'The Office' recap: Go Big Red

ed-helms-the-office.jpgRobert California went and threw himself a post-divorce bender last night, and in his alcoholic blackout he did two things that set the stage for this episode. One of them was leaving a voice mail on Nellie's phone, and the other was closing the Binghamton branch. With all of Binghamton's clients up for grabs, Jim and Dwight are racing to snatch them up. Until Harry, an angry salesman from the closed branch, shows up to voice his objections. He -- and Dwight and Jim -- want a decision from Robert on who gets the clients who are up in the air. In particular, there's one huge direct-mail client that all three of them want. Of course, we all know how Robert is about making decisions like that. So does Andy, who's still hanging around the office for some reason, and after overhearing part of the discussion, he sees an opportunity to make a big move.

As for the voice mail, Robert knows from Nellie's response that he said something inappropriate, but can't remember what it was. So he assigns Pam the unsavory task of finding out. Her attempts to chat up Nellie are thwarted by Angela (sent in by Robert as Pam's backup) and Gabe (being Gabe), so she ends up stealing Nellie's cell phone instead. But after hearing a few of Nellie's other private and deeply depressing voice mails, Pam deletes the lot and returns the phone to Nellie. Who is not only none the wiser, but is deeply moved to think she has a friend in Pam. The only thing that could be sadder is if that were true.

Jim, Dwight and Harry race to the big client's office, but Andy gets there first and secures the business. While the three flummoxed sales guys lick their wounds and consider their next move, Andy offers Robert a deal: hire him back and regain the big client, or watch Andy find another buyer. Robert refuses to be blackmailed -- and is pretty darn rude about it -- but Andy wasn't bluffing. In fact, he was calling from outside the home of former CEO David Wallace, who we know from last week has twenty million bucks lying around. And who turns out to be rather interested in Andy's proposal.