'Community' Season 3, Episode 20 Recap - 'Digital Estate Planning'
Fellow "Community" fans, I have seen the face of God, and it is this episode. Yea, I ask you: does it get any coolcoolcooler than this?
It begins with Pierce dragging everyone off to a remote warehouse because apparently, he needs to claim his inheritance. There, the gang is met by Gilbert Lawson, who worked with Pierce's father. Gilbert is played by the mega-awesome Giancarlo Esposito, aka Gus Fring from "Breaking Bad," so already this episode is the best.
But it gets even better when Gilbert tells them all what they need to do: play an immersive video game in order to prove themselves worthy of the inheritance. The first one to get to the throne of Castle Hawkthorne is the winner, and get the money.
Here's where things get all "Community"-ish and eyeball-meltingly awesome: we witness most of the rest of the episode in the game, which is an 8-bit mix of side-scrolling action game and old-school RPG. It's difficult to describe the visual, so here's a clip that will give you an idea, and also show you the awesome 8-bit opening credits:
Pretty cool, huh? It's even more fun to watch everyone adjust to playing the game: Pierce is predictably confused by the controls, Abed is a natural, and Troy is clearly in love with the jump button.
The antics that follow are a delight: Britta shows Jeff up in figuring out secrets, only to create a poisonous potion; Abed falls in love with an NPC (that's a non-playable character) named Hilda, who lives in the village; and Annie and Shirley accidentally murder the blacksmith and burn down his house.
All the while, the gang is hounded by Gilbert, who knows the ins and outs of the game and repeatedly kills them. He is temporarily set back by drinking Britta's terrible potion, but comes back armed with cheat codes (not cool, man!) and steals the item he needs to get the inheritance.
When that happens, though, he makes a big reveal to Pierce: he's his half-brother. Apparently Cornelius Hawthorne's maid had a hot cousin, and the result was Gilbert. But when Gilbert gets to the throne, he is met by Cornelius' avatar, who requires that he sign a contract denouncing his mother as a seductress and promising never to besmirch the Hawthorne name by revealing his parentage. After the overt racism of the Black Cave and the insensitivity of Gay Island, was anyone really surprised?
The gang is saved by Abed, who has hacked the game and created an army of Abed babies with Hilda who can pretty much create whatever they can imagine. This, of course, leads to Troy and Abed fighting Cornelius on dinosaurs.
With Cornelius defeated, Pierce decides that Gilbert should have the inheritance, since he's family. Pierce now has a mixed-race brother that he can be racist about! Yay?
This was a marvelous bit of fun, and yet more proof of what "Community" is capable of: episodes that are unlike anything that has been seen on television before. And yet, this episode was also a clear indicator of why "Community" is so ratings-challenged: this episode would have been really difficult to follow for a new viewer, and probably not nearly as enjoyable for someone who doesn't play video games.
Still. That's just nit-picking. Long live "Community." We'll be back a bit later with recaps of the finale episodes that also aired Thursday night, so check for those right here on Yidio.
Notes & Quotes:
- "Levar Burton was a maybe"
- "Jeff! You just murdered Annie!" "Well, better than doing nothing." "Is it?"
- Troy's gradually improving jumping filled me with glee
- "I guess there's no hug button"
- "She can make babies from me." "Oh, and I can't?! I can't."
- "Troy and Abed shooting laaaava!"
- "So get in there, and kill our dad"