Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Office - Murder, or The Diversion

Diversion is the name of the game this week, and with the King of Diversion himself, Michael Scott, at the helm, it's going to be a bumpy ride (yeah, I just mixed my metaphors, get over yourself, nerd).

So, there's a nasty rumor going around the Wall Street Journal that Dunder Mifflin is about to go bankrupt. After a not at all reassuring email from David Wallace, people are freaking out. Instead of allaying their fears and telling them all to get back to the grindstone, Michael pulls out his Murder Mystery game, and they all don costumes and terrible Southern accents to figure out who killed the wealthy Southern gentleman.

At first, everyone is dismayed. They want to stay clued to their computer screens, refreshing incessantly for any update. Of course, Dwight gets right into it, but the others take some more coercing. Oscar, sweet rational Oscar, interrupts their fun when he reveals that he's been directed to suspend all payments to their clients. It's a bad sign. There's more freaking out.

Jim, predictably, has been pretty miffed about Michael's reaction to the crisis, and wants to get back to work. Michael, however, will only respond to his character's name and really, really wants to know who the killer is.

Faced with the prospect that they could all be fired never see each other again, Andy screws up the courage to ask Erin out on a date. However, he foolishly does so as his game character, and she responds in kind. The problem is that Erin is portraying Naughty Nelly, the town trollop, who will go out with any and every one. Andy worries that he asked Nelly out, and not Erin. When he confronts her about it, she demurs, giving a non answer. He takes this as a rejection, and says it was only part of the game. Of course, they both wanted to go out, but now they won't, because they're both foolish.

Finally, Jim confronts Michael in his office, and Michael explodes that they all need to have fun, get their mind off the impending disaster, and keep morale up. It's a surprisingly valid argument, though Jim remains unconvinced.

David Wallace makes a personal call to the office, and because Michael (as Caleb, his character) refuses to take the call, Jim takes it. Things are looking bleak for Dunder Mifflin, David confides. Jim returns to the conference room, the scene of the game, looking grim. When asked what happened, he pauses, then slowly raises his head to declare, in his best Savannah accent, "There's been another murder." So, now everyone's in on the game, and they all have a a great rest of the day that concludes in a four way fake gun battle among Michael, Dwight, Andy, and Pam. They resolve their differences by having an epic shootout, complete with sound effects and the miming of spewing blood.

So, the question we're all left with is, what's going to happen? They can't really bankrupt Dunder Mifflin and expect the show to continue, so I doubt that's the play. But are they about to undergo a new corporate restructuring, complete with new staff assignments and consolidations? Could it mean the return of Holly, Michael's lost love? We'll see, and this week's episode was a great teaser into what comes next. The Murder Mystery plot was okay, but mainly a vehicle for other character development. Michael actually seemed to be helping, rather than unintentionally destroying, lives, so I suppose I can get behind it.

For the record though, if a real murder goes down, I definitely want Dwight on the side of the law. Man, can he recreate a crime scene!

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