Credit: Chris Haston/NBC
Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)

Every time a television show ends, there’s debate about how successfully that program stuck its landing. Did the story conclude in a satisfying way? Were the characters serviced? Were there just enough fan-favorite call-backs to previous episodes to honor the show’s legacy without feeling artificial? It’s a impossible tough job.

Luckily for The Office, which will close out its nine-season run next Thursday with a super-sized 75-minute episode, the last four episodes have acted as a wonderful overture for what I anticipate will be an appropriately zany and emotion-infused final act. In fact, if you haven’t been watching and plan to tune in to next week’s finale, I humbly advise that you make some time to watch the last handful of episodes this weekend. After doing so myself these last few weeks, I have to say something never thought I’d be able: I’m emotionally prepared to see The Office clock out.

The entire season has been setting us up for a solid goodbye — what with characters moving on in their own ways, the impending airing of The Office documentary, and several of our favorite couples getting fresh and gratifying storylines. (And yes, I include new manager Dwight and new assistant to the regional manager Jim among the “favorite couples.) For instance, take Angela and Dwight’s storyline last night.

Dwight spent much of the hour considering proposing to his comely third-cousin Esther, but as we all know, Dwight still loves Angela. He was hesitant to give Esther his grandmother’s ring — which he’d forged from the bullet he pulled out of her hide — and also suspected that baby Philip was not the senator’s child but a Schrute. When he went to Jim with advice, this is what unfolded:

Dwight ended up confronting Angela about Philip, and offered her a better life for birthing his heir. She, however, lied and told him that Philip was not his; thus, she assumed, closing the issue. But later, Dwight chased down Angela and told her that he still wanted to marry her. “I don’t care if Philip’s not my son. I will raise 100 children with 100 of your lovers if it means I can be with you,” he yelled into a megaphone (because this is Dwight). She accepted his proposal and confessed that Philip was, indeed, his child. “I just needed you to marry me because you wanted to marry me,” she said. “Get out!” he screamed “I’m a dad!” Yes, Dwight. You are. And it’s perfect.

Regardless of how their story unfolds in the finale, this episode was everything I could have hoped for these two characters and this group. The fact that Jim was the one who encouraged Dwight and that Oscar was the one helping Angela make it through her tough time — it was like watching a wonderful puzzle come together. The Dunder Mifflin gang has grown up, guys, and I realized while reflecting on the episode last night, so have the longtime viewers.

We’ve spent almost 10 years with this group of characters and while saying goodbye is never easy, I’m ready for it. The Office has made me ready for it. Over the last few episodes, which have embodied everything that made me fall in love with The Office in the first place, we’ve been painted a clear picture of what awaits these characters after they leave us, and they are being set up for great futures. That’s everything I could ever want for them.

Watch this great moment below. And yes, I didn’t talk about that Jim-Pam fan video because I couldn’t.

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Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)
The Office

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

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