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The Office recap: Back on Track

The world gets righted as Michael expertly negotiates his return to power, and Jim comes out from the office doghouse

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The Office
Justin Lubin/NBC

The Office

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Well hello, there, Officers. ”Broke” brought us some major triumphs — Michael’s bargaining skills, Jim getting out of the dog house with the higher ups — and some serious falls from grace — Ryan’s travel confession, David Wallace basically choosing Michael over Charles. Time to make the donuts!

It’s morning in Scranton. Early morning. Like, 4:30 a.m. — level early morning. Michael cheerfully stocked the company van, and then picked up Ryan, who he taunted with the just-when-you-reach-for-the-door-I-roll-forward-a-little ”joke.” Lo, I hate that. A still-blond Ryan explained that they’ve been making 5 a.m. deliveries for a few weeks, and he’s not a fan: ”Ever since I’ve gotten clean, there’s something about fresh morning air that really makes me sick.” Next stop on the fun bus was Pam’s house, where Michael honked repeatedly — and if you look carefully, you can see one of Pam/Jim’s neighbors flipping on a light in this scene, which I found incredibly funny. Ah, details. Michael greeted a sleepy looking Jim with, ”oh, Halpert, wow! Boner patrol!” and Pam reluctantly headed for the van.

Oh yeah: The van. ”We got the van at a used car lot,” Pam told us. ”We think it says ‘Alleluia Church of Scranton’ in Korean.”’ I’m going to leave it to one of you Korean-reading Dunderheads to verify this, but given how the rest of the episode played out, let’s assume that’s accurate.

The sun was coming up, and Pam wondered if Michael by any chance brought coffee along for their delivery voyage. ”Milk and sugar,” he said, and handed her a gigantic travel mug. She took one sip and made a disgusted face. ”Is this just milk and sugar?” I think the best part of this whole exchange was Ryan’s strangely intense stare.

Ryan, Pam, and Michael were unloading boxes in a client’s parking lot — do most businesses get paper delivered so early in the morning? Can they not accept deliveries during the day? Hmmm… — when a Korean woman headed for the van. ”It’s not for the church!” Pam shouts. ”It’s a paper company now.” Pam knows how ridiculous she sounds, but in another stand-out episode for Jenna Fischer, she’s also trying to keep it together.

Over at Dunder Mifflin, Charles was pissed: They’ve lost 10 clients in the last month to TMSPC, but according to Stanley, the upstarts have undercut them on price. Andy attempted to cover his ass by reminding Charles that he’s the newest employee (maybe at the branch, although I wonder how long he was at the Stamford offices…), which was met with the best Charles line ever: ”Is that something you really want to have said?” Andy sheepishly concedes that it’s not.

”I don’t know what to do to inspire these people,” Charles told the camera. ”Maybe it’s my fault.” ”It’s not your fault!” insisted Dwight, who surprisingly has been sitting behind Charles this whole time. Charles said he wrote a memo asking everyone to cut costs, and just then Angela stuck her head in to say she’ll be ”putting her foot down” on expense reports. (”Been there, done that” bragged Dwight. Argh, I want those two to get back together. Team Dwangela!) This is the only real Angela moment of the episode, and while I have enjoyed the Michael Scott Paper Company arc, I really miss Angela, Kelly, Stanley, Creed, Toby, Oscar…everybody. My favorite Office episodes are when we get to see everyone do the same thing in different ways, and this story line has been too specific to let that happen. I’m guessing the next few episodes will be swinging back in the group direction, what with the reunion and all, and I’m looking forward to it.

NEXT: Here comes “the man”