NBC rounded off season 3 of their best sitcom with a triple bill, ‘Digital Estate Planning’, ‘The First Chang Dynasty’ and ‘Introduction to Finality’. The final episode was bittersweet as it was intended to be the show finale if the show hadn’t been picked up for season 4. Luckily NBC has decided to pick up an abbreviated fourth season comprising of 13 episodes (with room to pick up more episodes if the ratings improve), however the episode remained bittersweet at the news that creator and showrunner Dan Harmon had been fired by Sony. It’s a stupid, dumb, stupid-ass decision that will affect the quality of the writing. Harmon was the heart and soul of the show, it’s like firing Vince Gilligan from Breaking Bad or telling God that he’s not allowed to walk on that patch of grass.
Going with him are executive producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan (Fat Neil and Garrett are named after them), actor and writer Dino Stamatopolous (Star-Burns), as well as the Russo Brothers, who exec produced and between the two of them have directed over 30 episodes. Expect a rocky start to season four whilst they find their feet, and the overused phrase ‘Community sucked after season three.’ Check out how Dan Harmon found out the news over at his tumblr.
Regardless the three episode marathon perfectly summed up what Community does best. The first was another concept episode, with the study group in an 8-bit video-game, that couldn’t have been done more perfectly. The second saw the characters at their slap-stick funniest as they stage a heist to rescue the Dean and see the end to Chang’s reign, whilst the finale had emotion, heart and one of the best Winger speeches to date. Also, no one kissed, fantastic! Below are short reviews:
3.20 Digital Estate Planning
Pierce takes the study group to one of his fathers warehouse’s, expecting some inheritance money but is greeted by his father’s assistant of 30 years, Gilbert, who the study group scream at as he announces himself out of nowhere. Or maybe because it was played by Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad’s (former) ‘big bad’ Gus. Gilbert informs them that in order for Pierce for gain his inheritance, they must all play a video-game that Cornelius Hawthorne helped develop 30 years ago out of spite when Pierce said that video-games were the future. The study group are in, I defy anyone not to be enticed by those gaming booths.
The episode then takes off from the opening titles which served as the introduction to the game, ‘Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne’, with each character each having their own 8-bit avatar, and the majority of the episode portrayed in game play mode, so immediately nostalgic for anyone over 20. They once again hit the nail on the head with this one, perfectly capturing what it’s like to play video games with a group of friends, highlights being Pierce spending the first few minutes running against a wall, confused, and Troy just hitting jump. A scary Cornelius head descends on them early on to say the first person to make it to the Hawkthorne throne will win Pierce’s inheritance. The group decide to work together to help win Pierce his money, but a 7th player, Gilbert, has his eyes on the prize. Gilbert also informs them of the complexity of the game, which gives way to many of the episodes outlandish jokes, namely Annie and Shirley trying to hide the body of a blacksmith Annie accidently murdered, before Shirley kills his wife and then both hiding the evidence by burning the house down. Britta Britta’d it again when trying to console Pierce and killing him, ‘I guess there’s no hug button.’
Abed finds love in the form of Hilda, the Blacksmiths daughter, because it’s the first girl he is able to understand, not to mention the topics she is able to discuss, ‘Holy crap, where have you been my whole life?’ Abed decides to stay with Hilda to help rebuild her life after her family are murdered. When the study group return they see Abed has hacked into the programming and built an empire, as well as having thousands of children with Hilda, which the study group use to attack Gilbert, who reveals himself to be Cornelius’s bastard son and Pierce’s half brother.
The episode had a poignant ending, with the study group deciding to let Gilbert win after all the crap he had taken from his racist father for over 30 years, and Pierce is happy enough knowing he has a brother, which is what he’s always wanted. It was a much needed episode for Pierce, who had been largely ignored the second half of the season as the foolish/racist old man. Here’s hoping Chevy Chase returns next season, which is more likely now Harmon has been fired.
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