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Recap / Community S 3 E 22 Introduction To Finality

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It's the end of the season, and a memorable moment in The Stinger becomes the crux of the Darkest Hour, before the redemption of the Greendale 7.

With Troy having been claimed by the AC Annex, Abed having fallen into a state of severe depression, and Shirley and Pierce divided by legal difficulties, the study group's problems are far from over as they resume classes at Greendale following the downfall of Chang's regime.

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Tropes appearing in this episode of Community include:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Troy is back after one episode.
  • Accidental Public Confession: Murray accidentally spills the beans in public about having murdering Vice Dean Laybourne. Followed by Did I Just Say That Out Loud?.
  • All Prophecies Are True: The prophecy that Troy is the air-conditioning repair messiah.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian / All There in the Manual: Evil!Abed asks Britta about her parents. Her response involves a man in a dinosaur costume and a birthday party that would at first glance come off as a humorous non sequitur. Britta is actually describing her eleventh birthday when she was molested, and her father refused to believe what had happened. This isn't the first time the series has alluded to this part of her backstory, but it is one of the more explicit examples so far.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • Alan tries to make Shirley come out as a bad person by bringing up a joke she once made that was obviously not true (specifically, that she'd trade her son Ben for a chance to "bump it with Denzel") and because she wasn't sure whether Ben's father was Andre or Chang. He also tries to blackmail Jeff into losing on purpose, otherwise he'd never be able to work at his old firm. This after he promised Jeff he'd go easy on her.
      Jeff: I thought you said you were gonna go easy!
    • Jeff's final speech at the end is to all intents and purposes him rejecting the Amoral Attorney he once was.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Evil!Abed plans to do this to Jeff. Thankfully, he never gets a chance to (because the cord for his bone saw doesn't reach far enough).
    • And because by the time Evil!Abed comes back with an extension cord, Jeff is in the middle of a speech which causes Good!Abed to take control again.
  • Audience Murmurs: There is a murmur going through the rows of AC School members when the Duel to the Death at the Sun Chamber is brought up.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bad Liar: Shirley:
    Shirley: [sing-song] Hello!
    Jeff: Are you here to help me with Biology or to get me to help you?
    Shirley: [sing-song] Biology.
    Jeff: Are you lying? [Shirley looks cornered] Hard to put the word 'yes' into lilting syllables, huh?
    Shirley: Ye-es?
  • Badass Boast: Played for Laughs; to challenge Murray, Troy yells out "I am the truest repairman!"... in a slightly silly falsetto voice.
  • Batman Gambit: We get another glimpse of what made Jeff such an effective lawyer. He knew what needed to be done to win over the entire courtroom and how to use Pierce's nature to get there.
  • Beard of Evil: Evil!Abed.
  • Blatant Lies:
    Britta: [uneasily] You say your name is Evil!Abed... which does not throw me because I'm a therapist.
  • Brand X: Jeff doesn't use, he uses
  • Break the Cutie: Evil!Abed "darkening" Britta. She gets better.
  • Breaking Speech: Evil!Abed gives Britta one, of the Hannibal Lecture variety, raising the timeline darkness to 10%. He adds a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for another 2%.
    • Evil!Abed seems to be fond of these in general. He also uses one to convince regular Abed to allow him to take over.
  • Call-Back: Several in this episode.
  • Character Development:
    • Jeff chooses to fight for his friends over his last shot at returning to his old law firm, even though Shirley told him that it was okay for him to choose his job over her, and upon Alan revealing that he was the one who sold Jeff out to the state bar, Jeff merely thanks him for it]]. Also, after years of trying to ignore him, Jeff decides to finally look up his father again.
    • Pierce criticizes his lawyer for using the word "gay" as a derogatory word. Also counts as Hypocritical Humor. And after the case is thrown out, he suggests that Jeff signs the documents to place the sandwich shop in the Greendale Cafeteria on his & Shirley's behalf... which, as Annie points out, is his first good idea.
    • Abed gains sufficient self-awareness to realize that he has problems and would benefit from therapy. He also "destroys" the Dreamatorium, but now has a smaller one placed in the Blanket Fort.
    • Troy decides to move out of the Blanket Fort & into the former Dreamatorium. He also appears to embrace his 'destiny' as the Truest Repairman and decides to remain in the Air-Conditioning Repair School, albeit after he uses his status as Messianic Archetype to change things so that they start acting less like a weird cult and more like a normal trade school to allow him to have a life outside of it.
  • The Chosen One: The Truest Repairman.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: A more literal use of cool than most examples of this trope. For the murder of Vice Dean Laybourne, Murray is sentenced to The Infinite Labyrinth of Eternal Ice. Subverted, however, in that the sentence is commuted to simply calling the cops to take him to jail upon Troy pointing out that this is utterly insane.
