A 'Community' Season 5 Recap, Er, Study Session Before We Embark on Season 6
Against all odds, Community premieres its sixth season Tuesday on Yahoo Screen, but in order to enjoy the new episodes, we have to remember what happened on Community Season 5. (Only "and a movie" is left to fulfill the holy comic prophecy! #sixseasonsandamovie) The show has been as much an underdog as Greendale itself (which was voted "second best community college by GreendaleCommunityCollege.com") with an equally lovable cast of characters. It's survived through weak ratings; behind-the-scenes drama; and the firing and re-hiring of the show's creator, Dan Harmon. Powered by the fervent love of its fans, Community made it through the darkest timeline. But not without experiencing some changes.
The study group will soldier on without original members Pierce (Chevy Chase), Troy (Donald Glover), and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown). Those three will be sorely missed, but luckily, Season 6 brings in some new blood with the introduction of cast members Paget Brewster and Keith David. Line-up changes aside, we can still count on Community to bring us cultural parody, levels-deep meta jokes, and — god willing — a newly stocked, pun riddled costume department for Dean Pelton.
But before you hit "play" on the show's shiny new episodes, refresh your memory on all the emotional goodbyes, inspired guest star casting, dystopian fantasies, and fourth-wall breaking of Community Season 5.
Jeff's worst nightmare comes true. He becomes a professor at Greendale.
In "Repilot," the gang returns to their alma mater. None of them have achieved what they've set out to in their post-Greendale lives. Jeff initially tries to convince his friends to join in a lawsuit against the school that "ruined" their lives. Instead, they re-enroll, and the Dean's fantasy comes true and Jeff joins him on the faculty.
Pierce dies. Off-camera.
In the midst of the chaos perpetrated by the Ass-Crack Bandit, Shirley breaks the news to the group that Pierce has passed on. Through his proxy Mr. Stone (Justified star Walton Goggins), Pierce bequeaths his final gifts — and some final mind games — to his friends.
Troy sets sail.
One of Pierce's bequeathments is his fortune in shares of Hawthorne Wipes to his former roommate Troy. The catch is that Troy would first need to sail Pierce's boat, "The Childish Tycoon," around the world. Troy accepts the challenge, but not before embarking on one last adventure with his soulmate Abed. Through a school-wide game of "The Floor is Lava," Abed uses his Mad Max fantasy to process his feelings about losing his best friend.
Greendale fat-dogged it for midterms. Or did they?
Chang's inspiration for the theme of the midterm dance ("Bear Down for Midterms") has to be quickly camouflaged when news of a brutal mauling hits the school. Meanwhile, Annie and Professor Hickey (Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks) navigate the favor-based hierarchy of the school's custodial services, ruled over by head janitor Bob Waite (Firefly's Nathan Fillion).
Jeff gets wistful about Britta.
Jeff's promise to help Professor Duncan (John Oliver) woo Britta at a theater fundraiser go awry when some dormant feelings bubble up. This time, friendship beats out his competitive streak. The two end up bro-ing out over drinks and leaving the romantic rivalry for another day.
"Fives have lives."
A beta test of a rating app hits the school, turning Greendale's student body into a savagely classist society. While her classmates live and die by their number of "MeowMeowBeenz," Britta leads a revolution as "The Mother of Ones."
Abed and Annie wage a VCR game war to fill Troy's room.
Annie and Abed pull Annie's brother Anthony and Abed's girlfriend Rachel into a tug-of-war over who will take Troy's place in their apartment. And by "tug-of-war," we mean "Pile of Bullets," an old-school VCR game hosted by a struggling actor a hokey cowboy persona (Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan).
Hickey reconciles with his son over a game of D & D.
Community is fond of going back to the well. This time, the show tries to recapture the magic of the original Dungeons & Dragons episode by pulling in guest star David Cross. The study group pulls together to help Buzz reconnect with his estranged son; and we're treated to first-rate character names like "Joseph Gordon Diehard" and "Fibrosis the Ranger."
Jeff turns 40, also turns into a cartoon.
Unable to face his mid-life crisis head-on, Jeff gets wasted on scotch and Korean "youth pills" and slips into an action-packed, animated fantasy.
Greendale gets saved — for real this time.
In the two-part season finale, the "Save Greendale" committee faces its greatest test. Subway purchases the school with the intention of turning it into a "Sandwich University." With their emotions thrown all off-kilter, Jeff and Britta make the dubious decision to get married. Before they can consummate this terrible idea, the study group is drawn into a last-ditch effort to hold onto Greendale. The school's founder Russell Borchert (Chris Elliott) was presumed dead, but has actually been hiding away for years with Raquel, his human-emotion-processing computer. In his lair, Jeff finds the paperwork that proves Russell's ownership of the school and therefore the invalidity of the Subway sale.
Unfortunately, Russell and the group will all remain locked in the chamber unless an intense emotional burst can awaken Raquel. Jeff puts on the system censors and looks at each of his friends; his memories and love for them boot the computer back up, allowing them to escape and thwart the sale. (Annie was the last person he glanced at before it happened — just saying.) Jeff and Britta call off their engagement; "Save Greendale" is moved to the "done" column on Annie's bulletin board; and Abed promises that they'll all be back, provided an asteroid doesn't wipe out our species.
And it didn't! Our favorite misfits have lived to fight another day, and so has the fandom. On to Season 6!