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Advanced Introduction to Finality
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Director: Tristram ShapeeroWriter: Megan GanzAired: May 9th, 2013 —Season: Four — Number: Thirteen
Summary: Jeff is graduating early and contemplates life outside Greendale - and beyond.

PlotEdit

Quote
I've spent almost four years here, growing and changing and making dioramas!
EndQuote
Jeff
On the verge of graduating from Greendale, Jeff meets up with an old colleague from his former law firm named Mark. Having learned Jeff was about to get a legitimate degree, Mark offers him a partnership at a new law firm he was starting up. Although reluctant at first, Jeff is convinced by Mark to accept. The next day, Jeff and the study group arrive at Group Study Room F excited by the new semester. Once inside the room, Annie and the rest of the group then spring a surprise Graduation party in Jeff's honor. They are disappointed to find out that there won't be an official graduation ceremony. The group then insists on accompanying Jeff to Pelton's office in order to witness him receiving his degree. After arriving at the office, Jeff decides the occasion deserves more pageantry.



Official banner
"Well, it's official, it's on a banner."
He gives permission for Annie and the Dean Pelton to organize a graduation ceremony/celebration in his honor. Later, Jeff talks with Britta at a bar and admits his fear that leaving will possibly have a negative affect on the group. Britta reassures him that everyone is happy for him and that even Abed will cope. She mentions he has gotten better with dealing with his problems thanks to her therapy and hardly mentions "The Darkest Timeline". Jeff considers her words and the next day he shows up at the study session with a die. He uses the die to decide who should bring the soda to his graduation ceremony. After rolling it, the die lands in between the cracks of the study table and no number comes up. Abed is worried about the omen it portends but shakes it off leaving Jeff unsatisfied by the outcome.



The roll of the die
Jeff rolls the Yahtzee die one more time.
Meanwhile in Dean Pelton's office, the Dean is too busy putting together a collage of him and Jeff to notice the spectacular arrival of Evil Jeff in the "Prime Timeline". Evil Jeff goes to Jeff's locker for clothing and encounters Britta. She rightly points out Jeff had anxieties about graduating and reminds him that whatever happens the study group will be there to support him. After she leaves, Evil Annie shows up with Evil Jeff's prosthetic arm and he fills her in on what he just learned. He decides that in order to sabotage this timeline they need to ensure this world's Jeff accepts Mark's job offer. To that end they will ruin his relationship with the study group members. Evil Jeff goes to the study room and finds the other Annie decorating for Jeff's graduation ceremony. He turns on the charm and starts to flirt with her toying with her emotions.



Evil Jeff arrives
Evil Jeff arrives in the "Primetimeline".
He then cruelly taunts Annie by declaring he is leaving her and Greendale behind forever sending her running away in tears. She later finds the real Jeff in the cafeteria and confronts him over what his doppelgänger did. Annie berates him for being so callous and declares she's not going to his graduation before storming off. Jeff goes after her unaware he is being observed by Evil Annie. Elsewhere, Abed is in the school's hallway where he is approached by Evil Jeff. Abed immediately recognizes him as an Evil doppelgänger. Evil Jeff shoots him with an upgraded paintball gun and Abed is somehow transported over to The Darkest Timeline. In the Prime timeline, Jeff finds Evil Annie in the library mistaking her for the real one. Evil Annie apologizes for her counterpart's actions with a hug and manages to steal his cell phone.



Silence
Evil Jeff confronts Abed.
In the cafeteria, Troy and Shirley are preparing a sandwich cart at Shirley's Sandwiches. Evil Jeff approaches them and uninvites them to his graduation party while sarcastically insulting them both. Back at The Darkest Timeline, Abed goes to his apartment in that reality. There he finds his double Evil Abed who explains he has reformed and is trying to brighten his reality. Unfortunately, Troy along with his study group have kicked him out for this and Evil Jeff has since taken over his original goals. Evil Abed then volunteers to send Abed back to his world along with special equipment he will need to stop the evil study group. In the "Prime Timeline", Jeff arrives at his graduation ceremony in the study room and is surprised to find it empty. An angry Dean Pelton then shows up with his degree and throws it at him upset over something he claims Jeff had said to him earlier.