  • Courtroom Antics: Jeff pulls several stunts because he was completely unprepared due to focusing on the biology test.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As he breaks free of the Dreamatorium, Evil!Abed asks Britta whether Lame!Abed owns a bone saw. We see in later scenes that evidently he does.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Played with; Evil!Abed manages to turn the tables on Britta and start analysing her (nearing driving her to tears in the process), but this time it's less that she's bad at it but more that Evil!Abed is just that good. Indeed, Abed at the end credits her with doing what no other therapist has managed to do — making him realize he needs therapy and providing a therapist he feels comfortable undertaking it with (albeit because she, in his words, "has just as little control over my mind as me.")
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Troy's usually The Ditz and has spent the entire series rejecting his natural talents as a repairman. When he finally embraces it in the Sun Chamber, however, he kicks ass at it.
  • Dénouement Episode: Big Bad Chang was defeated in the previous episode, the finale focuses more on dealing with how the group is dealing with moving on at the end of their third year.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: After Murray confesses to murdering Vice Dean Laybourne, he immediately pauses and then says "Was that out loud?"
  • Dissonant Serenity: Troy spends almost the entire battle in the Sun Chamber calmly standing in his chamber with his arms folded silently glaring at Murray as Murray frantically attempts to fix the malfunctioning AC unit in his chamber. He breaks this serenity only to calmly fix his unit with a few simple moves and to take mercy on his defeated opponent when it becomes clear that he cannot win or yield.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The off-screen deaths of the Vice Dean and Jeff's former boss, Ted.
  • Duel to the Death: "Two men are sealed in the chamber, each with a broken unit. The heat will increase until one man yields... or dies."
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Troy is the first one to realize that the Vice Dean was murdered and immediately deduces who did it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Including melodramatically kooky secret societies, it seems, as even the members of the Air-Conditioning Repair Annex find the Sun Chamber announcer a bit too absurdly over-the-top.
    Announcer: Weeeell, boys and girls, I hope you brought your popsicles, because it's about to get SCALDING HOT in the Sun Chamber! You already know the rules... BECAUSE THERE AREN'T ANY!!!
    [One of the other students storms down and snatches the microphone off him]
    Replacement Announcer: Geez, Dennis, are you on coke? Take that crap off and sit down! [The original announcer dejectedly slinks away] Sorry about that. Of course there are rules.
  • Evil Is Petty: Evil!Abed wears Sinister Shades, smokes in the hallway, hangs up a pay phone while somebody's using it, pops a kid's balloon with his cigarette, and puts the butt out in someone's beverage. The timeline darkness meter then ticks up 1%.
    Evil!Abed: Cruel. Cruelcruelcruel.
  • Evil Twin: Evil!Abed, of course.
  • Faking the Dead: Apparently Star-Burns faked his death and changed his hair color... but still has his unique & distinctive sideburns.
  • For the Evulz: Evil!Abed's original intention in his debut episode was to destroy the prime versions of themselves and replace them. Now he just seems determined to ruin their lives.
    • May count as Fridge Brilliance though. While it seems that he's just trying to ruin their lives, it may actually be him trying to replace them with their evil counterparts. He breaks Britta's spirit, making her ponder dyeing her hair. His plot to cut off Jeff's arm makes sense when you remember that Jeff lost an arm in the dark timeline.
    • Or Fridge Horror, when you remember just how dark the darkest timeline really is... and what Evil!Abed would have done to Pierce and Annie if he hadn't been stopped before getting to Jeff... or if one of them had been in the Dreamatorium when Evil!Abed manifested instead of Britta.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's actually a list of Greendale Court rules behind the witness stand on the wall.
    • Also in the AC Repair class the blackboard has the "this is my rifle" mantra from Full Metal Jacket written on it—except with "limpken wrench" in place of "rifle."
  • Good Is Boring: Evil!Abed refers to 'good' Abed and Jeff as 'Lame!Abed' and 'Lame!Jeff' respectively.
  • Good Is Dumb: Or as Evil!Abed puts it: "When the world gets bad enough, Abed, the good go crazy. But the smart… they go bad."
  • Grand Theft Me: This is apparently what Evil!Abed does to Abed for most of the episode.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Evil!Abed's Breaking Speech to Britta involves him turning the tables on her attempts to psychoanalyze him.
  • The Heart: The theme of Troy being the heart of the group, as implied in "Remedial Chaos Theory", continues; with his absence Abed refuses to leave the apartment, Britta is openly pining and miserable, and Shirley and Pierce are suing each other. And that's before Evil!Abed shows up...
