One of my complaints from last week’s Community review was that I felt like the lack of Greendale’s presences was a bit off putting. Now I understand that the future of the show will eventually lead the group away from the beloved study room, but being that this is allegedly Jeff’s last year at Greendale it would be nice to spend some quality time there. However, last night’s episode featured a wonderful return to Greendale, with the study room as the focus of the episode.
In Alternative History of the German Invasion (4.04) the group is again troubled by the annoying German trio from last year, only this time with a new figure head. The Germans force the group out of their study room and cause the group to defend their home ground. Meanwhile, the dean is faced with the return of Chang who is now going by the name of Kevin due to his Changnesia. If the Dean can prove that he is faking his amnesia then he can finally expel Chang from Greendale.
The thing I liked the most about this episode is that it explored the idea that the study group is the most hated group in the school. This idea has been brought up before with last year’s Todd episode and a brief mention in season two, but this is the first episode where the group finally acknowledges it. We are shown that the group has been hogging the study room for three years much to the annoyance of the other classmates. We get to see the group forced from their familiar room into other less desirable rooms of Greendale. There are three different study rooms the group visits, the last of which features my favorite gag from last night’s episode. It was good to see the school expanded and it gave more realism to the campus. Overall the story line works great but the heart warming resolution feels just a bit hollow. After being verbally attacked by other school members the group jumps into a montage of good deeds and suddenly everything is fine again. I know time is limited, but it just didn’t hit as hard when we are told things are fine instead of being shown the reactions of the other school members.
The Germans as the antagonists were funny and featured a lot of clever German culture jokes. It was great to see the obnoxious trio from last season return but it is somewhat disappointing that Nick Kroll couldn’t return as their leader. I was also disappointed that for sharing so much of the screen time, the trio seems to vanish by the end of the episode without any sort of wrap up of their story. Regardless, barring a few annoying scenes, they were a great antagonist to the study group.
Chang and the dean’s story is funny due to the way it explores the two characters extreme behaviors and their penchant for inserting their name into words. I’ve had mixed feelings about Chang since last season, but I never reached the point where I didn’t want to see him back at Greendale. I liked the idea of him suffering from Changnesia but the way it was introduced into this episode just felt sloppy. After nearly destroying the school last year you would figure that things would be harder for him to join again but apparently not. Regardless, it’s nice to see Chang back and I’m curious as to where this will take us.
Malcolm McDowell joined the cast as their new history teacher, Professor Cornwallis. I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed with his introduction. Again, like the first episode, this episode covered a lot of ground and it left some stories a bit neglected. It is nice to see the group finally get a stricter teacher and I’m looking forward to his dynamic with the group. McDowell is signed on for more episodes so even though this episode was the best intro I’m looking forward to the way he is handled from here.
Four straight weeks and Pierce has been nothing but a shadow of his former self. There are a few glimpses of the great character from the first two seasons but it’s evident that outside factors are bleeding into the show. You can clearly see how miserable Chevy Chase is and he barely adds anything to the show. I love Pierce as a character but if it continues to detract like this I think I’d be okay with him gone if the show is lucky enough to have a fifth season.
Alternative History of the German Invasion (4.04) is a very meaty episode with a lot of great laughs. Much like the first episode, plot lines don’t feel as fleshed out but it’s not as chaotic as the season opener. The episode further explores the idea that the group is the most hated group on campus and it’s nice to see the group come to this realization. The introduction of Malcolm McDowell is nice but somewhat underwhelming for now. The episode also pairs the Dean and Chang and explores the character’s weird nature and penchant for inserting their name into ordinary words. Much like the rest of the episodes this season, things end on a heartwarming note. Four episodes in and four solid episodes but I’m still waiting for an episode to deliver some of the same quality of the best from previous seasons.
Community airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC! Check out last night’s episode here on Hulu!
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