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“Starburns also left me his ashes. He requested that they be burnt. I don't think he knows how ashes work.”

This episode saw the various members of infamous Greendale 7 struggle to deal with a sudden and tragic loss. Not the loss of their classmate, Alex 'Starburns' Osbourne, who was killed last week in a meth lab explosion. No, they struggled to deal with the loss of their biology credit after Professor Kane resigned following the aforementioned death of Greendale's resident top hat wearing drug kingpin. With biology class cancelled and summer school looming, the group was forced to go through the five stages of grief (only two of which Britta could actually name).

Denial

No one was really in denial about Starburns' death. He was dead and they had all accepted it. They were just unsure how exactly they should feel about it. I'm not sure how to feel either. He was an okay background character but not one I felt any sort of affection for. I think it is safe to say that, much like Jeff, I'm not going to miss him. But his passing was a catalyst for everything else that happened in this episode. Even though he was a scuzzy weirdo, he touched the lives of everyone in the group. Too bad it was by forcing them all to go to summer school.

Anger

Enraged by the loss of a credit, the various members of the group hijacked Starburns' memorial to take turns venting their feelings about their second home. Jeff was angry that he'd have to go to summer school. Annie was angry that she was failing a class on a technicality (“Edison out”). Shirley was still angry about Subway. Troy and Abed weren't really angry about anything but they did get everyone singing 'Greendale Sucks'. And Pierce was angry that he never got his comb back from Starburns, going so far as to dig in the guy's ashes for it. Eventually everything kicked off, the memorial turned into a full scale riot and Dean Pelton made the fatal mistake of signing something he really shouldn't have.

And thus begins the reign of Chang.

Bargaining

Any fool will tell you that actions have consequences. You just can't start a riot in the school cafeteria and expect to get away with it. That is, unless, you conspire with the Dean to put all the blame on a psychotic former Spanish teacher turned security guard. Man, the study group really are a self-serving lot. They refused to take any responsibility for the riot they started and were all content to blame Chang and his adorable army of pre-teen foot soldiers. Too bad for them that Chang was five moves ahead. I've made it clear many times that I don't like Chang. But I find crazy, evil genius Chang more tolerable than crazy, pathetic, lives in an air vent Chang. In small doses he works well as the group's arch-nemesis.

So, thanks to the machinations of Senior Chang, everyone was expelled from Greendale. Now there's a game changer for ya. That's the kind of twist you save for a season finale. I love it when my favourite shows take a huge risk and shake everything up. I'm sure there's a good chance that this will be rectified before the season is over, maybe even the end of the next episode. But what if it isn't? That is really the question: does the show really need Greendale anymore? This isn't really a show about seven college classmates anymore. It's a show about seven friends. I for one wouldn't mind seeing the group spend some time away from Greendale.

Depression and Acceptance

Now a college study group without a college, it was back to Casa Trobed for brooding, booze and some nice callbacks to "Remedial Chaos Theory". It was nice that Troy, rather than Jeff, was the one to knock everyone out of their funk with a motivational speech. He reminded them that they were all going to be okay. He also saved Britta from marrying Toby the pizza guy by finally telling her that she wasn't the worst. She was the best. They may no longer be Pierce Hawthorne and the Greendale 6, but as long they have each other they'll get through this. Which really does make this the perfect timeline.

Notes and Quotes

-- Turns out that the Dean only wears costumes (of which he has a lot) to deliver bad news to Jeff and his study group. And his can-can outfit just made the top ten.

-- So I take it every time Troy and Britta shoot each other a meaningful look, Jeff and Annie will do the same and vice versa.

-- Josie pointed out to me that Chang's response to the riot was likely a reference to a similar incident at a California university where the campus security started pepper-spraying Occupy protesters. Watch the video here and be appalled by how unadorable that normal size riot gear is.

-- Is it wrong that I found the little urn for Starburns' lizard sort of adorable?

-- Abed said Starburns' lawyer had one arm. Just like Evil Jeff. You don't think...

Britta: “What Jeff's doing right now is called denial, and it is the first of five stages of grief that ends with acceptance."
Jeff: “Name any other stage.”
Britta: “What are you, my final?”

Jeff: "People die everyday and by the time I finish this sentence 100 people will have died in China.”
Troy: “WHY DID YOU STOP TALKING?!?!? I need to call my pen pal.”

Annie: “He's in a better place now.”
Abed: “Yeah, the Blu-Ray shelf.”

Jeff: “You seemed smarter than me when I met you.”
Britta: “Thank you.”

Britta: “Whoo! Closure!”

Starburns: “As for my collection of Styx albums, I leave them to no one, because that’s who appreciated Styx as much as me.”

Not sure how to rate this one. Despite featuring some major changes to the status quo and a few laugh out loud moments it wasn't all that memorable. How many out of four tiny lizard urns do you think it deserves?
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

5 comments:

  1. Again, I find I don't know how I feel about this episode yet! Further viewings will help, and I think I'll wait to see next week's, because this feels very much like the first part of a two-parter (or maybe they're trying to emulate The West Wing's incredible run from 17 People through to Two Cathedrals, where the whole thing made one spectacular story).

    I didn't laugh as much at this as at this week's Big Bang Theory though, and I preferred BBT (which, to be fair, included Mayim Bialik dressed as Nurse Christine Chapel). So I guess that's two awesome tiny lizard urns.

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  2. The first viewing made me LMAO big time. A bit less the 2nd time, but it was good Community.

    Hum, the last 3 eps on the 17th : are we going to have an arc to save the group's expulsion ? (1.5 hours of Community the same night ???? Bliss !!!!)

    I'd include Chevy Chase's awesome phrase in your review :

    LET'S BURN THIS MOTHER DOWN !!

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  3. I have nothing of value to say about the episode itself, but I'd like to praise your reviews once again, Mark. The structuring around the five stages of grief was really clever, and I hadn't noticed how they fit into the episode. Kudos!

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  4. Great review!

    Yeah, I could stand to see less of Greendale. However, the Dean must still pop in time to time, wearing an outrageous costume to give bad news to the gang. Just randomly pop up. The gang doesn't have to be students anymore, but we can't lose Jim Rash! (I'd be more than fine if Ken Jeong never appeared again. He seems like a perfectly nice guy, but I don't like his characters.)

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  5. Like Gus, I thought the structure of this review was inspired. Great job, Mark.

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