'Community' Season 3, Episode 4 Recap - 'Remedial Chaos Theory'
Before last night's episode of "Community" even started, Twitter was already buzzing. You could tell it was going to be good, as the often self-deprecating writers were pimping the episode with confidence. And we, the viewers, were not let down.
"Remedial Chaos Theory" actually had very little action from Abed, but it was an Abed episode nonetheless. Then again, aren't they all Abed episodes, as he's the only one who knows that he's on a TV show? Oh well. It was an extra-Abed episode, then.
And like most Abed episodes (the claymation Christmas one, for example), there was a fantastical, out-of-reality, unusually postmodern theme to it. It was the housewarming party of Troy and Abed ("Troy and Abed's new apaaaartment!"), and the whole gang was there. After some awkward pleasantries and set-up, including the dreaded scale model of the boulder scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the fun begins: the pizza gets there, and to decide who goes down and gets it, Jeff proposes that he toss a die into the air. Whichever number it lands on, that person, starting on Jeff's left, will go get the pizzas.
Abed warns Jeff that by doing so, he will be creating six different timelines. "Sure I will, Abed," sneers Jeff, and tosses the die. MYSTICAL DIE-ROLLING TRANSITION!
For the hell of it, here's each timeline and what happened:
2: Annie goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" plays and Jeff stops Britta from singing. Pierce cracks joke about Eartha Kitt. Britta does her pizza dance after Abed smells something weird in the bathroom. Troy and Jeff find a gun in Annie's purse.
4: Shirley goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" plays and Jeff stops Britta from singing. Pierce cracks joke about Eartha Kitt. Gang complains about Shirley's "baking problem," Shirley complains about everyone making googly eyes. Pierce gives Troy creepy Norwegian troll.
3: Pierce goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" plays and Jeff stops Britta from singing. We find that Britta has been smoking weed in the bathroom, and Troy walks in on her. They have a moment. Amazing candy cigarette gag. Amazing googly eyes gag that runs from Annie to Jeff to Britta to Troy.
6: Britta goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" doesn't play. Pierce cracks joke about Eartha Kitt. Jeff hits his head on the fan, Annie checks it out in the bathroom, and they have a moment. Their kiss is interrupted by Troy screaming about Norwegian troll. Britta returns and announces that she's in love with the pizza guy.
1: Troy goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" plays and Jeff stops Britta from singing. Pierce cracks joke about Eartha Kitt. Jeff hits head on fan. Indiana Jones boulder rolls across floor, causing Rube Goldberg chain of death that results in Pierce getting shot in the leg by Annie's gun and the apartment set on fire, with the Norwegian troll in the center of it all for when Troy returns.
5: Abed goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" plays and Jeff stops Britta from singing. Pierce cracks joke about Eartha Kitt (kinda). Jeff hits head and Annie checks it in the kitchen. Jeff and Annie kiss, then Annie reveals daddy issues. Britta tells Shirley that she's high, argument ensues. Pierce takes back troll gift but now Troy wants it, argument ensues. Abed returns to icy tension.
Final: Abed catches the die before it hits the table. He gives a speech about the group's constants and how they can hold everything together. He also reveals Jeff's trick... there are seven of them, so no matter what he rolled, Jeff would never had to go. Jeff goes and gets the pizza. "Roxanne" plays and Britta starts singing. Everybody else joins in and starts dancing. Jeff returns to find everyone having fun without him.
Still with me? Good. What we have here is a structure that allowed us, in a half an hour, to find out what happens to the group when one member is removed... an important exercise considering how the season has gone so far. We saw Jeff get ostracized in the premiere, then last week we saw a game of musical chairs for who was stuck with Todd.
So what did we learn? In the past, Jeff has always healed the group with his speeches, but it seems that his magic has worn off. Is Abed the healer now? Is he the glue that holds the group together? He was, after all, the one that created it...
We also confirmed what was hinted at in the premiere: Pierce isn't really the poison in the group. Jeff is. The timeline that had him leaving was the only one that turned out with everyone happy and uninhibited. My guess is that we're going to be seeing a lot more of this theme of Jeff as the "bad guy" before the season is through.
Bonus factoid: "Community" writer Megan Ganz tweeted that the name of the Norwegian troll is Torg.
Troy & Abed Tag: My god. Amazing. We're taken to the results of the "darkest" timeline (#1), in which Pierce is dead from the gunshot wound, Annie is in a mental institution from the guilt, Jeff lost an arm in the fire, Shirley is an alcoholic, Troy has to speak through a voice box because of his attempt to eat the flaming Torg, and Britta has a goth-y blue streak in her hair. Luckily, Abed is there to make everyone a felt goatee so they can be the "Evil Study Group."