‘Community’ Kills Off Major Character in Season 5 – What Did You Think?

Published 1 year ago by

community s5 surprise Community Kills Off Major Character in Season 5   What Did You Think?

[There will be MAJOR SPOILERS for the latest episode of Community in this article]

With the exception of Abed’s trip inside the metaphorical Nic Cage bee helmet, last week’s season premiere of Community mostly concerned itself with setting a tone for the season. But as tonight’s episode parodied murder shows with the campus going into lock-down because of the ass-crack bandit, it seemed like the Community of old – that is, until the very end.

If you haven’t seen the episode and you are the dangerous sort that ignores SPOILER WARNINGS, then please accept our condolences because in the last few moments of tonight’s episode, Shirley walked down a hallway to deliver the news that Pierce Hawthorne had suffered a heart attack and died off-screen.

Played by Chevy Chase through most of the show’s first four years, the actor left the series in the middle of filming last season, but – because he already filmed it – was a part of the season finale and graduated with Jeff Winger (Joel McHale).

community chevy chase confused Community Kills Off Major Character in Season 5   What Did You Think?

Chase popped up in a top secret cameo as a hologram in last week’s premiere episode, ‘Re-Pilot,’ shocking audiences due to the nature of his departure from the show and his often rocky relationship with restored showrunner Dan Harmon, but now it seems that either Harmon, Chase, or both wanted one last send-off for the character.

As for the show, questions abound with regard to how they will deal with this in the coming weeks. On one hand, many likely feel as if they saw this coming and no one really assumed that Pierce would be a part of the show’s future. Now that the character is actually dead, though, it seems likely that Dan Harmon will find a way to make his exit impactful.

Here’s a brief synopsis for next week’s episode from TV Guide:

A team of investigators grill the study group after Pierce’s death in order to execute his will, leading the group to learn surprising things about one other.

So, clearly the show will grieve properly, but while that is commendable and probably necessary, one has to wonder if we really have seen the last of Pierce Hawthorne and Chevy Chase on Community – and it’s not just last week’s hologram cameo that inspires wonder.

Hawthorne does… or did have a penchant for faking heart attacks, and it’s also worth noting that tonight’s episode featured the return of Star-Burns, who had faked his death at the end of season 3. Is it possible that we’re being played? With Community, something like that is always possible, but it seems more likely that this was it for the character. And if that’s the case, it certainly seems better to offer fans and the show’s other characters a bit of closure rather than nothing at all.

Chevy Chase Community Community Kills Off Major Character in Season 5   What Did You Think?

Pierce Hawthorne may have been an occasionally annoying, boring, and offensive character, but he was also a key cog in the Community machinery whose sageness was often undercut but occasionally well-used, and his impact will almost surely still be felt as the show goes on.

So, how do you feel about the death of Pierce Hawthorne? Are you surprised, did you expect it, and what about that last appearance on the show? It was great to see Chase play the role again, but did it take away from the poetry of him finally graduating at the end of last season ? Let us know in the comment section.


Community airs Thursdays @8pm on NBC.

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
TAGS: Community
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  1. It’s a sign. Pierce is coming back for one more story.

  2. “You now owe me 2000 energon cubes.”

    As cool as Johnathon Banks is, he’ll be hard pushed to match some of the more ludicrous elements of Peirce’s character that made him so memorable. He was awesome in Dungeons and Dragons. And his father had ivory hair.


    • @ Tooley

      I have never even played Dungeons and Dragons but that episode is still my favorite episode of the series. I bought it on Amazon and watch it every couple of months.

  3. I really don’t get the reasoning behind it. What’s the point? What does it change? He may as well have been dead already. It’s not like they killed off someone who was actually STILL ON THE SHOW, instead of someone we hadn’t already resigned to never see again.

    • I believe that the reasoning for this was to give Pierce a proper send off from the show and possibly to open up options for and create stories for the rest of the season.

  4. They have to kill Pierce because they can’t keep making up excuses for why he’s not there. They have to give him a big sendoff because the characters need closure — they wouldn’t just go on about their lives like nothing happened. To paraphrase Abed from S3E5, the story has to make sense — a truism that the S4 writers neglected to honor. Harmon is deftly steering the ship back to where he left off at the end of S3, it just feels awkward because S4 was such a travesty of nonsensical storytelling and building arcs to nowhere (with a heavy dose of low-brow jabs at Chevy Chase as being unnecessary). I think it’s a testament to Harmon as a person AND a writer that he is treating Pierce’s departure with more of Community’s trademark humanity and tenderness than the S4 writers did. Reminds me of why I love this show.

  5. I hope Chevy makes a return. Pierce,Troy and Jim Rash had the best comedic timing on Community. With both Chase and Glover gone, the Jeff&Annie show will get quick and forgotten faster than Chang-nesia!

    • i would have to agree…i am worried that 2/3 of the comedic heavy lifting will be gone soon from this show. My biggest fear is that this show becomes “Jeff Winger and His Friends Show”. I think Joel McHale is a massive talent, but his character doesn’t lend itself to be the main focus. His character can actually, by nature, be annoying in large doses. The first two episodes of this show were too Winger-centric.

      • It sucks that Pierce is gone, Chevy Chase was awesome. The show needs an “Anti-Winger” he’s the guy we all love to hate. He was hilarious!! … And if there’s too much Winger, alone, with no counterpart.. its bloody sickening!

      • And if there’s too much Winger, alone, with no counterpart.. its bloody sickening!

