In an episode that managed to jerk tears without getting too sappy or away from its comedy roots, NBC’s flagship comedy “The Office” waved goodbye to its star Steve Carell in the extended “Goodbye, Michael” episode Thursday.
The episode revolved around Carell’s character Michael Scott slyly having goodbye interactions with each of his Dunder Mifflin coworkers (all on fairly good terms–even the one with Toby) under the notion that he was leaving for Holly and Colorado the following day. In reality, he was actually departing that day at 4PM but did not want to face his office family for an actual goodbye celebration. Particularly-emotional goodbye moments for Michael included his writing Dwight a glowing recommendation letter (and engaging in a subsequent game of paintball) and Jim, who caught onto Michael’s plan, telling Carell’s character that he was a great boss and the best one he ever had.
As no one initially knew of Michael’s intentions, it appeared he would be unable to say goodbye to Pam (with whom Carell’s character arguably developed the best chemistry in recent seasons)–who sneaked off to see “The King’s Speech” during the work day. Ultimately, however, Jim informed Pam of the situation, and she caught up to him at the airport, just as he handed over his microphone to the documentary film crew. They embraced goodbye, and she then watched as his plane took off for Colorado.
The episode’s side storyline featured Ed Helms’ Andy Bernard trying to rebook the major clients he inherited as Michael’s gesture of confidence in the troubled salesmen. Will Ferrell’s Deangelo came along for a sales call to provide assistance, but it became clear that he lacks the talent and sanity to get the job done (Ferrell did, however, score with a scene in which he likened a client’s signing with Andy to Russian Roulette). With his back against the wall, Bernard stepped up his sales game and closed a deal.
Another minor arc involved Gabe, desperate to win Erin back, threatening Andy not to pursue the now-single receptionist. A highlight moment of the episode saw a timid, awkward Gabe tell Andy to “Walk away, bitch.”
In the episode’s closing segment, Deangelo’s resurfaced eating troubles (and insanity) became apparent as he failed to deter himself from destroying Michael’s goodbye cake, prompting Dwight to deliver an “uh-oh” and Jim to give a signature look of horror at the man who has been tapped as the new boss.
As for Ferrell, NBC’s promo officially confirmed (as if there were any serious doubt) that his tenure as regional manager will not continue into next season. The promo confirmed he will end up “unavailable” to fulfill the duties, creating an opening for the permanent replacement. NBC teased some in-house names, notably Rainn Wilson’s Dwight, before confirming the previously-reported names like Ricky Gervais, James Spader, Will Arnett, Ray Romano and Jim Carrey as potential boss candidates for the season finale.
“The Office” returns, Carell-less, next week.