The Office: Branch Closing
(S03E07) I'm sure that many of us have either been laid-off from their jobs or know someone that has, so this episode surely hit home with quite a number of people.
As what took place with the British version of The Office, Jan tells Michael that corporate has decided to close the Scranton office and will transfer a few staffers to the Stamford branch. Someone once said to me that you never truly find out what a person is made of until you seem him/her deal with a crisis. Watching Michael go to extremes to save his employees (and himself) showed that despite his overbearing, obnoxious, pompous personality, he does have a soul, and you ended up rooting for him to save the day. Of course, it was all moot when we learned earlier that after Josh decided to move on to Staples, the Stamford branch would be closed and merged into Scranton.
I thought Stanley's initial reaction to finding out that his job would probably be eliminated was priceless! The look on his face when he talked about retiring and taking it easy was marvelous and, of course, the disappointed demeanor he had when he learned that he would still be on the job was great too. Stanley is truly a terrific character and I would like to see an episode where he gets the bulk of the attention.
Of course, the inevitable "reunion" of Jim and Pam back in the same office was a major theme throughout this episode. They both akwardly referred to it, but they didn't come out and say what they were feeling. Well, Jim did tell Jan that he was unsure about taking on the number two role in Scranton because of a personal situation, but in the end he took it because, frankly, he figured the job will pay him more and he gets to go back home. Plus, we all know there's still something between him and Pam, and maybe he wants to take another shot at winning her. Let us not forget that Roy will be lurking about as well, albeit as an employee of a new company taking over the warehouse.
However, Karen flat out admitted that she had a thing for Jim, so the highlights from next week's episode shows here arriving at Scranton and meeting Pam, so a storyline that could pit the two ladies competing for Jim may well emerge.
I have to say though that Ryan's attitude toward Kelly is getting a bit tiresome. He expresses all sorts of feelings that he doesn't want to be with her, but he attended the Diwali celebration with her and they seem to spend a lot of time together. His attempt to break up with her fell very flat, and when she ran into his arms after finding out their jobs were save, he didn't exactly resist. It's put up or shut up time for him.
Still, the attempt by Michael to imitate Michael Moore and confront the corporate bosses (with Dwight tagging along) demonstrated that he does have some backbone. OK, probably a very disjointed backbone, but give him credit for having enough guts to even attempt to carry out his and Dwight's plan. Speaking of Dwight, how's he going to handle Jim as Michael's number two? If you thought there was tension between them before, wait until they are back in the same room again.
With Michael about to take on the responsibility as the boss of two merged branches, will he pull a David Brent and get himself canned? Not bloody likely, since the show is not designed to have a limited run. However, you can bet that Jan will have him on an extremely short leash, and we could see a new character come on the scene and function as Michael's direct supervisor. But that probably won't happen until late this season (if at all), so I guess we'll have to be content with the merry mix-ups that will be occuring with the return of Jim to Scranton and how Pam, Dwight, and Karen will deal with it.