By Dave Owen
Well after 7 years and several close calls Dwight K Schrute finally gets the call up to become the Manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin… well acting manager… and he’s second choice behind Jim who turns it down but do you think any of that dampens Dwight’s diabolical joy at this accomplishment? Hell no.
This was, as Agent Smith says in The Matrix, an ‘inevitability’. As soon as Michael was leaving it seemed only fair that Dwight would at least get a shot at the title. Here we get probably a seasons worth of Dwight-fueled insanity in 20 minutes. This works both for and against the episode.
For – The episode has a genuine pace and bubbliness to it. The jokes were genuine and character driven. There did seem, at least at first, to be something at stake. The look on both Jim and Pam’s faces as they realised what Jim had just done was priceless. As was Dwight’s phonecall to Mose.
Against – It feels more contrived because of it’s compact nature. It feels like the writers wanted to give Dwight a shot but weren’t convinced they could make it work for more than an episode and so it becomes a novelty episode rather than a genuine story arc.
The episode was loaded with little Dwight-isms which was nice for a character who has become very all over the place of late. His enormous marble desk and fish tank with accompanying piranha had me in stitches. While this was delightful the real star of this week’s episode for me was Gabe. He has been incredibly one-note this season but this week he played that note for all it was worth but it was his speech to Erin about ‘belief’ that destroyed me. The look of shock on Erin’s face when Gabe told her he didn’t believe in God was priceless.
The two part finale next week has a lot to live up to after the recent episodes and with it’s star studded cast there are really only two ways it can go – blaze of glory or fiery Hindenburg-style disaster. These are the same fears I held for Michael Scott’s finale though and they carried that off with great aplomb so here’s hoping.
Previous Episode: The Inner Circle
Next Episode: Search Committee Parts 1 & 2