Abed and Evil Abed
Ex-"Evil" Abed assists his "Primetimeline" counterpart.
As he leaves, Evil Annie enters the room. She reveals a provocative dress she is wearing and flirts with Jeff. She then produces his cell phone and seductively tries to convince Jeff to accept Mark's job offer. Jeff is too confused by her odd behavior as well as the absence of the rest of the group and attempts to leave. He is shocked when he is prevented from leaving by his Darkest Timeline doppelganger. Evil Jeff encourages him to take the job, leave his friends behind and become selfish again. Jeff refuses saying he has grown and changed too much but Evil Jeff counters that he will always be that person. In defiance, Jeff rips up his degree angering Evil Jeff who decides to shoot him with his paintball gun and send him to the Darkest Timeline. At that moment Kevin/Chang arrives for Jeff's ceremony and valiantly jumps in the way taking the shot meant for Jeff.



Evil Annie in a red dress
Evil Annie makes her move on Jeff.
As Chang is transported to the other world, Jeff manages to escape. Evil Jeff and Evil Annie discuss what to do next when they are interrupted by the arrival of Evil Britta, Evil Troy and Evil Shirley. Over at Abed and Troy's apartment, Annie, Britta, Shirley and Troy have gathered still fuming over what Evil Jeff said. Jeff then enters the apartment and desperately tries to explain what's going on but the group won't listen. Abed then appears and provides enough proof to make them believe. He brought over the "Doppeldeaner" from the Darkest Timeline and shoots him with one of the transported paintball pistols. Abed then declares that they are faced with an invasion from their Evil counterparts. He equips them with similar paintball guns and they proceed to Greendale to face off against their doubles. Back at school, the Evil Study group enters the cafeteria only to be startled by the surprise appearance of Evil Pierce.



The rest of the Evil Study Group arrives
The rest of the Evil Study Group arrives.
He reveals he faked his death to teach them a lesson and heard about them crossing over to this reality. He followed them to offer his help to take on the "lame" study group and asks what he can do to assist. Evil Britta explains the first person to shoot "themselves" wins which Evil Pierce takes too literally. He shoots himself with his own paintball weapon as does Evil Britta (albeit accidentally). When Jeff berates her incompetence, the "Primetimeline's" Britta comes to her defense revealing that the "Good" Study group has arrived. The Prime Timeline Shirley, Troy and Annie quickly dispatch their evil doubles leaving only Evil Jeff behind who forces Abed and Jeff to take cover. Abed then tells Jeff he is daydreaming and that none of this is real. Evil Jeff represents the selfish guy he once was but Abed reminds him his friendship with the study group has changed him for the better.



Abed and Jeff take cover
Abed and Jeff take cover from Evil Jeff's attack.
Emboldened, Jeff calls out his double, freezes the paintball pellet fired at him and shoots Evil Jeff. The scenario is then revealed to be a day dream Jeff had before he threw the Yahtzee die earlier that day. Later at Jeff's graduation ceremony, the group and a few other notable Greendale students are all in attendance. When it's time for a speech, Jeff actually finds himself at a loss for words hardly able to express the gratitude and love he has for his friends. He is interrupted by Pierce who demands to graduate first. Jeff allows him to have the spotlight and afterwards, the group along with Dean Pelton are having a private dinner in the study room. Jeff says he declined Mark's offer and is looking at smaller law firms to work for adding that it will allow him to stay in the area and keep in touch with them. In response, Abed leads the group in a toast to their newly graduated friend.



Jeffs graduation ceremony
Jeff's graduation ceremony.


