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Recap / Community S 4 E 10 Intro To Knots

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Beware the Ides of March. And amnesiac ex-psychopaths who only want to prove their worth to the study group.

"Empires are always destroyed from within. And I can prove it to you from the comparative comfort of this tacky chair. I will give an A to the one person who unties me. The rest of you will get an F."
Professor Cornwalis

Annie invites Professor Cornwallis (Malcolm McDowell) (and Kevin) to the study group's Christmas party at Jeff's apartment to make up for their failing grade on their history assignment. After many failed attempts of ass-kissing, the group finds out that their supposed F was actually a C-; Annie wanted to the group to go for an A. When Cornwalis overhears Jeff's conversation, their grades brought it back down to an F. While the study group is distracted and arguing, Kevin ties up the professor in an attempt to prove himself, leading to a series of mind games and bribes as Cornwalis tries to prise the group apart.


The Community episode "Intro to Knots" provides examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Abed spends the episode being meta and (until things get interesting with Cornwallis) wanting to reenact Die Hard—directly after those kinds of shenanigans got him into a ton of trouble at the Sophie B. Hawkins dance. He does say he wants to make sure all of his friends are aware.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Not directly. When Annie makes up a story about a drunk Cornwallis going after her and Britta, Shirley is insulted that Annie didn't include her. Annie quickly adds on, "And Shirley, who I didn't mention earlier because she intimidates you sexually."
  • The B Grade: Annie lied and claimed the C- she knew the paper was getting was a failing grade because to her that's a failing grade.
  • Bottle Episode / Real Time
  • Advertisement:
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Cornwallis celebrates Christmas with plum pudding, roast goose, and by updating his suicide note.
  • Call-Back:
  • The Chessmaster / Manipulative Bastard: Cornwallis, for most of the episode, tried to get the group to turn on each other. He fails.
  • Christmas Episode
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The gang did literally take the guy hostage.
  • Cute Kitten: The Dean brings over a basket of them in The Tag.
  • Cuteness Equals Forgiveness: Evil Annie is released from the asylum, because "The real crime is keeping someone so beautiful locked up." Then again, she's at Greendale.
  • Dirty Old Man: Cornwallis' history with coeds is brought up a few times. He also refers to Annie as a "Type-A Lolita."
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Except it's in the Darkest Timeline, which isn't a good thing.
  • Foreshadowing: Troy isn't worried about his relationship with Britta at all, because if he was worried he'd be rambling, and he's definitely not rambling...
    • Jeff and Annie are the first to go along with the idea of extorting a better grade out of Cornwallis. The episode ends in the Darkest Timeline, with Evil Jeff and Evil Annie.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The gingerbread men on Troy's sweater are dunking one of them headfirst into a glass of milk. It's a cutesy, silly image until one reads "Milk boarding" in the trim.
  • Gilligan Cut: "Abed, there are no dark timelines!"
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Zigzagged. Bad Timeline Annie apparently committed armed robbery and stabbed people, but she's now truly evil after spending time in Greendale Asylum.
  • A House Divided: What Cornwallis attempts in order to escape.
  • Hidden Depths: Annie is quite surprised that Shirley was also going for the Valedictorian.
  • I Never Told You My Name: "He knows my name..." says Troy. Of his teacher who he's had many classes with.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Used by Evil Jeff.
  • Innocent Innuendo: "You're F-ing us?"
  • Insane Troll Logic: Evil Jeff's argument for Evil Annie's release is that whilst she robbed several drug stores & stabbed several pharmacists, the true crime is someone so beautiful being locked away from society.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Cornwallis is messing with the group, but he has a point that they are a fragile group that would turn on each other if the opportunity arose.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Evil Annie goes from being someone who feels guilty about Pierce's (apparent) death, to being as evil as her boyfriend and wanting to destroy her counterpart.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cornwallis could have escaped at any time, since Chang didn't tie his knots well. He stayed to mess with the group because he was lonely on Christmas. They tie him up for real when he breaks free and says they'll have to live with whoever was the Judas.
  • Oh, Crap!: Abed has this reaction as he's thinking about the Bad Timeline.
  • The Oner: The first 2 minutes, when everyone comes to Jeff's apartment, is one long shot.
  • No-Sell: Cornwallis tries to get Abed to turn on the group. Abed says he's the wrong target because the scenario itself matters more to him.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Cornwallis in his debut was horrified that teachers manipulate students to teach them a lesson. Here, he tries to adopt the stunt to be accepted no Christmas.
    • The alternate Jeff initially considers the idea of ​​turning evil and destroying his prime counterpart completely ridiculous, in this episode he fully embraces that role.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Abed makes a bowl of popcorn to enjoy Cornwallis being a villain.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Rats in a Box: What Cornwallis tries in invoke the entire episode.
  • Real After All: Greendale Asylum is real in the dark timeline!
  • Reality Subtext: When putting up new curtains in his apartment with Annie, Jeff takes a fourth-wall swipe at the network's decision to delay airing the fourth season, which meant that holiday episodes like these would be seen in the spring.
    "Actually these will also work for Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day, or whenever people get to see it."
  • Ship Tease:
    • When Cornwallis mentions romantic entanglements, Annie and Jeff exchange looks. In a succinct summary of their relationship, Annie's glance is more schoolgirl-flirty, while Jeff is warily uncomfortable.
    • Jeff asks Annie if they need to have another talk her wanting to play house with him; and in response Annie seemingly admits that he does, before catching herself & claiming she's just redecorating for the party.
    • Jeff and Annie share a kiss after Jeff gets Annie released from Greendale Asylum.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Straw Feminist: Britta takes umbrage at Cornwalis using 'feminine' to insult Jeff's decor. It was at worst a backhanded compliment, as he preceded it by saying it was a nice apartment.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Troy is "definitely not rambling."
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Abed finds out that this is not the case. After Cornwallis starts to manipulate him, he gets up to make popcorn, since villains usually take a while to ramp up. In the space of 1 minute 30 seconds he was gone, Cornwallis has already started to find cracks in the foundation.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Cornwallis tries this.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Evil Jeff and Evil Annie.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Dean greets Cornwallis and ignores that he is tied up and drinking scotch through a straw.
  • Wham Line: Somehow an off-hand comment made by Abed:
    Abed: I wonder what's happening in the darkest timeline.
    • Leads to The Reveal in the Darkest Timeline, Evil Jeff having gotten Evil Annie out of Greendale Asylum and vowing revenge on the Prime timeline.
  • Written-In Absence: Pierce is at a 'sensitivity training' with Gilbert to make up for Chevy Chase's absence.


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