Quick Take: Community, “Digital Estate Planning”
“Troy and Abed shooting lava!”
Review: Community, “Digital Estate Planning”
(S0320) 8-bit Community, where have you been all my life? I don’t even care how good the finale was; I don’t care how good Season Four will inevitably be; this is now, and will ever be my new favourite episode of Community.
Pierce, and six out of seven of his best friends (LeVar Burton couldn’t make it) get the opportunity to play a video game for the inheritance left by his late father, Cornelius. Instead of standing in each other’s way and forcing that awkward situation when you steal your friend’s family’s money, the study group takes strides to learn the politically-incorrect 8-bit video game in order to recover the White Gem of Discipline and take the throne of Hawkthorne.
Giancarlo Esposito guest stars as Gilbert, the game-master, and Cornelius Hawthone’s former lapdog – literally, he sat on his lap in church so that he could see well. Having mastered the game beforehand, Gilbert plays against the Greendale Seven in order to reach the throne first. When he drinks a poison potion stolen from Britta, sending him back to the beginning of the game, he takes it upon himself to reveal his hand, explaining to Pierce that he is his half-brother, and equally entitled to the Hawthorne inheritance, if not moreso.
Gilbert ultimately reaches the throne first, but the game, having been produced by a racial purist, demands that, in exchange for the inheritance, Gilbert must uphold a false and frankly defamatory story that denies his real lineage. After turning down the terms of service, the game turns on Gilbert and attempts to kill his character, and access to the inheritance.
Having been focused on his own goals, Gilbert allows Abed to play around with the interface and the game’s highly interactive world long enough to discover the game’s secrets – a manual interface that lets him build an army of his 8-bit children – with the orphaned daughter of a blacksmith murdered by Shirley and Anne, no less – to harvest and create anything he wants.
Armed with lava-spewing dinosaurs, a zeppelin with a machine gun, and the power of friendship, the Greendale Seven are able to defeat the giant pixilated face of Cornelius Hawthorne, clearing the throne for one of the half-brothers to claim.
Even though Pierce was indisputably the Season Two antagonist, he’s still chalked up his fair share of redeeming moments. He indirectly got Britta to stop smoking (cigarettes, at least), he stuck out Abed’s claymation Christmas delusion, and won the paintball match in favour of Greendale. Even after being essentially fired from his own business legacy, Pierce has found a certain peace of mind in having a group of six friends who, despite all the shared guff and Chang, always have his back. He offers the inheritance to Gilbert, and officially welcomes his half-brother into the family – all in all, not one of Pierce’s worst days.