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A Farewell to Barnes

(alternate title: Barnes & Noble Goodbyes)

Because "escapism" is exactly what I need right now, and this episode is, oddly enough, my happy place.

Community, 5x05, "Geothermal Escapism"

I think this might be my favorite episode of all time. From the moment the screen started flashing black as Abed began his dramatic countdown, I was hooked, mouth hanging open. I loved literally every single second of this episode, as it had everything from humor to sentimentality and it is a treasure of our fandom. But let me give it to you as a list. You know, 'cause that's just...how I do! /clumsy attempt to quote awkward Robin from HIMYM, 7x14. Find me the .gif and I will dub you Galactic President Superstar McAwesomeville.

-THAT TITLE CARD THOUGH.

-Evil Professor Duncan:  I'm not afraid to push a girl into make believe lava! In fact, it's been my primary strategy.

-Jeff's hot takedown of the above. Especially with Hot Annie in tow as his ally.

Jeff: Sweet, portable chairs. Plastic gold. Four legged diamonds. You claiming this? Lava joust??
Britta: Did you all hit your heads on each other's heads?
(continued below)

-Boatloads of Amateur Psychologist Britta, somehow being the only bastion of reason left in the entire school. LOVE IT. This is why she's my favorite. (also the judgment thing)

Annie: Let's get real, Britta. Once the last of the chairs are gone, a sofa hopper like you won't last 20 minutes. You want to join this alliance, or you want to join the lava?
Britta: Fine. But I'm not learning the new names for anything.
(cut to: Annie describing 3 forms of transportation, starting with "centipeding")

-The school is on 9-1-1's blocked caller list.

-LOCKER BOYS. LED BY DICTATOR CHANG.

-ABED AND TROY'S TRIUMPHANT ENTRANCE TO THE SCENE

-"TROY AND ABED INTIMIDATION STANCE"

-Oh man did I enjoy Professor Hickey's entrance on the scene. And his offended disbelief that Britta's friends abandoned her, causing in an unlikely alliance.

-Hickey: "My son's getting gay married."

-SHIRLEY ISLAND. Featuring: Garrett's storytime hour and Magnum on steel drums

-The picture board of the fallen (divided into "Secular" and "Christian")

-Hickey's Army of Chair Walkers! BRITTA'S RIDICULOUS/TERRIFYING COSTUME. This is the best battle scene I have ever writnessed, and also the only good battle scene I have ever witnessed. The popcorn butter spray was the best.

-Britta: I can't hear dead people, Annie, I'm in a world of imagination.

-Also her ultimately triumphant face-off with Jeff. "WHO'S THERE, BITCH?"

-"TROY AND ABED IN A BUBBLE"

-Troy: I had a dream like this, but it was sexual!

-The amazing turning point: "It's not a game for me, Troy. I'm seeing real lava because you're leaving. It's embarrassing. I don't want to be crazy, but I am crazy, so...I made a game that made you and everyone else see what I see." I don't think I have ever heard real emotion from Abed before and I am thunderstruck with a strange feeling called "empathy." Nothing hits me like best friends being separated, which is part of why I've been denying what Glover's exit really meant for the show. But good god, his voice kills me right here.

-I especially love when Britta and Hickey bust onto the scene, all ready to continue the super fun cracktastic tone, but Troy and everyone else is like "COOL IT. WE ARE DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT NOW." It's amazing how willing you are to instantly give up the glorious crack when faced with something this serious. (Troy's defense of his friend is a magical thing all on its own - as is Hickey's skeptical superiority, which in any other context would be totally reasonable and the side I'd be taking)

-Troy's very palpable panic when Abed gives up is an even more beautiful thing to behold. "I'm not leaving, okay? I promise. The floor's not lava now, just give me your hand."

-I am not ashamed to admit that I was moved almost to the point of tears when Abed fake-died. Britta and Troy fake-fixing him was pretty great.

-I cried for real when Troy walked out to say his goodbyes. The one with Annie actually made the tears come streaming down my face. The one with Jeff admitting he's less cool than Troy for never having left the state made me smile. Shirley's "thank you for putting up with the boring old mom in your college study group," combined with "you made a furniture fortress. You're the badass of the group," made me give a high pitched coo.

-Abed's very matter-of-fact comment that he put some homing pigeon genes in Troy's clone and he might therefore feel a compulsion to come back brought the tears back. And ohhhh, the clone hug. THEIR STUPID FACES.

-Levar Burton's appearance as the naviagor made me cry all of the happy tears in the world. (then I cried some more sad ones at Abed's stoic face, followed by more happiness at the absolutely perfect "Come Sail Away" closing song, and ultimately left on a high and fully contended note)

In conclusion: My only slight qualm is that I almost feel like this episode did not deserve to be SO GOOD when it was born of Don Glover quitting. It was a sendoff meant for someone leaving to spend more time with their children or about to battle cancer, or who at least had given a decade of their life to a series and earned a formal thank you for their dedication.

But, if I do my best to separate the actor from the character, I will say that Troy deserved absolutely nothing less than this glorious farewell. I've watched it 3 times and have yet to feel anything less than the 100% pure joy and emotional fulfillment I did the first time.

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