In Anthropology class, Annie finishes giving her presentation for the final exams. Duncan awards not only her but also the other students a passing grade. When Annie objects saying it's not fair to the students who actually put in the effort, Duncan orders the class to throw paper balls at her until she sits down. He pours himself a glass of scotch and makes a toast to Greendale. The students follow suit and join him, drinking their own alcoholic beverages they brought to class. He notices Shirley isn't participating, unaware that she is pregnant. Chang reiterates that he could be the father which Shirley refuses to acknowledge as a possibility. Duncan then tries to lead them all into another round of drinking but is interrupted when the Dean walks in with a reporter for Dean Magazine who is touring the campus to write a piece about Pelton.
Duncan makes a toast.
Professor Duncan makes an excuse and abandons the class to avoid being around when Dean Pelton discovers the class is a fake. Shirley starts to feel contractions but passes it off as indigestion, asserting that it's too early because her first two sons went full term. Chang notes that Chang babies are always born early. When Shirley sips antacid Britta objects and suggests “natural” but unappealing alternatives. Over Shirley's objections, Britta shares more advice about natural childbirth. Jeff steps in to tell Britta to back off and they continue to argue, unaware of Shirley's increasing physical discomfort. Shirley begins to walk away but her water breaks in the middle of the classroom.
This scene brought to you by Big Antacid.
Shirley is led to the open space at the front of the classroom and Dean Pelton panics, trying to take control of the situation but unsure how to proceed in front of the Dean Magazine writer. He decides to get his car in order to drive Shirley to the hospital. Much to Shirley's dismay, Chang shares that Chang babies are always born in unusual locations. As things progress, Britta has a hard time handling the reality of childbirth and accepts the responsibility of summoning Shirley's husband, Andre. Pierce witnesses Troy and Abed do their signature handshake and offers them $1000 to let him in on the fun. They pass it off as a joke but agree when Pierce presses the issue. He then forces them to abuse the handshake with him which leaves them feeling dirty. They soon discover that the magic of the handshake is gone. Pierce gloats that he hated the handshake and now it's gone, explaining that once you sell something out, you can't get it back.
The Dean returns and announces that the world food festival has turned into a “race kerfuffle” in the parking lot, leaving Shirley stuck on campus as even ambulances are unable to get through. Abed reveals a surprising aptitude and knowledge regarding child delivery and takes charge of the situation. However, when he moves to check the progress of the baby Shirley refuses to let him see her "nethers." Eager to prove she is up to the task, Britta peeks under Shirley's skirt but is again unable to deal with the perfectly natural process and vomits into a trashcan.
Let's use "kerfuffle".
Abed tells Annie that she now has to deliver the baby but she has a panic attack at the prospect. Dean Pelton then steps up to the plate but turns out to be worse than useless. In desperation, Shirley calls for Chang and finds his stories of unconventional Chang baby births oddly comforting. After a pep talk from Jeff, a newly resolved Britta returns to finish what she started. Abed coaches her as she settles between Shirley's legs. The group begins to cheer Shirley with chants of “Push,” while Chang regales her with more Chang baby tales.
It's a black baby boy.
Andre arrives with the paramedics to help her through the final stage of delivery and Britta rebuffs one of the paramedics as he attempts to take over. Shirley gives birth to a boy, which is clearly Andre's. Grateful for Chang's help during the birth, Shirley names the baby "Ben" after him. Troy and Abed celebrate the moment with their handshake and discover that the magic was inside them all along. After these exciting events, the reporter says to expect a cover story and Pelton is overjoyed when the reporter agrees that the article will showcase him as a good Dean. Unfortunately, Dean Magazine is forced to shut down after only two issues.
Anticlimax: Shirley gives birth, and the father of the baby is revealed to be Andre.
A nice gesture: Troy and Abed sell their signature handshake to Pierce, temporarily ruining it for themselves. They rediscover its joy after Ben is born and perform an extended version of it in celebration.
Googly eyes: The flirting between Neil and Vicki is obvious enough that even Pierce notices it.
Discontinuity: When Troy and Abed attempt to do their handshake after selling it to Pierce, Troy's money switches hands between camera cuts.
Homage: The scene when Britta looks under Shirley's skirt pays homage to Eraserhead (solid black background and droning music) which deals with the struggles of parenthood. Britta's line "Are you saying I'll be a good mom?" is a reference to Mary X who is a horrible mother.
IRL: Britta having a booger seems to be a nod to actress Gillian Jacobs habit of asking if her nasal passages are clear between shots which can be seen in the outtakes.
The TV Obsessed: The blog had "little interest in Shirley's baby", but they liked the "stuff surrounding it--Jeff getting Britta to step up, Pierce stealing Troy and Abed's handshake". They wonder about Chang and what will become of him. The episode gets a 8.8/10.
Television Blend review: Steve West apparently thinks we "all knew that Chang couldn’t be Shirley’s baby’s daddy", but thought the episode was still executed with "panache". They liked that Chang got "a chance to shine as [a] fully functional [person]", and name the Troy/Abed/Pierce story the "saddest and funniest side plot".
TV Squad review: Maggie Furlong found it interesting that the writers "chose this episode to make Chang more normal". She liked the callback to Abed's previous baby-delivering, and she's happy that "all of Britta's grandstanding -- while often pretty funny -- might take a backseat for a while". She calls the Dean subplot "perfectly bizarre".
AV Club review: Steve Heisler liked "the moments when Community got out of its own way and let Shirley deliver her baby". He "found it hard to get behind" the Jeff-Britta storyline because of Jeff's snarky comments, and was also annoyed by the Troy/Abed/Pierce story (though he says it was "saved by the always stellar Donald Glover").
CliqueClack review: Kona Gallagher thought "it was nice to see Shirley get more of a storyline than she usually does" since usually the show does not "take nearly enough advantage of Yvette Nicole Brown". She also liked seeing Chang more human.
TVFanatic review: Jeffrey Kirkpatrick thinks "you have to appreciate an episode that gives both Shirley and Chang more than three lines a piece, not to mention Dean Pelton". He calls this "Gillian Jacobs' best episode yet" but thought the Pierce/Troy/Abed thing felt "disconnected".
ology review: Emily Cheever says the episode was "an exciting one, albeit a little short on laughs". She liked the recurring joke of Fat Neil and Vicki falling in love but calls the episode "a little quieter than I would've liked for a typical labor episode".
Houston Press Art Attack Blog review: Daniel Carlson liked that this was a bottle episode that didn't call attention to itself ("As a result, the episode was tightly done and perfectly pitched"). He calls the Troy/Abed/Pierce story a "fun way to kill time" and asks a valid question in his scattered thoughts about Annie and Britta's financial problems.
Vulture review: Andy Greenwald is impressed at the tight storytelling required to tell this entire story in 20 minutes. (I... have trouble seeing if he's sarcastic; I'm going with no.) That's their main comment in the recap - I'm not even sure if they liked the episode or not. (A commentor over there says "The recap does mimic the episode. A succinct miss!")
Hollywood.com review: Kelsea Stahler was annoyed at the implausibility of the very early birth and thinks there was "a bit of a lull in the usual wealth of fantastic one-liners". She loved the callback to the baby delivered by Abed, the Fat Neil/Vicki story and the fact that Britta "finally redeemed[ed] herself a bit".