“This is unexpected,” Abed says.
The Doctor doesn’t look puzzled by this reception. Unexpected is one of his primary characteristics.
“This is really more of a special episode type thing,” Abed continues. “I mean, clearly Greendale was due for a crossover – numbers have been slipping – but the timing is way off.”
“Well, as it happens-.”
“I’m not sure you thought this through. Term’s over right now. This is hiatus. You should probably go back and wait for the season premiere.”
“Yes, well, that’s all very interesting, for a sequence of words that made no sense at all. However: run!”
Abed takes a moment out of his running to look back at the alien. While it is still essentially a humanoid shape with an unusual head, the spinning eye is pretty impressive. The effects budget must be up.
They do a rolling dive into the library and the Doctor says, “If this is the summer holiday, and none of the students are here, then what are you doing? Also, who was that man in what looked to be most of a Star Trek uniform?”
Abed watches the Dean try to escape the spinning eyed gaze of the alien. He waves his arms to get the attention back towards him and the Doctor, and the Dean runs into his office and slams the door. “That wasn’t regulation Starfleet uniform,” Abed admits, “but you have to admire the effort it takes to keep one of those outfits together.” It had a lot of holes – more than were required just to put limbs through. “Oh. And I’m here to film some shots for my movie. It’s post-apocalyptic.”
“I can see that. A colourful apocalypse, I notice, but then those are the ones you really have to watch out for.”
”A great battle was fought here.” Abed isn’t convinced they’re going to have the place cleared up before September. There was a lot of paint. “So,” he says. “Am I a companion now? Because my mini-skirt is at home, but I can probably get something together.”
“I suppose I could try the drama department. They should have wigs there too. Are you on blondes or redheads right now?”
“This isn’t how this conversation normally goes,” the Doctor says.
“There’s normally a lot more screaming and running away. Less of the offers to cross-dress.”
“I think it’s important to fully step into your role.”
“Ah. Of course. Duck.”
Abed does. Acid melts the wall above his head. It’s probably an improvement. He asks, “Is this the one where we learn that the alien has a good reason for its destructive behaviour and that humans are the true invaders? Or the one where the human spirit is triumphant even against terrible odds?”
He leaves the Doctor to think about that one. It could be one and then the other. Maybe both. Some of these plots have very mixed messages.
Abed goes to the drama department and comes back in a short skirt and black pantyhose. They only had the redheaded wig, and there’s no point in taking on a part unless you’re going to commit. “Okay,” he says, “assertive though occasionally vulnerable but entirely kick-ass it is.”
The Doctor looks at him. “Really, really not how this usually goes.”
This is not true. Abed has been watching for a while. But right now he has an alien to send packing. “So,” he says. “What’s the plan?”
The plan, such as it is, makes no sense if you look at it too closely, but that’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t have to. Abed breaks into the Dean’s office to take charge of the school announcement system. The Dean smiles weakly at him. Abed smiles back reassuringly, which only seems to unsettle the Dean further.
The Doctor shouts “Now!” and Abed turns on the microphone.
He knew that the obscure sound effects reel would come in handy one day. Although he hadn’t realised it would be useful for opening up a small hole in the universe. Still, Abed does sometimes like to be surprised and it takes a lot to do that. He’s always been pretty good at guessing the ending. But he’s getting pretty good at making up his own endings too.
Five minutes later, the Doctor says, “And this part doesn’t ever happen at all.”
Abed slides the hose down his legs a little further. He presses his hands against the TARDIS for leverage and grinds down against the Doctor. “I’ll admit we’re lacking a few characters,” he says. “I should have a partner, but Troy’s out of town so we’ll just have to slip it into one of the temporary-death parts of the continuity.”
“I actually meant the whole…” The Doctor gestures expansively and Abed takes the opportunity to grab onto his shoulders and pull him closer. The Doctor yelps and Abed laughs. He likes playing redheads. They don’t waste time.
Abed says, “We’re exploring the subtext. This is what happens when the cameras turn off.”
“I’m not really sure that it-.” The Doctor is still talking, though he’s stepped so close that there’s almost no space between the two of them. And he’s staring at Abed’s lips. Subtext.
Abed puts one finger against the Doctor’s mouth. The cameras are off and the day has been saved. Soon the Doctor is going to go flying off again and Abed will have to change out of this part. So now, while they can, is the time to write a transformative work in between the lines they’ve been given. His wig is askew and there was no time for make-up but Abed knows how to play this part. “Shut up,” he says, “and kiss me.”
That ending works every time.