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It’s been a spotty season for The Office—“Gossip” and “Niagra” have been the only standout episodes, while the rest were lackluster at best, too serious at worst. I get that they’re trying to explain why Michael does the things he does, but so far rationalizing his obnoxious and (especially this season’s) downright hurtful antics has made them less and less funny. The joke loses its humor when you feel the need to explain it.
Thank goodness for tonight’s installment, “Murder,” where Dunder-Mifflin’s rumored bankruptcy sets the office in a tizzy, and, once again, the Scranton branch’s employees are worried for their jobs. Jim, in an effort to demonstrate his newfound responsibility as co-manager, insists that everyone keep working, while Michael goes over his head and distracts them with the game “Belles, Bourbon, and Bullets,” a murder-mystery set in Savanna.
This is The Office at its best: With the notable exclusion of Toby, the episode delivers a constant stream of laughs from every character—Michael plying holdouts Stanley with sandwiches and Angela with carrots; Andy correcting Pam’s accent; Ryan’s wardrobe—and vindicates Michael without the heavy-handedness of previous installments. Too bad they had to go and reinforce that point near the end.
But that’s a minor flaw. In addition to the bevy of top-notch moments, “Murder” also manages to sneak in a subplot with the soon-to-be-budding romance between the gets-more-adorable-by-the-minute Erin and Andy, who finally works up the courage to ask her out, albeit in his “Belles, Bourbon, and Bullets” character. And who can resist any episode that brings out the fire in otherwise-quiet Pam?
Kudos, The Office, for proving that you haven’t lost your edge; you’ve just been a bit misguided.
You can read more reviews by Nat over at Frothy Girlz.com