Warning: This recap contains major spoilers from Thursday’s series finale of The Office. Read on at your own risk!
Though it was long in coming, The Office‘s emotional final episode went by too quickly and was, at times, hard to handle (that’s what she said).
The 75-minute episode capped nine seasons with laugh-out-loud moments and tender tributes — a job almost as tough as medalling in Flonkerton or fulfilling the duties of Assistant (to the) Regional Manager.
The episode contained too many great jokes, throwaway lines and sight gags to list, so here’s a brief overview of what happened during Dunder Mifflin’s last outing, which took place a year after the events of last week’s episode.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW | Dwight fires Kevin for being terrible at his job, proving himself a better manager than Michael or Andy ever was. (Does the fact that he delivers the news via cake make it easier or harder to take? I’m not sure.) In the same meeting, Toby also gets the buttercream boot. Kevin winds up buying a bar in Scranton, while Flenderson moves to New York to write a novel but mainly winds up sharing an apartment with six strangers. Meanwhile, Stanley retires to Florida and Creed — who turns out to be both a member of the Grass Roots and a wanted felon — fakes his death, leading to him losing his job and assuming a new identity. To shore up the staffing losses, Dwight hires newbies played by Ben and Kate’s Dakota Johnson and Better Off Ted‘s Malcolm Barrett.
MOVING ON | Darryl is enjoying Austin, where Athlead — now known as Athleap – is doing really well. Oscar is running for state senate. Nellie’s living in Poland (“the Scranton of the E.U.”). Andy hasn’t fared quite as well: Though he’s working in the Cornell admissions office, his breakdown during his America’s Next A Cappella Sensation audition has gone viral (think more “Leave Britney alone!” and less Justin Bieber), making him an international joke that even earns a few minutes of Bill Hader and Seth Meyers’ time during Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.”
BOYS’ NIGHT | Jim is Dwight’s best man, or in Schrutespeak, “bestest mensch.” So he takes it upon himself to plan a bachelor party full of pranks. The guys pile into a limo, shoot bazookas, smoke cigars and wind up at Kevin’s bar – where Mose has stashed Angela, whom he ceremonially kidnapped. (Just chalk it up to weird Schrute traditions.) Kevin and Dwight get rid of the animosity hanging between them since the firing when Dwight asserts that it wasn’t personal: Kevin was just a truly bad employee. “Your Internet searches were so filthy, we had to throw out your computer,” he says, which Kevin finds oddly comforting.
PANEL SURPRISE | A panel discussion with the Dunder Mifflinites on the morning of Dwight and Angela’s wedding draws a huge crowd, many of whom adore Jim’s love for Pam but aren’t as effusive about Mrs. Halpert. But all of that pales in comparison to a question Erin gets from a woman (played by Joan Cusack) who turns out to be her birth mother! And her birth father (played by Ed Begley Jr.) is in the audience, too! The three have a happy reunion in the aisle.
WE TOLD YA! | As they’re getting ready for the ceremony, Jim informs Dwight that according to tradition, he actually can’t be bestest mench, because he’s not older than Dwight. As Schrute gets upset, Jim gives the camera a knowing glance… and Michael shows up in the doorway. (Called it!) As they hug, a tearful Dwight says, “Michael, I can’t believe you came!” Michael chokes out, “That’s what she said.” Jim caps the perfect moment with “Best. Prank. Ever.” (By the way, the episode could’ve ended there, and I would’ve been more than happy. Nicely done, Office.) Not long after, Angela’s making her way down the aisle (on Phyllis’ back) and standing in the grave next to Dwight’s (more Schrute weirdness), then they’re named man and wife.
TURN THE BEET AROUND | So many awesome things happen at the reception, I’m just going to list them in no particular order. Cool? All of the guests bring cats as gifts. Kelly is there with her pediatrician boyfriend Ravi (played by Heroes‘ Sendhil Ramamurthy), but ditches him to run off with single dad Ryan, who in turn ditches his infant son Drake with the doc. Don’t worry, the still-longing-for-a-child Nellie’s got it all under control. Michael is so proud of his kids (!), he has two cell phones to hold all of their photos. Phyllis and Stanley really miss each other. Dwight and Michael twirl each other around the dance floor to Bruce Springsteen’s “Rosalita,” and it is fantastic. As he peers over at Jim and Pam and Dwight and Angela chatting together at a table, the World’s Best Boss gets choked up and tells the camera, “I feel like all my kids grew up and then they married each other. It’s every parent’s dream!”
AFTER THE PARTY IT’S THE PAPER PARTY | A post-panel PBS party at the warehouse features an unveiling of Pam’s new mural – which tells “the history of us” – and then a group shot that features a lot of The Office‘s behind-the-scenes staff and crew. Very sweet. Then, the main players retire upstairs for a private bash, where they reminisce and drink and Creed serenades them (?). And he’s good (?)! When Dwight and Angela arrive, Jim and Pam take their boss aside to let him know that they’re moving to Austin – thanks to Pam’s “big Jim gesture” of listing their house with a realtor (Nancy Walls’ Carol, another nice touch) – and that Jim is going to rejoin Athleap. Dwight fires them, and Jim fears that the regional manager is mad… but he’s really just trying to get them a nice severance package. Aww. Everyone waxes nostalgic and hugs, Pam muses that “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” and then Creed is led away by the police. Didn’t we always kinda know it was going to end this way?
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