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Geothermal Escapism

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5X5 Abed and lava

     Geothermal Escapism  
Director: Joe RussoWriter: Tim SaccardoAired: January 23, 2014 — Season: Five — Number: Five
Summary: Abed stages an epic, high stakes competition in honor of Troy who is preparing to leave Greendale.


Psychology has taught me the human mind has a tendency to re-channel separation anxiety in the form of frivolity and giddiness.
— Britta

In the study room, the study group throws a going away party for Troy before he embarks on his trip around the world. The atmosphere is at first upbeat until Britta brings the mood down by reminding everyone it's okay to be sad that Troy is leaving. The PA system interrupts the party relaying another one of Dean Pelton's announcements. He explains that Abed has a going-away present for Troy: A school wide game of "Hot Lava". Except for Britta, the rest of the study group is eager to participate. Considering this avoidance of the inevitable on Abed's part she leaves to confront him about it. Meanwhile, Abed adds incentive for everyone to play by offering his first edition of the comic book "Space Clone" valued at $50,000. He begins a countdown to the start of the game as Britta watches the students scramble to begin their participation.

5x05-Abed Pelton announcement
Let's all play Hot Lava
Sometime later in the teachers' lounge, Professor Duncan makes his way across overturned furniture in search of food when Britta enters the room. She is still looking for Abed and is only playing the game because she's worried about him. Duncan's only concern is the prize and he launches himself at Britta only to have his attack thwarted by the timely arrival of Jeff and Annie. They knock the chair he was about to step on out from under him sending him into the "lava". Britta agrees to join their alliance and they begin to make their way through the halls by "centipeding" with chairs. Britta voices her concern to Jeff and Annie that the lava game is Abed's way to put off saying goodbye to Troy. Jeff dismisses her theory as he spots some loose chairs, a valuable commodity in the game. As they approach, several students pop out of the nearby lockers surrounding the trio. Ben Chang emerges as the leader of these "Locker Boys" and demands they turn over whatever provisions they have before they are sent into the lava.

5x05-Jeff Britta Annie treasure
Momma Mahogany!
It's then that Troy and Abed heroically make an entrance and tell Chang to back off. The Locker Boys make a hasty retreat although not because of their threat but due to the dramatic arrival of another player, Buzz Hickey. He is driving an intimidating makeshift vehicle created from a school desk and propelled by fire extinguishers. Hickey plows into Chang's territory and makes quick work of the Locker Boys as the study group members try to get out of his way. Abed tells Jeff and Annie to go on ahead and that he and Troy will meet up with them at "Shirley's Island". When Britta interjects and encourages Abed to say goodbye to his best friend, he orders Troy to strand Britta in the hallway. As Hickey bears down on her, Britta braces herself for the worst. Instead, Hickey takes pity on her situation and invites Britta aboard. Troy and Abed arrive at Shirley Island, joining Jeff and Annie in the peaceful demilitarized oasis inside the cafeteria.

5x05-Abed Troy heroes
The cavalry arrives
Shirley cordially welcomes them but turns less friendly when Abed questions her about something called "The Orb". Troy mentions to Abed that he regrets how they treated Britta, especially on his "last day" but Abed doesn't seem to understand the phrase. They are interrupted by the arrival of Hickey and his army of "chair-walkers". Britta is also with him and calls out to the Island's inhabitants to quit playing childish games to face their hide feelings about Troy's imminent departure. Hickey's army attacks and the ensuing battle claims many participants including Annie. As Britta squares off against Jeff, inside the Island Abed continues to ask Shirley about the orb. She pulls away a blanket to reveal a large plastic mound at the heart of her Island. Outside, Britta manages to de-chair Jeff after a lengthy struggle.

Total badass
Suddenly, Troy and Abed emerge from the Island inside a human-sized inflatable hamster ball that allows freedom of movement while protecting them from the floor. They demolish the rest of Hickey's combatants and face off against Hickey himself. Hickey dodges their attack but slices the plastic wall of the orb with a knife. Troy and Abed retreat out of the cafeteria and are pursued by Hickey and Britta as the orb slowly deflates. Troy and Abed roll down a stairway to the basement and flee the crumpled orb. Abed suggests escaping to the vents where they can continue to play forever but Troy favors making a final stand because the game has to end eventually. Abed then breaks down and admits that it's not a game for him, he really sees lava instead of the floor and the it will only go away if Troy doesn't leave. Hickey and Britta slide down the stairs on a bookcase and she continues her aggressive therapy. Troy explains the situation to her and Britta backs off.

