“Community” said goodbye to Pierce Hawthorne in a ridiculous, talkative and surprisingly touching tribute, “Cooperative Polygraphy.” There probably was no better way to remember the oft-awful character than with a polygraph machine, Walton Goggins and one last Pierce-inspired fight. Also, sperm.

Pierce is now a lava lamp

It’s been an ongoing — albeit subtle — joke on “Community” that Pierce is a member of a strange religion that takes inspiration from Buddhism, Scientology and whatever the writers were smoking when they thought of it. So of course the funeral would involve blue uniforms and the vaporizing of Pierce’s essence.

True to “Community” form, no matter how silly all of this was, it did signify mourning (not just “Troy and Abed are in mourning!”). The study group really was sad to lose their racist, foolish, occasionally antagonistic friend. All of the arguments that came out later prove that.

community-cooperative-polygraphy-recap-donald-glover-nbc.JPGWalton Goggins seeks the truth

Did someone murder Pierce?

The answer is no, of course not. But since this is Pierce we’re talking about, there simply must be a full-on group polygraph to make absolutely sure. And the group puts up with it because a) that’s just what you do with Pierce and b) they’re going to inherit stuff from the old man if they do answer questions.

Naturally, the questions quickly descend into madness as every bit of information — and Pierce had a surprising amount of that — causes every member of the study group to turn on everyone else. It’s like Pierce is back in person!

Except that Pierce isn’t back. Pierce is dead, and all of the irritations and the petty arguments have to come to an end without the man around to perpetuate them.

Amazing gifts. Also, sperm

With his polygraph questions having ripped every one of his friends down to their cores and left everything bare, only Pierce’s bequeathals can bring us back again. Kind words (for the most part) and real sentiment accompany tokens to keep Pierce Hawthorne alive.

Britta gets an iPod full of music to keep things silly. Also, sperm. Annie gets that tiara Pierce once tried to give her when he was faking his deathbed. It turns out that this was a special trinket from his own mother. She also gets sperm. 

Jeff gets a bottle of good scotch and one final homophobic joke. Also, sperm. Abed gets sperm and nothing else, because Pierce thought he was crazy. Shirley is given the use of Pierce’s timeshare for herself and her husband (ouch). And sperm.

Then there’s Troy. You’d have to be paying attention over the past few seasons to remember this, but there has always been a bit of a bond between Pierce and Troy — ever since that time Troy lived in Hawthorne Manor.

Now, Pierce wants Troy to find himself and become a man. To facilitate this, Troy is getting a yacht to sail around the world. He’ll get millions of dollars afterwards. Also, sperm.

Yes, this is how they’re writing Troy off the show. It works.

Beer Goggins?

It’s not until the final tag that we learn a couple of important things about this episode of “Community.” First of all, Goggins’ lawyer character — so straight-laced for the whole polygraph — is a full-on party animal! But it’s a safe bet that the Greendale students will not be hanging out with him again anyway.

There’s also the matter of how Pierce Hawthorne died. You see, in the process of creating all that sperm, Pierce developed dehydration and died.

That seems about right.

community-cooperative-polygraphy-recap-walton-goggins-beer-nbc.JPGOdds and ends

  • Will anyone ever be comfortable at that table after Chang’s revelations?
  • There’s a certain symmetry to this episode — Season 2’s bottle episode, “Cooperative Calligraphy,” also took place in the study room and involved soul-baring fights.
  • How believable is that friendship web series? And how unbelievable is it that Troy and Abed have never started a web series?

Posted by:Laurel Brown