greendale meeting: sometimes, you just have to hang your own bulletin board. (Also, I recently went through a similar situation involving a bulletin board in my office. I just snuck a hammer into work and dealt with it myself.)
Not to be that guy, but I do wish Abed had gelled with the group a bit more this week as he works through his mourning. His silent meet-cute with the deaf student was adorable, but it also gave Abed an excuse to tune out the rest of the world with gigantic headphones. Hopefully his intense burst of compatibility with a girl we’ve finally seen for the second time will pay off.
The C-plot (and no, that’s not a code for the Chang-plot) was cute, mostly because the idea of a bear dance is as stupid as it sounds, even without the bizarre hilarity of a bear slaughter (announced by Fat Neil, no less). It was all worth it, though, for the subtle “thanks” that Hickey and Annie exchanged after the bulletin-board smackdown. Is that the first truly happy ending we've had all season?
Cool Cool Cool:
• Abed: “I detonated a mollusk.”
• Hickey: “Welcome to the labyrinth, kid. Except there ain’t no puppets or bisexual rock stars down here.”
• Annie: “Tell us what we can do you for, so you can do this for us.”
Website Woman: “Oh, cool. I didn’t know it could work that way.”
• Dean: “My god, Annie! What sort of labyrinth have you created? Certainly not the kind with puppets and macho rock stars.”
Three and a half out of four janitors. Or custodians. Ah, never mind: you know I mean Nathan Fillion.