Community TV Review: S6.E11 “Modern Espionage”

Desperate Deans calls for Deansperate Measures

We get another recycled paintball episode. But does this spy thriller hit the mark? Suffice it to say it does, even if it’s a bit of target.

I was weary of watching another paintball episode, as the previous ones are masterpieces and arguably some of the best episodes of the series. To recreate the atmosphere and impact of the past episodes is a difficult task.

The story of this episode has the paintball game being funded illegally underground at Greendale. In addition, an anonymous shooter by the name silver_ballz is attacking people with silver paint balls. Thus the gang goes undercover to stop another mass paintball massacre before the janitor ceremony.

As Abed described it, the episode parodies all the clichés of a spy thriller well. There’s the team, the electronic intelligence gathering (with a slow revealing the picture of the target on the computer), the action sequences and many other tropes.

For instance, the group going undercover at the ceremonial dinner party for janitor is classic as Jeff and the gang play out the reconnaissance missions.

Luckily there’s  only a few missteps that lessen the episode. The storyline  was rushed as we don’t get to know how The Dean found out the janitorial group were behind the game. Also, the physical slap stack when The Dean in the office didn’t hit well. Finally, Frankie’s bit was a bit lame with the immaturity bit as punishment.

Which brings me to this. Although they didn’t have a full-out war as normal, the show executed well in creating the tension of a paintball episode within the confines of the spy genre. It may not have the full-blown paintball wars of the past, yet finishes well on a budget.

Overall this is a fun episode that is one of season 6 best episodes.

Here are some of my other thoughts about the episode:

  • Starburns line about name “Silver Paint” probably already taken by an indie comic book. Or a crappy name for tequila.
  • Abed and Annie pretending to die after being shot in the ballroom added some nice touch to the scene.
  • The janitor museum as the dropback to the final confrontation scene is pretty good.
  • The Dean had some kickass moments, most notably by defeating all the bad guys in the elevator.
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