Tonight’s episode of The Office felt a lot like old times, with enough great lines to make a list, and a plot that focused on the quirkiness of some of the characters we’ve come to know and love for seasons. Once again, Andy’s management skills were put to the test as he let Dwight take the lead in handling a situation.
After Robert California reprimanded Andy for numerous recent mistakes made at the branch, Andy let Dwight implement a system called the Accountability Booster. In an effort to make everyone accountable for each other’s mistakes, the system sent out a red X every time someone messed up. Five red X'es set the machine off. Whether it was because they were on edge about trying not to make mistakes, or because the branch really needs to tighten up their act, their red X’es stacked up fast.
Rather than offering a minor punishment for reaching five strikes, Dwight’s system, which was informally titled the Doomsday machine by the staff, was set up to send out an extremely damaging email to Robert California, which would likely cost everyone their jobs. This included emails Dwight collected containing some rather negative comments made about Mr. California, including Oscar’s “There’s no way he hasn’t strangled at least one stripper,” and Kelly’s “He eats his yogurt like he is punishing it for disappointing him,” which by itself wouldn’t have been so bad, but when you factor in the “PS, we should kill him,” definitely would've been a problem.
Andy putting the fate of everyone's professional futures into Dwight's hands was a bit extreme. Although I'm not sure taking away Minesweeper, which was another suggested punishment, would've been all that effective, considering I don't think anyone has played that game regularly since offices replaced it and Solitaire with the internet as the ultimate way to procrastinate at work.
Attempts to prevent the 5:00 p.m. Doomsday email from going out included Jim playing squash with Robert while the clock counted down. His plan was to snatch his phone if and when the email came through. Meanwhile, a visit to Schrute Farms was made by some of the staff in an effort to appeal to Dwight, who held the password to the Doomsday program. Pam’s intuition came in handy during the visit to the farm as she figured out that pressuring Dwight wasn’t going to get him to shut down the machine. Supporting him and his passion for farming did the trick and after helping him dig a horse grave, and eating some cabbage pie (yuck!), they left without so much as a word about the machine. And in the end, as Pam predicted, Dwight came through and stopped the email from going out.
The episode came together nicely, not only because it focused on office life, but it also brought out some of the characters' best and funniest traits. It’s believable (despite being ridiculous) that Dwight would come up with a self-destruct button for the whole office, and just as believable that he’d wait until Andy was in a vulnerable place to use it. I don’t think Michael would have gone for such a tactic, but Andy’s willingness to trust Dwight shows he’s still learning.
The B-story had Gabe trying to put the moves on Val, the hot warehouse girl. It was clear that Darryl was also into her. While Gabe tried to impress Val by poking fun at Darryl, he ended up getting rejected by Val, who says she doesn’t date coworkers. I’m assuming there’s more to this story coming soon, as it didn’t really go anywhere tonight. With Darryl single again (things with Justine are over), perhaps he’ll get Val to make an exception.
Funny moments and lines:
The cold-open revealed that Andy’s been subjecting the entire office to the song “Closing Time” at the end of every day. Erin seemed to like it, though I suspect she likes anything Andy does, and Stanley now loves the song as he associates it with his favorite time of day. That was a very Stanley moment.
“You’re the deuce I never want to drop,” Andy
“I don’t want a bunch of bureaucratic red tape wrapped around my jock.” Gabe
Gabe: Toby, I’m going to tell you her last name tomorrow, because she’s gonna be screaming it tonight.
Toby: She’s gonna be screaming her own last name?
Gabe: Hey... watch it.
“Shut it down! Shut it down!” Kelly (while Erin just screams in the background).
“If you hit another horse, you dug too far,” Dwight
Kevin’s plan to hit Dwight over the head with a frying pan would have turned The Office into a whole different kind of show (one where a guy gets killed in a farmhouse), had Pam not shut him down.
Jim's face when he realizes he knows Dwight's mother's name.