Hey! We’re still lounging around here and taking advantage of the fabulous amenities in the brightest timeline, which include Community‘s sixth season, since the show was never canceled. While you’re waiting for your own sixth season, allow us to fill you in on this week’s episode of the Community season that might have been.
When we left off last week, the study group, or the Save Greendale Committee, or whatever they actually are at this point barely managed to foil Chang’s plot to drive them all out of the school by playing Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching” on repeat over the PA system. Then there was lots of this:
As this week’s episode gets going, there has clearly been a lot more of that as Annie and Jeff enter the study room, sit down with the rest of the group, make some pretty obvious eyes at each other, and generally hide it from the group very badly—almost like they’re doing it on purpose.
When the rest of the group proceeds to ignore them, it turns out they were doing it on purpose, and they ask what’s so distracting to everyone else, because the rest of the group is crowded around staring into Abed’s laptop screen. They explain that Abed has set up a modified version of his favorite retro video game, Super Kickpuncher: Turbo Edition, to allow everyone on campus to populate the game world with their own Kickpunchers, MMO-style.
Jeff immediately passes it off as stupid, of course, but the campus is quickly drawn in as Abed adds live streaming functionality and chat capabilities that turn the game’s 16-bit levels into a full-blown society.
After we come back from the credits, Greendale has once again descended into madness. Abed is holed up in the library surrounded by computer monitors streaming each section of the game live as he modifies the original game world. Everything on campus has come grinding to a halt as everyone stares into whatever Internet device they’ve got handy and plays Abed’s game.
Only Jeff and Annie are unaffected, because they’re too busy having feelings or whatever. They wander through the halls looking for anyone who isn’t completely zoned in on the game. No one will even acknowledge them. When they give up and physically shut off the Dean’s game to get his attention, he goes completely catatonic.
They go to ask Abed to turn it off for the good of the school, but they can’t unlock the real door to see him without an in-game item. He’s completely sealed himself off. They give up and go to get some lunch, but when they find out that the cafeteria is only accepting in-game currency and it’s taco day, they decide something has to be done—no one messes with taco day.
So they enter the game with their own Kickpuncher avatars and start looking for Troy, who they assume will have the item needed to get to Abed. They wander around the empty first level for a moment wondering where all the coins and power ups are until they’re surrounded by a gang of other players led by Hickey.
They’ve been told that Annie and Jeff would be coming and to bring the to Abed, which is kind of hard in a game where your options are “kick,” “punch with the power of a kick,” and “jump.” So Jeff defiantly tells them to make him, which results in Annie reminding him they’re at the lowest level of the game and a few minutes of Jeff getting mercilessly beaten, respawning, and immediately getting destroyed again.
So they go along through a warp zone and are brought before in-game Abed, who throws them into a dungeon. Troy and Shirley come by and tell them that there’s no point talking to Abed: He’s lost control and become a puppet for the game. The only way to end it is for someone to play through the game and beat it.
Abed has Hickey’s team of bandits are picking up all the game’s extra coins and power ups to make sure no one can progress towards the end, but it’s causing unrest among the players. There’s a resistance group headed up by Abed’s former fortuneteller—who told him Jeff and Annie would be coming—that they have to meet up with if they want to stand a chance.
So, they simultaneously punch each other in order to respawn outside the dungeon in the first level, where they’re met by the resistance group and the fortuneteller: Britta. They make their way through another warp zone before Hickey can find them and begin playing through the game together. Britta’s fortunetelling powers come from seeing the campus society crumble about a million times, so she’s got a good handle on everyone’s motivations and how things will play out, and—Hey! She’s really getting the hang of this psychology thing.
They play through the game together, which goes kind of like this only with 16-bit Britta, Annie, and Jeff Kickpunchers:
and though it becomes apparent that Jeff and Annie are pretty bad at it and their newly spawned, underpowered characters aren’t helping Britta that much, they eventually reach the final boss: Nega-Kickpuncher. Jeff brashly leads the way and gets punched in the face and begins dying pretty much immediately.
When Annie gets upset and it comes out to Britta that they’re kind of dating, Britta cuts off the conversation and tells them that anyone with eyes already knows that, and not everything is about them. She wasn’t waiting for them to come and beat the game with her—they would’ve just gotten killed repeatedly and been no actual help. She just needed someone who was still at a low level to exploit the final boss’s mechanics.
Nega-Kickpuncher appropriately mirrors the stats of the player when they reach it. Britta only brought them along because she knew they’d assume they needed to be the heroes and haplessly wander in way over their heads. She just didn’t tell them, because she knew pride would get in the way. She calmly walks over and punches Nega-Kickpuncher, who has mirrored Jeff’s weak stats, in the face, and the game ends.
The game world shuts down as the credits roll, and everyone on campus is released from the game’s hold. Britta is the hero of the campus, and Jeff and Annie calmly tell the group they’re dating like well-adjusted human beings.
In the stinger scene at the end of the episode, the group finds a Matrix Reloaded-esque dance party in the school’s auditorium, where the people who didn’t feel like playing the game had gone and clearly didn’t hear that everything had returned to normal. They group backs out of the room slowly.
(images via Community)
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