S07E24: Even though we have seen Dwight act out his many, many, many Machiavellian tendencies in just about every capacity at Dunder Mifflin, we have never seen him reach his ultimate goal of becoming manager. And even though the results were extremely predictable, his swift rise and fall gave us a fairly decent episode.
One of the things I will give these few episode of The Office post-Michael Scott is that they have successfully made the issue very character driven instead of focusing on Steve Carell leaving. It really shows that they focused on continuing the show and by running through every conceivable option, it sets us up for a stronger start to next season. We had the replacement from corporate, Deangelo, go out in a ball of egotistical flames. Now we’ve had the most obvious replacement from within the company step up and strike out with a bang. This leads us to the season finale stuffed with guest stars. It’s a really smart transition and it really gives me hope about the rest of the season.
"I will never be happier than I am right now. I will also never be less happy. I will be at my current maximum happiness for the rest of my life because I am manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. Acting manager." - Dwight
So, in the immediate interim following Deangelo’s coma, there's a vacancy in power and as Jim rightfully noted everyone seems to be doing fine without someone supervising them. But that makes for a REALLY boring sitcom (but still better than Big Bang Theory -- BAZINGA) so someone has to step up. It's offered to Jim but he refuses not wanting to upset the status quo. Which means it's offered to the next most qualified person, Dwight. Of course he accepts it with glee (another worse sitcom -- jazz hands!) and so begins his reign as manager. I mean, acting manager.
Prior to this episode, NBC aired a repeat of the episode (instead of Perfect Couples, another horrible sitcom -- Tiger Moms!) where Dwight reigns over the office as building manager. The parallels are obvious to the point that they repeated themselves. The only difference was in that episode, Dwight let his compassion toward Pam relent his draconian practices where this week his power-induced egomania brought about his downfall. I won’t say they copped out because obviously Dwight would be a serious contender for the position so he had to be given a chance and lose it on his own. It’s just unfortunate that they went with that similar storyline earlier this season.
Anyway, Dwight brought a gun to show off to Jo hoping for a talking point. When his uncle gives him a holster, well, Chekov would’ve been proud. He fires it off right by Andy’s ear. Seeing an opportunity to end Dwight’s reign, the office uses it as blackmail when Jo comes to check in on everything. As a result we get one of the strangest bits of physical comedy when Kevin demands a back massage from Dwight and somehow Dwight ends up with his feet on the wall pushing into Kevin. I don’t imagine that was comfortable for Brian Baumgartner but it was impressive nevertheless. But Dwight respects the job too much to let the rest of the office extort him away from doing it effectively and he confesses to Jo that he fired a gun. Predictably she wouldn’t let him take the position and then set us up for the finale by having Jim, Toby, and fucking Gabe (more on him in a second) be the search committee for a replacement.
And in one of the most brilliant closers ever, we see her interim interim replacement: Creed. He didn’t need to say anything. Just that sight of him sitting in the desk was enough. Now THAT would’ve been an episode.
"There is a hardwood floor underneath that. Why would they do that?" - Oscar
But it wasn’t all Dwight. Oh no, this week we got another helping of the very peculiar triangle between Erin, Andy, and fucking Gabe. Fucking Gabe once again confronts Andy and demands that he promise he won't date Erin again. In an effort to stop Gabe's crying (and get out of the conference room ASAP), Andy agrees. And then in the dick move of all dick moves (seriously a penis would call what fucking Gabe does a dick move), fucking Gabe confronts Andy in front of Erin when he sees them laughing and tells Erin what Andy said. I can’t think of a bigger tool move and I highly doubt fucking Gabe will ever be able to swing back into a favorable position after that (at least in my book). It doesn’t seem like Erin is taking him that seriously and I’d be willing to place a moderate bet that she’s going to explode at him in the finale next week.
Also, major kudos to Ellie Kemper in this episode. She came into this series as a sketch actor but for the first time I think she finally started being an “actor.” I could really see some emotion behind her actions this week as she fully embraced her character. And she’s really, really cute. That doesn’t hurt either.
The Office is going through the necessary plot points to get to next season. Next week promises us a boatload of guest stars vying for the position of manager which will probably overshadow any big development they have in store. It’s a weird time for the show but it’s still pretty damn funny and that’s all that really matters.