End tagEdit

Evil Troy and Evil Abed are hosting an evil version of the "Troy and Abed in the Morning!" show. After introducing their special guest "Evil" Ben Chang they present a glimpse into another timeline - the timeline in which Abed went to get the pizza, i.e. Timeline 5 - featuring an alternate Troy and Britta. They proudly show off their child who they have named "Chewbacca". Evil Jeff then interrupts the show to remind Troy and Abed that it's not real. When he leaves Evil Troy and Abed sing song their signature sign off.

Morty's SteakhouseEdit

In the Season One episode "English as a Second Language", Jeff mentions an "unmovable appointment" he has on May 23rd, 2013 at Morty's Steakhouse when he would presumably be graduating from Greendale. This throw away line foreshadowing a possible air date for a Season Four finale had long been the subject of speculation among the fandom who waited years to see if the show would actually reach that target date. Ultimately the finale aired a few weeks earlier on May 9. On Community's official NBC Twitter accounts for all the characters (seen HERE) this missed appointment was addressed by Jeff and the study group.


Community Twitter

Jeff: A long time ago, I made a reservation for tonight. Steak dinner. Alone. But now I've changed my mind. Would you join me?


Troy: I'm in.


Abed: You had me at "Would you join me?"


Annie: We were going to join you anyway, duh doi.


Shirley: Of course, Jeffrey! What can I bring?


Jeff: Nothing, Shirley, don't bring anything!


Shirley: You don't want me to bake something nice?


Britta: Steak is murder.


Jeff: I'll be eating steak. You may have a lettuce wedge.


Britta: Fine. Where?


Jeff: Well the reservation was made for L Street.


Britta: Where the hell is L Street? Sounds douchey.


Troy: YOU DON'T REMEMBER?


Pierce: WHAT THE HELL IS OBAMA DOING IN THIS CONVERSATION?


Jeff: Can we just meet for dinner? Tonight please?


Annie: What happened to Morty's?


Jeff: They got sued out of existence. L Street, tonight. My god, do you write down everything I say? Don't answer that.


Pierce: Why the hell wasn't I invited to this?


Shirley: Pierce, you are invited! You just got invited!


Pierce: Sure, because you all felt guilty for not inviting me!


Jeff: Pierce, check the thread. You were never not invited.


Pierce: Where the hell is the thread? You all have thread?


Shirley: I'm bringing brownies. Jeffrey, no stopping me.


Britta: You know where we should go? Red Door. Cool vibe.


Troy: You are unbelievable!


Jeff: Guys, we are going to L Street.


Britta: I have literally never heard of that place.


Dean: Yoohoo! What are we all doing tonight?


Pierce: private all caps!


Dean: Are we really sure about L Street?


Jeff: Dean, sorry but they only have table for 7.


Dean: That makes very little sense to me. There's no such thing as a table for 7.


Jeff: Well, there is at L Street.


Dean: You know who has a nice big private room? Senior Kevins. Big tables there, just saying.


Troy: Senior Kevins has the onion bucket!


Abed: SK Onion Bucket's the BOMB!


Annie: Let's do Senior Kevins!


Jeff: NO!


Britta: I could destroy an SK Onion Bucket.


Jeff: We're not doing Senior Kevins. L Street.


Dean: But you said they don't have room for us.


Jeff: How did you get in "us?"


Chang: Cool gay joke, bro!


Jeff: Holy crap.


Chang: We doin' SK's tonight?


Abed: SK?


Troy: SK?


Britta: SK?


Annie: SK?


Shirley: SK and brownies?


Dean: SK's, it's decided.


Jeff: I hate you people.


Pierce: L Street. See you there.

