Following on from last week's exceptional "A Fist Full of Paintballs", the second half of Community's two-part season finale came to us this week in the form of "For A Few Paintballs More". Whilst part one focussed on the riot between students eager to get their hands on the $100,000 prize for being last man standing, the second part took us to new levels of paintball wizardry as the college bands together for a common purpose. It is revealed to us that the empire like regime of the ice cream company appearing to be in charge of the competition is actually a front for Greendale's rival learning establishment City College. Their dean's plan being to offer the large prize to students so that they will tear the college apart trying to win, then offing them one by one with his army of paintball storm-troopers so that no one claims the winnings. With a premise like that it really isn't hard to imagine that seriousness wasn't exactly a key point in the execution of this episode. How fun it must have been to act out everything portrayed on screen I can't say for sure, but for anyone who has ever played paintball the nostalgia will likely have been rampant when viewing.
Hitting home the Star Wars theme to the episode, the opening credits deserve another standout mention this week as we move on from the wild west theme to a Star Wars opening scroll. Genius as the homage was, I am actually somewhat frustrated with the writers choice to include it in the episode as I still can not decide what I was more impressed by: the way in which the Community theme tune was still completely recognizable even when played in the grand orchestral style of the Star Wars theme, or the extent to which I laughed, when after one short paragraph, it read "Let's not draw this out...". Whether it was the Star Wars fan boy in me laughing or not I will never know, but I'm sure anyone would appreciate the satire. Of course no Star Wars homage would be complete until the characters take on the legendary roles of the protagonists so when Abed called dibs on Han Solo, the episode was well and truly on its way to becoming a classic. Forming their own version of the rebel alliance, the students of Greendale all agree to band together to defeat City College, with the last man standing donating the prize to the college to repair the damage caused by the game. As they work to defeat their enemy we see the return of the extremely charming Abed from part one, this time as the reluctant but cocky hero who's role he has taken on. I praised Danny Pudi's performance last week and mentioned that he has been a consistent beacon of everything that is right with this show since day one, however, his turn as Han Solo may actually have been his best yet. A mix of his Don Draper and cowboy facades, the acting like other actors ability of the man is simply astounding at this point. Though an Emmy nomination will almost certainly never come his way, if there is a better supporting cast member in a comedy that isn't Community itself, I can't think of who that might be. Continuing with the performance thoughts it is definitely worth mentioning some of the great recurring characters that got some screen time in this episode as well. Whilst the twenty minutes of airing limits their roles to literally seconds, Garrett, Vicki, Leonard and Magnitude's appearances in the episode were all strong additions. Whilst the first ten minutes lays the groundwork for a showdown, the back half of the episode belongs essentially to the execution of Greendale's plan to defeat the invading forces. Troy leads half of the college to lure soldiers into a trap in the library whilst Jeff leads the others in an attempt to take down their enemy's most powerful weapon - a gatling gun. There's little to say for any depth of plot that exists as there really isn't any; what unfolds is largely just a bunch of people shooting at each other, that being said, it is unbelievably entertaining. The on beat that could have any long term consequence for the show comes when, as they begin to lose their fight and all hope seems lost for Greendale, Annie takes the opportunity to kiss the charismatic version of Abed before he paintball-dies and reverts back to his usual self. It seems unlikely however that the kiss would result in anything more as Annie has now had a crush on every male member of the study group besides Pierce and absolutely nothing has come of any of it. After being informed that he was to be kicked out of the study group in last week's episode, Pierce has very little to do with "For A Few Paintballs More" until its close. Staying on the sidelines and trading Greendale secrets to the enemy for pudding cups, he managed to redeem his bad ways when he steals a storm-trooper uniform to get behind enemy lines, killing the last remaining members of the City College forces and winning the game for Greendale; offering the money to the college despite his exclusion from the rebellion. Seeing his selflessness as a sign of change, the group offers him a chance to rejoin and take whatever class they decide to be in next year along with them, shockingly however, he declines. I'm fairly certain that Chevy Chase is returning to the show next year as I've seen nothing to indicate otherwise, but how this story line will be resolved I'm really not sure. When the dust settles, this season of Community and this episode itself was fairly fantastic. There were low points and episodes that felt like a bit of a let down relative to the general quality of the show, but overall it's not difficult to see why NBC made a pick-up for a third season.
All in all, I think the second series was better written and more adventurous than the first. The only reason why I still prefer the first is that Chang was way better as a teacher who was, within Greendale's context, 'mad with power'. This time, he was just a pathetic lame bloke trying to fit in, and while the actor's great and there are still some funny moments, changing his character that way and Flanderise him that much was a criminal offence IMO. But I digress...
