Thank God the Olympics are over and NBC is back to showing true greatness like Community. To get you back in the groove, we're going throw a recap a day at you to get you excited for Thursday's new episode. Excelsior!
“The human mind has a tendency to re-channel separation anxiety in the form of frivolity and giddiness, and I don’t want us to waste our chance to acknowledge how much we’re going to miss you.” - Britta
It’s rare that Britta, infamously known for Britta-ing things most of the time, was given the voice of reason this episode, but given her unique relationship to Troy as well as her position within the group, she handled it more than capably. And in this case, as Troy himself describes it, “complaining a lot and kind of slowing us down” is exactly what the group (and this episode) needs.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Harmon got the chance to give us another school-wide epic suspension of disbelief episode to say goodbye to Troy — as the Dean says, "Troy and Abed’s friendship has been such a special and magical part of Greendale we owe it to ourselves to honor it" — but ultimately, this felt like a two-parter that got rushed and condensed into one. It’s still enjoyable, and maybe I just think someone as important to the show as Donald Glover deserves a proper sendoff, but this didn’t have the deft Harmon balance of story and sentimentality that say the second paintball or even the video game episode does.
And believe me; this show is going to miss Donald Glover more than I think a lot of people realize.
Troy was always the most versatile of the group; he was that intangibly-important glue guy that helped fuel the cartoonish Greendale.
His bromance with Abed goes without saying, but remember that he was also romantically involved with both Britta and Annie, he had a humorous mother/son relationship with Shirley (plus, they could occasionally play the race card with each other), he was Jeff’s little buddy at times, and he even lived with the now-deceased Pierce (don’t forget they were originally paired as the bromance relationship of the show). With his absence, Dan Harmon loses his glue guy; Troy helped stretch the limits of narrative cohesion. He could get romantic with the women, he could play a straight alpha male to counter Jeff, or he could be a Dreamatorium co-partner for Abed. That’s why, if you didn’t notice, Harmon made sure that more than one character reminded Donald Troy that even after a year (or more), Greendale’s door would be open to him.
And no Buzz Hickey-type is going to be able to replace him.
Harmon’s best chance is to give the more-than-capable combo of Chang, Duncan, and Hickey more screen-time so that their characters can hopefully grow into some of that empty space.
But back to the episode itself…
Like I said, and just to get it out of the way, there did feel like a few missed opportunities with this one. Britta’s “stranger in a new world” character gave them the chance to really flesh out this imaginary new landscape, whether it be the vapors of Magmarath or the Locker Boys. But, and I feel like Abed would agree, this all came to a head way too fast. “Epic” battles like Britta and Jeff were whittled down to knock knock jokes and Shirley didn’t even have time to think of good parting words. Granted this did have pressure and expectations of a mini-finale coming with it, but I just wish I left feeling a bit more satiated.
Having said that, there were some great moments in here:
- In the show, Troy tells Britta to “Centipede! Centipede!” which is a reference to a song by Donald Glover’s rap alter ego Childish Gambino. And in a crazy, full-circle conspiracy of mine, if you listen to “3005” by Gambino, he raps the line, “Got so high off volcanoes, now the flow is so lava,” which sounds very similar to “the floor is so lava.” I have way too much time on my hands…
- Magnitude is British! Maybe him and Duncan buddy up for something in the future?
- Buzz Hickey’s lack of emotional attachment to the other characters has allowed for him to occasionally step into the role of antagonist if the situation needs it, as long as it stems from objectivism. This could be really helpful for Harmon and the show going forward since they lost their Pierce and their evil Chang.
And, in true Harmon fashion, he found a clever way to make sure the legendary friends of Troy and Abed never had to say goodbye to their friendship. But more importantly, he found a way to let the uncompromising Abed give his departing friend his blessing. It was a little sloppily delivered — that “It’s not a game for me Troy…” line was awkwardly delivered from the usually impressive Pudi — but it was quirky and heartwarming enough to satisfy.
Troy’s other goodbyes seemed a bit jammed there in the end too, but his strong reply to Lavar Burton is a great final remark from a boy going off to become a man.
And while the school and the show will be irreplaceably empty from now on (or until Troy decides to come back home), I wish Donald Glover the best of luck in his journey.
We’ll miss you T-Bone.
“Cool!” - Troy
“Bueno” - Translator
“Bueno?” - Troy
“Cool!” - Translator
“I’ll always remember you as kind of slowing us down and complaining a lot.” - Troy
“I get it…I lived in New York…” - Britta
“Then came the now-now time when the floor was covered with the burny touch.” - Garrett
“Shirley island is The Orb.” - Shirley
“In a cool way like Keyser Soze, or in a lame way like Jewel of the Nile?” - Abed
“Flooooorrrrr!” - Britta
“I had a dream like this, but it was sexual.” - Troy
“I have all of Abed’s abilities and memories, but I’m missing his wild emotionality.” - Abed