Recurring themesEdit

ContinuityEdit

Running gagsEdit

  • Annie's Boobs/Fan Service: Evil Annie appears wearing a tight-fitting, strapless, low-cut red dress. Evil Jeff arrives in the Prime Timeline wearing only his underwear.
  • Britta'd: Evil Britta messes up explaining how to win to Evil Pierce who shoots himself.
  • Deanotation: Pelton says he has to sign his "John Deancock" on Jeff's degree to make it official.
  • Man crush: When signing Jeff's degree, the Dean says he's going to miss their playful, "get a room already" banter.
  • Nice outfit:
  • Troy and Abed in the Morning!: Filmed in the Darkest Timeline.

Pop culture referencesEdit

  • IMDb: In an alternate timeline Troy and Britta name their son Chewbacca which Britta thinks means "one who hunts bounties."
  • TV Guide: Evil Abed asks Abed if he wants to watch Season 3 of The Cape stating it was never cancelled in the darkest timeline.
  • Use your allusion:
    • Evil Jeff arrives in the "Prime Timeline" in a glowing sphere wearing only his underwear. This is similar to the way time travel is done in the "Terminator" film franchise. Evil Annie later reveals he chose to arrive in the Prime timeline that way as he could have worn clothes.
    • A close up of Jeff testing out his mechanical hand is similar to the same shot used in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Luke tries out his new prosthetic hand.
    • Jeff stopping the paintball bullet and examining it is a reference to The Matrix in which Neo does the same with bullets.

Meta referencesEdit

  • Background check: During Jeff's graduation ceremony behind Dean Pelton is a chalkboard and written there are the words "SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE". The episodes writer Megan Ganz admitted on Twitter that she was the one who wrote that there.

ProductionEdit

Cast and crew departuresEdit

On November 16, 2012, writer Megan Ganz tweeted the following:


Now THAT'S the COMMUNITY I know and love. Revise or die, baby. Revise or die.

Accompanying the tweet was a photo of the cover of an episode script for the Season finale. Entitled "Advanced Introduction to Finality" it has the production code #411. The episode was shot out of order as the eleventh episode filmed. This marked Chevy Chase's last official appearance on the show as Pierce Hawthorne (except for a very quick one-off cameo in Season Five premiere "Repilot"). Chase officially quit the show mid-season but made an arrangement to provide voice work for "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" and appear in the finale before leaving. This episode was also the last episode written by Megan Ganz who had been on the show since Season Two. Ganz left to join the writing staff on the ABC show  "Modern Family ".

Advanced Introduction to Finality script

Call sheet leakEdit

On November 22, 2012 a Wikia user called "Bagadonuts99" uploaded on the Community Wiki a image titled "Sift.jpg". It was a photo taken of an official "Community" call sheet that had story details of "Advanced Introduction to Finality". At the time these spoilers were posted months before any episodes from Season Four had aired as it's premiere date was on February 7th, 2013. The writer of the episode Megan Ganz asked that it be taken down and the photo was subsequently deleted. It was restored three years later on November 22, 2015 with an article having been written about it on the anniversary of the event.

Sift

ReceptionEdit

Critical reactionEdit


Reviews:

Matt Carter of Matt Carter Media got the impression that the writers tried "to make the show as weird as humanly possibly [sic]" just in case the episode turned out to be the last episode ever. Overall he thought the episode was "entertaining" and the season as a whole "the biggest mixed bag of the entire show's run. … It may not be worship-worthy any more, but it's still darn good".


Eric Goldman of IGN called the episode "decent". He adds, "I found it funny and to have really good energy – two things that shouldn't be taken for granted, and which Community itself has struggled with at times this season". But he thought the ending was "way over the top saccharine" and that it was "quite awkward seeing Chase/Pierce almost entirely in single shots, likely done so he wouldn't have to stick around any more than the bare minimum". He gave it a 7.6 on the IGNometer.


Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V. Club hated the episode, calling it "easily the worst episode the show has ever produced and a really sour way to end a season that's actually had its moments". He didn't think the Darkest Timeline bits were an effective way of telling the story of Jeff's struggle with leaving the comfortable confines of Greendale, and that bringing it back was more about "repeating elements it thinks the audience will like over and over again" than servicing the story of Jeff's graduation. He gave the episode a D, but the season as a whole B-minus.


