‘Community’: All in favor? Good. That solves the matter of the giant hand.

Jacob Judd, Staff member

Wow. I wasn’t prepared for that. This week, “Community” delivered it’s most unabashedly heartfelt episode of the season. So much so that it borders on sentimentality. What keeps the proceedings from devolving into a saccharine mess? Simple: couch the emotional arc in the most emotionally detached character.

Picking up the story in media res, the episode finds our heroes attempting to resell one of the dean’s more preposterous expenditures: a 12-foot sculpture of a hand. They decide to use Elroy’s RV to move the piece, and when they run out of gas on a precarious roadside in the mountains, they find themselves stranded for the night with nothing but their own resentments to pass the time. Of course, the group places the blame primarily on the dean.

All but Abed, who’s convinced he can use the flashbacks that pop up throughout the episode to warn his friends about their impending fate. Ultimately, the episode’s conflict boils down to whether Abed can make an emotional connection with another human, or if he’ll be stuck in his world of story gimmicks and TV structure. This feels like the kind of conflict that lies at the heart of this series: Is this a show about gimmick episodes and silly costumes, or is it about the personal growth of people trying to figure out who they are?

The ultimate answer, of course, is both, and therein lies the true brilliance of this “little series that could.”

This is a great ensemble episode. Every character gets their moment to shine. Though I wouldn’t recommend it as an introduction to the series. Unlike other episodes that rely on running gags or continuity of story, this episode plays heavily on continuity of character. Rather than requiring you to remember the history of what happened to these people, it’s much more important that you have a firm grasp of who these characters are and how they relate to each other in the group. If you are a long time viewer however, the relationship dynamics are rarely this rewarding to see play out.

MVP for the week goes to Elroy. His slow decent into fury at the people who’ve cluelessly sabotaged his RV is a thing to behold.

Best individual line goes to the dean: “I’m an adult! You can’t make me not cry!”