THE OFFICE Season Finale Recap: “The Job”
May 18, 2007 by Kath Skerry
At just about 8:54 pm tonight there was a slight shift in the universe. Did you feel it? There was this calmness and this stillness that took over and for the first time September 21st all felt right. Yes, Jim and Pam have found their way to each other. Can I get an AMEN!!
The Season 3 finale of THE OFFICE was brilliantly written, acted, and well paced. It was filled with twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. And I know that it sounds cliche, and I know saying it sounds cliche, sounds cliche. Maybe I’m being cliche but I don’t care. I am what I am – a full fledged Office addict who got exactly what she wanted, and in fact needed from the finale.
Looking back on this season I can’t help but be reminded of the profound words of the prolific Missy “Missdemeanor” Elliott: “Is it worth it, let me work it. I put my thang down, flip it and reverse it.” Oh yes, it seems that some of our favorite Dunder Mifflinites had their stories flipped and reversed, and while it was a worthwhile journey for some, others ended up…well nowhere we (or they) expected to be.
I mean, who would have thought that the serious, focused, goal-oriented Jan Levinson would be the one fired for erratic and inappropriate behavior ,and that she would be the one heavily pursuing a relationship with Michael Scott? Or, for that matter, that Michael Scott would be dreading the thought of a serious relationship with Jan – despite her brand new boobs.
It’s sometimes difficult to move up the Corporate ladder when you dig yourself a huge hole right under said ladder. Yet that’s exactly what Michael did. Michael was so confident that he was going to get the position with Corporate he went as far as to sell his condo…on eBay. He bid his fond farewells to the Scranton Branch and appointed Dwight as Regional Manager. In New York, Michael thought his interview was going really well, but after finding out that the position he was interviewing for was the same one from which Jan was being dismissed, well, things started taking what some might call a turn for the worse. After letting it slip to Jan that she was being fired, Michael saw first hand what Jan Levinson was like when she was not her usual calm, cool, collected self, and he didn’t like what he saw…Jan’s got a bit of the crazies. Jan gets escorted out the building, and Michael was informed that he’s not getting the corporate job. And later while his jobless girlfriend was having a mental breakdown in his car, Michael decided to go with his instincts (which has never served him well in the past) and told Jan she could move in with him. A “crazy-unstable-head over heels-in-love-with-Michael Scott” Jan Levinson is going to be…well, she’s going to be something – and Michael is scared. How the tables have turned.
Then of course there is Jim Halpert who pined away quietly for years as he watched the woman he loved live her life with someone else – someone that didn’t love her nearly as much as he did. He went away, and came back a changed man, in as much as he could. The new suits, the new job and the new girlfriend became the shield he needed to keep his heart from being broken again. And while Jim was losing more of himself day after day, it was Pam who was growing and discovering who she really was. Now it was her turn to pine for Jim, and watch him be with someone who she knew wasn’t right for him. And just as Jim helped Pam discover the best part of her through his friendship and love, it was Pam who brought Jim Halpert back and helped him to realize that he was happy with who he was before he left for Stamford, and how much happier he could be when given the chance to start a new chapter of his life with Pam.
But I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to go their way. With Jim and Karen both up for the Corporate job, the two took some time to explore New York City together. For perhaps the first time, we saw that outside of the office and away from the ghost of Pam, Karen and Jim are a fun couple. Karen is good for Jim. She wants him to step out of his comfort zone and experience new things. She wants him to be the Corporate guy who gets a haircut so he doesn’t look “homeless”. She wants him to go to nice dinners in NYC and sneak into musicals with her. She wants him to be Adult!Jim. But Karen is smart, and she knows that Jim needs a little push sometimes – especially when it comes to their relationship. She aslo knows that if either of them get the position with Corporate, that they can’t last unless they are together. Never one to beat around the bush Karen puts it on the table for Jim.
Karen: So what’s going to happen to us when I get this job?
Jim: Oh you mean when I get this job?
Karen: Well IF you get the job, well then I’d move here for you. Would you move for me?
I’m not stupid, ok? I was at the beach. We don’t have a future in Scranton. There’s one too many people there.
Jim: You mean Kevin?
Karen: Exactly. But you get it, right? I can’t stay there.
Jim: Yeah, I do.
And Jim does get it. He, Karen and Pam can’t all be in Scranton together. And perhaps NYC is just what Jim needs to finally move on. And it might be easier if subtle reminders of Pam weren’t everywhere. From the ill sound of “Dunder Mifflin, this is Grace” to the good luck note and gold yogurt lid from Pam he found amongst his interview materials, Jim perhaps realizes that he’s been running from Pam for too long. But he’s not sure if he can really go back.
(Flashback to beach day. Jim joins Pam at the water a few minutes after her speech)
Jim: The real reason I went to Stamford was because I wanted to be…Not.Here.
Pam: I know
Jim: And even though I came back, I just feel like I’ve never really come back.
Pam: Well I wish you would.
We all wish you would, Halpert.
