Recap: Community S 4 E 12 Heroic Origins

Abed calls it the Crazy Quilt of Destiny, mainly because the Loom of Fate was taken.

"You see, on the surface we seem like a group of people from diverse backgrounds who have become unlikely friends, but according to my research, our paths have crossed many times. We were destined to meet, like a team of superheroes. This... is our origin story."

For the group's graduation present Abed maps out a Crazy Quilt of Destiny using collected ticket stubs and old receipts, to reveal that the study group's paths have all crossed each other's in everyone's Origin Story. We find out about Jeff's disbarring, the breakup of Shirley's marriage, Troy's lost football scholarship, Annie's breakdown and pill addiction, Britta's short-lived career as an anarchist and Abed's banishment from film school and how it all lead them to each other... and Greendale.

The Community episode "Heroic Origins" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Troy being the one to say "and we're all Spider-Man" is a nod to Donald Glover's desire to play that role himself.
  • Ambiguous Disorder
    Britta: Is that a sad face?
  • Aside Glance: Abed gives one right before the flashbacks start.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Troy's faked knee injury.
  • Becoming the Mask: Abed knew all along that Chang was faking his Changnesia, but he was able to induce a Heel-Face Turn by convincing him that Greendale was a place that allowed people to reinvent themselves for the better, and regardless of the intention, "Kevin" was legitimately a better person now.
  • Big Bad: The villain behind the plot is Dean Spreck.
  • Book Ends: Going by the assumption this is the second-to-last episode: Don't You Forget About Me is heard playing the background where Chang is handing out leaflets at Yogurts-burgh, the same song that ended the Pilot when the study group becomes permanent.
  • Brick Joke: Britta reveals that Annie's Boobs's bite may cause psychosis. Abed mentions this at the end of the episode.
  • Call Back: Near constant, given the conceit of the episode.
    • The transitions are comic book-style stills of past episodes.
    • Annie's breakdown starts when she misses the "Most Likely to Succeed" award, when it is obvious that Troy is winning all of them. This is a similar setup to Jeff and "The Most Handsome Young Man" award at Howie Schwartz's "Star Mitzvah".
    • Abed knew that Jeff and Shirley went to the same rec center, but he wasn't aware of the "Tinkle Town" incident. He may have been distracted by his broken DVD.
    • Shirley's very specific jukebox thing, previously a Noodle Incident, is explained. She smashed the stripper's head through one for sleeping with Andre.
    • Jeff is disturbed that Abed keeps saying that he tried to saw off his arm.
    • "This better not awaken anything in me."
    • Chang crawling out of a vent.
    • Troy's claim in Romantic Expressionism that Annie's nervous breakdown ended with her running into a plate glass window screaming "everyone's a robot!" turns out to be paraphrased. She actually just called Troy a robot because he does anything his football coach tells him to.
    • Upon first meeting Chang, Jeff asks if Professor Duncan is still teaching at Greendale; in the Pilot, Jeff goers to Duncan hoping to use their past relationship of lawyer & client to get out of doing any work.
    • Sundance & Cassidy.
  • Continuity Snarl: Troy's injury is a big one. In the Pilot, Annie says that he dislocated his shoulders doing a keg flip & he reveals in "Football, Feminism and You" that he did so on purpose out of fear of failure. In this episode, he pretends to have broken his leg.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Pierce appears in one flashback. It might not be him, but the old man broke the frozen yogurt machine and faked a heart attack.
    • Whilst everyone else in the Study Group is connected in some way that led them to Greendale, Pierce is reduced to simply being a fixture of Greendale & likely to interact with them at some point of their time at the college anyway.
  • Dumb Jock / Jerk Jock: Flashback!Troy varied between both.
  • Evil Laugh: Dean Spreck is fond of his electronic voice box.
  • Fake Shemp: Pierce (or whoever it was that broke the fro-yo machine and faked a heart attack) is played by another actor, and never seen from the front. Lampshaded when the gang reflect on the incident, surprised at the improbability of them all having been in the same place, and someone says "Could that old guy really have been Pierce?"
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the courthouse you can see that 2008 Annie was Greendale Citizen of the Month throughout the first six months of 2008.
    • The comicbook-style page flips as a flashback starts show several scenes from previous episodes.
  • Freudian Excuse: It turns out that Chang's increasing insanity and corresponding Took a Level in Jerkass over seasons two and especially three might stem from 'experimental monkey fever' caught from Annie's Boobs.
  • Friendless Background:
