Intro to Knots

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"Intro to Knots"
Community episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 10
Directed by Tristram Shapeero
Written by Andy Bobrow
Production code 409
Original air date April 18, 2013 (2013-04-18)
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"Intro to Knots" is the tenth episode of the fourth season of the NBC sitcom Community, which originally aired on April 18, 2013.[1]

The episode was written by Andy Bobrow and directed by Tristram Shapeero.

The episode features the study group gathering around for Christmas at Jeff's apartment as they try to convince their history professor to change their grade. Malcolm McDowell guest-stars as Professor Cornwallis.


Jeff hosts a Christmas party for the study group at his apartment. Annie secretly invites Professor Cornwallis (their history professor) in order to ingratiate him into pushing up their grade on their final history paper. Jeff confesses to Britta that he chose to attend a secret Tom Waits concert and instead copied the lyrics to "War", which he calls, "War! What Is It Good For?", for his part of the assignment. Troy gets Abed a blood stained singlet like the one worn in Die Hard.

Cornwallis tells Jeff the group will be getting a C- on their paper, but after overhearing Jeff and Annie (who needs an A for valedictorian) argue about trying to play to Cornwallis' good graces, the professor changes the grade to an F.

In the meantime, Chang ties the professor to a chair, in a misguided attempt to "help them." The group begins to negotiate with him, trying to get him to reverse the grading. Cornwallis employs a few mind games in order to get the group to turn on each other and to release him. He offers the first member of the group to untie him an A, with the rest getting an F. The group argue, but Jeff is resolute and proves the group's strength together is their upper hand.

Abed microwaves some popcorn and asks that the professor not monologue until he returns, citing a trope with movie villains for revealing their plans through speeches. As the mind games continue Cornwallis says that the A grading would be most valuable to the student on track for valedictorian. Annie thinks he is talking about her, but it is actually Shirley.

When they see how poorly Chang ties knots, they realize that Cornwallis has been a willing participant in the games, able to walk out at any time. He tells them that their party was a respite from the loneliness he would otherwise have to face during Christmas. He relents and gives the group a C+ grade. The group and the professor reconcile and they share gifts. Dean Pelton visits from next door and hands out kittens. Chang leaves the apartment and it is revealed that he captured and tied up Cornwallis in a failed attempt to get the study group kicked out of Greendale.

The Darkest Timeline[edit]

Abed muses about what would be happening in the Darkest Timeline. There it's shown Annie is on trial with Jeff as her lawyer. After her acquittal and release from Greendale Asylum, the pair plot to invade the regular timeline, cackling as the screen fades to black.


The episode is set in December at a Christmas party, but aired in April due to NBC delaying the premiere of the fourth season. This episode was written by co-executive producer Andy Bobrow who wanted to shoot the episode in a style similar to Alfred Hitchcock's Rope.[2] It was directed by executive producer Tristram Shapeero, one of the seven season 4 episodes he directed. This is the first episode aired of season four to not feature Chevy Chase (Pierce) in either onscreen or voice parts. Although aired as episode ten, it was the ninth episode produced.[3]



The episode was seen by approximately 3.13 million viewers when it premiered, and increased 10% in viewership from the previous episode, and became the most-watched episode of the season since episode five.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Cory Barker of gave the episode a mixed review, saying "It offered some initial intrigue that it wasn't totally able to follow through with, then overcame that initial wave of disappointment with a strong middle, only to end on a lamer note. It wasn't a complete mess by any means, but it squandered more potential than I would have liked."[5]

Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club rated it a B-, but said, "This episode [...] tries to cram everything it can think of into the same show, when more simplicity would have led to a stronger episode overall."[2]


  1. ^ "COMMUNITY". The Futon Critic. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Intro to Knots". The AV Club. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bobrow, Andy (March 13, 2013). "409 Hitchcock Christmas". Twitter. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Community: Season Four Ratings". TV Series Finale. April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Community "Intro to Knots" Review: Christmas in Real-time". April 19, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 

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