Picspam: Community 5.05 “Geothermal Escapism”

Do TV shows make you cry?

I cry easily, I won’t pretend otherwise, but I was surprised by how much I cried (okay… sobbed) during Troy’s final episode of Community. The entire episode was structured to pull at any superfan’s heartstrings, so as much as it was a sendoff to Donald Glover and the character he’d brought to life, it was also a love letter to the fans. Let me warn you up front: This picspam is not easy for me.

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As much as this episode sells itself as a Troy-centric one, make no mistake: This is as much about Britta and Abed’s coping mechanisms as it is about Troy letting Greendale go. While everyone in the group loves Troy, the rest of them aren’t as close to him as Britta and Abed are, so they lose less by letting him go. This theme starts early, with Britta trying to psychoanalyze everyone into being sad, while Abed isn’t even present for his best friend’s going away party.

After Troy opens his universal translator gift from the group, Britta reminds everyone to be sad, because she’s Britta and that’s how she copes.

Britta: “Let’s not forget, it’s okay to be sad, too.”
Jeff: “Britta, do you get kickbacks from Big Buzzkill?”

HOW DARE YOU, JEFF.

Britta: “I’m serious!”
Shirley: “We know.”
Britta: “The truth is, a member of our family is leaving, for a year, maybe more. Psychology has taught me that the human mind has a tendency to rechannel separation anxiety in the form of frivolity and giddiness, and I don’t want us to waste our chance to acknowledge how much we’re gonna miss you.”

It’s a sweet moment for Britta, but kind of a downer for everyone else. I don’t know enough (or anything) about psychology to be able to tell you if Britta’s right, but I do know that frivolity and giddiness is not the wrong way to cope with it. If the rest of the group wants to remember Troy’s last day as a day of sunshine and rainbows, then let them. Poor Britta is still stuck in the mindset that these things should go a certain way, because she still thinks she’s lived her life the wrong way up until now (“I’m the worst” “I’m a screwup”) but the beautiful part is that when it matters, when she has to stop trying and just be there for her friends, she actually gets it right.

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When the Dean’s voice booms out over the PA, the group reacts with giddiness and frivolity, even Jeff. The Dean is announcing a school-wide lava game in honor of Troy’s going away party, which excites everyone, even Neil and his merry band of Cafeteria Extras, and yet one person is refusing to partake. You only get one guess.

Dean: “While I normally don’t condone climbing on furniture, Troy and Abed’s friendship has been such a special and magical part of Greendale that we owe it to ourselves to honor it.”

Abed announces the rules (“Stay on furniture, no books, no bags, the dead can’t talk, no coming back as a lava monster”) and the study group responds with JOY and dare I say it, GLEE. Look at Jeff, okay. He’s grinning like a fool as he climbs onto a table and bellows “Hot lava!” Dorks!

Then Abed announces that the winner gets his copy of “Space Clones,” estimated to be worth $50,000. The Dean hilariously asks, “Did you say ‘fifteen’ or ‘fifty’ thousand?” before giving up and leaping onto the counter. (Spoiler alert: We never see him again, we have no idea how he fared in the lava world.)

Britta takes off to try to talk to Abed, and I think we all know how well that’s going to go.

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In lieu of special opening credits, we get this special title card, which also lets us know that this episode is going to have a red filter over everything. We will never escape the color filters.

Britta encounters a scavenging Duncan in the teacher’s lounge, which has been ransacked. He is none too pleased to see her, which is the exact opposite of his behavior in the Ass Crack Bandit episode.

Duncan: “You stay back, Britta! I’m not afraid to push a girl into make-believe lava! In fact, it’s been my primary strategy.”

Britta explains that she’s just staying in the game so she can find Abed and talk to him, which actually works because Abed insisted dead people can’t talk (and she can’t be a lava monster either) but Duncan doesn’t care, because he’s driven by the money.

Duncan: “My self-published novels aren’t going to publish themselves.”
Britta: “Don’t regress to primal behavior just because it’s allowed! We’re human beings, not the editors of Teen Vogue! … They’re setting a terrible example for today’s young women.”
Duncan: “Well I’m sorry, Britta, but it’s either you or me. And I’m me.”

He lunges for her, and Britta scrambles away. Just when you think she’s about to be real-pushed into fake lava —

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Jeff thwarts Duncan’s shoving attempt and Duncan lands in the lava.

