Community: Pierce Bottles Everyone Up In “Cooperative Polygraphy”

Troy carries Pierce in a lava lamp. (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Troy carries Pierce in a lava lamp. (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

After last week’s sad news of Pierce’s death, we now have the grieving episode. The Study Group enters the study room after attending Pierce’s unusual funeral. It’s nice that, despite their firm belief this is a cult, the group still respected Pierce enough to wear the traditional garbs that bear a similar resemblance to the Cookie Crisp Wizard. In life, they may have complained a lot about how awful Pierce could be but he was still their friend.

“I thought you guys hated Pierce.” —Benjamin Franklin Chang

Or was he? An investigative team lead by a Mr. Stone walks into the study room with a polygraph test, stating that Pierce Hawthorne believed (if he died) someone might have murdered him. The group must undergo the invasion of a lie detector if they wish to be bequeathed with the gifts Pierce left for them in his will.

Everyone, of course, is suspicious. The last time Pierce did this, he faked his own dying in a hospital and tried to turn everyone against each other because he felt left out of the group. Now, it seemed like he was doing it again, except he is actually dead and could gain nothing from the end result.

But Pierce has an inheritance of $20 million. A massively flawed individual like himself knew he flaws and he owned those flaws like it was a badge of honor. (They weren’t.) And then Pierce died, but he died rich.  So, Jeff says, isn’t it worth admitting they are all flawed, like Pierce, and die rich, too?

Once the polygraph test starts, the truth bombs fly across the court of the table.

  • Britta smoked weed at Shirley’s son’s baptism
  • Troy and Abed use Jeff’s Netflix’s account and keeps changing his review for The Grey
  • Annie took extra rent from her roommates and put the money into a savings account
  • Shirley stopped serving tofu for the tofu sandwich, which Britta buys specifically for the tofu
  • Jeff keeps a box of stuff women leave behind in his apartment (Pierce call these “tokens” and Jeff couldn’t actually deny that)
  • Annie drugged them all so they could study for a test with more energy
  • Jeff gave The Grey four stars on Netflix!
  • Troy stole his handshake with Abed from a YouTube video!

“Cooperative Polygraphy” is Community’s second bottle episode. But unlike “Cooperative Calligraphy,” there’s no moving around the study room and using the space in a meltdown rage over a purple pen. When the will begins to be read aloud, and everyone’s secrets are let out to breathe, the fighting is done in their seats. They’re not running away from each other or needing their own space. They’re a family now, even when angry or hurt or feel massively violated after learning one of their friends implanted a tracking device to know each other their exact locations on his phone. (It was Abed. We still don’t know where he put the devices. Pierce is buried with his.)

They sit through hearing all the awful things they’ve done to each that Pierce somehow knew about and now revealed. They’re just as bad as him. Or, maybe, they were no better than him. Everyone’s flawed. Pierce admitted to his mistakes, even took proud ownership of the uncensored things he said.

I say things others won’t. That has value. —Pierce Hawthorne of Hawthorne Wipes, R.I.P.

When Mr. Stone reads the last part of the will, it’s unlike the previous accusatory statements from earlier. In true Pierce Hawthorne form, you have to get through all the muck before you realize how much he actually cares and how much you care about him, too.

Pierce Hawthorne bequeaths:

  • his iPod Nano & sperm—Britta Perry, who doesn’t realize how wonderful she truly is
  • his timeshare in Florida & sperm—Shirley Bennett, the woman who is driven and works so hard
  • a tiara & sperm—Annie Edison, his favorite
  • fine scotch & sperm—Jeff Winger, who is sure he is not gay
  • sperm—Abed Nadir, the guy Pierce never understood

Finally, for Troy Barnes—the one with the heart of a hero, Pierce’s roommate, Pierce’s friend—Pierce bequeaths $14.3 million and sperm. But first, Troy has to sail around the world in Pierce’s boat.

“Become your own man,” Pierce says in his will.

The episode, which started as just a way to get everyone in one room and have a family feud, ends with Troy saying, “I’ll do it.” The character of Troy never really had direction in life, especially after that Air Conditioning Repair murder in season 3. He was a great leader with no one to lead, and a heart of gold that often got mistaken for naivety. But now, here was everything he ever wanted. Millions of dollars, and a boat.

So, I guess that’s how Donald Glover will be leaving the show. Troy will be sailing the oceans on his own, finding himself and leaving his friends behind. If the character has to depart, I’m glad it’s for a self-discovery quest and newfound riches. We won’t have to worry about Troy Barnes.

Next week Abed will plan an epic go-away party for Troy, which will also be Glover’s final episode. Prepare your tissues and expect chaos to ensue at Greendale!
Highlights:

  • Pierce died from dehydration from filling up all those sperm cylinders
  • Troy and Abed in the Mourning!
  • Troy accidentally opened Pierce’s lava lamp and tries sucking it into his mouth to save Pierce’s remains.
  • “Have you ever masturbated in this study room?” Chang got out of the interrogation while he still could.
  • I want the job of that woman who only talked if someone told a lie. “That’s a lie.” “That’s true.”
  • I’m really glad with the way the show still treated the character of Pierce, even after Chevy Chase left in such a mess. Community always stays true to its craft of storytelling, and often doesn’t let real life taint the actual world of the show.
Jennifer Babu

Jennifer Babu is the editor-in-chief of Videshi Magazine. She's a film & TV addict, and suffers from sleep deprivation (self-inflicted). Follow her on twitter @jenibabu.

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