2.24 For A Few Paintballs More
It’s showdown time at Greendale College. Will the gang save the day? Will Jeff realise cowboy is not a good look for him? And will Annie ever find her skirt in the season 2 finale of Community?
After last week’s awesome cliffhanger, Community returned to round out the season and answer a few of those burning questions with For A Few Paintballs More. For those of you who spent the last week or so under a stone, Greendale’s end of term picnic was hijacked by a mysterious ice cream company, forcing the students to spend the last day of the year engaged in a ruthless game of paintball assassin, against an unseen enemy.
Having satisfactorily covered the Old West in A Fistful Of Paintballs, Team Community ditched frontier land for the cold vacuum of space this week, going all Star Wars on us, in a very Family Guy kind of way. From the title crawl to the stormtroopers and the bad guy in the ridiculous outfit, For A Few Paintballs More ticked all the Lucas spoof boxes, but thankfully glossed over that whole incest angle.
Thanks to the Bond-style bad guy exposition, it transpires that the paintball debacle was orchestrated by Greendale’s rival, City College, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, except perhaps that the dean clearly doesn’t have enough to do. Fighting for control of the campus as well as the huge cash prize, the remaining students band together under the dubious leadership of Jeff and Troy, to launch an all out assault on City College.
Abed, too excited by the sci-fi turn of events to pay attention to petty things like leadership squabbles, immediately calls dibs on the Han Solo role and proceeds to out-Solo even the most practised larper. Reminiscent of his brief foray into Don Draper territory, the change in his personality is so convincing that Annie starts to see him in a completely new light. The impromptu make-out session that follows means that Annie has now officially had a crush on all the eligible male members of the group (except Pierce. He doesn’t count), so maybe they didn’t gloss over the incest angle after all.
Throwing everything they’ve got at the rival stormtroopers, the gang are taken out one by one, until it’s up to Shirley and Britta to end it. Despite what can only be described as the series’ best drive-by Shirley, it isn’t enough. Or is it? Pierce, having pulled the full Lando, including the one and only time the heart attack fake-out has been successful, swoops in to save the day, winning the contest, and donating the money to the college.
Feeling a little guilty over their decision to kick him out of the group, the gang has a change of heart and asks Pierce to join them again next year. What comes next is an even bigger shock than the Chang/Shirley hook-up. He says no, voluntarily removing himself from the group for good.
Despite his general levels of petulance, Pierce’s decision to leave the group, aside from being a small miracle, was done with heretofore unseen levels of dignity. It’s a downbeat ending to such a frenetic episode, but works because of that dignity, something Pierce could have used two years ago.
So, with everything back to (almost) normal, Greendale shuts the doors on its sophomore year, with a very pleasing Breakfast Club nod as the credits roll, bringing the show full circle. Although, there’s still no mention of the whereabouts of Annie’s skirt.
As finales go, this two-parter has to be up there with the best of them. An episode packed with gags, both visual and scripted, tons of references, and an appearance from every B-character we met this season, it’s ridiculously surreal in places, with some superb character quirks and developments. It’s a pacy, beautifully acted (Danny Pudi’s Han was worth the admission alone), lovingly crafted twenty-two minutes of sitcom perfection.
As has been said in these very reviews, Community is a supremely confident show, and with results of this quality, it’s not hard to see why. Sharp, funny, warm, self-referencing and increasingly meta, but in a good way, this is without doubt one of the best things to happen to TV since the first season of 30 Rock. Community is a unique show, and we should all thank the TV gods that we’re privy to its particularly twenty-first century sense of humour.
Season two may have its bumpy moments, but if Team Community can keep producing comedy of this calibre, season three will be unmissable. Let’s hope Annie finds her skirt by then. Have a great summer, and see you in September for Junior year!
Read our review of episode 23, A Fistful Of Paintballs, here.