Duncan: “This is why the English never win any sports — ’cause everyone else cheats!”

He stalks off petulantly as Britta rolls her eyes, but Jeff’s only got eyes for the furniture. He’s about to make love to one of the plastic chairs when he remembers Britta is there and asks, “Are you claiming this? LAVA JOUST?”

And then the most amazing thing happens: Jeff and Annie strike identical poses. That’s when it sinks in that they must’ve paired off and have been roaming the school together as a team, embarking on cutesy capers so they can hold hands in the dark and address their urges in semi-acceptable scenarios. They’re both battle weary, their clothing torn and their eyes wild, and we have to wonder just how long this thing’s been going on.

Britta asks if they hit each other with each other’s heads (valid) and then Annie levels with her.

Annie: “Once the last of the chairs are gone, a sofa-hopper like you won’t last twenty minutes. Do you wanna join this alliance, or do you wanna join the lava?”
Britta: “Fine, but I’m not learning the new names for anything!”

Cut to —

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You’ll have to excuse me for this part. I loved it so much that I probably took more screencaptures than was strictly necessary. Is there a reason we haven’t gotten this particular trio in all five seasons? How come I never realized that they were always played as a triangle and not as a trio with tons of potential for hilarity?! The problem is that in any other episode, with a plot that’s less dense than this one, the writers are likely to undermine any awesome trio moments with bouts of jealousy and Annie-Britta fighting. What I want to see is Annie, Britta, and Jeff on a team together where both of the women routinely railroad Jeff, and he has no choice but to go along with it. That couldn’t happen in this episode, both because Britta was on a different arc and because the episode was supposed to be about Troy, but it’s something to hope for in the future.

Anyway, Annie’s explaining “centipeding” to Britta as she and Jeff do the actual centipeding: Annie’s in front, Jeff’s in the back, and he hands her chairs that she places in front and they take a step forward. Britta’s along for the ride, asking if the game has gone too far.

Jeff: “It feels normal enough for a school that’s on 911’s blocked caller list.”

Hehe. Jeff adds that he likes that Abed is sending Troy off “in a cool way,” which is pretty funny coming from the guy that reluctantly joined the first paintball game and then acted too cool for the second one. Is he doing this because The Floor is Lava was his favorite childhood game, or does he just like Troy that much? (The one thing Jeff never mentions is the prize money. In fact, none of the study group mention the money, it’s almost like they’re in it just for Troy and Abed and none of them really thought about what would happen once the study group were the only ones left.)

Britta thinks the lava symbolizes Abed’s fear of change (because if lava symbolizes anything, it’s fear of change…) but Jeff is quick to crap all over her psychoanalysis (that’s kind of what you get for saying it to Jeff) as Annie spots a stack of chairs at the end of a hallway. She grabs the binoculars that are hanging around Jeff’s neck (where did he get them? Is there a bird-watching class at Greendale, and if so, where is that classroom?) and uses them to get a better look, and the motion tugs Jeff down by the neck, which doesn’t even faze him. He points out that they could be a trap, but Britta scoffs at the idea that anyone is taking this game as seriously as Jeff and Annie are. They share a look over Britta’s head as she tries to continue the centipede.

But as they centipede toward the chairs, Annie stops and mutters, “Locker boys!”

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They all look so fantastic. Clearly things have taken on a Mad Max theme around Greendale, which is better than Lord of the Flies I guess. They’re all chattering “Locker locker locker!” in an amazingly rabble-rousing way and then Chang pops out in a way that only Ken Jeong can do. He holds up an oversized lock and says, “Winger, Edison, and Perry! What a delicious… combination!”

Britta asks what he’s getting from this extra commitment to the bit, and Chang responds, “We’re getting your chairs and your food, and the names of your same-sex celebrity crushes. Everyone has one, don’t lie.”

They all strike defensive poses as the Locker Boys start agitating again, but they’re distracted by another battle cry.

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Troy and Abed do identical poses just like Jeff and Annie did, and they tell Chang to stand down.

Chang: “You’re in no position to make threats, floor-strider! Our truce ended when you banished us from the pay phone bench!”

How long has this game been going? I’m hoping six hours. That’s plenty of time for certain people to have gotten into certain shenanigans.

Troy: “You used that bench to upset the balance. By the vapors of Magmarath, we will restore it.”
Britta: “You have gods?!”

