The Office Season 9 Review “Finale”

The Office Series Finale (3)

After the somewhat needless padding to the last few episodes, I was a little concerned that the final episode of “The Office” might be a bit of a letdown, or, at the very least, overextending itself with the longest episode of the season, clocking in at just over an hour and fifteen minutes, not including the hour-long documentary that came before it. Fortunately, the end result was definitely one of the highlights of an admittedly mixed bag of a final season. In fact, in the grand scheme of series finales, this one didn’t drop the ball at all, for the most part.

Now, I’ll grant you, there wasn’t a whole lot of eminently-quotable dialogue here, but, much like the infamous “Lost” finale, they went with emotion instead. It worked better here, I thought, as “The Office” didn’t have all that other intellectual stuff going on like “Lost” did, so making the emphasis on emotion felt right on the whole.

We started with the darkly hilarious revelation that Dwight had cleaned house somewhat, letting Kevin, Stanley, Nellie and Creed go in one fell swoop, and hiring a bunch of new faces, including one that was such a dead ringer for Brit Marling, I had to recheck the credits to make sure it wasn’t. He also adopted a Japanese philosophy for work, including making everyone do Tai-Chi in the morning before the workday began, which made for a nifty tableau opening the episode.

There was also a hilarious bit running down Creed’s various offenses which included the (true) revelation that he used to me a member of the Grass Roots and how, according to Dwight, “During that time, the police say he sold drugs and trafficked in endangered species meat and stole weapons-grade LSD from the military.” He spent most of the episode in disguise behind a ridiculous fake beard, living out of the office bathroom, before getting hauled off by the cops at the end! Such a Creed ending, and I loved it all. He may be one of the more under-sung characters on the show, IMHO.

Next, we alternated between Dwight’s bachelor party festivities and Angela’s concurrent bachelorette shindig. Dwight made Jim his “Bestische Mensch” (aka his Best Man) and told him that “oftentimes in Hollywood portrayals of bachelor parties, there are accidental murders. That won’t be necessary tonight.” Thanks for the heads-up! (“Great,” added Clark, in his lone moment of the night, “Now we got three hours to fill.”)

Returning to the scene were Darryl and Andy, who was still reeling from his disastrous audition on an “American Idol”-type show, footage of which had gone viral, inspiring an auto-tune version and the like. He lamented how a “YouTube support group” featuring the “Double-Rainbow” guy and the “Fat Star Wars kid” had contacted him to help him get over his issues, having been through it themselves. On the bright side, he got a sweet gig working at the Cornell admissions department, after he was invited as a joke to give the commencement address and was unexpectedly successful at it.

For his first big BP contribution, Jim arranged for Dwight to get to fire a bazooka, a life-long dream of his. Then it was off to a bar, where Dwight was treated to the requisite stripper, only to be oblivious to the fact that she even was a stripper, confusing her with a barmaid! So very Dwight.

Meanwhile, Angela got a stripper of her own, which hilariously turned out to be Meredith’s son, who she promptly went all stage mom with, showing by example on poor Angela her best moves that he should emulate. I also liked the bit where Angela and her sister Rachel spoke in what amounted to “Twin-speak.” Angela’s festivities were pretty short-lived, as she was captured by Mose, in a misguided attempt to get her to Dwight’s party for another thing Jim had planned.

To that end, Jim took him to the last place he would ever go, namely Kevin’s new place of employment, a bar Kevin himself ran. There, after an initial awkward moment, Dwight told him he still liked Kevin but had to fire him because he was so terrible at his job. That and the fact that his “internet searches were so filthy, we had to throw out your computer”! Thankfully, they were able to get past it, and that was that.

After freeing Angela from Mose’s trunk (!), she wasn’t in the greatest of moods, so things wrapped up not long after that, but all in all, not too shabby insofar as bachelor parties go. I liked that Jim stopped with the pranks for once, opting instead to give Dwight things he knew he’d like instead. That was a nice touch, I thought, after all the crap he’s given him over the years. Despite all that, Dwight wasn’t wrong in that Jim really is the one person who really gets him, for whatever that’s worth.

After that, we got a panel for the documentary, with most of the cast present, including Creed hiding out in the audience. I loved Andy’s moment when the crowd chanted “Nard Dog!” at him and shouted out his various catchphrases. Erin also had a nice moment when she finally got to meet her parents, played by Joan Cusack and Ed Begley, Jr. And the bit with the audience fan-girl-ing out on Jim was amusing: “I would do anything you wanted…anything.”

Best reactions to the documentary:
Stanley: “I guess this was worth being filmed non-stop for nine years.”
David: “It’s like seeing a documentary about how your food is made. It’s kind of disgusting. You learn a lot. But I didn’t want to know any of it.”

