'Community' recap: 'For a Few Paintballs More'
A long time ago (well, Thursday night, actually), in a community college galaxy far, far away ... a rebel alliance fought to free Greendale from the Evil Empire. Cue the “Star Wars” music. On second thought, not yet.
First we join last week’s paintball war in progress. Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), looking like a colorful Dalmatian in cowgirl drag, is giving us his best girly screams when in bursts a gaggle of storm troopers and Pistol Patty, who is revealed to be the evil Dean Spreck (Jordan Black) from rival City College.
OK, now it’s time for the “Star Wars”-like credits. Only this is “Community”: Episode XXIV: “For a Few Paintballs More.” And “we’ve left the western motif and entered more of a ‘Star Wars’ scenario.” Bravo, Team “Community.”
The few surviving students have gathered to discuss their options. Britta (Gillian Jacobs) is her usual Britta self, but is shot down by Magnitude (Pop, pop!). Troy (Donald Glover) is the voice of reason: The students have to win the paintball war and the $100,000 prize to save Greendale. He, of course, is mocked by Jeff (Joel McHale).
Abed (Danny Pudi) gets unusually mouthy, but in an oh-so familiar way -- “I’m calling dibs on the Han Solo role before Jeff slouches into it by default.”
Suddenly, a little ticking paintball droid rolls in. Magnitude (Luke Youngblood) takes one for the team.
Then it’s over to the Death Star … I mean Evil Empire HQ, where Pierce (Chevy Chase) is marched in by storm troopers. They were going to shoot him, but he knows Jeff and is ready to betray him for a few tubs of chocolate pudding.
And speaking of Jeff, the ever glib one is uniting the rebel force and appointing himself leader over Troy. One or both, they’re going to need strong leadership to get past the taunting Spreck, “If it’s war you want, it’s a war you will lose. City College is stronger, faster. Our sperm count is higher, even in our women. Resistance is as pointless as your degrees.” Ouch!
But first a little Han and Leia (Abed and Annie [Alison Brie]) "shippy" moment … you know the one where Han refers to Leia as “your worship.” It’s all too much for Annie, who’s embarrassed by Abed’s role-playing.
Meanwhile, back at Rebel HQ, Jeff wants to take over the Gatling gun on the ice cream truck in the quad. Troy wants to draw the storm troopers to the library, where someone will pull the fire alarm to activate the sprinklers, which will be rigged with paint. Bicker, bicker. Annie has a solution -– carry out both plans simultaneously.
Before the shooting commences, time for one more Abed and Annie moment -- Annie thanks Abed for sticking up for her against the dorky Garrett (Erik Charles Nielsen) and says that she doesn’t think he’s immature, that he’s “great, for a no-good, laser-faced Jabba scoundrel.” Looks like Jeff might have a little competition.
Jeff rallies the rebels -- “Greendale, it’s been a pleasure fighting with you. Some of us won’t make it, but there is a place where we will all see each other again, and that place is Denny’s” -- and then it’s time for a classic slo-mo battle, interspersed with shots of Troy’s now cut-off group, which decides to shoot its way out of the library. And they better be quick, because Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) wants to get home to her baby.
Back on the quad, Jeff’s hit, leaving only Leonard (Richard Erdman) and Britta, while Troy, Abed and Annie make a run for it. Suddenly, Troy is faced with a hallway full of storm troopers. “I dreamed it would end this way.” And it does, all Sam Peckinpah-like. Then Abed and Annie are shot, but not before some more great lines. Annie: “Looks like this is it. Will you still be Han Solo after we die?” Abed: “’Fraid not, doll. Once I’m gone, I’m gone.” OK, time for a gloriously long smooooch. Hey, wait a minute -- that wasn’t in “Star Wars”! Neither was the shower of paint sent forth by Shirley. “Paint is raining from the sky. Everybody in the library is dead.” That means it’s time to kill Pierce, who fakes another heart attack.
Splat! Leonard’s out, and it’s now down to Britta. Suddenly, Shirley bursts onto the scene in a golf cart. And we’re off into slo-mo cop/buddy/action land. Splat, splat, splat. Greendale won! Splat, splat. Or not. Two storm troopers are joined by a third. Splat, splat. The last one standing is … Pierce, who wants the check made out to Greendale. And there was much rejoicing, only without Ewoks.
The end? Not quite. There’s still the matter of the group class for fall. Anthropology 201? Too risky, Abed says. “Sequels are almost always disappointing.” Annie gets all frisky. “Since when are you in favor of playing it safe, Han?” Wow, that must’ve been some kiss. Too bad Abed’s so not playing along. “Cool down, Annie. I was only Han Solo because the context demanded it.” Hmm, maybe Jeff doesn’t have anything to worry about after all.
Jeff throws it to Troy, who decides they should sleep on it. And then in walks Pierce, who delivers his own speech: He’s been going to Greendale for 12 years, he’s never been friends with anyone there more than this group, this place has always accepted him, and them too. Jeff invites him back into the group, but he declines: “No thanks. I’m done with you all. … Adios.”
And that’s it. No slinking back. No ending on a high note. So “Community.” Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
Extra credit: The victorious Abed recounts the great battle to the janitor, who’s looking at a major cleanup job. “Have you seen the library?”
-- Alison Dingeldein
Photo: Paintball warriors Troy (Donald Glover, left), Annie (Alison Brie) and Abed (Danny Pudi) on "Community." Credit: Lewis Jacobs / NBC