And those gods have vapors!

Chang: “Locker Boys! Earn your M&M’s!”

Troy and Abed do their intimidation stance, which consists of twirling around their brooms. They’re shocked that it appears to work, as the Locker Boys start climbing the lockers in panic, but then we realize what the real danger is.

Hickey: “Hiya, kids. I’m Criminology professor Buzz Hickey, and this is just a little something I threw together.”

I love that he’s covered in the fire extinguisher foam that’s shooting out of his machine.

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Jeff looks like he’s having the time of his life. The four of them are floor-striding while Britta’s stranded on one chair, forced to hop along desperately. Troy throws out a chair for her to jump onto, and she narrowly avoids Hickey and his scary contraption. Troy tells Britta to start centipeding as Abed instructs Jeff and Annie to go to Shirley Island ahead of them.

Meanwhile, the Locker Boys can’t outrun Hickey, and Chang’s shouting, “My same-sex celebrity crush is Nathan Fillion! Nathan Fillioooooon!”

009

Britta entreats Abed to face the pain of Troy leaving Greendale, but Abed is single-minded.

Abed: “We can do this in three steps. Britta, jump to that trash can. Troy, start inchworming.”
Britta: “What’s the third step?”
Abed: “Third step’s survival, good luck Britta.”

That’s cold even for Abed. She starts screaming at them as Hickey backs up and starts aiming for her, but Troy’s with Abed: “I’ll always remember you as kind of slowing us down and complaining a lot.”

010

Aaaaah she’s so great in this episode, look how pretty she is in these shots! Hickey stops before running her over and asks if her team abandoned her, then he gets real:

Hickey: “This game’s doing bad things to people. Now me, I’m just in it for the money. My son’s getting gay-married. The flowers alone, you have no idea.”
Britta: “I get it. I lived in New York.”

Or how about that time she accidentally planned an entire wedding in a day? But yeah, New York too. Hickey considers her for a moment as she stands on an overturned trash can, abandoned by the people she’s just trying to help.

Hickey: “All right, Miss Perry, climb aboard. It’s fake-killing time.”

She’s thrilled, even when they do a super awkward fist-bump-turned-handshake.

011

This is where I complain, again, that this show can’t seem to choose between color filters and dark shots. Shirley Island is a gorgeous set in the cafeteria, with tons of design and lots of stuff to marvel at, but the shots are so hard to lighten up that its rendered itself nearly pointless to try.

Neil: “Welcome to Shirley Island. No furniture beyond this point. Leave your weapons at the door, and any spare doors at the entrance.”

Troy and Abed have to use some kind of wheeling contraption to get themselves across the cafeteria to the island, and when they get inside, they find Garrett telling stories as Magnitude plays the drums on some industrial kitchen pots. (It took me five rewinds to find Annie and screencap her — she’s in the bottom left screencap, down on the right.)

Jeff is really into this whole thing, and it makes me sorta wish that he’d been this enthusiastic about the paintballs and blanket forts. I think it would’ve been fun to see Jeff Winger be too cool for school (literally) until the toys came out and the gauntlets were thrown. But we have this now, and this really is good enough for me. He’s happy to see Troy and Abed have made it, and then… we meet Shirley.

Shirley: “Friends, welcome to Shirley Island, where all of your dreams come true! If you dream of standing on a table and pissing in a jar.”

She then asks where Britta is, and the guys exchange a look before muttering that she didn’t make it.

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Shirley has a board for The Fallen, which is hilariously split between “Seculars” and “Christians.” I also love that their most up-to-date photo of Britta is from four years ago at the tranny dance, but these were all probably cut out of yearbooks anyway.

Abed says Britta’s sacrifice was necessary, because now he and Troy can’t lose. “Now we’re on Shirley Island, and according to legend, so is The Orb.”

Shirley’s face freezes and she uses her dangerous voice to say she doesn’t know what Abed’s talking about, but he is relentless.

Shirley: “This is a place of peace.”
Abed: “And profit.”
Shirley: “Come again?”
Abed: “You’re not really playing, Shirley. You’re a merchant, and more power to you. But don’t withhold power from others just to make money. We want The Orb.”

Shirley’s glaring at him, and Troy’s getting uncomfortable enough to intervene.

Troy: “I’m still a little raw from what happened with Britta back there, I mean, fun is fun, but I don’t want my last day here to be a day where everyone hates me.”

