‘Community’ review: Law, order … and death

Someone didn't make it out alive.

Chalk up another brilliant episode for “Community” — the “Law & Order” tribute just so happens to be a classic.

Not only should we give a tremendous round of applause for Dan Harmon and the writers for capturing the feel of the landmark NBC drama over the course of the episode, they even went for the look — the theme song was changed, the structure was in the style of the show, and there was even the classic sound effects. The thing that made this episode the best? That the sole reason for the entire “investigation” was because the study group thought someone deliberately stepped on their yam in attempt to get them a failing grade in biology class (though even without the investigation, Michael K. Williams’ professor was still offering to give them a C).

There were so many lovely nods to “L&O” throughout the episode, as we saw Britta as the nerdy lab tech (whose only real function was to play with photos), Troy and Abed alternate between being good cop and bad cop, and Jeff and Annie take sidebars even within sidebars while in the “courtroom” of their class. (Plus, we had another Magnitude cameo — pop, pop!) While other shows could probably not pull this off, it all felt so natural — “Community” still felt like “Community,” just through a different lens that managed to still each us about its characters.

In the end, the culprit was just as delightful as the episode itself — Neil (who is no longer called “Fat Neil,” apparently), who was really trying to ruin all of the yams in order to make one of his fellow classmates feel better about themselves (though he did have his own ulterior motive that we really didn’t want to hear about). The entire case was so over-the-top, funny, and chock ful of nostalgia that it made the shocker at the end of the episode all the more jarring since we didn’t see it coming.

During the episode, we found out that longtime show fave Alex “Starburns” was stealing lab equipment to operate a meth lab from his trunk. Unfortunately for Starburns, he is no Walter White and he ended up killing himself when his car exploded. This death is likely to be a focus of next week’s episode, and it is something that the study group will have to address in a far different way than how they dealt with the death of Pierce’s much-maligned father earlier this season.

Overall, we can’t say enough good things about this episode — despite the praise of us and other TV critics, “Community” is still the most under-appreciated comedy on TV. No show is as daring, and so willing to sacrifice in order to keep pushing the envelope and shocking us at every (“L&O” sound effect!) turn.

What did you think about this tribute by the Greendale gang?

Photo: NBC

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