HUFFINGTON POST
10/07/2011 11:13 am ET | Updated Dec 07, 2011

'Community' Recap, Season 3, Episode 3: A Small Balloon For Lobsters

While the study group's lovefest seems threatened by lab partner drama, Chang delves into the seedy underbelly of nothing, Humphrey Bogart style, in this week's episode of "Community," "Competitive Ecology."

In class, the kids must build a terrarium, which is "sort of like a diorama." They moan collectively, they make a lot of dioramas. All have been assigned to lab partners who are not in the group, but Professor Kane grants their request to switch.

They have to break up with their former lab partners.

"I have a developmental disorder," says Abed.

""I have a developmental disorder," says Jeff. "Star Wars, Star Wars, cool cool cool."

After pairing off, Pierce is left out and must partner with Todd, a newcomer. They insult Todd throughout the episode, but add, "No offense."

Meanwhile, Chang is squatting in the boiler room with a mannequin leg he has named Veronica. He goes to his boss to ask for a promotion. Unfortunately, there's "no such thing as security guard detective."

No matter. Chang sets off to be a detective on his own, in a noir sort of dream fantasy, where he can say things like, "My own words rang inside my head like a bell inside my head" and "She had legs that went all the way to the bottom of her torso ... arms with elbows," and best of all, "I had to let her go ... like a lobster claw letting go of a small balloon for lobsters."

The partners are not being very partner-ly. Annie's mad that Jeff's on his phone all the time (he's lost two followers! "People just cant handle the truth about Ben Sherman's winter collection!") while Shirley's getting on Britta's nerves with her baby pics. Abed and Troy are saying all their words at the same time while looking for fungus in the pipes -- they spend too much time together.

Britta and Troy have a falsely romanticized encounter where they almost become each other's lab partners, when everyone else busts in. They have a problem, and it is Todd. They all break to the study room to figure it out. The method they come up with? Use Abed, the computer, who formulates an algorithm ranking everyone on popularity and then matches most to least popular.

Chang burns down the boiler room.

Many hours later, everyone in the study room is now fighting about their popularity, before Jeff tries to snatch the ballots and Britta burns them, throwing the flaming papers into a box -- that has Todd's turtle in it.

"What is WRONG with you people?" he says. "Your love is weird and toxic and it destroys everything it touchs." He goes home to hold his wife and child close and finally take his insulin shot. Offense taken.

They do not finish the assignment, except for Annie, who somehow produces a complete terrarium in 15 minutes. Kane chastises the group for breaking his boy Todd, who fought in Iraq. He fails them and Annie falls from her chair.

Chang is promoted to head of security after Nunez quits once he realizes the dean is willing to go along with Chang's insanity. Inside his head, he cackles madly.

The group resolves their fighting by doing what they do best -- making fun of others as Todd weeps silently behind them.