Abed looks upset as he repeats “Last day,” and that’s when we realized what the stakes were. Britta was right, he hasn’t been processing it, but the cracks are starting to show.

Jeff and Annie don’t stray very far from each other even in the safe harbor of Shirley Island. One has to marvel at the fact that the writers still don’t get that these are the types of moments fans thrive on, not the tortured and overwrought scenes of feelings-declaring. They make such a good team, and in the end, that’s enough for most of us.

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Then a loud voice booms over the stillness of Shirley Island. “Citizens of Shirley Island!” Shirley snarls, “What have you brought to my door?”

It’s Hickey, and he’s brought along a merry band of Chair Walkers, or as I like to call them, second-year Criminology students with toilet seats as weapons. They shove Neil to the floor as Hickey addresses the citizens of the island.

Hickey: “Come out with your feet on the floor, and there will be no need for nudging or jostling.”

And seriously, I don’t know a ton about Jonathan Banks, but I have to think that that line is a highlight of his career. It would certainly be a highlight of mine, if I were capable of acting or being in front of a camera or even remembering lines.

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Shirley yells that she didn’t miss her son’s birthday for second place, and yeah, she should’ve gone home. But then things get magical.

Britta comes out, rolling on a chair and using the world’s longest plungers to push herself along. She’s rocking some amazing hair and she’s scowling because of psychology.

Britta: “I wanna say something to you guys about mental health.”

Honestly, that’s one of my favorite lines from the episode.

Jeff: “Is that Britta? Is she alive?”
Shirley: “What made you think she was dead?”
Troy: “We kind of… left her?”
Annie: “Left her… for dead?”
Abed: “It sounds bad when you put it that way. Can you put it a way that sounds good?”

First of all, I love that Shirley, Jeff, and Annie all instinctively know that Britta is following the rules of the game and that she must not have died. (What was to stop her from stepping on the floor, then deciding to go talk to them anyway?) Secondly, I love that even Jeff is appalled by their actions; he and Annie did, after all, save Britta from Duncan only an hour or so ago.

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Britta: “You do realize this isn’t just a pile of chairs, right? This is a crib, and you’re curled up inside there, sucking your thumb, because you’re too scared to say goodbye. Well, it’s time to grow up. The adults are here, and we’re gonna tear down your fort. Chair walkers, attack!”

She does an amazing battle cry even if you’re picturing her as a terrible parent, and the Chair Walkers start dismantling the fort.

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Vicki: “My name was Vicki! Tell my story!”

One time, Vicki refused to lend a classmate a pencil, so that classmate ran against her in the student council elections just to berate her until she dropped out. She ended up stabbing that student in the face with a pencil, and somehow she didn’t get expelled for that.

Garrett yells that these are his only pair of pants, which seems about right.

Magnitude: “I’m actually British!”

Only a half-truth: he’s also a wizard.

Shirley tells Leonard (of COURSE he’s still in the game) to “Butter ‘em up!” and Leonard obliges. He pumps popcorn butter, which shoots out of the fort and onto the ground, and it’s largely effective. Annie asks if Shirley has any rolling chairs as Garrett hops away yelling “Abandon fort! Women and man-children first!” He’s self-aware, at least.

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Jeff (and his arms, holy crap Joel) has somehow made it out of the fort and onto a rolling chair. He yells, “Hey, Seat Feet! Chair to dance?” Puns!

He crouches down and holds out his arm to propel Annie around with an extension cord. They work in perfect unison to wrap up three chair walkers and cause them to fall into the lava, it’s one of the most glorious bits of teamwork I’ve ever seen outside of Troy and Abed’s shenanigans.

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Annie gets lost in celebration and doesn’t notice when her chair rolls over the extra cords. She tumbles over and lands, hard, on the ground — erm, in the lava, and Britta cackles unkindly.

Annie: “Britta! I’m your friend.”
Britta: “I can’t hear dead people, Annie, I’m in a world of imagination!”

Hahaha she’s amazing like this. Annie’s the first study group member to fall, but at least she died a hero: working in a perfect duet with Jeff to take down three guys who were duct-taped to plastic chairs.

Jeff swoops in and snatches one of Britta’s absurdly long plungers.

