By Amanda Taylor
Updated May 10, 2013 at 05:02 AM EDT
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Community

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As season 4 wraps up, Community fans are left in limbo, wondering whether or not we’ll get to see more of our favorite study group.

Granted, we’re used to this kind of treatment, although this season the cries for #sixseasonsandamovie are not as loud. Perhaps you are of the opinion that it’s best to leave the show where it is, and remember the somewhat less uneven days of seasons past. Or, maybe you’re willing to stay with the show another season to see if it will get its sea legs.

In order to appease both parties, tonight’s finale react will be told from two different timelines — the perspective on light and dark is up to you.

Timeline “Renewed for Another Season: Season 4 Finale”

The show opens on Jeff accepting a partnership at a firm with one of his old lawyer buddies — the one who had him disbarred, in fact. They share some quips and get in some digs at each other, ending in a handshake to seal the deal.

Back at Greendale, the group is discussing plans for the future. In a false panic, Annie says she is unprepared for Jeff to leave, revealing the congratulations banner the Group put together to celebrate Jeff’s graduation. But Jeff feels a banner (and the soda Troy forgot) is anticlimactic. The Dean and Annie finally get to throw the wedding they’ve always wanted — only it’s a graduation ceremony for Jeff.

Jeff worries about the group being able to handle his departure from Greendale, when it’s clear the anxiety rests with him. His friends are excited that he has achieved his goals — like any real friends would be. His anxiety gets the best of him, and he tries to draw Abed into his neuroses by re-introducing The Darkest Timeline.

And it works.

Side note: Thank you, gratuitous shot of Joel McHale in his underwear. Seriously, forget GOOP, I want to know how that man keeps his complexion and muscles so perfect!

After Evil Jeff and Evil Annie do as much damage as they can, the rest of the Evil Study Group comes to serve as backup. Looking impressive in black leather and dark makeup, they’re ready to do battle.

In the cafeteria, The Evil Study Group quickly dispenses with Evil Pierce by telling him the way to win is to shoot himself — and he warps back into the Darkest Timeline. Then Evil Britta accidentally shoots herself too, prompting some harsh words from Evil Jeff. Britta has to stick up for herself, blowing the Study Group’s cover and bam! Paintball! Study Group against Evil Study Group! Queue some battle banter, and the Study Group comes out on top!

I’m not sure I love how all the adventures this season have just been in the characters’ minds. That wasn’t how it worked before and it seems a little like they’re insinuating the Group is crazy. Hopefully in season 5 the writers will see fit to let the fun just run its course. Regardless, whether Abed in the battle sequence was in Jeff’s mind or… I’m confusing myself. This Abed rules. He is certainly the glue of the group — even Evil Abed gave up his evil ways! His pep talk is heartfelt and delivered with just the type of urgency the situation requires.

Jeff’s final speech as a Greendale student was so touching, I may have gotten a little misty. “What do you say when you don’t want a way out?” And I actually did the Annie/Shirley “awwwww” out loud when Abed and Britta both pointed at themselves, sure they would be the ones to miss Jeff the most.

Anyway, the wrap-up was a nice way to end the season, and hell — I’m selfish. I love these characters and I can’t wait to see more of their antics and their personal journeys. #sixseasonsandamovie (Oh, except Pierce, who conveniently graduated right before Jeff so he could do it first… and also because Chevy Chase left the show. Nice and tidy.)

NEXT PAGE: Timeline “Community Has Run Its Course: Series Finale”

Timeline “Community Has Run Its Course: Series Finale”

One final banner, this one to celebrate Jeffrey Tobias Winger’s departure via early graduation from Greendale Community College. But not before…

An insecure Jeff rolls the die one last time, prompting the Darkest Timeline to collide with the one we all know and love!

Evil Jeff goes about making sure that all of the progress Jeff made in his four years at Greendale was undone in as little time as possible, belittling his friends and vocalizing their biggest insecurities. Also, he killed Troy’s dream for the Troy-jan Horse! Which sounded as awesome as his wish for the Dorito taco.

A battle ensues, with magic paintball guns that can transport between dimensions. It’s Evil Study Group counterpart against Study Group. Amidst the battle banter in the cafeteria we see the characters confront some of their demons — Shirley tells Evil Shirley, a pathetic drunk, to “get help” before sending her splattering back to the Darkest Timeline. Evil Annie tempts Annie with the prospect of a relationship with Jeff. Evil Troy tries to act tough, but Troy gets the best of him.

But what’s this? The paintball shootout in the cafeteria is only in Jeff’s mind — as evidenced by the meat and hard-boiled eggs in the vending machines. It’s time for Jeff to face his own demon. Letting Evil Jeff win means taking the easy route and denying all the growth that Jeff has experienced. But he knows that isn’t what he wants. He defeats Evil Jeff and faces the music. He is graduating — and leaving behind the security of his friends’ support and love.

At the wedding-like ceremony for Jeff, the Dean starts a speech, but Jeff finishes it. While he was telling the Group he loves them and how much he appreciates their influence on his life, I kept wanting to say “amen!” These characters are great, and it’s such a shame our path with them ends here. The wrap-up shows us that Jeff will be working for a small firm close to Greendale, where he can come visit his friends.

I will never complain about a last shot like the one in this episode, with Study Room F and the Greendale sign “Your Path To A Brighter Future.” It was a relief that none of the characters ended as couples (although over in Timeline 5, Troy and Britta had a baby… Chewbacca?), just as individuals who had become better by the personal relationships formed in their years at Greendale Community College. It felt poignant, and real. I will miss these crazy kids, but after this finale I feel ready to say goodbye.

So farewell, Greendale. Or not?

Best Costume:

Obviously the Evil Study Group’s Matrix-style black leather and long coats. Bad to the bone.

Best Quotes:

“I will keep this tight and short.” “You always do.” –Dean Pelton and Jeff, referring to a speech — or not

“Nobody sleeps with Jeff!” –Annie, as she sends Evil Annie back to the Darkest Timeline

“I don’t get it, we just finished Christmas and now it’s warm outside!” –Pierce the crazy old guy, making a point about the show’s unconventional schedule this year

“Don’t logic this one away from me. We finally figured out a way to make paintball cool again.” –Abed, convincing Jeff to play along

Read more:

‘Community’: The darkest timeline returns in the season (series?) finale — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

PaleyFest 2013: ‘Community’ cast talks paintball, puppets, and graduation

‘Community’: New producers give you character teases for season 4, talk Chevy Chase and finale

Episode Recaps

Community’: Can You Ace Our Exam?

Community

Joel McHale and Alison Brie star in this comedy about a community college study group that turns into a surrogate family.
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