  • Heel–Face Turn: Having acted as a sinister, menacing presence throughout the entire season in almost all his appearances, in what little we see of him in this episode Vice Dean Laybourne seems to have mellowed considerably; he seems genuinely interested in mentoring Troy and helping him embrace what Laybourne views as his destiny.
  • Heroic BSoD: Troy's absence has had this sort of effect on Abed; he's refused to leave the apartment since it happened and is, for the first time, genuinely beginning to worry that he might actually be crazy. It leads to Evil!Abed taking over for a while.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Shirley tells Jeff it's okay for her to lose as long as it lets him avoid trouble at his former law firm.
    • Jeff also makes one by choosing Shirley over his former law career.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Pierce being outraged by Jeff calling him paranoid and crazy... after jumping out between two cardboard pieces, painted to look like a bookcase. For further crazy, he was apparently there the whole time Jeff was studying just to see if he would do anything about the legal dispute between him and Shirley. For added paranoia value, his over-the-top reaction of betrayal was completely unnecessary, as Jeff was explicitly advising Shirley to just let things drop until Pierce calmed down a little.
    • After making his blackmail attempt to try and force Jeff to throw the case, Alan snidely remarks that Jeff's other option is to "y'know, finish up your big win here" in a fashion that suggests it's just a trivial, insignificant little matter. While it is, Alan is just as desperate — if not more — to win the case than Jeff is.
    • Pierce criticising Alan for using the word "gay" as an insult. Lampshaded afterwards.
      Pierce: Booyah! Good person!
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Infinite Labyrinth of Eternal Ice, reserved for perpetrators of serious transgressions against the AC repair school.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Or comdemn him to The Infinite Labyrinth of Eternal Ice, for that matter.
  • I'm Not Afraid of You Anymore: Jeff's inspirational speech gives Good!Abed the opening to reassert himself and zap Evil!Abed (and his goatee) back to his own timeline.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    Annie: He won't even play in the Dreamatorium. Sorry, not play — "render imaginated dreamscapes."
  • Klingon Promotion: Vice Dean Laybourne is murdered and then succeeded by his second-in-command, Murray.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Evil!Abed cracks his neck badass-style when stepping out of the holodeck room.
  • Large Ham: The initial announcer for the match between Troy and the new Vice Dean. Even for the Air-Conditioning Repair School, this is too much and he ends up getting replaced by a much more calm announcer.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    Allen: Ted's gone. Got too old. Couldn't swim with the sharks and got eaten.
    Jeff: That makes no sense. He started the firm; you can't lose your own firm.
    Allen: You can if you're dead. That shark thing was not a metaphor.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Murray sabotaged the air conditioner that killed Vice Dean Laybourne.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is ambiguous as to whether Evil!Abed is merely an aspect of regular Abed's personality taking over as the result of a mental breakdown, or whether he has actually found a way to cross over from another timeline. For what it's worth, Abed seems to believe the former, and describes it as having "gone crazy" once he recovers, but a case for either side could be made depending on your viewpoint.
    • Likewise, the Infinite Labyrinth of Eternal Ice: Actual House of Leaves shit, or a (literally) glorified walk-in freezer? The world may never know.
  • Messiah Creep: Troy's AC Repair story begins as him simply being an exceptionally talented repairman, worthy of the Vice-Dean's interest. By this episode, he is the long-prophesied Chosen One of the Air Conditioning repair school. He challenges their social norms and even prevents a public execution. Played with, however, since Troy himself is never anything less than exasperated by the ridiculous ways in which everyone concerned blows the fact that he's an exceptionally talented repairman completely out of proportion, and only joins in so that he can correct an injustice and, in doing so, get everyone to chill out about things a bit.
  • Montage Out: A combination of tying up loose ends and setting up plot hooks for the next season.
  • Morality Chain: Troy leaving the group causes Abed to fall to the dark side. Jeff's rousing speech manages to help him recover though.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Troy lampshades how ridiculous the prophecy is by pointing out it was just an air-conditioning repair school.
      Troy: It's a trade school. It's a 2-year degree, in boxes, that make rooms cold.
    • Also, the guy who killed Laybourne... to become Vice Dean of an air-conditioning repair school.
  • Not So Above It All: Although he's mostly bemused at the excessive insanity of the AC Repair School, Troy ultimately isn't above playing by their rules and challenging Murray to a duel in the Sun Chamber.
    Troy: I am the Truest Repairman! And this man is a dishonour to making air-conditioners work good.
  • Odd Couple: It's a split-second hint at the end of the tag, but considering Leonard apparently roommates with Sexy Dreadlocks Guy from "Contemporary American Poultry" (or at least someone who looks quite like him), it can safely be assumed that this is going on.
  • Only Sane Man: Troy, to the rest of the Air-Conditioning Repair School.
