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The Office recap: Return of the Man

Toby brings his sad-sack self back to the office, but Michael is prepared to do (almost) anything to send him packing again, while Jim hopes Pam is pleased that he bought his parents’ house

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The Office

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Hey howdy, my little pastry cubes made of sugar and fat, and welcome to another fun-filled recap of The Office! Why am I in such a chipper mood, you ask? Toby’s back! Toby’s back! Yay, yay, ya — wait. Did anyone tell Michael? Oh no.

It was bound to happen, and last night it did: Michael faced his HR enemy’s return, meandering back into the sad and icky annex, and screaming his very best my-FBI- partner-just-fell-down-an-elevator-shaft Nooooooo!, only to be cut off by the opening credits. Somehow, brownies, that indignity just made the pain more visceral, didn’t it? Brokenhearted Michael, standing at the desk of his lost love, staring at Toby’s stupid tan face, and there was nothing he could do about it — not without cause, of course. Sadly, “Be-cause I hate him” isn’t gonna get the job done.

And so the man who cried 911 in all of his text messages set about finding another way to eliminate the problem, including killing it with kindness. He didn’t exactly “serve” Kurt Russell with his impersonation of a friendly guy, asking polite questions about Toby’s trip and whatnot, but he lasted a lot longer than I thought he would. (Toby, on the other hand, lasted about as long as could be expected in Costa Rica, where it is apparently very hard to meet people and also hot.) Eventually the nice mask dropped, and Michael was back in his hole, ranting about how trying to be friends with Toby is like trying to be friends with an evil snail, and now he is dying inside, like Neve Campbell in Scream 2 where she can’t be happy and go off to college because the murderer shows up there, too. I am just going to trust that this was actually the plot of Scream 2.

There was but one thing left to do: find a fireable offense to get Toby booted. This project was like catnip to Dwight, a man who never found a door he didn’t whip open in hopes of catching someone in the act. So! Plan 1! Nail Toby for sexual harassment! It was very selfless of Dwight to offer himself up as sexy bait — love the mustard shirt callback — but ultimately Michael was probably right in going to Pam and asking her to take Toby a mash note. Of course, Pam is no trained monkey, and she read it first: “Please hug and kiss me no matter how hard I struggle. I’m too shy to say I love you.” Oh goodness, to imagine the pain that note would have inflicted on the Flenderson psyche…but no dice. Plan 1 = Strike 1!

NEXT: Fight, fight, fight, fight…