    • Annie was the unpopular loner girl in high school, who couldn't get any awards despite being an overachiever, Britta's friends all abandon her after one gig, Abed is never seen with other people. Jeff has the respect of his colleagues, but as seen in "Accounting for Lawyers", it doesn't mean much.
    • Played with by Troy; he's one of the popular crowd, but his friendships seem pretty superficial and he's clearly feeling a bit isolated among them by the end.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Chang, after Abed offers him entry into the group and frozen yogurt.
  • Honorary True Companion: Abed realises Chang was part of the group all along, as it was him who handed out fliers for Greendale at the frozen yoghurt place.
  • Misblamed: In-universe example:
    Annie: [To Abed] You're the one who got me busted for drugs!
    Jeff: In fairness, Annie, running through a glass door might have been the drug tip-off.
    • The entire episode is largely this to some degree; upon discovering the connections between them, each member of the study group initially blames another member for the problems that their lives experienced, only to eventually acknowledge that their problems were largely their own doing and a result of their own issues, even if the other member was inadvertently involved.
  • Native American Casino: Greendale's campus is sublet from the Arapaho, who will redevelop it into a casino if the lease expires.
  • Organ Theft: Referenced. Pierce's absence is explained by him donating a kidney to Gilbert. He was disappointed that he didn't get to sleep with a Russian woman first.
  • Origins Episode
    • Jeff got Mysti acquitted and (after getting drunk in response to his fake degree being exposed) encouraged her to call the married man, Andre. Abed ruined The Phantom Menace for Shirley's kids, forcing her to leave Andre alone at the bar. He also pointed out that a prescription pad was missing as Annie was stealing it.
    • "Pop pop!": Magnitude was near two balloons popped by the glass that Annie crashed through.
    • Annie's Boobs was stolen by Britta and traded for a "glaucoma brownie", despite carrying "experimental monkey fever".
    • Everyone was at Yogurts-burgh when the Dean and Chang were passing out Greendale flyers.
    • The Dean picks up Shirley's discarded nightie.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Troy reveals that he remembers the speech Annie delivered to him of this nature the night he faked his football-ending injury, and how much it hurt his feelings. As Annie ran through a plate-glass window that same night, needed extensive reconstructive surgery and had to go through withdrawal and rehab to cure her drug addiction, she is unimpressed.
  • The Reveal: Chang's mysterious accomplice is City College's Dean Spreck.
  • Saying Too Much: Chang falls into this right at the very end, when he decides to turn his back on revenge on Greendale.
    Chang: [To Abed, who has not said anything] Actually, can we stop by the post office first? I have something important to mail for the Dean. It's confidential, and I don't want to talk about it, so stop interrogating me.
  • Ship Tease: Troy to Abed: "You were out there somewhere and you weren't looking for me?!"
    • And also a small one for Jeff/Annie. Jeff is seen smiling up at the pictures of Annie that she's been awarded for "Citizen of the Month" in 2008. Considering how prominent Jeff/Annie has become as the series has gone on, it might count as a sort of unintentional Foreshadowing. Especially since the show was envisioned with Britta being First Girl Wins, but after the S5 finale, this is now completely sunk with Jeff's relevation that his love for Annie was strong enough to open the door.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Spider-Man
    • Unbreakable
    • The "Loom of Fate" was already taken by Wanted.
    • "I drink your milkshake!"
    • Juno
    • Dean Spreck's back-up plan to destroy Greendale appears to involve a giant mechanical spider. This may be a reference to Kevin Smith's famous anecdote from his time spent working on an abortive script for a Superman film, during which the producer, Jon Peters, kept insisting that he include a giant mechanical spider, which was later adapted to the giant mechanical spider in Wild Wild West. Also doubles as a Fun with Acronyms Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • Soft Glass: Annie runs through the glass door pretty easily, and no one else is injured. Though she did need "six reconstructive surgeries".
  • String Theory: Abed's Crazy Quilt of Destiny.
  • Take That: Several to The Phantom Menace and George Lucas.
    Abed: I wanted to make a prequel and I ruined everything, I guess it could happen to anyone. I should probably write George Lucas a note of apology.
    Jeff: Okay, let's not get crazy.
  • Written-In Absence: Pierce is once again with Gilbert to account for Chevy Chase leaving.
  • You All Share My Story: Abed goes to great lengths to discover their interconnections, convinced they must have a shared Origin Story. At first everyone thinks he's being crazy, but the coincidences start piling up until it's revealed they were all in the same place when they first decided to study at Greendale. Even before that, everyone (with the exception of Pierce) had their life affected in some way by another member of the study group.