01/10/2014 01:31 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

'Community' Kills Off Major Character

A rather final twist in the Chevy Chase saga on "Community," as a sobering dose of reality hit in the middle of the show's usual hijinks. This week, it was Jeff and Annie investigating a bandit who had a penchant for putting loose change in people's exposed butt cracks. But then, abruptly, Shirley interrupted to announce that Pierce Hawthorne was dead.

It was a jarring moment, considering the silliness and frivolity of the half hour in general. As a statement about how death can strike at any moment, this scene was quite effective. IGN's Eric Goldman thought so, too, noting, "The news of Pierce’s death in the midst of all this was certainly a shock and a bit of a jolt to the system, given the episode was in such a specific zone up until then. That was the point, of course."

The school gave a fitting eulogy for the quirky old coot: "Pierce Hawthorne, 14-year Greendale student, entrepreneur and expert heart attack faker passed away. For real this time. Pierce had been recently banned from campus, but not from our hearts. He’s survived by many ex-wives and all of us here at Greendale who called him a friend."

Will this be the last we see or hear from Pierce? He's already been a hologram once, so why not again? "Community" continues on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

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