Jeff: “Then imagine what the floor looks like!”
Britta: “I don’t have to, I’ll just imagine where you’re about to be!”
Jeff: “That’s the same thing as imagining the floor!”
Britta: “Then you just admitted that’s where you’ll be!”
Jeff: “Knock-knock, Britta.”
Britta: “I’m not gonna say ‘Who’s there,’ because someone on the floor is knocking.”
Jeff: “Well that’s lame, you have to say ‘Who’s there.’”

I didn’t think this show could top the whole “I’m Jeff Winger’s dumb gay dad” exchange from the second season, but I was wrong: This tops it easily.

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Britta: “FLOOR!”
Jeff: “… What?”
Britta: “That’s who’s there!”
Jeff: “Yeah, but it’s for you!”

They start plunger jousting as Abed asks Shirley for The Orb, so that they might save Shirley Island.

Shirley: “The Orb can’t save Shirley Island, because Shirley Island is The Orb!”
Abed: “In a cool way like Keyser Soze, or in a lame way, like Jewel of the Nile?”

Shirley pulls off a plastic sheet to reveal The Orb to Troy and Abed, then says, “You tell Buzz Hickey that Shirley Bennett said… I don’t want to waste your time, just think of something cool and give me credit.”

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Elsewhere, Jeff refuses to let this knock-knock thing go, just as Britta is refusing to answer the damn door.

Jeff: “But the door I’m knocking on is your home, so if I’m the floor, it means you’re dead!”
Britta: “If you’re the floor, you’re already dead.”
Jeff: “Just!… Do it right! Knock-knock!”
Britta: “Knock knock!”

His voice breaks in the “do it right” line which makes him sound like even more of a child than a knock-knock argument makes him sound, but I totally identify with him in this instance. If you picture them actually standing at Britta’s front door (since Jeff knocked first) then the mental image is Jeff knocking, then Britta randomly knocking from inside her own house as she yells “FLOOR!” If you’re not laughing right now, you’re heartless.

They joust, and it ends with their plungers getting stuck together. When Jeff yanks too hard, he tumbles over backwards and falls on the floor. “Who’s there, bitch?! Floor! FLOOR!”

I mean, she won the battle, but she still didn’t get the knock-knock joke. Jeff doesn’t look too upset to be knocked out of the game only two minutes after Annie. They can go work on strategies for next time.

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Troy and Abed come crashing out of the fort in The Orb, and the whole sequence is actually really pretty. They sing “Troy and Abed in a buuuubble!” as Hickey maneuvers to face them. When he waves them over, they go full-speed, which is dumb because they’re in plastic. Hickey swerves around them and just when Troy is calling him a chicken, Hickey holds up a knife.

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In a corridor near the cafeteria, Starburns assumes he’s the last one in the game. (“Fifty thousand bucks! That’s fifty thousand lottery tickets!”) He screams when Troy and Abed barrel toward him, and he gets run over (yay!) as they scramble to safe ground.

Britta’s hitched a ride with Hickey again, and she’s shouting, “You can’t outrun your emotions!” as Starburns rolls out of the way.

They’re rolling into the library when Britta leaps on top of The Orb, and it looks like it’s actually Gillian and not a stunt double, though I could be wrong. Troy says, “I had a dream like this, but it was sexual!” as Britta continues to shout.

Britta: “I will force you two to grieve properly, even if it kills us all!”

Hahahahahaha

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They roll toward a set of double doors that are marked “Employees Only,” and Britta is forced to jump off onto a nearby bookshelf. Troy and Abed roll down the stairs, Britta-free and triumphant, but they stop at the bottom and deflate quickly. They’re twisted in a weird position, and Abed says, “Sorry about our butts touching.” It’s okay, he likes butt stuff.

They scale the same shelves we saw in “Epidemiology” as Abed suggests they take to the air ducts.

Troy: “I say we take a stand here, I mean, someone’s gotta win sometime.”
Abed: “Not if we never kill each other. Then we can play forever.”
Troy: “Right. Wait. Abed, the floor can’t be lava forever. The game’s gotta end.”

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Abed: “It’s not a game for me, Troy. I’m seeing real lava because you’re leaving, it’s embarrassing. And I don’t want to be crazy, but I am crazy, so I made a game that made you and everyone else see what I see.”