5x05-Hickey Troy Abed battle
Hickey prepares to battle the dynamic duo
Hickey doesn't care and starts to knock over the shelves which Troy and Abed are holding onto. Troy is still safe but Abed is forced to jump up into the rafters. After Britta eliminates Hickey from the game, Abed realizes that the floor is only lava because he refuses to let go of Troy. He decides to fall to the ground and lays motionless on the floor pretending to be "dead". Troy prepares to forfeit the game but Britta stops convinced that she can fake fix him. Inspired by the comic book prize, she suggests fake cloning Abed and, with Troy's help, improvises a pretend device that creates a perfect clone of Abed. Abed awakens and tells them that he's not a perfect clone: he's missing Abed's wild emotionality and is now able to let Troy go. Troy admits to being scared about leaving as well so Abed suggests letting his clone leave instead. Troy agrees and also falls into the "lava" so he can be cloned as well, leaving Britta the winner. Afterwards outside the library, Troy prepares to say goodbye to the study group as his sailing vessel pulls up behind them.

5x05-Britta Troy fake fix
A fake fix for a fake death
Britta tells him she's excited for the things he is about to experience and let's him know he was a better lover than Jeff. Annie is happy they have become close friends and Troy tells her he regrets that he ignored her in high school. Jeff confides that since he never left the state of Colorado Troy is now much cooler than he is. Shirley thanks him for putting up with her parental ways but Troy assures her she is the badass of the group. "Clone Abed" then informs "Clone Troy" that the cloning process included homing pigeon DNA which gives him a compulsion to return. Jeff worries that Troy will have trouble sailing alone . Troy responds that Pierce's will arranged for someone to join the trip to verify he doesn't cheat. His favorite celebrity LeVar Burton then appears from inside the ship and invites Troy on board. The rig pulls away as Troy and the study group wave goodbye to each other.

5x05-Britta Annie Troy Jeff Shirley Abed Childish Tycoon
Come Sail Away on the Childish Tycoon

End TagEdit

Troy asks LeVar Burton questions about Star Trek but, rather than criticisms of various episodes, he asks about the minutiae of on-set life.

Recurring themesEdit


  • That just happened: This episode deals with Troy's departure which was announced at the end of the previous episode, "Cooperative Polygraphy".
  • Returning students: Fat Neil, Garrett, Vicki, Magnitude, Leonard, and Star-Burns participate in the game.
  • Returning Faculty: Ian Duncan and Buzz Hickey return.
  • Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: Chang screams that his celebrity crush is Nathan Fillion who guest stars in the next episode, "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking".
  • Previously:
    • The Community Webisode series "Study Break" was the first time the study group tried to play a game of lava.
    • In the Season Two episode "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking", Troy was catatonic in the presence of LeVar Burton.
    • A box of "Rod & Barry's Plumbing" brand pipe wrenches is in the basement shelves knocked down by Hickey. In the Season Three Episode The First Chang Dynasty, Troy and Abed use the pseudonyms Rod and Barry when pretending to be plumbers to infiltrate Greendale.
    • A version of the Styx song Come Sail Away plays as Troy boards the Childish Tycoon and leaves Greendale. Troy once mentioned in the Season One episode "Debate 109" that the song makes him cry. Though he doesn't cry in this episode, the song plays during the part of the episode he might be expected to tear up: the farewell.
    • The school is once again taken over by a supposedly simple game that turns serious because of a high stakes prize.
    • Troy, Shirley, Pierce and Star Burns played a variant of the lava game while taking a sailing class in "Beginner Pottery", with the parking lot serving as the ocean and Pierce "drowning". It was during this class that Troy would learn some of the skills he would need to complete the voyage he embarks on at the end of this episode.
  • Familiar face: Actor LeVar Burton, last seen in the Season Two episode "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking", makes his return as Troy's co-captain for his voyage.
  • Discontinuity: In this episode Jeff tells Troy that he never left Colorado yet in the Season One episode "Communication Studies" he told Britta that he went to Disneyland once. It's possible he was lying in either case just to make the other person feel better.
  • Coined and minted: Several new terms related to the game of Hot Lava are introduced. These includes "Floor strider", "Inch worm", "Scootinany", "Centipeding", and "Chair Walker" (For a full definition of these terms see the "Hot Lava" article).

Running gagsEdit

  • Attention students!: Dean Pelton announces over the PA system that in honor of Troy's leaving Abed will be hosting a campus wide game of "Hot Lava".
  • Raging against the machine: Britta regrets the homogenization of world culture due to American imperialism.
  • Troy and Abed in the morning: The duo sing "Troy and Abed in a bubble" while zorbing.
  • WWBJD: Shirley has a wall of the fallen participants of the Hot Lava competition which is divided between those who are Christian and those who are Secular.
  • Britta'd: Britta catches herself before Britta'ing her goodbye to Troy.

