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The Office: Murder - Review

Dwight's giving his annual update on karate techniques, telling the staff they should prepare in case they get glamorized by a competing ninja group.

A throat punch, he said, might do it. He wants a volunteer to demonstrate how to defend against it.

"Last time you pulled my pants down and then you tried to attack me with my shoelace." - Kevin

Jim goads Dwight into proving Dwight can defeat, er, himself. Dwight proceeds to Fight Club himself, resulting in him punching his own crotch.

Corporate's David Wallace tried to alleviate, by e-mail, worries about Dunder Mifflin aroused in a Wall Street Journal (not the "feelings journal, Michael) article.

The article says the company is considering bankruptcy, which sets the staff in panic.

"You know what? You can all have jobs at Shrute Farms, as human scarecrows. But it doesn't pay much and you can't unionize." - Dwight

Michael never deals well with bad news. He's playing "Lullaby (Everything's Going to be All Right)" that Shawn Mullins popcrap, in his office.

Jim wants it to be business as usual - aw, Jim, trying to be all managerish - but Michael decides it's time to play a board game.

"'Operate' got me through my operation, i.e. my vasectomy." - Michael

He wants to play Belles, Bourbon and Bullets murder mystery game (why not just play The Office Clue game, Carell?). Jim tries to veto, but he already used that to stop Tube City, Michael's hilarious roomful of hamster tubes.

It's kind of sad to see this new Jim. Old Jim would have loved to spend the day playing a murder mystery and flirting with Pam. New Jim is all mature and can't have fun. That takes away some of the fun of watching The Office.

Um, why does Pam have plastic gloves on? Did I miss something? Anyway, her character, Deb Utante, sounds like Forrest Gump. Andy shows how to do a good Southern accent (actually, he really does do a good one).

Man, Creed is funny- Michael (or Caleb Crawdad) tells him he's a suspect in a murder. Without a pause, Creed says he'll be right back, and is seen peeling out of the parking lot. Classic Creed.

Dwight questions Angela's voodoo woman character how she got into the black arts.

"It's not my fault. I was exposed to Harry Potter." - Angela

Oscar actually has real news- corporate said don't pay the vendors. His fake Southern accent is fantastic, as it's half pubescent boy, half Donald Duck.

Anyway, everyone goes back to work (and Phyllis was the murderer). It's reminiscent of when Jim and Pam, back when they were still fun, organized the Office Olympics, and everyone stopped the race as soon as Michael walked back in.

The Halperts realize they both could lose their jobs at the same time. Michael won't give up his game, though, and recreates an amazing crime scene: Meredith dead on the ground with what appears to be sausage brains spilling out.

And then, even more amazing, and one of the best moments of The Office this season if only because it was very real and character-impacting (if that's a word). Jim thinks he's about to tell Michael to shove his game where the sun don't shine. But Michael quickly tells Jim to shut up, and that the staff need this distraction. Wow. Well played, and well said. Michael, as we are reminded, sometimes knows what he's doing.

Wallace tells Jim the company is going broke, essentially meaning everyone will lose their job. And then, Jim makes a little stride of his own- instead of being super serious, he announces there's been another murder.

Jim finally gets it. Sometimes, people want to keep working. Sometimes, people just want to not think about work.

In the subplot:
The thought of the office closing spurs Andy to act on his affection for Erin (called it! And how could you not love her after this video).

He finally asks her on a date. Except, he does it in his murder mystery character, so you're not sure if Erin really understands Andy wants a date, and not a "this is part of the act" deal. That's especially true after "Naughty Nelly," evidently the town whore, agrees to a threesome with Meredith and Kevin.

Andy is now worried.

"It's a whole lot less appealing, because Naughty Nelly says yes to everyone. And she may be a murderer." - Andy

He tries to clear things up. Both were hoping it was a real date, but neither would admit it. Wasn't there a Saved by the Bell episode like this?


Much, much better than last week's Double Date episode, don't you think. Sure, it wasn't an Office classic. Those are hard to reach at this point, because there's such a high standard. But I was entertained the whole time, and characters developed: Jim got wiser, Andy tried to make a move, Michael reaffirmed his role.

And a lot of characters got to shine, too. Listening to the Southern accents was, at times, very funny, especially Oscar's. And just the thought of the crew doing a big murder mystery makes perfect sense. You'd expect them to do that.

But where does this leave the Scranton branch, and the company? This sounds dire, and I wonder where the writers will take this. Is it a one-and-done reference? Will they make the workers agonize for weeks? Will we see major shifting of the company that brings in new staff or lets go of some of our favorites? Next week's episode is called "Shareholder's Meeting," so you have to think it's becoming a major plot device.

Nice touches:

  • Erin putting Michael's "feelings journal" in a time capsule

  • Stanley and Angela sticking around for the game because of a sandwich platter and baby carrots

  • Michael putting Jim in his place, a role reversal

  • Pam also revealing she's a double agent, and ordering Jim to go start the car for the getaway

Best quotes:
"That is correct. Unless there happen to be measles present." - Dwight

"He lives on Sesame Street, dumbass." - Kevin, incorrectly stating the whereabouts of the Swedish Chef.

What did you think? Leave a comment, and vote in the poll...And follow me on Twitter @officetvfodder

Posted by Andy Shaw on November 12, 2009 11:15 PM
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