Andy skates, Holly waffles, and Michael throws out two perfectly good bottles of scotch
Welcome back, Officers! It’s been a while since we traveled to Scranton, but our beloved Dunder-Mifflinites were back in top form, with Michael still hoping to win back Holly’s affection, Pam lamely trying to convince her coworkers to make and stick to resolutions, and Dwight, Andy, and Darryl continuing their triforce of awesomeness. “Ultimatum” had some solid moments, but it wasn’t quite a home run.
Michael’s obsession with Holly was still in full force; he fully expected her to follow through on her ultimatum with AJ to either to get engaged over New Year’s, or break up completely. Michael was sure that their first day back at work would “either be the best or the worst day” of his life, but it turned out not to really be much of anything: No, Holly wasn’t engaged, but no, she wasn’t single, either. Michael’s epic celebration (confetti, dance-off to “My Life Would Suck Without You,” a box full of “happy” supplies) was premature, and when he found out that Holly and AJ were “going to be just fine,” he flipped out at the staff resolution meeting. It’s all perfectly keeping in character — is there a meeting where Michael hasn’t freaked out? — but I can’t help but feel kind of jerked around on the whole Michael/Holly storyline. After all this, she’s “taking a break” with AJ? That’s…it?
This show has done romances before. A lot. I rooted for Jim and Pam, I rooted for Dwight and Angela, I rooted for Kelly and Ryan, I rooted for Michael and Jan for a while (until it became soul-crushing, and I couldn’t handle it anymore); I rooted for Andy and Erin, and now I’m even rooting for Erin and Gabe. But I’m tired of being teased, especially when we know this is one of Steve Carell’s last episodes. Either get together or don’t! But this seasons-long drag-out will they/won’t they schtick is driving me crazy. There’s only so much romantic pining one show can inspire.
Elsewhere, Pam’s idea to make a resolution board — inspired by Vance Refrigeration’s Sue — resulted in Kevin being force-fed broccoli and Creed completing what he believed to be “the perfect cartwheel.” I so wish the resolution theme had taken center stage this episode so we could have seen more of everyone’s goofy issues. Sure, it made Pam seem like an insufferably chipper nursery school teacher, but it also gave us a chance to see everyone. Hi, Oscar! Hi, Stanley! I missed you this week.
Ryan resolved to “live life like an art project,” Kelly to “get attention by any means necessary,” Angela to “make time for romance (with the senator),” but it was Dwight’s emphatic “meet loose women” that set the other part of the story in motion: Dwight and Andy followed Darryl to the bookstore in the hopes of finding romance.
We know these three are the characters in the running to replace Michael as the branch boss, but I like seeing them play together instead of against each other. Dwight wanted to go to a strip club, but they settled on going to a roller-rink instead, where Andy got to rock out to DMB and embrace his inner glow-stick fan. The highlight of the episode was definitely when the rink DJ offered to put on “the strobe,” and the sock-clad guys leapt into the rink to dance around. More like this, please!
NEXT: Creed zings Erin
Highlights and best lines
++ Jim sort of wanting to be one of the Knights of the Night
++ “A day which will live in-famously” — Michael, predictably mangling a quote
++ Kevin giving Holly the finger, after she showed off her lack of an engagement ring
++ Erin hating Holly is not going to get old. Ever.
++ Kelly groaning “oh God, please stop!” over the cubicle partition to Michael and Holly
++ The entire Kevin-eats-broccoli arc: Ryan muttering “the other way” when Kevin tries to eat “the butt end,” Michael forcing him to eat the florets, hiding the chewed up food under his tongue and than spitting it all over the room — just aces, from top to bottom.
++ Creed yelling “f— you! f— you!” at Erin when she completes a cartwheel
Really silly, big moments like the broccoli spit or the sock dancing where effervescently funny, but “Ultimatum” was mostly about laying the groundwork for Michael’s exit; there was no engine propelling the story or the jokes forward, which is why the whole episode felt a bit stagnant. Here’s hoping the rest of Michael’s swan song picks up the pace a little.
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