But the episode’s emotional crux is the Troy/Abed dynamic, which is played (properly) as very serious business. “It’s not a game for me, Troy,” Abed confesses, as the “game” nears its conclusion. “I see real lava because you’re leaving.” But he amends that confession a few moments later: “I don’t think the lava’s here because you’re leaving—it’s here because I won’t let go.” Their closing scenes are genuinely sweet and charmingly heartfelt, while the solution of avoiding their break-up (let’s call it what it is) by “creating” a “clone” of each is not only exactly how those characters would deal with it, but the participation in, and embracing of, such a solution shows a bit of growth for Britta as well; she’s now doing exactly the kind of avoidance that she discourages early on. (Also: it’s surely no accident that framing of Abed’s fall into the lava looks so similar to the death of Hans Gruber in his beloved Die Hard.)
Everybody gets a nice moment to bid Troy—and Donald Glover—farewell in front of the school, with season five finally acknowledging the badly-fumbled Troy/Britta relationship from the previous year (“I’m better at sex than Jeff, right?” “I’ve yet to have anyone worse”), Jeff confessing that he’s never left Colorado (is this the show’s first confirmation of its location?), and a return appearance for LeVar Burton as Troy’s co-captain (“Why don’t they call it Planet Trek? You never go to a star. Not one episode”). The whole thing is so lovely that even “Come Sail Away” seems longing and evocative—though having Aimee Mann sing it probably helps.
What remains to be seen is how the show’s delicate chemistry will work without Troy—particularly when it comes to Abed, who, as Troy reminds us, no one gets, and he only gets a little. But there’s time to make sense of all of that. This was the beloved Mr. Glover’s sweet little send-off, and it is quite a relief that they managed not to, as she put it, Britta their goodbye.