The past eight years have been leading up to this moment, and in the next eight days “The Office” will be over forever. With only two episodes remaining, conflicts have begun to be resolved; relationships, restored. Ongoing rivalries in the workplace were put to an end in episode 197 of “The Office,” entitled “Living the Dream,” which aired on May 2 on NBC.
In this episode, Jim is back at Dunder Mifflin in Scranton, as he has decided to take some time off from his company—Athlead—in Philly so that he can be with Pam. Although Jim and Pam have always had desks next to each other in the office, Clark has taken Jim’s desk since Jim left for Philly, meaning that Jim must take Clark’s old desk in the annex.
Meanwhile, Andy is struggling to balance both his office work and his acting, and as he puts it, “Half the time I don’t know if I’m wearing my stage makeup or my work makeup.” David Wallace, the CEO of Dunder Mifflin, comes to the Scranton branch to fire Andy. However, Andy quits before Wallace has the chance so that he can pursue his dream of fame in any way, shape, or form.
Dwight has recently earned his black belt in martial arts after spending 20 years and 150 thousand dollars on the hobby. Dwight invites Sensei Billy to perform his black belt ceremony in the office during lunch. Billy changes Dwight’s belt from brown to black, and he tells Wallace that Dwight wanted to receive his black belt in the place he loves most in the world. Billy describes Dwight as irritating, but also “one of the most tenacious and determined men (he has) ever met.” Wallace takes these words into consideration while thinking about who could fill Andy’s manager position.
Clark tells Dwight that he thinks Jim not only returned to Scranton for Pam, but also for the manager position. Dwight, after years of rivalry between he and Jim, surprisingly says that he thinks Jim would be a good manager and he would be happy to see Jim in that position. Wallace, however, tells Jim that he has been considering Dwight to be regional manager, and Jim surprisingly agrees and says Dwight should be the manager.
Pam visits Jim at his new desk in the annex while Erin is visiting Pete, as Pete’s desk is also in the annex. Erin suggests that the four of them go on a double date sometime, and when Pam says she is busy on Thursday, Erin awkwardly revokes the invitation.
After a day of all his coworkers telling him that he will never make it as a star, he is not talented, and he is making the worst mistake of his life, Andy changes his mind about leaving Dunder Mifflin and Wallace lets him stay as a salesman. Wallace then invites Dwight into the conference room, where he offers Dwight the position of Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. Dwight is, of course, overjoyed at the opportunity he has been yearning for years, and he jumps onto his desk and screams his news to the office.
As his first order of business, Dwight makes Clark give Jim his desk next to Pam, and then Dwight offers Jim the position of Assistant Regional Manager. Jim declines, but asks to be Assistant to the Regional Manager, a position that Michael Scott made up for Dwight a while back. After years of pranks and competition between Dwight and Jim, the two seem to be at peace with each other.
Andy changes his mind once again and decides that he really wants to pursue his dream of becoming famous, so he decides that he must get himself fired so that he can not back out again, as he will have nothing to fall back on. Andy gropes Toby and freaks out on Wallace, successfully getting himself kicked out. Before he leaves, Andy says thank you and goodbye to his coworkers through guitar and song. Andy performs a touching rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” and shocks everyone with his talent. The office applauds Andy after he is done and they all say their goodbyes.
Angela is a mess all day because the county took her cats from her apartment due to a rule on how many pets a resident may own. Angela receives a phone call while at work, and she is informed that she is being kicked out of the apartment altogether. With nowhere to go, Angela begins to look up tents she can purchase online. Not wanting Angela to live on the streets, Oscar invites her to stay with him until she gets back on her feet. Angela thanks Oscar, and on the car ride home Angela breaks down and admits to Oscar that she loves Dwight.
At the end of this episode, Darryl tells Jim that Athlead received an offer for a buyout, and they are going to pay for the company to pitch out west. Jim is amazed, but he passes up the opportunity, saying that he cannot put Pam through the separation again. Darryl replies with, “This is different. This is everything” to which Jim says, “I know, and I can’t do it.” Pam overhears the whole conversation.
With only two episodes left in the series, it will be interesting to see what happens with Jim’s company, but hopefully it will not cause issues between Jim and Pam. Andy’s performance was a spot-on way to end his character’s appearance on the show, and it was good to see that Dwight finally earned the position of manager. Tensions have simmered between Jim and Dwight, and also between Oscar and Angela. The second-to-last episode of “The Office” will air on NBC on Thursday, May 9 at 9 pm.