NBC’s ‘The Office’ review: Coming full-circle

California dreaming.

After spending most of its current season wandering around like a headless chicken, “The Office” may have finally figured out where it wants to go — and it just so happens to be years in the past.

Thursday night’s episode perfectly set up the exit for James Spader’s Robert California, as we learned that his “leadership” is causing many of the branches to fail. The closing of one Dunder-Mifflin location led to a sales battle featuring “True Blood’s” Chris Bauer as a salesman for a rival branch and Jim and Dwight from Scranton as they tried to take one of the old clients from the now-defunct branch home. The problem? Someone else beat them to the punch in one Andy Bernard (who has somehow now figured out how to make a sale now that he has nothing to lose).

Despite being fired, Andy is now the one trying to make major moves to save the entire company, even to the point where he recruited the now-rich David Wallace to try and buy a company that he once helped to oversee from an executive level. Why? Wallace knew what he was doing the majority of the time, and he may at least be able to keep more branches from going out of business.

From a realistic standpoint, is there any reason for Wallace to return? This is where we run into some problems. There are so many question marks leading up to the season finale that we really don’t know what the plan necessarily is — many actors don’t have deals yet for next season, Mindy Kaling has a pilot order at Fox, and Catherine Tate’s Nellie has been polarizing at best (mostly because her character only really worked down in Florida).

Really, the best thing we can hope for is that “The Office” better establishes a sense of stability moving into next season, and that some of the characters become more focused in the process. The end is near … shouldn’t it be the best end possible?

What do you think needs to happen in the finale to restore this show back to some of its former glory?

Photo: NBC

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