Warning: this post contains spoilers from episode 5.01 of NBC’s Community, “Repilot”
Community is finally back, and so are Dan Harmon’s ideas and stories. The first episode this season is simply called, “Repilot.” Besides the pilot episode, all the episodes’ names usually reference college courses. Being the nerd I am, I took note of the unusual episode title, and I wondered how Community would be different.
A year had passed since we last saw Greendale. Apparently, the lives of the Study Group and others on the show had changed over the past year, and not necessarily for the better. It was interesting to see how everyone had grown apart; the only three who were still in touch were Abed Nadir, Annie Edison, and Troy Barnes because they lived together, but it was still apparent they may not have been as close as they once were. Abed never told Annie he quit making Jeff Winger’s commercial; instead, he told her he was fired. Clearly, the roommates might not always be honest with each other.
It was sad to see that Annie may have been right in season one, when she thought that if they are no longer taking a class together, they will slowly drift apart. The study group is a family, they know each other, and they help each other become better versions of themselves. Instead of staying together, they ended up close to where they were at the beginning of the show. Jeff had lost his law firm, Britta Perry is now a bartender, Annie a pill pusher, Shirley Bennett is again separated from her husband, and Abed has quit film making. What made it even more interesting was how each character’s background from the beginning of the series was mentioned or hinted at again in this episode, with the exception of Troy. The only thing we really got about him was he has a Tumblr dedicated to Clive Owen, and the only way he is defined now is his relationship with Abed. Abed is able to be seen as his own person, but Troy has nothing going for him now. He is waiting for Abed to make it big in programming, so he can sue him. Troy has lost his identity instead of Troy it is Abed and Troy. Kerry, has an opinion this is the building stones for Troy leaving, and I agree with her. Troy needs to find out who he is on his own.
The show even showed where Chang and Dean Pelton are. Chang is as crazy as ever, living in a box fort, and has apparently become a teacher at Greendale again. I must give props with the writers deciding to make Chang a math professor. He works best as an authority figure. It was also amusing to hear a thirty second recap of what has happened to his life for the entirety of the show so far. The Dean was probably the biggest surprise to me. He is still his own person who is in love with Jeffrey, but the scene he had with Jeff in his office about him destroying files is the part that threw me off. He talked about doing anything to keep his job, and there was no belief in him when he said Greendale was a good place. For me, the Dean has always tried to make the school better, but now it seems like he was only trying to make a spiel of what usually seemed heartfelt.
What I find truly interesting is how it was a callback to the pilot, plot wise. In the pilot, Professor Duncan mentions moral relativism, and in “Repilot,” Jeff is again faced with it. Alan has tried to seduce him to the “dark side” by helping him sue Greendale. The problem for Alan is Jeff is a much better lawyer than him. He is able to take over, but he still decides the group is suing Greendale. It is a great scene with Jeff slapping Alan with Alan’s clip tie, while Jeff is saying he cares for the group. Pilot Jeff wouldn’t have cared. Jeff is finally able to accept what is morally relative when he stumbles across a hologram of Pierce Hawthorne. For me, this was the best part of the episode because Chevy Chase made a surprise cameo for the show. It is fitting that the Pierce hologram is the one thing that shows Jeff the error in his ways. Pierce has helped Jeff become a better person so many times by teaching him from his own mistakes, and I have always cherished their relationship.
The ending of the episode was fitting. The study table catches on fire, and it is a good thing the group thinks making a birdhouse means making a new study table. They make their new study table together. It also means one chapter of their lives is over, and a new one is only just beginning.
The one thing I’m still confused on is the timeline for the gas leak. Abed and Annie said it happened last year, but wouldn’t that be the year the audience didn’t get to see?