logan j. fowler is all tied up …
After last week’s episode being Community’s strongest, it seemed that the writers might have finally grasped the ideas behind what makes the show tick. I admit I’ve been more patient with this show than most other fans because I earnestly wanted to love it, seeing beyond the flaws and trying to enjoy it. Well this past Thursday’s “Intro to Knots” was a Christmas-themed episode (in the middle of April, no biggie) in which the group has to convince Greendale’s Professor Cornwallis (Malcolm McDowell) to raise a grade on their paper. I don’t know what kind of school allows seven people to work on a paper together, but I digress.
This episode had some strengths. Troy (Donald Glover), while reserved here, is still at the top of the laugh meter for every episode. There’s also a nice play off between Jeff (Joel McHale), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), and Troy as a friction triangle which could be a really interesting storyline to explore in the future.
Abed takes the holiday theme to his pop culture delight and puts it in a Die Hard frame of mind. While I felt like it was a forced element, I did keep laughing at his enjoyment of the whole “real time” surroundings. Also his contemplation of cutting his foot on a smashed vase was a hilarious nod.
Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Annie are in competition for Valedictorian so the show brought back some tension not seen since “The Science of Illusion.” Those two kind of have always kind of a love/hate relationship so having some old feels return to the odd atmospheric change of Season 4.
So what didn’t work? Cornwallis’ “admittance” at the end of the episode felt way more forced than Abed’s (Danny Pudi) Die Hard role playing. In addition, I still can’t stand Chang (Ken Jeong), or more for the matter, Kevin. Apparently the former Spanish teacher is up to something and I sincerely couldn’t care less. And that darker timeline end? No, no darker timeline stuff anymore, that was one brilliant concept that should’ve ended with the episode it was revealed in, and kept in context.
I’m trying to analyze these episodes more as a critic, and less of a “I just want to love Community” person. This past Thursday’s was not the worst episode ever, but it’s a bumpy one to be sure, and a significant fall from last week’s overall strong balance of one of the series’ finer episodes. I just hope that the strong points keep up at a pace that can give us a better end cap to end of the series that we all deserve.
Rating: 7 bubble pops out of 10