Jim's nemesis finally achieves a lifelong goal — until, of course, he screws everything up spectacularly

By Hillary Busis
May 13, 2011 at 04:30 AM EDT
Chris Haston/NBC
S7 E24
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Next week, at the end of The Office‘s opening credits, what do you think new acting manager Creed Bratton will adjust on his desk before the title card appears? A tiny sack of mung beans? A doobie? A cache of stolen goods? Whatever it is, I’ll be happy — choosing Creed to succeed Dwight was inspired, and that decision is bound to pay off big time in the season finale.

For the past several seasons, one of the best things about The Office has been the strategic way the show deploys Creed. He’s always on screen just long enough to drop a spectacular weird bomb before retreating into the background again. This means that so far, Creed has never worn out his welcome — unlike certain other wacky supporting characters on certain other NBC sitcoms (I’m looking at you, Kenneth). Hopefully, this won’t change even now that he’s nominally the boss.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we can talk about Creed’s ascension to the corner office, we have to talk about Dwight’s swift managerial rise and fall. After years of wishin’ and hopin’ and schemin’ and butt-kissin’, the bespectacled beet farmer finally got his dearest wish — in the form of a temporary stint as Deangelo’s replacement. Predictably, once he had the title of Acting Manager, Dwight ran with it, enforcing crazy rules (workers had to punch in using an old, dangerous time clock, stagger their lunches to discourage socializing, carry around new, comically large business cards that listed their occupation as “Junior Employee,” etc.) and filling his office with a variety of gleaming weaponry, a desk modeled after Uday Hussein’s, and a “rescued” piranha. There was, however, no mention of Schrute Bucks, which disappointed me a little.

As a result, Dwight was both happier than he’s ever been and happier than he ever would be (as he explained, “I will be at my maximum happiness for the rest of my life”). That euphoria, of course, couldn’t last. Soon enough, Dwight flew too close to the sun and discharged a pistol in the middle of the office, shooting a hole in the carpet (lamented Oscar: “There is a hardwood floor under this carpeting! Why would they do this?“) and bursting Andy’s eardrum in the process. To make matters worse, this happened right before the Scranton office was expecting a visit from Jo, the steely down-home Sabre CEO played by Kathy Bates.

Dwight made every effort to convince his coworkers not to tell on him — though his attempt at a Michael-style character, “Gun Safety Dwight,” didn’t last very long — but in the end, the shooter himself confessed his crime, hoping that his honesty would win him brownie points. It didn’t. So just as suddenly as it had began, Dwight’s reign ceased…and Jo decided to appoint the person with the most seniority as the office’s new acting manager. Enter Creed.

NEXT: Oh yeah, Erin/Andy/Gabe was also a thing.

On the whole, tonight’s episode was a vast improvement over last week’s. (Though even a 15-minute-long closeup of a jar of mayonnaise would have been an improvement over last week’s episode.) It was solidly funny, if not totally gut-busting, and it also served as a palate cleanser after the disaster that was Deangelo. Heading into its seventh finale, The Office is in a pretty good place; here’s hoping that next week’s barrage of guest stars doesn’t overwhelm the show too much.

Highlights and extra thoughts:

– On the endless Erin and Andy and Gabe subplot: Am I alone in being left totally cold by it? The triangle has been drawn out for far too long, especially when you look back and realize that Andy and Erin were only really a couple for about four episodes. Just get them back together already!

– This line, however, did make me laugh: “Gabe was a great guy who has so many wonderful qualities, but it was a challenge being touched by him.”

– Okay, fine and this: Gabe asks Andy if he wants to be alone with him. Andy’s response: “No, this is horrifying.”

– The way Mose shrieked when Dwight let him know that he was sitting in Michael’s office made my heart smile.

– It’s perfect that Oscar purposefully leaves out “under God” when saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and that he looks very proud of himself while doing so.

– Just so you know, Dwight: “foment: verb [trans.] to instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action)”

– Jim, on his fake anti-Dwight group “The Fist”: “Oh, it’s just a social club. Like the French Revolution, or the Black Panthers, or communism. It’s just a club. Guys talking. You know.”

– So Jordan’s still around, and word is that she may be bumped up to a regular next season. No offense to the actress who plays her, but…why, exactly?

– Also, what’s up with Kelly? She got to work late, then blackmailed Dwight into getting a day off — is this run-of-the-mill slacking, or something more interesting?

– Dwight: “You’re pre-fired! And when I am promoted, you’ll be full fired!” Jim: “If you get promoted, and if you haven’t fallen in love with me by then.” Tuna knows what’s up.

– Toby’s glee at getting to fill out the gun violence paperwork was adorable. It’s like he’s finally completing the whole set!

– Darryl on pranking Andy in the hospital waiting room: “I don’t feel good about it, but he just kept calling himself a gunshot victim.”

Was Dwight’s brief turn as manager everything you hoped it’d be? Did tonight’s episode make you feel better about life in the post-Michael era? And who do you hope ends up in the boss’ chair in the finale next week?

Episode Recaps

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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  • 9
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  • 03/24/05-05/16/13
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