Community Report Season 5 Episode 4 “Cooperative Polygraphy”
Troy and Abed are in mouuuuurning.
Pierce’s death was dealt with on Community last night in a bottle episode, because there’s a whole lot of fun to be had in sticking the study group in a room together and watching them argue. Or because the show blew its whole budget hiring an expert on putting coins in people’s butt cracks for last week’s episode. That’s how TV works, right?
This is probably going to be brief, because not a whole lot happened aside from a very long lie detector test and a bunch of insults, arguing, and secrets being revealed, but that’s not to say it wasn’t great, because it sure was.
The group, which doesn’t include New Pierce—erm, Professor Hickey—this week, returns from Pierce’s funeral in full Reformed Neo Buddhist funeral garb with the lava lamp that contains Pierce’s life vapor. After Shirley takes a quick, unwitting swipe at religion and Chang stops by to remind everyone they never even really liked Pierce, a team of investigators shows up with a polygraph test and tells the group that Pierce left instructions to do a polygraph test on all of them to make sure none of them murdered him.
The investigative team is led by Mr. Stone, and since there’s no actual heavy crime drama stuff this week, and everyone is innocent, they all agree to do the lie detector test in honor of Pierce’s last wish. Of course, things quickly degenerate as the questions Pierce left are obviously intended to get everyone mad at each other, and Chang leaves immediately instead of answering the first question directed at him, “Have you ever masturbated in the study room?”
The secrets revealed in this episode aren’t as deep or character-revealing as they’ve been in previous episodes where everyone’s lies are exposed, but it doesn’t really matter, because Pierce getting in a whole bunch of jabs at everyone from beyond the grave is too entertaining not to love. It works really well, too, because his racism and bigotry are actually funnier when read as serious questions on a lie detector test.
As usual, each member of the group gets self righteous as the secrets of the other members come out, and then they’re quickly struck down with their own secrets. This is like Community 101, and it works just as flawlessly as ever. Oh, and I cannot stress enough how much more I’m enjoying Britta’s character this season. She continues to leave the bufoonery to Troy (who plays that part better anyway) and instead focus on her activist personality, which makes for much better jokes from her. Thank you, Dan Harmon.
Anyway, Jeff quickly catches on that the whole test is just Pierce being Pierce and turning them all against each other, but as the group decides they’ve respected Pierce’s wishes long enough, Mr. Stone tells them they can’t receive their parts of Pierce’s massive estate unless they’re cleared by his lie detector test. Jeff reminds them they shouldn’t continue, and they all agree.
So things continue with the study group’s new motivation for answering the questions, and out of all of the great jokes, it also comes out that Troy stole his secret handshake with Abed from an Internet video, and Abed has tracking devices planted on everyone in the group. (Here’s hoping that comes back for a plot point later in the season, because no one could find them.)
Chang also comes back to unburden his soul about the masturbating.
Then, we get our Jeff speech for the episode when he points out that if they give up on the lie detector test so that Pierce doesn’t win, they’re no better than him, because they’re just hiding the truth so they can feel like better people than he is. He calls for them all to finally tell the truth about everything, which would’t surprise me if it was an acknowledgement that this isn’t the first time Community has had one of the these secret revealing episode, and maybe it’s a call of this to be the last.
Of course, after they all do that, the final round of questions turns out to be Pierce complimenting everyone with as few insults as he can manage and bequeathing them what he wants them to have… along with a canister of his preserved sperm for each of them, just in case.
He also gives us the setup for Troy leaving the show by leaving Troy all of his share’s in the Hawthorne Wipes company, but he only receives them if he sails Pierce’s boat around the world by himself, which is when the whole thing actually moves the plot of the show forward. Troy accepts the offer, because he really feels it’s been his lifelong destiny to have millions and millions of dollars—oh, and to grow up and be a man and stuff.
Everyone in the study group is pretty sad about Troy leaving, but the fallout of that is left for the next episode, which is slated to be his last as a regular on the show. Instead, we get a really awkward and hilarious bar scene where Mr. Stone goes out for drinks with the study group, drops his tough investigator act, and basically reminds everyone how weird the whole episode would look to an outsider.
This episode was great, and it was hard to even find anything to say about it, because there’s not much you can add when the humor is this perfect. Next week should be an interesting goodbye to Troy as he sets off to earn his inheritance, so it’d better be a good one.
(images via Community)