When you think of the myriad of ways Danny Pudi could’ve played this — annoyed, cartoonish, overly dramatic — it really makes you wonder where the heck his Emmy is. Watching Troy’s face fall as Abed talks is equally as heartbreaking as Pudi’s performance, because Abed’s form of “crazy” has always informed Troy’s decisions, and for the first time in five years, he’s not doing that. He glances down at the floor and sees the lava that Abed sees, and it scares him.

Abed: “I don’t want it to be there either, I swear. I want you to be able to leave, but I don’t think the lava goes away until you stop leaving.”

Have you ever heard anything as sad as that line?

Troy: “So the only way I can help you is… by giving up my chance to… be one person?”

And that’s so selfish on Abed’s part, but Abed knows that, which is more growth than we ever could’ve hoped for when we were watching 1.03, as Abed coldly manipulated Jeff and Britta’s feelings and actions in order to get shots for his movie.

It’s also growth that Troy and Abed reached this natural realization together, without Britta on the sidelines trying to force life. That means they both might just be okay when this is all over.

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Britta and Hickey come sliding down the stairs on the overturned bookshelf, which is so awesome, I really like the unlikely duo these two have struck.

Britta: “You guys ready for closure?”
Hickey: “Of your caskets?”

Troy tells them to stop, that the lava is real to Abed, and Britta immediately snaps out of the game in horror. Hickey, though, isn’t so easily swayed.

Hickey: “You know what I think? I think he’s used to getting his own way. I think he hasn’t met me.”

He jerks The Orb so that it starts knocking down shelves like dominoes, and Abed, panicked, grabs onto the air duct and hangs there as the shelves topple over. Britta, enraged, shoves Hickey into the fake lava.

Hickey: “Unbelievable! When this game is over, I’m gonna shove you back!”

I REALLY HOPE WE GET TO SEE THAT.

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Troy is trying to get Abed to swing over to his shelf, but Abed hands him Space Clones instead, saying either he or Britta will be the winner.

Troy: “I’m not leaving, okay? I promise, just… the floor’s not lava now, just give me your hand!”

That’s also heartbreaking, because… was he lying? Or was he really going to forego being his own man, the millions of dollars, and the amazing experience he’ll have of sailing a boat around the world just to save his best friend from imaginary lava?

But Abed’s doing some growing and realizing of his own.

Abed: “I don’t think the lava is here because you’re leaving. I think it’s here because I won’t let go.”

He apologizes, looking at Britta, then says “Bye” and drops to his fake-lava death as Troy screams his name over and over.

Troy exposits about Abed’s fake death, which the universal translator picks up. He throws it away, annoyed, and honestly, that bit could’ve been left on the cutting room floor.

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“He’s not really dead,” says Britta, the person who has been pushing the psychology all day, if anyone should get what’s happening, it’s her. Troy slaps the comic in her hands and congratulates her for winning (sarcastically) but this was never about winning for Britta. Not winning the lava game, at least.

Troy: “You don’t get it. No one gets Abed. I got him a little. This is my fault. I don’t deserve to fake-live.”

Britta casts desperately for a solution, and she lands on the comic she just won. She can’t save him in real life, but she can clone him.

Troy: “Go on…”
Britta: “I just need his… DNA.”

Troy takes a minute to catch on, but he eventually gets it, saying he’s going to search through the “technology of this once-great civilization” for a cloning machine (which would’ve been burned by lava if we’re following the game canon here, whatever) as Britta places cardboard boxes over Abed.

Britta: “This is a laser guidance system that keeps the regeneration sequence from, um… jib-jabbing!”

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After they run the fake-sequence, Clone Abed wakes up and Britta and Troy are overjoyed at their perfect clone of Abed.

Clone Abed: “Actually, Britta’s work was sloppy. I’m not an exact replication. I have all of Abed’s abilities and memories, but I’m missing his wild emotionality. Although I think I may be able to let Troy go now.”

Troy then admits that he’s scared to go on his trip. It’s scary! It’s not just the boating and the meeting different people, it’s the doing it alone, something Troy hasn’t had to do in four years, and before that, he was always surrounded by yes-men. It’s touching in the way that this parallels Donald’s actual departure from the show, and it’s nice that Harmon (and the writers) decided to do it this way, the most organic and obvious way Troy would have to leave Greendale once and for all.

(It really makes you wonder what Jeff’s reunion with his father would’ve looked like under Harmon’s tutelage.)

Abed: “You don’t have to go. Your clone can.”