Pop culture referencesEdit

  • Shout out:
    • Annie mentions the "reverse Danny Thomas" as the name for a way to move around on chairs without touching the floor.
    • Chang loudly proclaims that his same sex celebrity crush is Nathan Fillion.
    • Abed mentions the character Keyser Söze, a pseudonym for Kevin Spacey's character in The Usual Suspects.
    • The name of Troy's boat, 'Childish Tycoon', is a reference to Donald Glover's rap career, under the stage name Childish Gambino, a 'tycoon' that he left Community to pursue.
  • IMDb: Abed wasn't a fan of the climax of The Jewel of the Nile.
  • TV Guide: Troy asks LeVar Burton inconsequential questions about Star Trek.
  • Product placement:
    • Britta mentions how the magazine "Teen Vogue" is setting a terrible example for today's young women.
    • Chang apparently pays his group of "Locker Boys" in M&M's.
  • Name that tune: Aimee Mann's cover of Come Sail Away plays at the end of the episode. Another song by the singer ("Wise Up") was previously featured in "Spanish 101".

Meta referencesEdit

  • Homage: Most of the episode takes place in a dystopian/fantasy environment which Community creator Dan Harmon mentioned on Season Five DVD commentary was inspired by the Kevin Costner film "Waterworld ".
  • IRL: Magnitude proclaims that he is actually British. The actor who portrays him, Luke Youngblood, is British.
  • Use your allusion:
    • Chang and his "locker boys" are dressed up like Rufio and the lost boys from the film Hook.
    • Garrett telling a story on Shirley's Island about the "Now, now" times is a reference to "The Tell" segment in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome".
    • Abed's fall into the lava references the fall of Sméagol in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King". Similarly, Troy's fall into the lava is similar to Ripley's suicide in "Alien 3". Like Ripley, Troy also returns as a "clone".
    • Resume: Britta shouts 'Who's there, bitch!' after knocking Jeff down similar to the 'Bitch' catchphrase used by Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad. Jonathan Banks plays a character who acts as a mentor to both Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad and Britta in this episode.


Don't regress to primal behavior just because it's allowed. We're human beings, not the editors of Teen Vogue.Britta
This is why the British never win at sports! Because everyone else cheats!Professor Duncan
Sweet, sweet portable chairs. Plastic gold, four-legged diamonds... you claiming this? Lava joust?Jeff
Did you all hit your heads on each other's heads?Britta
Cirque du so long you high-stepping acro-bastards.Leonard
Knock, knock, Britta.Jeff
I'm not going to say 'who's there' because someone on the floor is knocking.Britta
Well that's lame. You have to say 'who's there'.Jeff
That's who's there!Britta
I'm actually British!Magnitude
What time did you guys have to get up in the morning? Does every writer write for one character? What a best boy? (I saw it in the credits once) Why don't they call it Planet Trek? You never go to a star. You-, not one episode.Troy, asking LeVar Burton about Star Trek


Script for Geothermal
The episode script
On September 13, Community writer Tim Saccardo tweeted a picture of this episode's script with the caption:
After 1 month of rewrites, 3 allnighters and immeasurable amounts of insanity... It begins #community #ep504
Writer Tim Saccardo posted a draft of the episodes script on his Twitter account. It contained deleted dialogue including an extended goodbye from Abed to Troy:

Abed: Clone Troy.

Troy: Clone Abed.

Abed: From a clone perspective I can see what an important figure Original Troy was in Original Abed's life. Original Abed spent decades unaware he could connect with other people. But his friendship with Original Troy showed him he doesn't just have to observe the world. He can be a part of it.

Troy: Me, too. Original Troy used to care so much about what people thought. But Original Abed showed him it was okay to be himself. I'm really glad those two met.

This completed scene can be seen in the video below.

5X5 Extended goodbye
Extended goodbye scene

Production diagram for the introduction of the "Juggernaut"
Production diagram for hallway scene

Behind the scenes videoEdit

Community Between the Takes Episode 5 - Community04:45

Community Between the Takes Episode 5 - Community


Episode clipEdit

Hickey and The Locker Boys - Community Highlight03:45

Hickey and The Locker Boys - Community Highlight

Promotional photosEdit

Behind the scenes photosEdit

Writer Tim Saccardo posted a few exclusive behind the scenes photos of the making of this episode on his Twitter account.

External linksEdit

Season Five Episodes

1. "Repilot"
2. "Introduction to Teaching"
3. "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"
4. "Cooperative Polygraphy"
5. "Geothermal Escapism"
6. "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking"
7. "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"

8. "App Development and Condiments"
9. "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
10. "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
11. "G.I. Jeff"
12. "Basic Story"
13. "Basic Sandwich"

Community The Complete Fifth Season

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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