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TV That Matters: Community, The Walking Dead

By Matt Ern Columnist

 

Community- “Advanced...”

Grade: B-

When I heard “Community” was doing another documentary episode, I groaned a little bit. The show has already pulled off two spectacular episodes using the format, and again it seemed as though the new writers were going down their “Community” tropes checklist, writing the episode simply because it seemed like a “Community” thing to do. And unfortunately, that’s what this episode felt like. This episode could have played out just fine without the documentary style, the only time it was really necessary to the story was when Jeff thinks he can catch Chang in a lie. But not only does that not help expose Chang in the end, but there were probably other ways Jeff could have maybe caught him. As it stands, there’s no real reason the show needed to go faux-documentary again. The show has also done the joke of giving the characters funny names/titles before as well. But if you’re willing to overlook what amounts to a somewhat bogus premise, there’s an okay episode of “Community” lurking here somewhere. Like most episodes this season, it barely measures up to what the show used to be capable of, but it does elicit a few chuckles, and that’s not bad. Even at its best, “Community” was never a show I watched for laughs, I was more interested in how creative it could be. That’s not to say the show couldn’t be really funny, it just wasn’t the main draw for me. While the new season isn’t exactly hilarious, the one strength I would would say it has lies in the comedy. Creatively, it’s been a sore disappointment, but I’ve still laughed at bit along the way. Based on the last few episodes, I’d say that the new “Community,” despite living in the shadow of its former self, has finally found its footing in the sense that the episodes have been consistently decent. The new season will only be a true success if they can turn out okay episodes that aren’t obsessed with what the show used to be.

The Walking Dead- “Prey”

Grade:  B

“Prey” is sort of an odd episode; it technically advances the plot a lot, but also feels a lot like a breather episode before the inevitable next conflict between Woodbury and the prison. The episode itself is slow and quiet, even if it’s a step forward in the season-long arc. The result is sort of a mixed bag. It’s not nearly as good as “Clear,” which served as a great stand-alone breather episode this season, and it’s also not as good as plot-heavy episodes like “I Ain’t a Judas” or “Arrow on the Doorpost.” The episode’s strength is that it focuses strictly on Woodbury, which is a welcome change of pace from the past few episodes that jumped back and forth between the two camps. In some ways, it’s the counterpart of “Clear,” which focused just on a few of the prison characters. “Prey” also saw the welcome return of Tyreese and his group, who are beginning to become divided on the subject of the Governor. Tyreese finally seems to be waking up and seeing that the Governor isn’t such a good guy, but Allen thinks they just need to keep their heads down and follow whatever orders they get in order to safely blend in. Milton also makes a big play by burning up the walker pits the Governor is preparing to feed Rick and his friends to. All this descent in Woodbury may be its undoing when it comes time to square off with Rick. The main action in “Prey” revolves around Andrea finally choosing a side and escaping Woodbury to try and warn her friends in the prison not to trust the Governor’s deal. It’s a step in the right direction because watching Andrea flip-flop back and forth all season was annoying, although to be fair most of Andrea’s plots are. This episode is no different as the Governor attempts to track her down before she can warn the prison. He catches her in the end and takes her back to Woodbury, but keeps her presence there a secret from Milton. Now that Andrea has effectively chosen a side and Tyreese and Milton are no longer 100 percent backing the Governor, it seems as though all the pieces are in place for the final conflict. Rick still needs to decide next week if he’ll give up Michonne, but I don’t see that happening. I think it’s still a safe bet that the Woodbury arc will end this season, so these last two episodes are presumably going to be pretty explosive.

 

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