"Whistleblower" finds "The Office" at somewhat of a crossroads. Season 6 was uneven and disappointing. Somewhere in between the less funny episodes were some real gems, and any episode that revolved around important events in Jim and Pam's life brought us back to the heart of the show and proved that the writers could still give us heart-warming scenes between these two lovebirds. However, much of the season was plagued with a sense of misdirection and aimless humor. Sure, we got some good laughs, but there was no tension keeping us hooked. Even comedy shows need some sort of arc, and, up until Season 6, "The Office" provided this. For example, Seasons 2 and 3 had us following Jim and Pam's burgeoning relationship, while Season 5 brought a little bit of everything, from Michael starting his own paper company to our introduction to the relationship between Michael and Holly Flax. Season 6's finale was funny, as most "Office" episodes tend to be, but it lacked the power of the other season finales and ultimately left me disappointed once again.
The finale continues the plot that was introduced two episodes ago in "The Cover-Up." Andy discovered that Sabre printers light on fire after extensive use, and, as a result, he leaked the information to the press. Chaos ensues when Kathy Bates returns in the role of Jo Bennett, who arrives at Dunder Mifflin and announces that she wants to fire whomever was responsible for the leak. Andy attempts to hide his guilt while we slowly learn that in fact multiple people were responsible for the leak. Whether it was Kelly, Daryll or someone else, there were multiple people that could have ultimately leaked the information.
Meanwhile, Dwight spends the finale attempting to invest his money in real estate after he receives some interesting advice from Jo. A series of intriguing events eventually leads him to buying the building in which Dunder Mifflin resides. While this is an interesting move for the writers to pull, it feels completely lackluster, especially since we've never heard of this idea up until tonight's episode. There's no explanation of where this could possibly go, and the season ends with more unanswered questions than an episode of "Lost."
In fact, that's my problem with the episode itself. "Whistleblower" felt as aimless as the rest of the season and acts as the epitome of its flaws. As funny as the episode may have been, it was difficult to care about something that will likely have no consequences. Sure, there may have been some intriguing plot threads left dangling in the wind, such as Holly's possible return to Dunder Mifflin, Dwight and Angela's scheme to have a child, Dwight's purchase of the Dunder Mifflin building and Andy possibly being fired, to name a few. Yet, I didn't feel invested in any of these ideas as they were laid out before me. I thought, at first, that the plot involving the printers would have some pay off, but it appears that its only consequence was to move Andy and Erin closer to each other, something that could have been accomplished any number of ways. While I've enjoyed Michael's attempts to obtain the same feeling of normalcy he felt with Holly, the final moment of the episode, in which Jo hints that she may bring Holly back to Scranton, felt tacked on, a way to keep viewers interested over the summer. There's nothing wrong with a cliffhanger, but this felt like a contrived way to pull viewers back in. There was something missing, a certain je ne sais quoi.
Don't let this make you think the episode wasn't funny. If there's one thing the writers are consistent with, it's their humor and their ability to make sure the love is spread among the characters. Creed had his typical "one-line-an-episode," and it was a great final line of the season for him. Toby got a few moments in too, specifically one in which Jo finds a mystery novel that Toby is writing and gives him advice, to which he replies, "Write your own damn novel." It was delivered in Toby's typical dead-pan drawl and was one of the highlights. Dwight was excellent as usual, and if he doesn't win an Emmy this year, it'll be one of the biggest upsets of the year. He's gone far too long without a win, and this should be the year he wins. He's remained remarkably solid all season and deserves some accolades for his achievements.
And what can I say about Michael Scott? Michael has changed a lot from season to season, but the one thing that's remained the same about him throughout everything is his human side. Even when the writers turn him into a Homer Simpson-esque buffoon from time to time, Steve Carrell helps us care about Michael by showing him as a real person and not a jokester 24 hours a day. He had some really touching moments on Jo's plane, and while he didn't have as many funny moments as the rest of the cast, he still reminded us of how likable he can be when everything is said and done.
I was disappointed to see a lack of Jim and Pam in the finale. For a show that spent five of its six seasons with finales revolving around Jim and Pam, there was a surprising lack of them throughout it all. In fact, neither of them really had any great moments in "Whistleblower." Instead, Rainn Wilson and Steve Carrell found a way to steal the show away from them, and while I appreciated this, I still wish we could have seen some more of Jim and Pam.
Hopefully, "The Office" can learn a lesson from this season. It could keep spewing out season after season until it's reached "Friends" or "Cheers" levels of longevity, or it could bow out next year with a superb series of final episodes. "The Office" has begun to show signs of aging, and the season finale was a sign that it should try and wrap things up before it's too late.
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