Community 3.05 “Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps” Recap

Trick or dean! Missed last week’s recap? Catch up here.

Our Halloween outing at Greendale begins with a pre-party thrown by Britta, before the group heads off to their ‘real’gathering. As Britta explains to Pierce her reasoning for throwing their own shindig (‘it’s informal, it’s intimate and it’s just for us’) Troy and Abed arrive as – what else? – Inspector Spacetime and the Constable. While Annie scrolls through Britta’s playlist and laments the fact that she can’t find anything ‘Halloween appropriate,’Jeff shows up with his usual ‘three appearances to make’excuse.

Britta pulls Jeff aside, asking if he remembers last week when she made them fill out anonymous personality tests for her psychology class. She tells Jeff that she processed the tests and found that one of their group members could be classified as ‘deeply disturbed’— more specifically, that one of them has an extreme personality disorder also known as ‘homicidal tendencies.’Of course, the Dean chooses that moment to drop in (dressed as a witch) to promote their Halloween dance — come on, you knew we weren’t getting away without at least one classic Dean Pelton costume, especially in a Halloween episode…right? Jeff tells Britta not to worry, that they had probably just ‘Britta’d’the test results (Britta = to ruin and/or horribly mess up.)

Britta suggests that they tell some scary stories and begins with a familiar, rather predictable tale that many of us probably grew up with — an escaped killer with a hook for a hand who finds a couple (Jeff and Britta) in their car in the woods and kills them. Abed is horrified, telling Britta that her story was bad because he didn’t care about the characters, who were “making choices the audience wouldn’t make.’True to Abed’s personality, he has a very clear view of what horror stories should be like and he takes his Halloween tales very seriously — and rationally. His tale involves the couple (now Abed and Britta) taking refugee in a cabin. Abed manages to narrate to the audience every rational thought that the audience might think while watching, and as they kiss romantically, he suggests they listen to the radio. He proceeds to hum almost the whole song and when Pierce interrupts, Abed notes that rationally, they would never cut off the middle of the song just to have dialogue. He figures that they’ll listen until an emergency radio broadcast comes up and then they’ll use his cell phone to call 9-1-1.

Perfectionist Annie has a perfectionist story, involving Jeff rescuing her from her carriage and bringing her to the cabin after her frightened horses have acted up. While Annie waxes poetic about seeing the good in everyone, Jeff (who is really a vampire) tries to control his urge to bite her. He tells her he’s a true monster who needs to feed, opening the closet to reveal an emotionally unattached Britta who nonchalantly notes ‘I’m fine with this,’as Jeff bites her neck. As Annie runs for the door, Jeff has a change of heart and asks her to teach him to read so he can become less of a monster and more of a human. Out of her own good will, she agrees…until Jeff tells her that ‘some monsters cannot change.’He attempts to attack Annie right as she reveals her cunning upper hand – she’s werewolf that feeds on vampires. As Annie attacks him, her story becomes more intense and more graphic, straight down to the ‘grossly damaged flesh” and descriptions of tearing into the body the way you would shred a Quaker Oats box.

Jeff is horrified by her tale, and Shirley is appropriately grossed out. Troy then offers his tale, where he and Abed are pilots who happen upon Pierce’s home in the woods. Pierce invites them in and drugs them with a drink offer, and when they wake up (in bed together, of course) Pierce tells them that the cabin is his lab where he does weird experiments on people. He tells Troy and Abed that he’s sewn them together, but while Pierce thinks he’s found a way to make them suffer (because he’s jealous that they’re best friends), Troy and Abed realize that being joined together has only made them stronger. They can share mind powers, they can move objects with their eyes, and they can even hear each others thoughts. They knock Pierce out, sew his butt onto his chest (nice homage to ‘Annie’s boobs’) and switch around his feet and his hands.