Brian Collins of Badass Digest thought the episode was an improvement over "Heroic Origins" which he hated. Like Goldman, he called it "decent" and suggested that may be what the writers were going for: "the writers had the option of doing one last great episode that would have critics saying how brilliant the show is and how everyone's a jerk for not watching it, or of doing one that those die hard fans, the ones who stage flash-mobs and wear felt goatees in protest, could call their own. And if that's true, they went with option B."


Alan Sepinwall of HitFix called the episode "a case of Give The People What They Want run horribly amok". He felt the Darkest Timeline-Paintball mashup "sucked away whatever fun was remaining in each one, while simultaneously undercutting what should have been one of the biggest emotional points of the entire series."


Randy Dankievitch of Processed Media had high hopes for the season finale, but those hopes went unrealized. "Tonight's episode didn't feel like a group of people helping a friend enter the next phase of his life – nor did it feel like a culmination of the season's events, which was completely void of the character and narrative arcs included in the previous three seasons."


Jeremy Sollie of Geek Binge didn't like that so much of the finale a dream sequence. "When an episode is our final look at characters we love for a season – and in Community's case, possibly forever – why would you devote most of the episode to their doppelgangers?" But he though it ended pretty well: "[Their graduation] served as a good ending for Pierce and a solid one for Jeff's time at Greendale. … The following scene with the study group where Jeff told everyone he would try to stop by was also nice." But overall he thought it was the "worst episode ever," giving it a 4.


Gabrielle Moss of TV Fanatic liked the episode, calling it "tightly plotted, overflowing with excellent Community quotes, and gave everyone the Jeff-Annie make-out sesh that you didn't even know you needed (but you actually needed desperately)." She continues, "more than anything, this episode was an excellent tribute to the slow-burn character development of Jeff Winger." She gave it 4.8 stars out of 5.


Britt Hayes of ScreenCrush called the timeline crossover "a neat idea" but had some problems with the execution, saying "the aesthetics feel dated and campy" and that it goes too far in spelling out that the crossover is a dream and what it means, "as if we didn't know that, and as if Jeff couldn't possibly figure that out". Nevertheless, she thought it worked as a finale, whether season or series, and she enjoyed the performances of Donald Glover, Alison Brie, and Chevy Chase.


Mike Papirmeister of the Filtered Lens writes, "If this is truly the end for the Greendale Seven, then kudos to Community for delivering a solidly entertaining finale episode". He thought the ending was "a little cheesy" though. He gave the episode a B-plus.


Cory Barker of tv.com called the episode "truly terrible". There were "a few entertaining bits, but those were outnumbered by a great many more eye-rolling scenarios". But there was some good news: "Book-ending the terrible portion of the episode were two really nice, typical Community Season 4 sequences with Jeff and the group discussing their feelings pretty openly and honestly".


Joe Matar of Den of Geek didn't think it was the worst episode ever — he gives that honor to the 4th season premiere — but this episode reminded him strongly of it, "because so much nonsense was going on that it barely felt like there was a plot, the moral was scatterbrained, and its attempts at reminding us that it's supposed to be Community were terribly misguided." He also thought that bringing back the Darkest Timeline by way of Jeff didn't make sense.


Luke Gelineau of TV Equals had "a few quibbles" with "Advanced Introduction to Finality" but not so many to keep him from calling it "a great episode." He thought "it would have been a lot funnier if Evil Britta showed up and only had her hair slightly colored". Elsewhere on Tv Equals, Jocelyn W offered a look inside Community fandom.


Kevin Lanigan of Chekhov's Gunman called the episode "a microwave burrito". He felt that the episode was "aggressive [sic] middle-of-the-road," with "some very high moments, and some moments that made me absolutely cringe". Much as a microwave burrito has "a hot and tasty outside covering up the still-undercooked insides like a shameful refried secret."


