Community Recap: When (Evil) Timelines Collide

Community Season 4 Finale RecapCommunity closed out its fourth season Thursday with yet another finale the could very well serve as a satisfying series ender… if need be.

Through paintball shootouts, darkest timelines and a unique wedding of sorts, the Greendale gang — and their respective “evil” counterparts — finished out the school year. Here’s how it all went down:

Just like Donna Martin, Jeff Winger graduates! The Greendale Community College alpha male learns that he’s passed History, which means it’s time to receive a diploma. Added bonus: His old law firm buddy offers him a new job, which he graciously accepts. Excited and, per usual, overeager, Annie and Dean Pelton decide to throw what Abed calls a “wedding/graduation mashup” party in his honor.

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But before Jeff puts his party shoes on, he reveals to Britta that he’s worried that the group, particularly Abed, won’t be able to handle things without him. (A little conceited, sure, but this is who Jeff Winger is and we love him for it.) Britta, however, assures him that her continued “therapizing” of the pop culture fiend has worked wonders — in fact, he hasn’t even brought up the darkest timeline during his “sessions” in months! So, as a means of gauging Abed’s reaction, Jeff rolls a die… and, unbeknownst to anyone, evil one-armed Jeff and evil bitchy Annie pop up to “save Jeff from the smothering teet of the study group.”

Abed, being the one who essentially created the darkest timeline, runs into Evil Jeff and immediately recognizes him — even without a goatee. Unfortunately, he’s no foil for the baddie, who — now, stick with us — immediately transports Abed to said timeline via a timeline-traveling paintball gun. (True story.)

Once in the new land, Abed encounters his darker self, but — game changer! — Evil Abed is no longer evil. The reformed villain confesses that, after his previous encounter with Abed, he let go of his old ways and “devoted his life to brightening his timeline.” (Side note: NBC’s ill-fated The Cape is still alive and kickin’ in this world, thanks to a cable retooling!)

Back in real Greendale, Jeff and Evil Jeff come face-to-face, but before the latter can send our leading man out of this world, Chang arrives and sacrifices himself in the name of “friendshiiiiiiiip.” Abed, meanwhile, reappears — with the ‘Doppledeaner’ in tow as proof to the gang that the darkest timeline isn’t imaginary — and a war between the two crews ensues.

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Shirley, Annie and Troy get rid of their evil selves via a toned down paintball shootout, while Evil Britta brittas the game and sends herself back to her world. While taking cover from the nutty goings on, Abed (literally) slaps some sense into Jeff, revealing that none of this is actually real. Rather, Jeff has created this scenario in his head as a way to avoid graduating and thus leaving the group behind.

Having “defeated” the evils, Jeff — followed shortly thereafter by Pierce — graduates. “I’m so used to being the guy who can talk his way out of everything, but what do you say when you don’t want a way out?” an emotional Jeff ponders to the group at his party. “My love for you is immeasurable, even when you split it seven ways.”

Jeff’s post-Greendale plans: to find a small law firm and help all of the little guys out there.

LINE OF THE NIGHT | “I’m going to miss our playful ‘get-a-room-already’ banter.” — Dean Pelton to the graduating object of his affections Jeff

What did you think of Community‘s Season 4 finale? Vote in our poll below, then hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Mike says:

    It was ok, the ending was nice, but Pierce’s final send off was dissapointing to say the least.

  2. kavyn says:

    Thank you for recapping Megan! :)

  3. Tom Charles says:

    It can’t end like that, it just can’t! I don’t want it to! Don’t let it! SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE!

  4. CK says:

    I feel you are holding out on us on Renewal/Cancellation news – not even a hint? I need to know which timeline I am living in.

  5. John From Raleigh says:

    Too funny, your favorite line of the night was also mine. How they walk the tight rope with the Dean’s character is incredible. I really hope tonight is not the last episode of this show. Tonight was outstanding and original. Most importantly, Community is great because it can have an ‘evil timeline’. I am bored to death of standard sitcoms. Whether it is one camera for four camera, a sitcom needs incredible writing, ala MFamily, Frazier, Cheers to be more then a regular sitcom. I will watch TBBT later tonight off of my DVR but it is soooo unoriginal and I really just watch to see how each character’s arc turns out. But they have not done an interesting idea since the Halloween costume episode a few season back.

  6. Liz says:

    Terrible. Just terrible.

    • Henry says:

      Was it “just terrible,” Liz? Care to elaborate? Let me get you started… “Dan Harmon blah blah blah…”

      • Liz says:

        No actually. But here, have a cookie for your assumptions.

        I was one of the hopeful ones after Harmon departed, if you must know. But according to you, people can’t have a negative opinion about Community that isn’t directly linked to Harmon leaving. Go away. I have no desire to elaborate with someone like you.

        • Nope says:

          Sounds like you do have a negative opinion linked to Harmon leaving. If you actually have a different reason, you probably should elaborate instead of resorting to name calling.

          • Liz says:

            Hmm. I don’t see any sign of name calling in my reply? Can you point me to it?

            I have issues with people telling me I dislike this season just because it wasn’t created by Harmon. Everywhere I go, I can’t possibly dislike something just because it’s bad. No. It’s only because Harmon didn’t helm this season. That’s really unfair. Some of the episodes Harmon did were terrible too. I’m not his huge supporter and I’m just fed up of people assuming that I am just because I haven’t enjoyed season 4.

            You want me to elaborate? The show has fallen back on past jokes and tropes to see it through, so much that it’s become overused and lost any originality it once had. Each character is just a regression now, almost like a cartoon version of themselves. The pacing is off, the jokes aren’t funny any more and it felt so rushed and overstuffed with all these different timelines and themes when it should have just been about a man scared of graduating. Simplicity would have made this ten times better.