Troy falls into the lava, ending the game and leaving Britta as the winner, I guess? BRITTA FOR THE WIN! On both levels, because she finally got the guys to grieve the way she wanted them to.

And now, say goodbye to the horrible dark shots and red filter, and also… say goodbye to my emotional stability. This is where I stop being a semi-objective recapper and turn into a sobbing fangirl.

029

Troy has his bag packed and takes one last look at the study room. I feel so bad for the janitorial staff at this school.

He walks outside to where his friends are waiting for him and says “I guess you guys are all cloned up too, huh?” Awww. Abed exchanges a look with Britta while everyone mutters their agreements about being clones, and then the boat, Childish Tycoon, pulls up behind them.

030

Britta: “I’m so excited for you. You’re gonna see the world and experience new cultures — I mean technically, all culture’s been homogenized by fifty years of American imperialism, but at least the candy bar wrappers will — gah, there I go. Almost Britta’d our goodbye, huh? I’m the worst.”
Troy: “You’re the best. And I love you.”

They hug, and I swear I’m still holding it together at this point. As they hug, Troy whispers, “I’m better at sex than Jeff, right?” and Britta sweetly replies, “I’ve yet to have anyone worse.”

He goes over to Annie, who is clearly trying to fight the Tragic Disney Princess expression that’s threatening to take over her face.

Annie: “All I ever wanted in high school was for Troy Barnes to notice me, and I ended up living with you. I’m pretty lucky.”
Troy: “I’m not. I had a chance to be your friend in high school, but I was too busy trying to be cool. I missed out on four more years of Annie.”

Okay, I’m crying now. In fact, that’s the line that always makes me burst into tears. They hug too, then it’s Jeff’s turn.

Troy: “You are the coolest guy I know. I hope I make you proud.”

031

Jeff glances over toward Annie and Britta, then leans over to mutter in Troy’s other ear, “I’ve never stepped foot outside of Colorado. You’re becoming much cooler than me by doing this.” It might be the nicest thing Jeff’s ever done.

Troy: “Thanks for looking out for me.”
Shirley: “Thank you for putting up with the boring old mom from your college study group.”
Troy: “You made a furniture fortress. You’re the badass from our study group.”

This is really hard to do through my tears.

Abed and Troy address their clone counterparts, then Abed has a real, human moment where he looks away and cringes.

Abed: “By the way, when I cloned you, I had to patch some missing parts of your DNA with genes from a homing pigeon. You may notice side effects, like a compulsion… to come back.”

Me: *strangled cry*

They clone-hug (move their arms robotically and then hug) and Troy looks so deeply sad and worried for a moment.

032

Jeff asks if Troy’s really going to sail all on his own, and Troy says that part of the deal is that someone is assigned to sail with him, to make sure he doesn’t cheat. That’s when we find out Pierce actually took a bit of a shot at Troy: he got LeVar Burton to be Troy’s companion.

Troy freezes up the way he did in the second season, and for a second, it looks like Pierce bested him, but in the end, Pierce underestimated the bond between Troy and Abed. Abed places his hand on Troy’s shoulder and says, “Engage.”

Clone Troy grins at him and heads for the boat as Abed gives LeVar Burton a thumbs-up.

Then the music starts and oh my gosh, I lose it every time. It’s an Aimee Mann cover of “Come Sail Away,” the song that Troy said always makes him cry way back in 1.09, and oh, it’s gorgeous, but it’s hard to listen to.

033

A gathering of angels appeared above my head…

LeVar puts the captain’s hat on Troy and starts to mention the fact that Troy has a lot of trouble talking to him and stuff, but Troy says, “No no, that was the original Troy. I’m his clone. Let’s get the lead out, Burton.” LeVar replies “Aye aye, sir.”

Troy takes one last look down at his study group, now the only remaining members, the Greendale Five.

They said ‘Come sail away, come sail away, come and sail away with me…’

Abed watches his best friend leave, tears in his eyes. He’s a clone now. He’ll be okay.

034

We finally get a great tag, with Troy asking LeVar Burton a list of questions he’s always wanted to ask.

Troy: “What time did you guys have to get up in the morning? Does every writer write for one character? What’s a Best Boy? (I saw it in the credits once.) Why don’t they call it Planet Trek? You never go to a star. Not one episode.”

What do you think, was it a fitting and proper sendoff to Troy Barnes?

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