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Published on May 13th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart

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Community Season 6 Episode 10 “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry” Review

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Three weeks earlier… Have you ever tried to set up a flashback and it just won’t take? No, me neither, but it seems to be a major problem for Abed in this week’s episode of Community, which finds the committee crammed into Elroy’s RV. They’re hauling a nineteen foot fibreglass hand across the mountains of Colorado to deliver it to an eBay buyer, no prizes for guessing that the Dean Craig Pelton’s poor judgement is the reason for them having the hand in the first place. As the group bickers and gripes Elroy realises that he has miscalculated the amount of fuel necessary to transport a giant hand, causing the RV to break down. The Dean inevitably whips everyone up into a panic and Jeff attempts to calm them by suggesting that they charge their phones whilst they still have power. Elroy goes to investigate their options, which doesn’t include a towing service as Annie and Frankie discover via terrible telephone etiquette.

Meanwhile Abed is sent to the back of the bus for insisting that the situation is all a show and therefore needs the setting up device of a proper flashback sequence. Elroy announces that the only options are waiting overnight for the engine battery to reset whilst using the cabin battery for heat, or switching the batteries, which would risk frying both and leave them in the mountains with no heat. Sadly it is immediately clear that the second option is unavailable due to the “cartoonish vampiric orgy of personal devices” draining all the remaining power, but look on the bright side- “most conventional weapons don’t require electricity.”

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As they settle in for the night Elroy distributes blankets according to each individuals responsibility for their situation, Britta receives a washcloth since she was also charging a hairdryer amongst other things. Whilst Abed becomes preoccupied with trying to force himself into a flashback of the meeting three weeks earlier in which they agreed to the trip, the rest of the group begins to apologise for their individual roles in the situation and for lashing out at each other. All except for the Dean who says he forgives everyone for their transgressions, rather than apologising for buying a giant disembodied hand from the internet. As the others become more strident Craig begins to cry, dramatically declaring that he’s a bad Dean but he’s an adult and they can’t tell him what to do. He finally admits that he doesn’t want to sell the hand and storms off outside. Abed finds him sitting glumly on the roof in the palm of the hand, he doesn’t want to shout at the Dean, rather he’s concerned about the dramatic structure of the situation and the fact that they’re “structurally overdue for a disaster”. Right on cue one of the straps holding the gargantuan hand snaps and Abed tells the Dean to come with him into a flashback to prevent this disaster. There they tell the group to secure the hand more securely and taser Jeff for interfering. However back in reality none of that has actually happened and the hand topples from the roof. As the others pour out of the van to lift the fallen appendage from the apparently trapped Dean, the uninjured Craig actually slips into the RV behind them and locks them all out in the cold night air.

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Although climbing into the fist of the giant hand seems to be a sensible survival strategy to a very stoned Britta, everyone else realises that their only chance of not freezing is to reason with the Dean. Jeff points out that Abed has bonded with him, so he should be the one to speak to him. When Abed admits that he never actually bonded due to his preoccupation with the necessary flashback and begins to lose his place in time, Jeff resorts to slapping him.

Frankie is horrified and questions why anyone is surprised that Abed is alienated. She then explains to Abed that he has been unable to set up a flashback into the past because this is actually a flashback from the future, and that Abed has been sent back to the present to help them communicate with the Dean. Of course, this works perfectly and the newly wise Abed (apparently looking back from a post-apocalyptic waste land thirty standard galactic time units in the future) explains to the Dean the true significance of the hand. The hand has two functions and two meaning, to grip or to release, if we hold too tightly or too long to something we miss the opportunity to experience something else. The Dean relents and soon everything is back to normal, with the edition of a nineteen foot tall hand in the quad wear a wrist band bearing the message – “keep a loose grip”. Also Chang is covered in feathers and Frankie might be Obi Wan Kenobi.

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After the last few relatively large scale episodes it was about time for a bottle episode and a chance to focus on the characters interpersonal relationships, all be in the shadow of a gigantic hand. Clearly the strain of keeping the show realistic and avoiding the fourth-wall schtick is beginning to show in Abed’s character as his self awareness wars with the chosen reality for this season. Will it hold or will we have another dystopian dictatorship before the end? Can we make it to the ‘And A Movie’ without a return to chaos? Forgive me that I hope not. Elroy really stood out for both his comedic and dramatic timing in this episode and I’d quite like to see him thrown into the deep end, same for Frankie but I imagine she’d take in stride as she did with Abed’s flashback fixation.

The closing sequence in which we met the only other person in the state of Colorado who would want a giant hand (with cameos by comedians Matt Besser and Danielle Schneider) was a nice touch, as was the restraint when it came to Chang brief appearance this week. I have to admit to being slightly disappointed that the giant hand didn’t generate any references to the giant shoe from Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, but it’s a minor complaint in the scheme of things. Overall a pretty good demonstration that the new lineup can work together as a whole without the rest of the student cast around them or new one-off characters thrown in.

Vyctoria Hart

Vyctoria Hart

Steampunk illustrator, disabled cosplayer, cat wrangler, maker of terrible puns. I draw under the name of Phantoms Siren.
Vyctoria Hart

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