Community: “Geothermal Escapism” Review
Troy and Abed say goodbye!
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
This week, “Community” fans had to say goodbye to Troy Barnes, as actor Donald Glover left the show to move onto other things. And Glover couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff, as this was yet another very strong episode in Season 5. This episode also marked the return of director Joe Russo to the series after he sat out Season 4 to direct “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Russo definitely delivered on this episode, with his approach to giving the action and character moments a certain over-the-top charm that made his previous episodes such a delight to watch.
Things started off with the group throwing Troy a going-away party before he embarks on a year-long trip to see the world on Pierce’s yacht, the Childish Tycoon (a clever nod to Glover’s rap name “Childish Gambino.”) In the midst of this, Abed announces that he’s throwing a college-wide game of “The Floor is Lava,” and the winner would receive a rare and valuable comic book. As with the previous “Community” epics, the entire school soon became embroiled in the game. Much like how “A Fistful of Paintballs” took its cues from Westerns, and “Pillows & Blankets” followed the Civil War, this episode strived to recreate the feel of a post-apocalyptic film ala “The Warriors” or “Mad Max.” This led to some great bits, such as Chang’s “Locker Boys” and Professor Hickey’s Floor Waxer turned into a crazy siege engine. Not to mention how everyone decided to don leather jackets and weird hairstyles as people after the apocalypse so often do.
We find out that Britta believes the entire game is an excuse to put off saying goodbye to Troy, and she teams up with Professor Hickey to get Troy and Abed out of the game to face their feelings. This is where the episode really took off, as we got a great scene between the two best friends where they finally faced the idea that this was their last ride together (and we managed to get one last “Troy and Abed” line!) Unlike similar episodes like the aforementioned Paintball saga, this episode ended up being less about “Lava World” and more about Abed struggling to let go of his best friend. This was both good and bad, as it led to some great character moments, however, it also felt like there could have been more to explore with the setting and the rest of the school’s state as the game wound down wasn’t touched upon that much. It’s not a huge issue though, as it was probably better that the game didn’t overstay its welcome, considering how many times it’s happened before. Britta even made a great jab at this with the line, “I’ll play, but I’m not learning the new names for anything!”
All-in-all, this was a brilliant swan song for Troy, who, unlike Pierce’s rushed Season 4 exit, got a great episode that capped off his character nicely and also proved to be an intriguing story for Abed. It’ll be interesting to see what Abed will be like going forward as the group shrinks yet again. The big episodes of “Community” are always a blast to watch, and this episode proved the concept of a school-wide competition isn’t quite worn out yet. And hey, how awesome was that LeVar Burton cameo? Butterfly in the sky indeed, Troy.
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