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

By Margaret Lyons
Updated April 24, 2009 at 10:08 PM EDT
Justin Lubin/NBC

The Office

S5 E23
  • TV Show
  • NBC

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”

A sleepy staff at TMSPC wondered about getting a delivery guy. Michael thought they should just get a loft for the office — ”like a college dorm room” — instead.

Hey, Kelly/Erin! See you next week, I guess. David Wallace was here to see Charles, (though Dwight believed he was there to see both of them), who said his month-long stay at the Scranton Radisson hasn’t been that bad. ”These people are the salt of the earth down here,” he gushed, sort of, which raised Phyllis’s eyebrow. ”You couldn’t ask for a better way to learn a company. I feel like I should be thanking you.” Cut to Jim in the break room making ass-kiss noise for a full six seconds. Hee. David wanted to take a minute to address everyone — ”Stanley, pay attention,” said Charles, which, hahahaha again. ”Hi everyone,” he starts. And then an angelic-looking Kelly interrupted and said hi back…and then Kevin did the same thing a few seconds later. It’s such a weird little throwaway moment, but I totally loved this exchange, especially because it drove at not only what a strange little enclave the DM offices are, but how well these people wind up fitting together. It also highlighted how different Charles and David are, even though they could be cut from the same corporate cloth. Charles was completely put off by these little ”hi”s, but David didn’t seem to mind — yeah, he noticed they’re strange, but he didn’t let that deter him from his mission. David promised that they’d figure everything out (even after Phyllis gentle accused him of being the root of the branch’s troubles) and asked Jim to come in the conference room with him and Charles.

”You know, David, Dwight’s been my guy,” Charles said. ”Really? I find that extraordinarily surprising,” David replied. Snap!

Michael, Ryan, and Pam met with an accountant, who told them their company was destined for failure. ”Your prices are too low,” he said. ”Why do you think Staples and Dunder Mifflin can’t match your prices?” ”Corporate greed?” Pam offered. It turns out that Ryan used a fixed-cost pricing model instead of a variable-cost pricing model, and TMSPC was basically putting itself out of business. Michael asked the accountant to ”crunch” the numbers again, and he eventually conceded and said ”crunch” while hitting the return key. As they drove back to work, a Korean woman got in the van, and they were too dispirited to tell her not to.

”When a child gets behind the wheel of a car, and runs the car into a tree, you don’t blame the child,” confessionalized Pam. ”He didn’t know any better. You blame the 30-year-old woman, who got in the passenger seat and said ‘Drive, kid — I trust you.”’

NEXT: Michael gets the best deal

Charles, David, Dwight, and Jim were brainstorming ways to get back clients. Jim suggested offering a price cut, which Dwight countered by offering to fill Michael’s office with bees. ”My apiarist owes me a favor,” he said. We know there’s nothing Jim loves more than letting Dwight hang himself, so he goaded: ”Does he do good work?” ”No, Jim, I use a bad apiarist,” Dwight said sarcastically, fully expecting Charles to give him a ”I know, riiight?” look back. Which he did not.

Pam and Jim confabed in the hall, where she revealed that TMSPC was on its last legs, and he revealed that his new ringtone for Dwight’s calls is Dwight’s voice saying ”idiot.” I badly want this to be my ringtone. Jim promised Pam that everything would be okay.

Michael and Ryan were later sitting on the floor, feeling sad. Michael said he always thought the day Steve Martin died would be the worst day of his life, but this day beat it. Pam admited that she couldn’t get hired at Old Navy, Wal-Mart or Target, and then Ryan dropped the bomb that he never went to Thailand. ”I went to Fort Lauderdale,” he mumbled. ”Was it nice?” Michael asked. Ryan’s a little choked up, probably at the combination of how pathetic his lie was and how extra pathetic that makes this confession.

Back upstairs, the guys had decided the best thing to do is buy out the downstairs folk. (Dwight was still committed to the bee-fury idea, though.) Idris Elba’s reaction to Dwight’s crankpot plan is an amazing combination of WTF, act cool, oh god what have I done, is this really happening, and even I have to admit this is a little funny. They decided that Jim should go downstairs and float the idea, which he did to great success.

The fearsome threesome headed upstairs to the bargaining table, where David offered Michael $12,000 for the company, which Michael deemed insultingly low. ”I’ll see your situation and raise you a situation. Your company is losing clients left and right. You have a stockholder meeting coming up, and you’re going to have to explain to them why your most profitable branch is bleeding. So they may be looking for a little change in the CFO. So I don’t think I have to wait out Dunder Mifflin. I think I just have to wait out you.” Oh, dayum! I love when Michael is competent! David’s next offer is for $60,000.

Dwight got a call that clued him in to TMSPC’s financial woes, and he immediately told Charles, only to be thwarted by Jim and his Dwight-bait, asking about what kinds of cases Dwight has ”cracked.” He explained the ”case of the beet bandit: missing beets from all over the farm. No footprints, inside job: Mose in socks.” Before Dwight could spill the info to Charles, he’d been completely derailed.

Michael decided that they needed to bargain for jobs back at Dunder Mifflin. He got David to agree to bring Pam on as a salesperson, though it was a tougher sell to get Ryan back into DM. ”Our balls are in your court,” Michael said, and to no one’s real surprise (except maybe Charles), David agreed to all the conditions.

”There are certain defining moments in a persons life: The day he’s born, the day he grows hair, the day he starts a business, and the day he sells that business back to Dunder Mifflin,” Michael said, wrapping things up. He then refused to let Charles do a farewell speech, and proudly walked over to Jim’s desk. He’s baaaaack!

”Broke” was an incredibly brisk episode that covered a lot of ground, so it worked as a good capstone on the whole Michael-leaving-the-company plot. I’m excited for the reintegration into the DM offices — where’s Pam going to sit? Will Kelly welcome Ryan back? — and to see if Michael’s role changes at all, given his newfound voice. How about you guys? What are you excited about?

Episode Recaps

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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