— After spending the last few episodes hinting towards big changes, The Office made what could possibly be the most impressive move in its season finale – keeping everything the same. Michael is back with Jan, Dwight is still his subordinate, the Jim/Pam/Karen love triangle is still in effect and, as far as who got the big promotion to the corporate office – nobody got it. Well, someone got it, but not who you would expect.Jim, sporting a brand new haircut at the insistence of his girlfriend, prepares for his New York interview along with Karen and Michael. Michael, having accidentally shown up to his interview a day early, had already spoken to the head of Dunder Mifflin, and left with the impression that he was a shoe-in for the job. Armed with this knowledge, he decides to prematurely promote Dwight to the position of regional manager.
As Dwight tearfully thanks Michael for the promotion, we learn that after Pam's outburst last week at the lake, Jim did, in fact, talk with Pam and admit that he, too, missed their friendship. This reconciliation does not sit well with Karen, however, who begins to give Pam the cold shoulder after Pam apologizes to her for making her feel awkward during the outburst, but not for what she about her feelings for Jim.
The tension between the two female leads is sidelined when Michael recruits them for advice with his own lady troubles when Jan unexpectedly shows up at the office. Michael at first calls upon his feminine support group to help him turn down Jan's advances, but changes his mind after seeing Jan's recent surgical enhancements. The rest of the staff is equally awestruck.
This new reunion is soon tested, however, when Michael learns during his interview that the position he, Jim and Karen are applying for is actually Jan's position as her boss has taken notice of recent emotional instability. After accidentally leaking this information to Jan and embarrassing himself in front of his would-be boss, Michael conveniently decides to retract himself as a possible candidate for the opening, and heads back to Scranton after unwittingly inviting Jan to move in with him.
Meanwhile, at the Scranton branch, Dwight has already begun to put his management ideas to work - promoting Andy to his number 2 position, promoting Pam to "secret assistant to the regional manager", forcing the staff to attend lectures about the paper industry, and introducing his "Dwight Dollars" for motivation. Pam takes this as an opportunity to show off her new self-confidence and mockingly supports Dwight, just as her friend, Jim, does so often.
Back in New York, Jim finds himself thinking back to his moment with Pam back at the lake a week earlier. He explains that he hasn't really "been back" ever since he came back to Scranton. Pam says that she wishes that he would. We end with Pam explaining to the camera that all she wants is for Jim to be happy and how she wishes him the best of luck in his interview only to have Jim interrupt and ask her out dinner.
So, who ended up with the big promotion that everyone was fighting for?
Why, Ryan, the former Temp.
So what will next season bring us? Does Jim belong in at home in Scranton or living the big life in New York with Karen? Will Pam's self discovery lead her closer to Jim or push them further apart? Will there be tension with Jim and Michael now that they both competed for the same job? Fans can only hope that these questions are answered this fall.
-George Freitag, Buddy TV Staff Columnist
(Photo courtesy of NBC)
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