In the end, Michael Scott, he who always yearned to be the center of attention, bows out quietly with little pomp and circumstance. Validated by Holly, who did not appear in the flesh, Michael is able to make the break from the people who were not his family. Holly is his only family. Right.
He still needs something to drink out of, but when Michael tossed out his “World’s Best Boss” mug, it was the culmination of a journey from wanting to earning. From the first Dundies to the roast, from Dunder Mifflin Infinity to The Michael Scott Paper Company, the man left his mark.
The beginning of the gift-giving perfectly touched on how Michael actually viewed his staff (affection for Phyllis, a warped respect for Kevin, nothing but contempt for Oscar, etc.). Nothing for Toby said it all (loved meeting Rory), and when Michael listened in on the Pam/Kevin shredder debate, you almost believed that he wouldn’t go. But Holly’s voice, and the revelation that this was actually his last day, sealed his fate. We could talk about Gabe, the sudden stalker, and Scranton’s intriguing collection of erotic cakes, but all of this was meant to create a sendoff that was just another day, albeit Michael’s final one, at the office.
Michael as Erin’s mom slightly annoyed me if only because I want Andy and Erin back together ASAP. And things on the Andy front were also problematic. Deangelo went from being a jerk to a doofus to a madman in the space of three episodes. This won’t work long-term. But give The ‘Nard Dog props for coming into his own as a salesman simply by promising to do the work (and he knew as much when Deangelo tried to share the credit).
The entire sequence with the letter to Dwight, his disgust morphing into the realization that Michael did indeed value him, was beautifully played by Rainn Wilson. And a little paintball war goes a long way towards healing any wounds. But the clock just kept ticking (gotta give Pam credit for taking in The King’s Speech though).
Michael threatened to give the show away during his last meeting. Despite the impending lost, everyone still knew how to blow him off. Except for Jim. John Krasinski and Steve Carell essentially rehearsing their goodbye got the waterworks going. But the prospect that Pam would remain the one name unchecked on Michael’s list? They wouldn’t really go there, right?
Of course not. After tearing off his microphone, Pam appeared for her wordless goodbye. And it was perfect. Sometimes there are no words, no need for words. Words can’t describe Jenna Fischer as the receptionist who became a wife, mother, office manager, and, in some ways, Michael’s most trusted confidante watching him fly away home.
The tag with Deangelo set the stage for Will Ferrell’s inevitable exit. And I think the series can go on, maybe even experience something of a rebirth in the wake of Carell’s departure. But that’s not for tonight. God’s Speed, World’s Best Boss.