Next came the big wedding, where we got the return of Kelly and Ryan. Kelly was hooked up with the Indian guy from “Heroes” (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and Ryan had a baby a girl had abandoned and left him with. In typically Ryan fashion, he turned around and bailed on the kid, after intentionally giving him an allergy, leaving him with Kelly’s man, while he and Kelly took off to assume their on-again-off-again twisted relationship. (The baby ended up with Nellie, ultimately.) Also great was Kelly’s wonderfully perverse reaction to Ryan’s actions: “You gave your baby an allergic reaction, just to talk to me?” LOL.

Jim stepped down from being Dwight’s Best Man, but with good reason, as, to no one’s surprise, I imagine, Michael turned up and assumed that position. (That’s what she said.) Dwight’s wedding was as perverse as you might imagine, with the couple standing in open graves, as per Schrute family tradition, “as a reminder of that this is the only escape from what they are about to do.” I liked the classical music rendition of G‘N’R’s “Sweet Child of Mine” during the ceremony, the inclusion of Mötley Crüe’s rather-obscure song “Angela” as the soundtrack for the happy couple’s first dance after, and the fact that the seats at the wedding were made of hay bales that the invitees had to haul around if they wanted a place to sit at the reception.

Other nice moments: Erin oblivious to the fact that she inherited her not-so-dope dance moves from her father; Toby confessing that he’s sad about “everything” to Pam; Dwight and Michael’s happy dance together; and Michael’s tearful admission that he feels like “his kids had grown up and had families” together, in regards to his former co-workers. And, of course, we had the final signature joke, when Dwight said: “I can’t believe you came!” when he saw Michael, and he said, but of course- “That’s what she said!” As last jokes go, not too shabby, Michael.

We had another emotion-packed moment when Jim found out Pam was trying to sell their house behind his back, so that she could surprise him with the news that she had decided to move after all, so that Jim could pursue his dream. Jim was floored, and his reaction was pure deadpan Jim.

Jim: “I’m sorry, how long have you been showing the house?”
Pam: “About two months.”
Jim: “So, that’s why it’s so clean!”

Last but not least, we got one last round of festivities at the office itself. Oscar announced he was considering he running for office; Pam redid the office mural in the shipping and loading area to feature the whole gang; Dwight going on about his “subordinates” and “firing” Jim & Pam so that they would receive severance pay in light of their move; and Meredith’s bit about how she was glad that there were people who, in light of seeing the doc now knew that they weren’t the only ones to “take a dump in the shredder” and how those who did should contact her, in order to “have a beer sometime, sister.” Funny stuff.

Somewhat fittingly, Andy got to summarize things best, when he said: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you actually left them.” True that.

So, all in all, a pretty solid episode, and easily the best of the “super-sized” episodes this season. I thought it was a fitting finale to the show overall, and if there weren’t a lot of LOL-worthy jokes, the more emotional elements made up for it. I liked how certain things served to acknowledge and embrace certain elements of the show itself in regards to the show’s following, like the fan-ship of Jim & Pam and the way certain things became catch phrases and so on.

So, what do you think of the final episode of “The Office”? Did you enjoy the documentary beforehand? (I liked how they justified the business with Jim and Pam as a way to get reminded of why they liked them as a couple in the first place, and the footage of certain people’s auditions in particular.) Did you like the ending? How about Michael’s return? The wedding? The respective bachelor & bachelorette parties? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

About The Author

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. His impossible dream is that "Twin Peaks" will one day be resurrected and pick up where it left off. Until then, he drowns his woes in anything remotely similar, from "Buffy" to "Lost" to "Pretty Little Liars." This has not always been a good thing-cough, "Ringer", cough- but now at least it can help pay the bills.

  • spot if eye ball

    I was happy that Michael returned, but ever since he left I thought that the writing of the show made everyone act like he had ever been part of it. Never calling, sending photos of his lids, never visiting (I know Steve Carrell couldn’t really do that with his new movies and all but they could have TALKED about a visit or something), never mentioning his name? That was always weird to me. And then he shows up you’d think the entire cast would surround him and give him a group hug or SOMETHING. And he wasn’t at the party in the warehouse. The whole thing seemed very strange, like he did not want to be there (Carrel or Scott) and that the office really didn’t care if he was there or not. They were all so excited when Stanley and Andy and Darryl pop in, so why ignore Michael? They could have spent 5 more minutes on Michael and his co-workers and a little less on “yes, Jim and Pam love each other.” I still love the show and will treasure everything through season 7 very much but the last two season left an ache in me that never made the show right afer Carrell left. Still have my DVDs and Netflix.

    • Mark Trammell

      Agree that the Carrell stuff was pretty slight. He clearly just popped in for a day or so and didn’t participate in the bulk of the episode, so it couldn’t help but come off as a glorified cameo. That said, glad we got at least one more “That’s what she said” joke out of him! Obviously, the show was never the same since Carrell left, but I thought this season had some decent episodes here and there, though it was admittedly pretty scattershot on the whole.