I am writing this review the day after and that means I know that it pulled in a solid Nielsen rating, up against the results show for AMERICAN IDOL and a new episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY.
If something changes in the later updated ratings, I will maybe note it here.
Now, let's get to the episode.
Since I am a bit pressed for time, let me just quickly note what worked and what didn't work.
What Did Not Work
About 90% of Shirley's party felt like tired writing.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION bit bombed.
Abed had only rare occasions of feeling like the character we've come to know in previous seasons. His character has taken the biggest hit since the ousting of Dan Harmon, likely because Harmon took such special care and put so much soul into the character. Not the current show runners nor their writers seem to have figured out how to make it work.
What Did Work
Jeff and Britta were excellent in this one. Had they just made it about them, I'd have given it a very high score. The writing felt alive and fresh.
Jeff's meeting with his dad, their interaction, and even his half-brother all worked and didn't feel forced (well, maybe one scene where Jeff expresses his emotions felt a bit forced but I don't want to nitpick too much since I loved the rest of it).
While most of Shirley's party didn't work and the "Shawshank" bit failed, the payoff at the end did make me laugh.
Jeff has romantic chemistry with all the ladies. Troy doesn't. This episode just accentuated the lack of chemistry between Troy and Britta.
If I had to rate this one, and Britta's Britta says I do, then I'd give it:
77 out of 100
After subtracting 50 Dan-Harmon-is-god points, it is a 27 out of 100.
Had the other half of the episode not bombed, it could have been a 90+.