'The Office' - 'A.A.R.M.': Open your eyes

the-office-aarm.jpgNear the end of Thursday's (May 9) next-to-last episode of "The Office," Oscar acknowledges that "nothing will ever be the same" after the documentary airs.

He's right -- their lives will probably change some after they become subjects of a TV series instead of just office workers. And for one of the show's long-running couples, that's especially true. After Angela's tear-filled confession to Oscar last week, she finally lets Dwight know she's still in love with him, around the same time he realizes that the tiny, icy accountant is more right for him than Esther.

Add in the fact that Phillip is actually Dwight's son* and a roadside proposal that involves a megaphone ("It expresses how loudly I love you," Dwight explains) and the final stage of the weird, twisted Dwight-Angela relationship turns out very sweetly.

(*As for the show already having covered Dwight's paternity, Angela Kinsey explained it this way when we spoke on Thursday: Dwight grabbed a diaper in "Free Family Portrait Studio" in hopes of confirming Phillip was his, but who's to say he grabbed the right one? She let him believe it because she was still trying to make it work with the senator, but with the marriage gone, she had nothing left to lose.)

As for the show's other couple, Jim and Pam, he pulls off one last grand romantic gesture to prove to Pam that his talk about choosing his family over Athlead wasn't just lip service. Jim's therapy-speak in the last episode sounded as though he was trying to convince himself he was doing the right thing, but his actions here show he's walking the walk as well.

There's still a chance, of course, that Pam will eventually convince Jim to go back to Athlead, and if we see that when we catch up with the gang a few months later, that will be great. But I hope that Jim's commitment to Pam is not taken as her killing his dream, and here's why.

Neither Pam nor Jim was at his or her best during their rough patch. He charged ahead without really considering Pam's feelings, and she swallowed those feelings for far too long, until they blew up in both their faces.

Now Pam's feeling (understandably) guilty, and she confesses it to Jim in a great scene for Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski that she worries she won't be enough for him. That's not who Jim is, though, and we (and he) have nine years of evidence to back that up.

Jim chooses his family over his work, and he doesn't regret it. That is not the usual way these stories go. But we've seen Jim put Pam above Stamford, above a job at corporate and above everything else before, as the heart-wrenchingly romantic video he gives her* reminds us. Why wouldn't he do that again? Jim may be seen as soft and Pam as a stick in the mud for this decision, but not here. That kind of love is worth celebrating.

(*Nice move not letting us know what Jim wrote on the card from "Christmas Party." Given where Jim and Pam stood at the time -- he was just warming up to the idea of telling her how he felt -- it has to be pretty epic.)

More from "A.A.R.M.":

  • Darryl's last dance? Fantastic, and as he says, a much better representation of his time at Dunder Mifflin than quietly slipping out the back would have been. The cast looked to be having such a great time playing out the scripted farewell that it's easy to believe the real-life goodbyes were that nice too.
  • Jim and Dwight making peace with one another has been an unexpected treat over the course of this final season. It paid off handsomely with the assistant to the assistant to the regional manager story here. You had the sense Dwight kind of knew what was happening with the series of tests, but his natural competitiveness and distrust of everyone else made him put those things aside and become his own No. 3.
  • Andy, predictably, has his a cappella dreams shattered. The show never quite got a handle on what to do with the character this season, and while Ed Helms has been game throughout, the character has pinged around to serve whatever the story needed.
  • Did you note the portrait of Dwight and Mose hanging in Dwight's office, and the photograph of the drone? Because of course.
  • You want more Jim and Pam highlights? Go here.

What did you think of "The Office" this week? What are you hoping to see in the finale?
Photo/Video credit: NBC