Community Season 5 “Cooperative Polygraphy” Review

Community Season 5 Episode 4 Cooperative Polygraphy (4)
Oh, Community, you keep reminding me of why you’re one of my favorite shows. For the second week in a row, we got an episode that thematically mirrored a memorable episode from a previous season. This week, “Cooperative Polygraphy” was the natural progression of the season 2 episode “Cooperative Calligraphy.”

What was brilliant about last night’s episode is that it wasn’t just a carbon copy of the “Cooperative Calligraphy” episode. Indeed, it was a bottle episode, but “Cooperative Polygraphy” was a great demonstration of the growth our favorite study group has experienced over five seasons.

Although Pierce is dead, he still managed to antagonize the group thanks to an excellent cameo appearance by Walton Goggins. With so many people looking at Jonathan Banks as the “new Pierce,” I love that the writers used Goggins as Pierce’s proxy to torment the group with the revelation of their secrets.

The episode was a fitting, heartfelt tribute to both Pierce’s character and Donald Glover. In past seasons, it felt as though the writers weren’t sure what to do with Pierce. At times he was the crotchety old man with politically incorrect opinions, at times he bordered on being villainous and then there were the times when he seemed to genuinely bond with his fellow study group members. He was a reflection of what Jeff’s future could have been, a business partner to Shirley and a roommate to Troy. The manner in which Pierce bequeathed his belongings (and sperm) to his fellow study group members was a perfect reflection of each of those relationships.

Leaving his fortune to Troy was such a great acknowledgment of the bond Troy and Pierce formed and a perfect transition to Donald Glover’s farewell. True to its love of all things meta, Troy will explore the world on Pierce’s Childish Tycoon – a funny nod to Glover’s rap alter ego, Childish Gambino.

Overall the episode was a seamless blend of touching moments and brilliant humor. Each time I found myself on the verge of tears, something ridiculous was said and I broke out in laughter. “Cooperative Polygraphy” represented the very best of Community.

A few of my favorite moments . . .

– Hearing the word bitch come out of Shirley’s mouth.

– The sadness of Abed’s “Cool. Cool, cool, cool” followed by the lie detector technician yelling “that’s a lie!”

– The entire Netflix pirating revelation –
Jeff: “Is that why my review of The Grey is constantly changing?”
Abed: “Yes. Stop giving it four stars.”
Jeff: “I like Liam Neeson!”
Abed: “Then send him a message about the roles he’s choosing.”

In a season that has already taken Nicolas Cage to task for never saying no to a role, I loved that they also sent a message to Liam Neeson, who also struggles with turning down roles.

– The use of Chang continues to be absolutely perfect. A little goes a long way and the writers have found the perfect balance this season.

– Walton Goggins. Perfection. Loved that he even did the Pierce “Ay-bed” instead of the proper pronunciation “Ah-bed.”

I will miss Troy’s childlike innocence, but I’m glad that the door is still open for him to return or maybe send a postcard from an exotic locale. What did you think of this week’s episode, Community fans? Sound off below!