Emily Gagne of TV Guide Canada thought the episode felt "slapped together," especially the script. "A lot of what went down in 'Advanced Intro to Finality' felt forced and not in the pop culture-saturated, yet emotional Community spirit."


Josh Gondelman of Vulture didn't like the episode at all, but chooses not to dwell on that — "Maybe it's my background as an early childhood educator, where I learned to praise the positive and offer gentle criticism when I'm disappointed" — and instead writes at some length about "what will be thrown away if Community is not renewed for a fifth season."


Ben Umstead of Twitch didn't think "overly cartoonish Evil Jeff" worked, saying that "for this to be some dark shade of the really terribly cruel Jeff we so loathed to love in season one, well, that cartoon sneer and gravely voice didn't go in the right direction for me." He also makes an interesting observation about how in a sense, "Community has pretty much been four different shows (with many even smaller variations) over the course of four years. If you will... four different timelines converging on an emotional constant."


Maldito Bastardo of Historias Bastardas Extarordinarias gives a positive review written in Spanish.


Roger Cormier of Splitsider reviews the entire season, but does find room to say of last night's episode, "I did not hate last night's season finale as much as some others did."


Jennifer Marie of A Still and Quiet Conscience contributes a lengthy review in which she praises Megan Ganz for taking "a concept that should have been – that COULD have been – completely absurd and turned it into something fundamentally significant for the hero of the series."


Blaire Knight-Graves of We Love TV More was not a fan of the episode. "Knowing that the fans had a special place in their hearts for "Remedial Chaos Theory" as well as the three paintball episodes, the showrunners blended them and created a Frankenstein's monster of misguided fanservice and lazy storytelling that may very well be the worst episode of the series." At the same site, Ricky Diaz offers a defense of the fourth season.


Dan Stalcup of Character Grades graded harshly, giving the episode a D-plus and saying it "let us all down." The characters also were graded, of course: Jeff got a D; Annie, a C; Britta, a C-minus; Shirley, a C-plus; Troy, a C-minus; Abed, a C; Pierce, a B-Plus; the Dean, a D-plus, and Chang, a B.

Writer Megan Ganz had this to say about the finale before it even aired during a Reddit AMA she participated in :

This is probably a bad thing to say -- especially when we haven't aired one episode yet -- but I wish I could redo the finale of season 4. I had to write it in a bit of a pinch, during a period of upheaval on the show. I wrote it too long (like... 6 minutes too long) and we had to cut a ton out of it in the edit bay. Part of me fears I was too freaked out to do my best work on it, because I wanted it to be a finale worthy of a show it could never be worthy of. Finales are generally terrible, and I am expecting that people will say this one is trying to hard, because it is. Because I was. God was I ever trying too hard on that one. My hope is that you'll all love the Halloween episode and forgive me for the finale. Maybe you'll like it. I have no way of knowing anymore.Megan Ganz Reddit AMA

RatingsEdit

Ratingswise, "Advanced Introduction to Finality" was up a tenth over last week, earning a 1.5 rating/5 share in the 18-49 demo. On Twitter, #OriginStory trended in the US and worldwide, at one point hitting the top spot on the US trend list and continuing to trend for at least 15 minutes after the episode ended.

QuotesEdit

I figured these warping guns would convince you. Listen up people! We've got an inter-dimensional battle on our hands. Our evil counterparts are waging a war, and it's either us or us.Abed
All right. Let's light up these dark suckers!Jeff
Season Four Episodes

1. "History 101"
2. "Paranormal Parentage"
3. "Conventions of Space and Time"
4. "Alternative History of the German Invasion"
5. "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"
6. "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking"
7. "Economics of Marine Biology"

8. "Herstory of Dance"
9. "Intro to Felt Surrogacy"
10. "Intro to Knots"
11. "Basic Human Anatomy"
12. "Heroic Origins"
13. "Advanced Introduction to Finality"

Season 4 DVD xover

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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