After a few slow weeks (I don’t know about you, but I felt something was off with Annie’s anti-drug play and the Dungeons & Dragons homage), Community rebounded nicely with a Valentine’s Day episode that saw the group exploring the world outside of their circle before (mostly) getting the gang back together.
So there’s Jeff, pushed to his limit as the group’s father figure and debating the merits of Barenaked Ladies. He announces that the fight is on, and as such is susceptible to Duncan’s desire to watch Liverpool vs. Manchester United at Casa Winger. This segues into Chang showing up uninvited and starting a wild party that Jeff actually enjoys. Until he realizes that the shindig is merely a way for the suddenly homeless Chang to crash on Jeff’s couch. Jeff throws Chang out, but Duncan’s admission of loneliness, and the absence of messages from his friends, prompt Jeff to carry the sleeping Chang over the threshold and give him a safe place to sleep for the night. The thing about Jeff is that he could probably find people to hang with outside of Greendale, but who would care about him, who would need him? If Jeff is learning anything, it’s that being there for others, tiresome as it can be at times, yields the give and take that is friendship. And he is basically a good guy, hence the message to the study group where he tells them all that he loves them. Nice.
Subplots saw Troy and Abed vying for the same girl. She picks Troy. Then she insults Abed. And that won’t work for Troy who naturally opts to spend Valentine’s Day in the arms of his best bro. These two have one of the coolest friendships on TV. They get each other’s jokes, have each other’s backs, and won’t let something as trivial as a potential love interest come between them. As for the girls, Britta thinks she’s hanging with a lesbian (she’s straight), and Annie learns that it’s Britta who’s mistaken for a “friend of Ellen.” Britta and Annie are friends (of course, not on the Troy/Abed level), but the former has a tendency to condescend to the latter. So it was great to see Annie with the upper hand when Britta was humiliated and not use it against her. Because that’s what friends do. Side note: Shirley is mostly off-screen for this one, but I guess she spent most of the night with her recently returned ex. I missed her, but at least she probably had a good night.
Finally, after several weeks where Pierce seemed unbalanced (even for Pierce), we discover that he’s hooked on painkillers as a result of his earlier injuries (ironically manifesting in a tiny Andy Dick), and an episode that was set to end all warm and fuzzy concluded with the devastating image of Pierce passed out on a park bench. Suddenly, the last few episodes make a lot of sense (if the writers follow through with some kind of intervention or at least a recovery period enabled by the study group). Something tells me the show won’t let us down.