Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps
Photo: Lewis Jacobs/? NBCUniversal, Inc.
These last two episodes of Community have set the bar high in terms of “story volume.” Next week I won’t expect less than a couple dozen story lines/alternate realities. (What if Magnitude had won that election?!) “Horror Fiction” offered up seven different stories, eight if you count the main one: Britta asked the study group to fill out a psychological survey a few episodes ago, and the results show that one of her friends is deeply disturbed and might be a serial killer in the making. Rather than address the problem directly, she throws a Halloween pre-party/Michele Norris–on–Errol Morris listening party, and tells a spooky story as a way to investigate everyone’s reactions. Do they side with the killer? The victim? No one in particular?
The beauty of “Horror Fiction” is in the way it chooses to end — the episode was essentially a character study, and the conclusion is one bait and switch after another, layered until it’s an even darker tale of its characters than before. See, Jeff admits he took his test randomly, which could account for the psychotic results. Then Annie notices that Britta put the tests in upside down — she “Britta-d” the results — so they run it again and see that, actually, they’re all crazy. Except one person. And though the group is okay with merely the knowledge that one of them isn’t crazy, the show lets us in on the secret in the most Twilight Zone way possible. It’s Abed who’s sane. Abed. If he’s okay, then what does that say about everyone else — about all of us? I think I need some of the Army’s taco meat to sort this one out.