Community: “Cooperative Polygraphy” review

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two weeks ago, Community casually acknowledged that Pierce had been expelled from Greendale. During last weeks fantastic “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” episode, we learned that Pierce had passed away. While it seemed odd that it was mentioned in passing without any explanation, the writers had left this weeks episode up for more explanation.


“Cooperative Polygraphy” is one of the very few episodes of Community that stayed almost exclusively in the study room. As the group returns to their study room after Pierce’s funeral, making cracks at the “weird, futuristic cult” he’d apparently joined. Soon, Chang comes in to berate the group over what he deemed to be fake sadness for the death of Pierce. Then Mr. Stone (portrayed by Walton Goggins), who worked for Pierce, comes in and states it was Pierce’s final wish to have the study group investigated for his death, regardless of how natural the cause seemed. To be cleared and claim any bequeathments from his will, the gang must submit to a polygraph test. As Mr. Stone berates the group with questions that Pierce instructed him to ask, the group, as usual, finds out a ton of new information about what each of them does in their own time. As usual, Pierce has pitted the group against once another.

Community - Season 5

“Yeah, well, if I wanted the government in my uterus, I’d fill it with oil and Hispanic voters.” – Britta Perry.

Over the course of the episode we’ll learn that Abed and Troy use Jeff’s Netflix account, they have a zombie escape plan that doesn’t involve the group, Britta got high before Shirley’s sons baptism, Troy stole his handshake with Abed and Abed had GPS tracking devices implanted in everyone in the group.

Jeff: I think we can all agree that the gross thing here is that Pierce was snooping through my stuff.

Troy: Not really, Abed and I go through your stuff all the time. Why do you keep bread in the freezer?

Abed: And why does your bathroom mirror say, “You’re special,” when you fog it up?

Community - Season 5

As the study group prepares to wash all their collective sins away and begin the final round of polygraph questioning, they’re thrown completely for a loop. After the first two rounds of questions were aimed at pitting the members of the group against each other, the final round featured heartfelt sentiments from Pierce, merely asking if they knew what he truly thought of each of them. After stating what Pierce felt, Mr. Stone started passing out bequeathments; an iPod Nano and a canister of sperm for Britta, a tim share in Florida and a canister of sperm for Shirley, canisters of sperm for Jeff and Abed and a tiara and canister of sperm for Annie. While most of these were cut and dry, it wasn’t until he got to Troy where a bombshell was truly dropped. After being handed his “obligatory canister of sperm”, he was also told that he’d be receiving Pierce’s share of Hawthorne Wipes, valued at 14.3 million dollars. To claim this, he was told that he would have to sail the boat Childish Tycoon around the world by himself, because Pierce was never able to.

Before this season started we knew that Troy would be leaving Greendale, but we never knew how. And until the final few minutes of his second to last episode, we still had no idea why he would be leaving or how it would be handled. While it was certainly a surprise, I did enjoy how it was handled. With a level of insanity and heart that only Community can muster, this last episode is going to be a real tear-jerker.

The Good

+ Pierce screwing with the group, even in death.

+ Walton Goggins was fantastic.

+ "I didn't just masturbate in the study room. I masturbated everywhere. EVERYWHERE!"

+ End credits scene.

+ The explanation of how Pierce actually died.

The Bad

- Finally know why Troy is leaving Greendale.

- Only one more episode of Troy.

- Pierce's apparent connection to Troy didn't feel very established prior to this.


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