I think writing was genius, and the way they linked the episode with several plots and subtle sub-plots of prior events is just brill - amazing sense of continuity and attention to detail considering, for instance, the competitiveness between Jeff and Troy (e.g. the spaceship and the trampoline), Cougar Town (and very much in-character for those two to be there, throwing the shippers yet another bone), minor characters and their second-lasting breath-taking one-liners, the foe yay between the deans, the list goes on and on... I also liked the way Annie going (however briefly) for the third option mirrors Jeff doing the same on the series one finale.
For two years I've enjoyed Danny's outstanding acting skills and his extraordinary character so it's almost 'wrong' to pick favourites, but I think this episode was his best to date, for both the actor and the character - and that's saying a lot since he's always ace.
Also, I'm a huge Jeff fan, but I like the way this programme was more of an ensemble cast this series, and less Jeff-centred. The idea of him being the first to be eliminated was ground-breaking, especially for a finale, but for some reason if there's one programme that can pull that off without jumping the shark, it's this one. Lovely ending too - nice cliffhanger/resolution without soapie love triangles. Again, if there's a programme able to do that with style, it's this one.
The "Community" paintball episode "Modern Warfare" from season one might have been the most epic episode of the show's freshman season. It was so good that both fans and the show wanted more paintball and more paintball is exactly what we got. The two part episode "A Fist Full of Paintballs" & "For a Few Paintballs More" mimicked the themes of spaghetti Westerns and "Star Wars" … Westerns for part one and "Star Wars" for part two. Overall, I preferred the Western theme of part one (though I am a huge Westerns buff). It also helped that part one included a big name guest star in "Lost" alum Josh Holloway as a hired gun aiming to end the hopes of Greendale's paintballers. I think that the theme in part one was played up quite a bit more than the "Star Wars" theme in part two, because they really could've overdone things with that theme. Despite preferring part one's Western theme, I do believe that part two was the funnier of the two overall. There were many things that I really liked about "For a Few Paintballs More," so many that it's probably easier to break paragraph form and talk about them as individual points.
· "Star Wars" theme: Though I'm honestly not a "Star Wars" geek, I really appreciated some of the aspects of what the "Community" writers were trying to do with this. I really liked that they made Abed (Danny Pudi) the Han Solo hero type, because you just figured going in that would be left to Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), which Abed hilariously alludes to in the episode. · Abed & Annie Relationship: Maybe it was just that Abed as the Han Solo type made Annie (Alison Brie) really hot for him, but there could definitely be a budding relationship brewing between the two for season three. I certainly approve of this, though it could/would have a negative effect on the Abed/Troy (Donald Glover) bromance. ·Jeff Winger: The show makes a big deal of Jeff being the "leader" of the study group, in fact there are probably jokes about this in almost every episode. So, when you have an ongoing paintball war you probably expect for Jeff to play a big part in leading our group of misfit heroes to glory. He attempted just that … but, was the first of the main cast to be eliminated from the contest, which was the absolute best move I believe the writers could've made. ·Pierce: Pierce (Chevy Chase) has been a jerk for the majority of the season and Chase has done a fantastic job portraying that. It was nice to see Pierce kind of get a little bit of redemption by tricking the City College hoodlums at the paintball war's end to win for Greendale. As a result of this the study group was going to let Pierce remain, until the writers threw a big cliffhanger in at the finale's end when Pierce tells the group that he doesn't want to be back in. Is this it for Pierce and Chevy Chase on "Community"? My guess is not even close, but you never can tell. We shall see at the beginning of season three.
It's quite ridiculous to think a comedy show can pull off a feeling for the second time in a row. Yet, Community's second attempt at a paintball war has you feeling the same excitement as before. It proves that there's really no difference between seeing fictional characters shoot guns with bullets and guns with paintballs. For a second, the effect stays the same.
As the race continues we enter Star Wars territory and so there has to be an evil villain, a shocking twist and allegiances. It all works perfectly in the wasteland that is Greendale. Every scene you wonder who will fall next, who is going to win and who is going to clean all of it up. Luckily, you get answers to all these questions. The scene with Abed and Annie might be outplayed, especially since it's unlikely this romance will get a sequel but for a few seconds, it works and it's even beautiful. The scene where paint falls down from the sky is ridiculous, hilarious but still powerful. It's one of the trades of Community. It's witty, fast-paced and extremely self-aware but it manages to work the cliche without feeling outdrawn. It was a complete delight to watch our characters embark on a crazy adventure where some lives would be lost for the greater purpose. As hilarious and weird the setting might be, Community makes it worth your while.
