Review: The Office - Murder
by Joel Keller, posted Nov 13th 2009 12:23AM
(S06E10) This week we had a bit of a head-scratcher. I want to like this episode because of how it pushed the corporate end of the story along, and I want to like it because it showed Michael in a bit of a different light than we expected, especially at the end. There were also a couple of laugh-out-loud moments (especially one involving Creed... but, then again, Creed is guaranteed laughs).
But overall, the episode felt tentative. The writers set up the murder mystery part of the episode to offset some of the bad news at DM, but didn't seem to go far enough.
I'm trying to put my finger on why things felt this way. Maybe the office members needed to go into character a little deeper. Maybe there needed to be more of Jim (and, by marriage, Pam) worrying that the cheese has finally slipped off Michael's Triscuit. But none of it went far enough or was funny enough to make Michael's murder mystery game distraction an effective story.
Except... It's interesting to know that this crappy economy has hit DM hard enough to know that the company might be insolvent by year's end and is close to declaring bankruptcy. It was a nice twist to see that Michael was not just pushing to continue the murder mystery game to keep his own mind off the bad news but was purposefully trying to keep his employees' minds off it, too ("Today is the hardest I have worked in a long, long time," he said at the end).
Every so often, Michael displays some people management skills, and it helps confirm to the viewers that he's demonstrated more than enough skills to keep his job for so long. And it seems like, despite Jim's visible disdain for the way Michael does things, he's actually learning a lot from his co-manager.
So the underlying story was good. It was just that the execution of the murder mystery plot was off. There were some funny moments, though:
1. Creed coming into the office while the mystery was in progress, and running back to his car after Michael tells him, "There's been a murder, and everyone's a suspect."
2. "Cool, I'll try it!" was Kevin's response when the gang was told their characters could speak slow and still not seem dumb.
3. Poor Erin and Andy; the game conspired against the two of them hooking up. It's fun to see another couple in the office who truly like each other, with the only thing standing in their way is shyness and insecurity, not a-hole fiances.
4. After Andy does his Georgia accent, Kevin asks him to do the Swedish Chef. When Andy says he doesn't know who that is, Kevin says, "He lives on Sesame Street, dumb-ass." Oh, Kevin. Even you should know the Chef was on The Muppet Show, right?
5. Oscar trying to do a southern accent and having his voice go all high-pitched and crackly.
6. Uptight, God-fearing Angela being cast as a witch doctor.
7. Jim manipulating Dwight into punching himself in the groin.
8. "Your feelings journal? You told me to put it in the time capsule."
9. Tube City.
It's odd how small of a role Pam played in this episode, though she was funny in the credit tag as she was playing the stand-off game with Dwight, Andy and Michael. Wonder if this incident may spur her to find employment elsewhere, figuring a DM demise will screw the both the Halperts and their baby-to-be.
So this one wasn't a swing and a miss. More like a foul tip. We'll see where this DM distress storyline goes.
Oh, and if you want to see what "Belles, Bourbon & Bullets" is all about, go to the Mondo Mysteries website. You can even leave some testimonials. Michael Scott already has.
[You can see clips and free episodes from our friends at SlashControl.]