Pam is done running too, and Fancy New Beesly is here to stay. Pam’s not apologizing for beach day confession, despite the good natured ribbing from her co-workers or her awkward encouters with Karen. Nope, she meant what she said and she’s owning it. Her new found self confidence is now evident in everything she does. From accepting Dwight’s offer for her to be the unofficial secret assistant to the regional manager, to her subtle ways of letting Karen know that she’s not giving up on Jim just yet, to her take charge command of a meeting gone awry, Pam is a new woman. Hell, even her talking heads are much more hopeful and honest.
Pam has finally found a way to be happy again after a really difficult year. Things didn’t turn out exactly as she planned but she’s going to learn to be ok with it. Maybe a life with Jim was never meant to be.
Pam: I haven’t heard anything, but I bet Jim got the job. I mean, why wouldn’t he? He’s totally qualified and smart, everyone loves him. And if he never comes back again, that’s ok. We’re friends, and I’m sure we’ll stay friends. We, we just never got the timing right. You know, I shot him down and then he did the same to me. But you know what? It’s ok. I am totally fine. Everything is going to be totally..
(Jim quickly opens the conference room door)
Jim: Pam (to camera) Oh sorry. Are you free for dinner tonight?
Jim: All right…then it’s a date
Pam: (with tears in her eyes and smiling) I’m sorry. What was your question?
Seems Karen was right. There was one too many people in Scranton, and Jim understood that. I just don’t think she ever assumed she was the odd one out. But that’s when happens when you step in on JAM. See ya Fillapelli. Enjoy your new life with your friends in New York (wait, she is moving to New York, right?)
So yes, it happened. It really happened. Jim and Pam have come full circle and finally, FINALLY found their way to eachother, and in the process they both found out who they really are. Yes, again another cliche, but when it takes a full season to get there it certaintly doen’t feel anything other than authentic and necessary. A special BRAVO to Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski who were both so incredible tonight. Not only in their scenes together, but throughout the entire episode. They didn’t give anything away with their performances, and more importantly they didn’t hold anything back. There wasn’t a false moment tonight. I’m not sure why neither submitted this episode as their Emmy tape.
So with tears streaming down my face, I’m ready to accept that Season 3 of The Office is done. But oh wait….it ain’t over yet.
Wondering who got the job with Corporate? CFO David Wallace makes the call to congraulate the candidate, and the camera slowly pulls back to reveal…IT’S RYAN!! YES! Did anyone see that coming? Hells no. And remember what I said earlier about flipping it and reversing it? Well how about that for a big old zinger. The Temp who has never made a sale gets the Corporate job. The same Temp who spent his days at Dunder Mifflin working harder than anyone else to make something of himself only to be reminded at every turn that he was just the temp. Well, payback’s a bitch, and in a brilliant twist that no one saw coming, Ryan is now everyone’s boss. Yes, Michael and Dwight…all bow down to the Temp. Oh and Kelly was just dumped. Ryan is out of here.
What I think is missing from this review, recap, whatever you want to call it is just how funny this episode was. Yes,I’m a bit focused on the satisfaction of the Jim/Pam ending, but it’s just that I’ve been waiting for so long it seems to overshadow everything else. But there was some fantastic moments tonight. There was Dwight’s power-crazed pursuit to start his new regime as Regional Manager with Andy by his side. Michael feeling up Jan’s new chesticles, Creed’s blog (which is now available on NBC.com), and come on, who doesn’t want Schrute bucks? A lot of just great moments that reminded me why this is my favorite show on television.
Despite wearing out my carpet with all the nervous pacing I’ve done over the past few days worrying about what was going to happen with Jim and Pam, once I got into the episode I was having so much fun that I forgot to be nervous about the fate of the BEST couple on TV. It was an incredibly satisfying house of television.
So that’s that. Season 3 is wrapped. And I’m going to give myself at least 3 business days before I start speculating on season four. Oh come on, you know you are already going there. What will Michael’s life be like now that Jan is living with him in Scranton? Will Dwight and Angela finally go public with their love? Will Andy continue to worm his way into everyone’s lives? Will Meredith finally find her 12 steps (and not the ones that lead from the parking lot to the bar)? And what kind of sweet revenge can we expect from Ryan now that he holds all the power?
Oh and of course what does Season 4 hold in store for Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly? Will we be deprived of witnessing their early courtship? How will the writers keep their relationship as fresh, interesting, and as special as it has been since we first met them. Call me crazy, but I think Season 4 will prove to be important for all future TV couples. Gone will be the days of the curse of “Moonlighting”. The Office will prove that you can have your favorite couples together without it being the downfall of the show. Jim and Pam will continue to be lovable, romantic, funny and angsty…and most importantly NOT BORING. Just wait, you’ll see.
These writers are the BEST at what they do, and they proved it again tonight with this season finale.
Thanks for a great season!! I’ll miss you over the summer Dunder Mifflin. See ya next season!!
…and we’re done!
Filed under Angela Kinsey, BJ Novak, Brian Baumgartner, David Denman, Dwight Schrute, Jenna Fischer, Jim Halpert, John Krasinski, Kate Flannery, Michael Scott, Pam Beesly, Rainn Wilson, Steve Carell, The Office, The Office Recaps