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‘The Office’ Review: “The Whale”

The Office "The Whale"
NBC/Universal

As ‘The Office‘ makes its march towards concluding, we’re hoping that they at least have some good treats in store for us in these last episodes. But so far their final season has been pretty rocky. Last week’s episode “The Boat” at least moved forward the possible Erin/new guy Pete relationship, and was thankfully Jim-and-Pam-drama free. So we’re hoping for good things from this week’s episode, “The Whale.”

The episode starts with the office skyping with Andy, who’s still on his cruise, and who tells them he’s seen ‘Dirty Dancing’ now ten times, he’s covered in sunburns, and is about to crack (even though it’s only been two days). David Wallace calls Dwight and tells them that Scranton’s white pages needs a new publisher. Dwight calls the white pages “the white whale,” because of all its blubber. But the client’s buyer is a woman, and Phyllis points out that Dwight can’t handle women. They want Jim on the client, but he’s got his other workthing.

Much of the office are growing mustaches for Movember, and it proves to be disgusting to women — especially Toby’s, which makes him look like a pedophile. Angela tells Oscar that her husband might be having an affair, which Oscar enjoys until he hears that the Senator is attending noonday Yoga lessons from someone named Blake, and so both plot to check out the yoga studio. Dwight shows all the woman in the office how he’ll deal with women, which goes horribly, as expected.

Jim takes the conference call and is interrupted by Kevin, so he goes outside where he keeps being interrupted by noises. Dwight’s education proves fruitless, though Pam – as a mother – wants to help. Oscar and Angela check out the Yoga studio, and Oscar is relieved it’s a woman instructor, but that doesn’t help Angela until they see that Blake has a boyfriend, but it gets worse for Oscar when he sees that the Senator has a male yoga partner. At the meeting with the white pages no one seems to know who the woman buyer is, until it’s revealed that it’s Jan. Yes, that Jan. Jan Levinson. So Pam tells Dwight to forget all their lessons.

Jan wants to meet David Wallace, who isn’t there, so she yells at her assistant. Dwight, as a salesperson, thinks he’s got this so Pam distracts Jan by getting her to show off a slideshow of her daughter. Oscar wants to keep watching the senator, which Angela interprets as him being turned on instead of jealous, but what Oscar says confuses the issue, and after they have to duck when the Senator makes a call, it becomes apparent the Senator’s calling Oscar. Dwight comes back in to Jan’s office with Clark, and Dwight says that Clark would be Jan’s personal liaison, which – after Jan sizes Clark up, and it’s made apparent she has a thing for underage boys – leads to Jan saying she’ll make her decision within a week. Jim gets a call from his other job and is told that it’s not working out without him there. Uh oh.

As the show closes, Pam tells the Jan’s assistant to quit, while Dwight proves that he learned something.

With so many character (even with Andy mostly out of the picture) this is a stuffed 30 minutes of television, and it leaves most characters with 2-3 minute storylines, or – in most cases – a joke or line or two. This is probably the strongest Phyllis episode in a while, but even then she doesn’t have much to do. Jim’s other job feels like something to keep him busy, but the return of Jan Levinson and the final solution to get her business was pretty good. This is one of the better episodes of this last season, but it looks like the show’s going to end with more of a whimper than a bang.

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