Community: “Advanced Introduction to Finality” Season 4 Finale Review

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If this is truly the end for the Greendale Seven, then kudos to Community for delivering a solidly entertaining finale episode.

I don’t think the show was ever able to live up to its former glory this season, but this episode tried its hardest to please with mostly positive results.  Bringing in some exciting elements from the show’s past–paintball!  The darkest timeline!–and tying them into a plot about Jeff’s graduation was a smart choice.  There was just enough action and character resolution to make for a decent sendoff for one of TV’s most eccentric sitcoms.  That is, if it is a true sendoff.  NBC has yet to confirm whether or not Community has a place in their fall lineup.  I can’t help but hope that they make the decision to let the show go out on a high note, instead of letting it limp to the finish line.

The events that transpired all centered around Jeff being able to finally graduate from Greendale.  Having earned enough credits, he’s ready to leave a semester early.  He’s even got a job lined up at his former partner’s new law firm.  Everything seems to be falling into place for him, but something’s still off.  After spending three and a half years growing into the man he’s become, he’s afraid that leaving will change him back into the man he used to be.  So, in a moment of weakness, he reinvokes Abed’s interest in the darkest timeline by bringing out a six-sided die.

What he was hoping for was a freakout that would somehow derail his graduation ceremony.  Instead, he ends up bringing evil versions of the gang into the current timeline by letting the die fall on its side.  Evil Jeff seems to have plans of his own.  He wants Jeff to take the new lawyer job so he can go back to be the suave smooth-talker he was before he came to Greendale.  What unfolds is an all-out battle between each character and their alter ego.  This being Community, paintball guns are naturally involved.

The fighting is exciting, but what really works is the show’s seemingly renewed sense of humor.  Somehow, bringing up old plot devices helped to reinvigorate the writers.  The Dean and Annie have a hilarious back-and-forth as they begin to plan Jeff’s graduation ceremony as if it was a wedding.  The Evil versions of the Greendale Seven have some great interactions with their “normal” counterparts–particularly the two Abeds.  Hey! Even Pierce shows up for a little!  And of course, the final tag featuring another appearance of “Troy and Abed in the Moooorning,” is not to be missed.

In the end, Abed helps Jeff realize that the fight is all going on in his head.  It’s something he has to figure out for himself.  It’s a little cheesy, sure, but it works to help him choose his path.  At the graduation, he delivers one final heartfelt speech before deciding that he’s going to go work for a smaller firm and try to “help out the little guy.”  It’s a fitting end to the series, but is open-ended enough to allow for a continuation.  Like I said before, I sincerely hope there isn’t one.  If this is how Community comes to a close, then I’d say it would be a resounding success.  Grade: B+

By Mike Papirmeister

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