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Recap / Community S 6 E 11 Modern Espionage

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A paintball game started in Greendale, leading Frankie to ban paintball, and expelling all students (and firing all staff members) caught playing in order to keep Greendale clean. After discovering City College is involved, the Study Group decides to take part to the game in order to investigate.


The Community episode Modern Espionage provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The shootout between Star-Burns and Todd.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Annie and Abed during the gala incursion.
  • Big "NO!": Annie and Abed when they both get shot.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: The study group during the gala.
  • Blatant Lies: Britta claims to have won previous paintball matches. The actual winners are Jeff, Pierce, and (apparently) Abed. Though notably she survives both of the first two games up until the ending, something no one else does successfully.
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  • Book-Ends: The episode opens and closes with a Greendale theatre performance.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Elroy uses a cook as a shield.
  • Call-Back:
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: At the end, Frankie makes everyone else in the gang dress up in baby clothes and say typical childish things, to highlight how immaturely she thinks they acted.
  • Description Cut: Jeff gives a speech about the days of paintball-related mayhem being in the past while at the same time a paintball fight ensues in the kitchen.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The backroom business between Koogler and Abed plays out like a drug deal.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The Dean somehow manages to fight off five guys with guns in a cramped elevator after one mook presses the elevator stop button.
    • Took a Level in Badass: He was completely useless in the previous paintball episodes (although, to be fair, he wasn't exactly participating back then, but still). This time he "survives" until the end along with Jeff.
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  • Enemy Rising Behind: One mook gets up behind the Dean in the elevator but the latter got the memo.
  • Everyone Is Armed: When all study group members suddenly pull their guns out. Except for Jeff.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The Dean switch sides during the final confrontation.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Lapari is so caught up in his monologue that he walks right by Jeff and the Dean, mistaking them for two of his manequins.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: The Dean stumbling over the janitor wagon after catching the group doing research on Silver Ballz.
  • Forced Friendly Fire: During a Gun Struggle, Jeff turns an opponent's weapon against himself.
  • Hall of Mirrors: The shootout in a hall of manequins.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lapari sets up a bunch of mannequins as decoys, which backfires when he mistakes Jeff and the Dean for them.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Jeff urges Kilmer and Clooney to act quietly and calmly, only to freak out loudly when Frankie creeps up from behind.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The typical India/Middle East confusion occurs when Lapari objects to being heckled by an "Indian guy". Abed remarks that he's Arabic - which is true of the character, although Danny Pudi is half-Indian in real life. Lapari is skeptical about this. (For bonus points, Kumail Nanjiani, the actor playing Lapari, is from Pakistan.)
  • Interscene Diegetic: The song from Vicki's one-woman show continues to play over the paintball fight between Todd and Starburns.
  • Kill 'Em All: Everyone participating in the paintball game is "killed" by the end.
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: Vice-Custodian Lapari predicts that the Dean's accusations won't hold up like all of M. Night Shyamalan's stories.
  • Mexican Standoff: Jeff, the Dean, and Lapari end up in one at the end of the episode.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All of the leading ladies look great in their special formal outfits.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: The chef get riddled by bullets from Britta and Elroy.
  • Mutual Kill: In the end Jeff, the Dean and Lapari end up shooting each other at the same time with none of them winning.
  • Not So Different: Vice-Custodian Lapari notes that he and the Dean are in the situation.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Elroy pretends not to even know what paintball is. He briefly keeps this up after shooting Chang while currently pointing a paintball gun.
  • Obligatory Earpiece Touch: All group members touch their earpieces more than necessary while communicating with each other.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Frankie bans paintball on campus because of how destructive it has been in the past, expels any students that participate and threatens to fire any staff members who get involved in it. In the end she rescinds that policy because it would be impractical to fire everyone involved.
    • This is once again subverted with Jeff who tries to stay away but gets sucked into the insanity anyway.
  • Orphaned Punchline:
    Abed: And the pope looks at the giraffe and says "I'm in the room!" Sorry I can't remember the whole joke.
    Jeff: That's okay, it sounds very funny based on the last line.
  • Outfit Decoy: In the Action Prologue, Star-Burns tricks Todd with his hat on a pole.
  • Paintball Episode: This time In the Style of... a Mission: Impossible espionage.
  • Playing Nice for Now: At the study room, the group acts all friendly when Frankie drops in but would draw their weapon on each other once she's left the room.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The scene where Jeff is scanning everyone at the gala looking for an assassin is set to Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain.
  • Reality Ensues: Koogler's second rule for Club Club is that every attractive female member must sleep with him. As a result he is facing several sexual harassment lawsuits.
    • Jeff, The Dean, and Lapari all react appropriately pained to being shot point-blank with a paintball.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Annie and Abed hang out a lot in this episode, and have incredible fighting chemistry. Not to mention they hold each other as they "die".
    • Frankie/Jeff also gets a nudge with Jeff saying he "likes her" at the end.
    • Platonic Life-Partners: It also continues the new dynamic of "Annie is Abed's new Troy" as she steps into the shoes of Abed's partner in hi-jinks.
  • Shout-Out
    • The study group use Batman actors as codenames.
    • The first rule of Club Club is that it's not a Fight Club.
    • Vice-Custodian Lapari's Museum of Custodial Arts borrows a lot from Scaramanga's labyrinth.
    • The opening sequence with Starburns and Todd in the parking garage is very similar to the opening scenes of Highlander, right down to Todd's sunglasses.
    • The scene with the Dean in the elevator is a homage to Captain America: The Winter Soldier
      • Deeper than that - the plot hinges on the theme of enemy within, as well as Lapari's climatic speech with Jeff mirroring Pierce/Fury, Frankie's initial outfits and makeup bearing a close resemblance to Maria Hill, and Abed's IP investigation being framed and shot the same way as Pudi's appearance as a tech operator in TWS.
    • The shot of Silver Ballz's paintball gun firing at the beginning is lifted directly from Kill Bill.
  • Slow-Loading Internet Image: Parodied. When Elroy brings up a photo of Lapari on his computer screen, it loads slowly. The Dean immediately asks if Elroy has problems with his internet connection. Elroy then presses a key and the image loads instantly. Turns out Elroy deliberately programmed his computer to display images slowly. The Dean comments that it is very dorky of him.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Todd and Star-Burns have an epic battle in the parking lot, to the tune of Vicki's insipid theatrical performance.
  • Special Edition Title: The opening credits are done In the Style of... the end credits from Iron Man.
  • Stage Whisper: Played for laughs; the Greendale gang are all rather un-subtle with their use of makeshift earpieces to communicate with each other. Of course it's Britta who gets overheard by her target, and has to make up a lame story involving a dinner order with "guns" as a menu item to cover for it.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Dean suddenly appears in the room with Elroy and Britta.
  • Troll: Garrett's stand-up act in The Tag is revealed to be this when Vicki, who he spent most of his act mercilessly mocking, turns out to be in on it, and the supposedly dead mother she used to get a sentimental response from the audience turns out to be alive. The audience boos, which Garrett claims is exactly what he wanted, but he's still painfully aware that their gambit has backfired.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Precedes the aforementioned Elevator Action Sequence. With "Daybreak" subbing in for the usual soundtrack.
  • Wham Line: The Dean's "This isn't a closet."

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