          • Rain says:

            Well put Liz! I’ve actually kept my opinions to myself most of this season because any time I mention not liking it I get the “You must love Dan Harmon speech” My dislike had nothing to do with Dan Harmon leaving – like you said, he had some stinkers too. This season just wasn’t funny and original. I actually liked a few episode, but overall it was a let down.

        • tripoli says:

          Right there with you, Liz. I too was hopeful after Harmon’s departure but sadly the show is just not what it once was. I tend to think that the loss of Harmon has something to do with it, but not everything. Much as I love him, Joel McHale seems to be phoning it in at this point and without Chase and some decent storylines for the gang, it’s just time to stop. So yes, terrible. Just terrible.

          • Liz says:

            Agreed about Joel McHale. Donald Glover seemed that way too. I think it’s time to stop.

          • Winter says:

            I think McHale and Glover are doing the best they can with poorly thought out and written material. The only person I would say has phoned anything in is Chevy.

  7. anik says:

    Once again Megan Ganz wrote an awesome episode. #SixSeasonsAndAMovie

  8. Tenney says:

    I really hope Community is renewed. There is absolutely nothing like it on TV. Please NBC renew this awesome show!!

  9. strachpa says:

    A nice season finale to a pretty disappointing season. The only episode that had the old school Community feeling was the one with Brie Larson. I did enjoy when Abed and Troy switched bodies though. I hope it gets renewed, but i wont cry if it doesn’t.

  10. Brennan says:

    I laughed out loud that in the darkest timeline The Cape made it to season 3.

    • Angela says:

      That made me laugh, too :D.
      It was good. Parts of it I liked more than others (I loved the idea of them encountering the evil versions of themselves, and bringing back the paintball thing, but I wasn’t too big on the way the paintball stuff went down this time around-I think in some ways that storyline would’ve worked better had they made this an hour-long episode). But the ending was really sweet and touching (yeah, I got a bit misty, I confess), and the idea of somehow making the graduation similar to a wedding? Um. Okay :p. Ah, Greendale, don’t ever stop being a crazy place…

  11. Sam says:

    Best line was Annie (to Evil Annie): “Nobody sleeps with Jeff. Not even me.”

  12. Chel says:

    Loved it. Loveditloveditlovedit! Sixseasonsandamovie!!

  13. CK says:

    Was anyone able to decipher everything that was written on the chalkboard? I’ll admit it, The Six Seasons And A Movie made me tear up. And I’m pretty sure Dan Harmon’s name was on there…

    Or what was written on the whiteboard in the study room?

    • ann says:

      It says “Hey everyone Happy Oct 19th! Glad you could join us back in the study room. Welcome back K.Otter.”

      Welcome back Kotter! What does this meeeeean?!

  14. chris says:

    the best line wasn’t a line it was the fact that on the chalkboard it said six seasons and a movie, this was the first episode where it truly felt like Community from the past three season

  15. Ross says:

    It was a great episode, but why was the whole Chang/City College story from last week scrapped? I was expecting some resolution to that and (hopefully) Greendale to be saved, but no mention of it. Hopefully NBC does the right thing and renews it, even if only for another 13 episodes…

    • mondosalvo says:

      Excellent point! For the show that’s never left any storyline unresolved, they sure blew it there.

      • G says:

        If Community does get renewed they could explore City College’s Plan B. Jeff will probably be Greendale’s lawyer or something.

  16. topoopon says:

    Who’s Donna Martin? Did she graduate from Greendale in a previous season?

  17. Phoenix says:

    I liked the episode, but I felt it was rushed. I can see they wanted to get a lot into the half hour, but they really could have easily been stretched it out to an hour.

  18. R.O.B. says:

    It would be a shame to lose this show. It is rare when a sitcom like this can break into full-on fantasy territory. Scrubs and 30 Rock had their nonreality moments, but Community is unique in taking fantastic scenarios – space camp, paintball wars, timeline shifts, pillow forts, even muppets – and running with them as if they all happen in the real world. If this was a sendoff, it was too rushed. I kept thinking in the opening scene – “You’ve got 22 minutes, Community – who’s this lawyer guy we are wasting 4 of them on??”

    Also – what was Chang’s evil plan the whole season? Did I miss something?

  19. Abby says:

    I feel if Community would have had a full season it would have gradually improved. I enjoyed the last couple of episodes compared to the beginning. They needed more time to find the voice this year, but didn’t get a chance. It was still a great finale.

    • Little Scarf Girl says:

      Agreed! It took them a little bit to find their footing, but the last couple have been really good.

  20. amigdala says:

    I dream of a fifth season with Dan Harmon back, Jim Rash and Megan Ganz still writers, Chavy Chase gone. Anyway the finale was crazy enough to like it.

  21. Kristina says:

    Great episode! It ended in a very classic Community way, if it doesn’t get renewed it worked very nicely as a series finale and if it does, obviously there’s more story there. Had just enough of everything.

  22. Alan says:

    this episode makes me wonder why megan ganz wasnt put in charge of the whole season, she was always the best writer the show had through the years.
    i enjoyed the episode a lot, felt like a nice end to the season or end to the show if needs be. sure this season hasnt been as good as the last few but it has been nearly there and i still enjoy it so i would like to see more.

  23. Babybop says:

    I enjoyed this episode! I think it will lead into next season nicely. It’s just nice to have some episodes where I don’t feel like the characters are all terrible people (which, in my opinion, is where Dan Harmon was leading it).