When I first heard that Community was doing another Paintball episode, I'll admit, I was skeptical. Modern Warfare seemed to perfectly mix comedy with action. My skepticism didn't even make it past the cold open. "A Fistful of Paintballs" was more like Modern warfare, a great blend of comedy and action. The cast is over-acting, but's not so much that it's annoying, they are all embracing the over-dramatizaton of the situation. The guest appearance from Josh Holloway was great too. It feels good just to hear him call someone by a nickname. "For a Few Paintballs More" took an unexpected, but delightful turn into a Star Wars-esque style. With Stormtroopers and Abed's incredible Han Solo impersonation. This episode also took a look into the characters, with Troy's longing to be leader, Abed and Annie's relationship, but more importantly Pierce. Pierce was the greatest thing about this finale, from his redemption, to his departure. It is the deepest his character has been looked at throughout the whole series. And I have to admit, when he gave his "At Greendale for 12 years" speech, I teared up a bit.
It sucks that I have to wait 5 months for this show to be back on. I will be suffering every minute.
In the words of Abed, "It seems we've switched from a western motif to a Star Wars one." And sure enough, we get less of a western episode and more of a "Death Star vs. The Rebellion" situation going on, something that, at first, I was curious at how they'd pull off and ended up going along with it and seeing where it would lead us.. as the show continued on, I was surprised at how much they were able to cram in.
First off, the big reveal is that the "army" of paintball people is from City College, and that this contest was a ruse to destroy Greendale and leave them in the dust, dirt poor and with no money to clean their campus. However, we get to see how important the college is to Jeff and the rest of the study group after they all agree to come together, as a school, and defeat City College so they can win the 100,000 dollars and rebuild the school.
Another big moment in the episode, though likely to not have much of an impact, was the fact that Abed (taking the Han Solo role in the Star Wars context) latches onto Annie and the two share a long and passionate kiss in the hallway, something that was shocking to see but ultimately as relevant as any of the other ridiculous things the show does. I doubt we'll hear of this next season.
However, we will hear of Pierce deciding not to enter back into the group. After it was his actions that saved Greendale and won the paintball game, Jeff and the rest invited him back into the group, and while we were given a season long arc of Pierce being a d-bag, we finally get an explanation from him, and it's pretty sad.. it's too bad to see Pierce decide to go on his own, and it should be interesting to see if a.) Chevy Chase will return next year, b.) if the group will go after him of c.) if Ben Chang will take his place. Either way, I thought it was a good finale that mixed the genre/parody elements with the character stuff pretty well.
Honestly, my personal feeling is that this epic episode out-did modern warfare, I know it might not be right to compare those two but since everyone has been doing it lately I gave it a shot, and while watching it all I could think is "how the hell am I going to wait for fall?" This was not a single character episode like last weeks or for that matter the previous paintball game. In fact, every time a major character got killed, I had chills down my spine, it just seemed unreal. But this episode was more about group dynamic than anything else. I already watched it three times, I might be watching a hundred more during the summer. So long beach and sun, I'm looking forward to re-re-re-catching up on my Community. I honestly don't want to dwell on all the things that made this episode awesome, every second was TV cult moments but what I loved most were, once again, the role each character played, the spotlight for once were on all the characters, even the side characters, we saw Magnitude and Leonard in all their glory and even Vicky got her share of screen time. The ending was heart-wrenching, full of doubt and uncertainty, next season will be a gruesome wait, will things change? How will they handle it? Those are the questions that will be on our mind during the summer, and above all, of course, will the janitor be able to clean up the college over the summer? "Let's not draw this out..."
more than just 30 outstanding minutes of tv, "for a few paintballs more" was a perfect finale for a perfect season, and it goes to show how much community has grown as a show, by getting exponentially better each episode, all of them building up to what felt like a war film, more than a comedy show. everybody had something to say and everybody did something amazing. and to wrap things up, my personal favorite moments:
1.- magnitude throwing himself at the bomb.
2.- "operation: troy's awsome plan is living up to it's name" and "operation: actual operation"
3.- leonard was one of "the little rascals"
4.- abed's han solo.
5.- annie and abed's ridiculously long kiss.
i could go on but i'll just say, both episodes of the two-part season finale were absolutely flawless, they were the perfect example of funny, entertaining and perfecly excecuted television.
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