Pierce takes offense to the fact that they obviously saw him as the bad guy, while Troy argues that he didn’t say that the villain’s name was Pierce — just ‘a crazy, old, racist doctor.’He starts his story, portraying himself as a a Hugh Hefner-type living it up with his three Playboy-inspired bunnies (Annie, Britta and Shirley.) Troy and Abed (looking very ghetto in do-rags and dreadlocks) surprise him with a home invasion, and the three end up getting into a fight. Naturally, everyone is horrified at Pierce’s tale, with Troy telling him that wasn’t even a ghost story as much as it was a horrific objectification of the group.

At this point, Annie believes the stories are getting too personal while Shirley thinks they’re getting too violent. She misses the old days, when ghost stories revolved around the basics of good vs. evil. As such, in Shirley’s story, the study group is spending time together in the cabin when the End of Days arrive — complete with the sky raining blood. As an announcer comes on the radio and tells them that the world over, Dean Pelton arrives in a (very girlish) devil suit. He attempts to stab and kill them (before telling them they’ll be buried next to the lesbians) before Angel Shirley intervenes, blowing Dean Pelton away with her heavenly powers. The group thanks her for saving them and asks if she can take them to heaven. Shirley refuses, though, and then disappears while Dean Pelton arrives again with a chainsaw, yelling about gay marriage.

‘That wasn’t a horror story, that was a sermon,’Troy replies, adding that she ‘Britta’d’her tale. Annoyed, the group gets up to leave and Britta freaks out, saying that they can’t leave until they figure out who has the homicidal tendencies as evidenced by the rest results. When Annie calls her friend out for being stupid, Britta argues that it’s her duty to protect people from becoming murders. ‘Do you know what might happen if we leave here now?’she pleads. The show them segues into a series of montages where all the study members are killed in one manner or another by an unknown person wearing a hood.

The group is not swayed by Britta’s plea, and notes that only crazy people would think up scenarios like that. They point out that Britta took the test, too – might the person who is in danger of becoming homicidal be one and the same? As the group starts arguing, Jeff chimes in with a story that he thinks might help, and proceeds to tell a tale which has the group is sitting around the cabin when Britta’s original killer (the escaped man with the hook for a hand) shows up. Jeff calmly stops him and asks why he kills people. The hooded man, revealed to be none other than Chang, admits sadly that he kills because he’s afraid — and could someone please give him a hug?

As the group is brought back to reality, tensions continue to mount with Troy yelling at Jeff about always trying to get them act warm and fuzzy. Jeff admits that he filled out his test randomly, while also noting that he’s the sanest person in the room because he always knows what he’s doing and he always knows when he’s doing something wrong. Annie butts in and finally realizes that Britta had in fact ‘Britta’d’her own tests — she had run them through the machine backwards, rendering the results invalid.

Britta insists that she can prove herself by running the tests again, this time correctly. Cut to one hour later, where the new results apparently show that everyone in the group is insane — except for one. After debating whether or not they should attempt to figure out who the odd man out is, they decide they would rather not know. In a final snapshot of the table, we’re treated to a Halloween message with the names of all the study group members appearing on their respective test sheets – and it’s Abed who is revealed to be the most normal.

The tag for this episode is from Troy’s story, with Pierce still immobilized on the operating table from Troy and Abed’s operation. The two sit on the couch (still sewn together) enjoying their new-found abilities and as they practice their telepathic mind powers, we’re left with one last ‘Troy and Abed sewn together’before the credits finish rolling.

While the past two Halloween outings on this show have been full of over-the-top insanity, “Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps” managed to give us the same amount of craziness without zombies or Abba music. In its own creative way, Community turned a simple party and story-telling saga on its head…and it worked. I personally loved this episode and thought it was wonderfully ingenious, especially in the way it wove everyone’s personalities into their storytelling. Coming off of the popular and well-received “Remedial Chaos Theory”, it was a nice backtrack to both the study room setting and the quiet zaniness that makes Community, well, Community.

Happy Halloween, readers! What did you think of the episode? How do you think it compared to the previous years of Halloween episodes? And are you going to use the verb “Britta” in your daily vocabulary now?

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