    Air Conditioning Repair Chaplain: Take this man to the Infinite Labyrinth of Eternal Ice.
    Air Conditioning Repair Students: [brandishing their wrenches] YEAH!
    Troy: No! No. Take him to the police. He murdered someone. Take him to jail. You guys are weird.
  • Orphaned Setup / Orphaned Punchline:
    Pierce: An Irish and a Jew walk into a Chinese laundry. With a gay duck.
    Three jokes later ...
    Pierce: So you're telling me they're not good at basketball?
    (crowd boos and throws paper balls at Pierce)
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Having faked his own death, Star-Burns is revealed to have cut and dyed his hair. Still didn't shave off those unique and conspicuous burns, though...
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Jeff gives one about The Power of Friendship in order to win Shirley's court case. It also prompts Pierce to fire Alan:
    Pierce: Why didn't you just give an inspiring speech about friendship?
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Britta's psychiatrist glasses.
  • Robo Cam: Evil!Abed sees the world this way, including a meter for how close things are to the darkest timeline.
  • Sequel Hook: A lot of loose ends are tied up, but...
    • Chang is now hiding in the air vents in City College.
    • Jeff is now actively searching for his father... which may not be a good thing.
  • Running Gag: Jeff spends the entire episode trying to learn what mitosis is.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: AC School hams it up with the initiation ritual for Murray as the new Vice Dean.
  • Series Fauxnale: Definitely had a series finale vibe, complete with Last Episode Theme Reprise. This, to some degree, is Real Life Writes the Plot, as it was uncertain at the time of writing and filming whether this would be the last episode of the series or not. Ultimately a form of Double Subversion, in that while the series was ultimately renewed, this in fact turned out to be the last episode of Dan Harmon's original tenure as showrunner, so ultimately works as his swansong.
  • Serious Business: Dueling to the death in the Sun Chamber and executing the most heinous of transgressors in the Infintie Labyrinth of Eternal Ice are added to the AC Annex's list. Troy puts a stop to all of it.
  • Ship Tease: As many as the writers could cram into an episode.
    • Shirley telling Jeff his law career is more important than her sandwich shop is another tease for Jerley shippers.
    • Anbed shippers got their piece of cake; when Evil!Abed reverts into Normal!Abed and sits down in the court room, the first thing he does is take Annie's hand. And she smiles.
    • Britta/Troy was also teased very hard. Britta gave Troy a lock of her hair before he went off in the last episode, and here she wanted to be the first to hug him after he returned from the repair school. After Abed took that chance away from her, she tapped Troy on the shoulder for her hug. She's also clearly and vocally unhappy about Troy no longer being around:
      Jeff: Okay, so what is mitosis?
      Britta: I miss Troy.
      Jeff: Wrong, and stop guessing that.
    • Not to mention the blatant Trobed teasing. "I miss Abed so much." Troy ignoring Britta's offered hug in favor of Abed upon his return also adds fuel to the fire. ("Can I cut in?")
    • Jeff having Annie help him in defence of Shirley and also comforting her (by speaking directly to her as an aside) when she gasps upon hearing that he's throwing the case.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
  • Split-Personality Takeover: At first, Evil!Abed takes over Abed's life. Later on, we see Good!Abed take over again after hearing Jeff's speech.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Upon spying on Jeff and Shirley's conversation about him, Pierce feels the need to defend himself against Jeff's accusations regarding his craziness, paranoia and impotence. Jeff, of course, never said a word about impotence.
  • Take a Third Option: The central crux of Shirley and Pierce's argument is which of them gets to sign on the one dotted line on the sandwich shop contract. At the end, they decide to let Jeff sign and thus act as their representative.
  • Take That!: Yet another one to James Belushi.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Leonard: Classic tee-up.
    Britta: Shut up, Leonard! I know about your crooked wang.
    Leonard: [unmoved] invokedNo such thing as bad press.
  • Time Skip: The episode takes place during the summer, between their third and fourth years, just before they are set to take the Biology final for the class they had to make up during the summer.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The rules for the Sun Chamber state that the opponent either yields or dies. When it becomes clear that his opponent is vanquished yet incapable of yielding, Troy takes pity on him and fixes his AC unit rather than let him suffer a lethal case of heatstroke.
  • There Are No Rules: Subverted for the Sun Room Challenge.
  • Tragic Villain: Evil!Abed is one when you remember he turned into this because his timeline was so dark.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Among other things, Star-Burns faked his death.
    • Evil!Abed returns.
    • Jeff fights for Shirley and in the process kills any chance he has of working at his former law firm.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: In universe; one of the other repairmen openly wonders whether the Sun Chamber announcer is on cocaine due to his over-the-top performance.