Thursday’s Remedial Chaos Theory episode of Community challenges Modern Warfare for the best episode of Community — ever. I know that’s a high standard to compare to, but there were so many good things about Chaos Theory that it’s a fair comparison.
The episode revolves around Troy and Abed welcoming the study group into their apartment for a housewarming party. (“I demand to be housewarmed!” Troy exclaims to Pierce later on.) The group sits down, and when they start to play Yahtzee, the pizza arrives. No one wants to go pick up the pizza from the front, so Jeff flips a die to decide who will go. “You know by doing this you’re creating six different timelines,” Abed says. Actually, seven different timelines are explored in this episode, ranging from scary to thoughtful to downright hilarious.
One of the reasons this episode so triumphantly succeeds is because it explores nearly every plotline this show has developed at one time or another. Think about everything that happened: Jeff kisses Annie; Troy realizes how cool Britta is; Pierce gets his revenge on Troy moving out; Annie’s gun accidentally shoots Pierce; Shirley gets called out on her baking; Britta gets engaged; and Abed defines everyone’s role in the group. The story is so jam packed with so many good things it’s worth watching again and again.
Here’s another storyline that Chaos Theory explored. It seems like the group villain has shifted again this season. In season one, it was Chang. Last year it was Pierce. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Jeff is the villain this year. After all, it’s Jeff’s timeline when he goes and gets the pizza that he comes back and finds the group singing and getting along. Roxanne seems to be the lynchpin of this episode, and maybe everyone could stand a little less of Jeff’s constant mockery and ridicule.
Of course, this was a gimmick episode, but you can also tell that there was a lot of thought put into this episode. The writers had to think how the absence of each person would change the timeline all the way down to how they would have Pierce tell everyone that way back when, he had sex with Eartha Kitt.
The best part of the episode, though? Evil Troy and Evil Abed.