With Troy and Donald Glover now gone from Community the show needed to keep firing on all cylinders to keep this season from going off the rails. We started with the return of John Oliver, a new professor played by Jonathan Banks, and now we get Nathan Fillion moonlighting as a custodian to help fill the Troy shaped gaps. Community moves on almost without skipping a beat breaking the group up in ways we aren't used to and what could give the show a fresher and funnier feel is hasn't had since season 3.
Annie is guiding the group, which finally includes Chang, in efforts to reform and rebuild Greendale. Annie gets partnered up with Prof. Hickey exploring the not so surprisingly deep politics within the halls of the school all starting with a request to rehang a bulletin board. Annie takes to the dealing all the way up to Dean Pelton himself to the eventual disgust of Prof. Hickey. Hickey and Annie play well off one another as opposites who happen to have a lot in common. This leaves Chang, Jeff, Shirley, and Prof. Duncan alone to plan the upcoming midterm dance all by themselves. After a not so creative beginning Chang's sudden suggestion of 'bear down' turns into their only, albeit insane, choice. Of course any idea from Chang is obviously a bad one and the bears are hastily changed to dogs. This is clearly a 'B' story to Annie and Hickey's Sorkin-like adventure through the school but it does provide most of the out loud chuckles throughout the episode.
What didn't feel like it fit was the attempt to pair Abed up with Britta in another subplot. Abed, in his adorable yet uncaring way, spoils an entire season of a Game of Thrones ripoff. To get even Britta tries and tries to catch a now very careful and ear muff wearing Abed off guard. Thrown in is a deaf woman who Abed learns to sign to so he can communicate with someone, which eventually backfires. But as a dejected and sad Abed walks away he finds the coat check girl he once dated in a previous episode. I guess we're to assume this girl will replace Troy as Abed's constant companion?
Abed's story especially feels more like a generic story line to keep his character relevant rather than a natural extension of his story. The clone explanation from last week's episode may have wrapped his Troy's goodbye almost too neatly. What was around was the usual level of goofiness and comedy you can hope for from Community. Season 5 may still be a strange emotional mix with Harmon's return and Glover's departure but somehow the show keeps it all together enough to go completely insane in the usual ways.