Community Series Blog: Geothermal Escapism & Analysis of Cork-Based Networking

My apologies for being behind an episode, Community waits for no man, even when that man has essays to do. But fear not, I have returned with a double-episode review of the two latest episodes of Community Season 5!

Geothermal Escapism is the episode that many were nervously anticipating this season as it is the goodbye episode for a certain Troy Barnes. In order to give his friend a memorable send off, Abed orchestrates a school-wide game of ‘Hot Lava’. But after revealing that the winning prize is worth $50,000, the game explodes in true Greendale fashion.

Thankfully not relying on simply doing another ‘paintball episode’, the writers of this season have managed to develop a fresh spin on the escalation of mayhem that characterised the college’s paintball escapades.

What those paintball episodes tended to lack though was continuity significance and a heart, which is what truly sets Geothermal Escapism apart from the competition centric games of Greendale’s past. It all hinges on Abed’s refusal to let Troy go, his refusal to say goodbye to the friend who understands him the best. The affecting performances of Danny Pudi and Donald Glover in the final moments of the episode are enough to bring a tear to the eye of any Community fan, hardcore or no.

It is as sweet as can be without being sickly, as silly as can be without tampering with the emotional stakes of the proceedings; in short, it is as good a send-off for a character a sit-com series can hope for.

the writers of this season have managed to develop a fresh spin on the escalation of mayhem that characterised the college’s paintball escapades.

The latest episode, Analysis of Cork-Based Relationships wisely does not dwell on the departure of Troy and jumps straight back into the over-arching plot of this series: saving Greendale. With the ‘Save Greendale’ Committee now up and running (comprising of Jeff, Annie, Shirley, Britta, Abed, Professor Hickey, Chang, and Professor Duncan), Annie sets about allocating tasks. With most of the gang involved in putting together the mid-term dance, Annie and Hickey find themselves involved in a departmental power battle in order to restore the Bulletin board to the school cafeteria.

It’s nice to get back on track with the series main story thread in one of the more focused episodes of the series thus far. It is an entertaining episode that benefits greatly from the performance of Jonathan Banks as Hickey. We learn much more about the character’s back-story, adding a fair lashing of drama and tragedy to the character that Banks clearly enjoys sinking his teeth into.

Elsewhere, the episode is also notable for its colourful gallery of cameo performances. They range from returning faces (the fantastic Brie Larson, who I hope we see more of this season), and the very surprising additions that TV sci-fi fans will enjoy very much.

Both of these episodes continue to demonstrate the strength of Dan Harmon’s creative hand, with Season 5 shaping up to be (dare I say it) the best yet! Of course, with six episodes to go, anything can happen!


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