It’s been two months since the group’s unceremonious ousting from Greendale and hey, they’re still a group! They’ve assumed their natural positions: Shirley bakes, Britta broods, Jeff texts, Pierce is an asshole. Potluck! Troy’s made Bagel Bites in a deconstructed Hot Pocket reduction with a Dorito’s glaze. (Cheer up, Britta! It’s Top Chef, stoner-food edition!) Hey, where’s Abed?
Oh, he’s in trubs. Inspector Spacetime was rummaging through the Dumpster at Greendale. If it were Comic-Con, Recurring Cop Character would take a bullet for Abed, but in the real world, trespassing is a crime. Oh, Abed. It’s so hard to let go. Anyway, RCC has urged the dean to press charges, but he de(an)murs (no?). Abed’s off the hook on one condition: He’s off to see the shrinky dink. Abed insists the dean isn’t the real dean–he’s a substitute life form with a nefarious purpose–and we know he’s right. (The gang, however, does not.) This is no good. Oh, and, their neighborhood has gotten 8 percent rapier since last we were here. (Also not good.)
(Sidenote: Joel McHale is looking way rexy. He needs some of Troy’s magic casserole, stat.)
So…Abed goes to see the therapist (John Hodgman in a bad mustache). Oh, and he brought the gang, natch. Turns out Abed won’t go to a doctor by himself. (Last year he apparently tried to remove his own tonsils. Mad at Dan Harmon for not letting us see that.) And actually, it’s kind of helpful having the Greendale 7 there. Kind of cuts to the chase. See, Abed has transitioned from adorable weird (see: Mork from Ork) to creepy weird (see: present-day Robin Williams).
Hogdmanipist wants to know about the onset of Abed’s crazies (DSM IV official designation). Did it come on right after expulsion? To the memory montage! Abed does come off well under the harsh cold light of a memory montage (daylight savings freak-outs, Brett Ratner episodes, etc., etc.), and the shrink designates him “sick.” The gang objects. He’s no more crazytown bananapants than the rest of them. I think I feel another montage coming on. Which means…IT’S ANOTHER FAKE-MONTAGE EPISODE!!! Squeeeeee! Oh, you all caught on to that a few minutes ago? Ok, fine. So I’m pokeyvillage appleshirt. (No?) Whatever. To the (second) montage!
There was that time Britta’s “friend” tripped out on peyote and came in with her hair in dreads and/or garbage and when Annie co-hosted Troy and Abed and Annie in the Morning without permission, and what about that party with all the terrible wigs and Jeff’s OCD fit? Terrible times!
Diagnosis: Abed should go to crazy-people jail. Thank god Jeff is a lawyer: He reminds us that Abed can’t be committed—he’s not a danger. It’s a problem of perspective: Hogdmanpist doesn’t know Greendale and therefore doesn’t know how messed up it is. Like that class they all took in Baby Talk? THAT was messed up! And the game of human chess the dean played to resolve a campus parking issue. Messed up! Advanced Breath Holding? So messed up. (Ladders? I don’t know. That just seems like good sense.)
But Greendale wasn’t all bad. There was a lot of good, too. Like when the dean played favorites and (eventually) told them first about the fire spreading dangerously across the school. Or the time the dean shooed Annie’s outfit doppelganger away so our manic little pixie could shine solo in all her miniskirt-and-flats glory. Or the time the dean got them pizza on pizza day when all the pizza was gone. Hey—wait a minute. I’ve been saying “the dean” a lot, haven’t I. Maybe the dean is the key to their Greendale happiness! Maybe if they can get rid of the faux dean and get back the real one, Abed’s brain will unbreak itself.
It’s what he’s been trying to tell them all along: The real dean didn’t expel them. (See? He is the sane one!) They’ve been living in denial: They weren’t driven crazy by Greendale, they were driven awesome. Abed doesn’t need to be here, they need to be there. (Oh, sorry, that was totes confusing. Here=therapist’s office and there=oh, forget it: They gotta go back! Back! Back to school again!)
Only they can’t. Oh really? And why not, exactly? BECAUSE IT DOESN’T EXIST. Fack.
Turns out yes, they were at Greendale, but it’s not a community college, it’s an asylum. (Did NOT see the Shutter Island twist! Oops, retroactive spoiler alert. I mean, what do you want, it’s like two years old. You were never going to see it.) Turns out they were psychotic patients together and were released together—and now they’re relapsing together. They all came to the “college” after their last fracture: pill addiction, career suicide, marriage implosion, you name it. After their respective traumas, they fabricated a ridiculous (i.e. magical) setting wherein everything revolves around them. It was a mentally compatible alternative to their grim reality. Biggest tip-off? Community college is two years! They’ve been there for three! (Meta-nice, writers.) OMG.
Cut to (really sad) paintball and secret trampoline and Leonard! Oh god, there is nothing sadder than Leonard in a tattered convalescence gown. Fake-montage fake-montage memories! Garrett that no-good dirty doctor stole Annie’s pen! But now it’s time for them to move on.
Only…yeah, Hodgman is lying. He’s one of Chang’s! The gang was getting too close to the truth. (No more Chang, for the love of god. Though…if his dickery facilitated this awesome episode, then ok. But only if he stays in the background, tasering his junk like tonight. Thank you.) Fake doctor snuck away. And they have to find the dean.
Back at Chanquarters, it’s time for phase two. Which is…oh, cliffhanger.
Troy and Abed in the Morning: Nights!
Oh, and PS: Community was picked up for a fourth season, NBD. (SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!)