  6. I have only watched Season One of Community so far, but that Halloween episode with Pierce dressed up as “Beastmaster…from the movie Beastmaster” was one of the funniest things that I have seen in quite a long time. So for that, R.I.P. Hawthorne.

  7. This is going to be a big plot point for Troy I believe.

    They sat beside each other at the table, they even lived together at one point: I think Pierce might have left Troy something in his will that causes Troy to leave. Glover only has 2 episodes left, so it’s likely.

  8. This episode of Community was brilliant. It brought back the “parody” episodes which I missed for a very long time. It was great to see the gang paying homage to genres and film styles, in this case – David Fincher.

    It would be wonderful to see the sequel to this episode treated in a different style like the paintball episodes of the second season.

  9. i thought last night episode was so much filth. community is slowly turning into psych with respect to making every episode a homage of a different tv show or movie. pierce’s death was a surprise but it seemed so… downplayed.

    but this is a prank for sure (even if chevy chase isn’t coming back). it feels as if dan harmon pulled a chuck lorre for 2 and a half men.

    is it me or is the overall episodes a little darker (in terms of lighting) than usual? the study room looks pretty dark now.

    • Yeh I did notice, its a bit more gloomy and is it just me or does everyone else feel like the characters seem kinda depressed, especially Jeff. I mean I just rewatched an episode from season 3 and the group seemed more… energetic I guess. :/

  10. I might be way off here, but if you freeze the scene where Jeff/Annie/Dean Pelton enter the stable and first see the shadowy figure of the Ass Crack Bandit, look at the height and the top of the hairline closely as he stands there a makes a run for it. It appears to be a balding tall man with white hair…when I first saw it I thought it could have been Pierce.

  11. If Pierce shows up again it will be during this season’s finale or the shows final episode. They will reveal that he was the ass-crack bandit or behind it (no pun) in some way.

  12. Its a bluff. Pierce is the ass crack bandit. He probably got bored with his life after he graduated. I noticed when Troy was giving his speech the person that got cracked was non other than VICKY! Also Shirley seems to be profiting with her sandwiches from the situation and remember that Pierce endorsed that sandwich shop.

  13. Pierce will not come back to Community. Chevy Chase cannot legally appear onscreen with the other Comminity actors. This is a result of the contractual agreement he signed to exit the show. He appears as a hologram in his season 5 appearance because he had to be shot separately from the cast (green screen). We were lucky enough to have him back for one episode.

  14. Cant believe they killed off Pierce. This show should have ended with season 3. Such a fall from grace.

  15. That episode took an unexpected dramatic turn.

    What show were they parodying? The half red/half white titles seemed familiar.

    RIP Peirce.

    • They were parodying the film Zodiac (not actually catching the criminal and Jeff & Annie) and the tv show Hannibal(teacher/Hannibal as the real criminal analogy) from what I can tell. Plus The Bridge…

  16. Pierce will be missed. I’ve always been a fan of Chevy Chase and I am an even bigger fan of Community. Their separation is a tough pill to swallow. In addition, the loss of the brilliant Danny Glover will leave an even bigger hole in the show.

    So can it be as good, or even better? I miss Troy and Abed in the Morning. Dan Harmon’s original creation of a meta-functional type show was genius. Community reduces the social challenges to shows about shows within shows. (Shakespeare would have been proud – “The play’s the thing!”) And now, through no fault of his own, the Community meta-ship is being dragged off it’s original course by real life turmoil with Troy abandoning ship and Pierce drowning in the parking lot.

    But I am hopeful and looking forward to the rest of Season 5. These new changes do create the potential for some intriguing story lines. Will we see a Jonathan Banks/Giancarlo Esposito match-up? Or Banks with Vince Gilligan? Where has Star-Burns been? What’s his story? What ever happened to the cute coat-check girl that fell in love with Abed? Where is the dreaded Dean Spreck? Could he be the Ass-Crack bandit?

    So much better than real life. I can’t wait.

    Six Seasons and a Movie!!!!!!!!!

  17. I can’t believe people actually like pierce. So happy he’s gone! I’m only on season 2; I just had to know if he was leaving before I continued to watch. I hate him with all my heart

  18. Pierce hawthorne boring? He’s one of many reasons to laugh on community.

  19. Personally I am so glad Pierce is dead, I grew up watching Chevy Chase movies but I absolutely loathed the character he played in Community. But then again maybe its because I have so many great memories of a gullable, witty, hard to hate guy suddenly being shown as a rascist, obstinate, out of touch old geezer that I never took a liking to him.

  20. I was a big fan of Pierce. Like many said here, he was the only anti-winger guy who stood on his foot. Plus, I like his humour and acting. I’m not finding the show that interesting now. Plus season 5 is now boring as well. With Troy gone, I don’t know how much I can watch Abed’s weirdness. It only get better when Troy is a part of it. Plus, the whole coming back to college after everyone failed to be successful in life etc are all very poor plot imho.

  21. Stupid! Pierce was and is my favourite character of the show.

  22. No!! Pierce was my favorite character. Can’t believe they killed him :/

  23. I feel infuriated that they would do such a thing and also for you to say that “it certainly seems better to offer fans and the show’s other characters!”

    No, What made Community such a great show was its all-star cast and to just say he died is really disappointing and if that’s the case nuke Greendale

    He might be racist but so is Brian Griffin, annoying, boring, and offensive to others but still funny as hell.
    Community without Pierce Hawthorn will never be the same.