For those of us who are single this Valentine’s Day, Community’s second episode of its fourth season was a welcome respite from all the candy hearts, balloons, and ubiquitous red/pink/fuschia clothing. Thanks to a little thing called postponement, Community’s Halloween episode shifted from the original October airdate right on down to Feb. 14. And for a Halloween episode, this week’s journey to Greendale is gooeier than a Russell Stover’s mystery truffle.
The study group gathers to go to Vicki’s halloween party, but there’s a problem: Pierce locked himself in his panic room and he needs help. Jeff is back on the “at-odds-with-Pierce-train” and he’s convinced that Pierce is lying because he doesn’t want everyone to go to the party without him. When the Dean comes in, dressed as boxing ring girl to Jeff’s shirtless boxer, he changes his tune and they head off to save Pierce.
Once they enter Pierce’s palacial home, decked out like the 1980s in space, they speak to Pierce via the security system and embark on a hunt through the house to find the code to let him out, which he has conveniently forgotten on account of all the old. Jeff and Britta break off, allowing the human ham bone (Halloween!) to psychoanalyze Jeff and get to the root of his daddy issues. Jeff belittles Pierce as they explore the house and find various pieces of the senior Hawthorne’s wardrobe. It’s clear Jeff is rejecting Pierce’s continuing obsession with his father’s approval, even after his death, because he’s afraid to want his father back in his life. “Remember when this show used to be about a community college?” But we know it’s true. The harder Jeff insists that he doesn’t need his father, the more we know it’s true. Especially when he hides from Britta after revealing he has his dad’s phone number and has yet to use it. And even more especially when he sits down and actually calls the number at the end of the episode. Could Jeff really be growing?
And as Jeff finds himself, he also finds the red notebook and Pierce’s code. It’s the same as the security code as the surveillance system, making this whole search totally pointless, except for the part where Jeff learned something about his feelings about his dad. But whatever. And that’s when the real haunting begins. The walls start shaking, and the stucco behind Troy starts to expand as as if a human is crawling out from within. Of course, it turns out that Pierce somehow managed to create the whole haunting himself, including the part where someone who kind of looked like a really tall Mr. Hawthorne Sr. was standing behind Annie in the mirror. It turns out Pierce was upset that he wasn’t invited to Vicki’s party, but he didn’t like Vicki enough to scare her, so he scared the study group instead. It’s okay, we can “aww” here.
But that’s not all, Abed is especially impressed by the shadowy figure Pierce hired to watch him sleep. You know, that thing that paranoid old people totally do all the time. Pierce immediately thinks it’s the ghost of his father and relocks the panic room, until an unaccounted for figure approached the door and opens it. It’s Gilbert, his half brother and super secret guest star Giancarlo Esposito. The shot as he enters the room is not unlike the toe-to-head shot that revealed the demise of Esposito’s character on Breaking Bad, and it’s hard to believe that wasn’t intentional. Gilbert is back because he came to give Pierce the deed to the house, but found he missed being Mr. Hawthorne’s assistant so much that he secretly became Pierce’s for the past two weeks until he was discovered.
Pierce, in a rare moment of compassion, says that he doesn’t need an assistant but that he’d love for Gilbert to be his roommate, and suddenly, we’re treated to the cutest and also most unlikely to be cute scene in the history of television. I may actually miss Pierce when Chevy Chase’s final episode airs.
In other news, Troy and Britta’s progress is progressing, and Shirley is concerned it’s progressing too fast. Being the God-fearing, slut-shaming woman Shirley can sometimes be (in the sweetest possible way), she’s concerned that her favorite study group member might be pressured into wild, crazy Britta sex. And when she tells Troy Britta might have a heftier “stuff” (i.e. sexual) appetite than he does, he panics almost as much as he did that time Annie chloroformed the janitor. Luckily, by the end of the night, Britta is prepared to take her tired ham bone home, cuddle with Troy, and watch a few episodes of that show he’s been telling her so much about, Inspector Spacetime.
For a Halloween episode, this week sure delivered a Valentine’s appropriate ending.
Grading on a Curve
Screw it, everyone gets an A (but here’s why):
-Shirley is dressed as Princess Leia, her husband is Han Solo, and her kids are Ewoks. +100
-“I have a mask you can wear. One that doesn’t zip at the mouth.” -Shirley +50
-Annie is Jeff’s ring girl so she dresses as the girl from The Ring.+30
-“I’m sure as stuff not your sexy little ring girl.” -Annie +70
-Troy and Abed are dressed as Calvin and Hobbes +ALL OF THE POINTS
-“No sweat, Boba Fett” -Troy +10
-“Why does he have so many collars? SECRET DOGS.” -Troy in Pierce’s special gym +30
-Abed living his dream: watching his friends’ drama on the security cameras like they’re a TV show. +1000
-“Please Pierce, don’t die slightly before your time.” -Troy +15
-“We do some things. We do a lot of things. (Shirley gasp) Not all the things. Things.” -Troy about him and Britta +20
-Jeff is dressed as a flimsy excuse for shirtlessness. -50
-“If you knew what spooked me, you’d call me crazy and old.” -Pierce
“No one’s going to call you, Pierce.”-Jeff -20
-“I didn’t leave my short term memory at Coachella.” -Jeff to Britta +40 (for accuracy)
-Jeff skips the party to go home and call his dad.+4000
-Britta is dressed as a ham bone.+200
-“Calling for help, a classic call for help.” -Britta +10
-“Holy Helen this place is huge.” -Britta +0
-Britta wants to watch Inspector Space Time with Troy.+100
-Pierce has a picture of young Chevy Chase in his bedroom. +80
-“Ghosts cant go through doors stupid, they’re not fire.” -Pierce +30
-“Vicki didn’t invite you, why didnt you scare her?” – Shirley
“I hate her.” -Pierce +1000
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[Photo Credit: NBC]