There was no way Community could top “Pillows & Blankets.” That was one of the most vividly realized high-concept half-hours you could see anywhere. So as a follow-up Community—wisely—went in the opposite direction. Instead of another epic, campus-spanning installment involving even many of Greendale’s more peripheral students, “Origins of Vampire Mythology” had a tight focus on our core characters—and revealed some thorny, counter-intuitive truths about relationships: even if you’re not in love with someone you can be jealous when they’re with someone else, and indifference only makes the heart grow fonder. These are the kind of insights that you’d have to watch an August Strindberg play or Ingmar Bergman film to get elsewhere.
“Origins of Vampire Mythology” opened with an image that shows order is restored to the universe. That is to say, Greendale.Troy and Abed playing Patty Cake with one another. It was cute enough to make Pierce begin his own quest for a best friend. And if you didn’t think order was restored, just look at what the Dean was wearing! After a couple episodes of relatively sedate attire—all the better to go after a Guinness World Record—Dean Pelton emerged in his idea of a train engineer’s get-up with high-cut overalls and a red handkerchief. Apparently, it was his clothing of choice to play with a model train set and prepare for the arrival of the carnival that would be passing through town: Red Beard’s Amusements. Apparently, whatever Carnie-in-Chief runs Red Beard’s Amusements is a huge a Akira Kurosawa fan, because that carnival is a reference, I’m sure, to the Emperor’s 1965 masterpiece.
Sadly, Britta wasn’t hung up on the late Toshiro Mifune, but rather a carnie named, yes, Blade. Really, what is worse? Dating a carnival barker or dating somebody named Blade? Admittedly, I and most men under the age of 35 probably do secretly wish they were named Blade, having grown up in the era before Wesley Snipes’ misdemeanor tax evasion, but you just have to let go of some dreams. And, of course, if you were named Blade there’d be the ever-present worry that New Line Cinema would sue you for adopting your nom de trademark, since they produced the titular kickboxing vampire movie and its two sequels. Check that…fantastic kickboxing vampire movie.
NEXT: It’s an episode of Greendale Intervention, either the best or worst new A&E docuseries. I can’t decide which.