NBC’s ‘The Office’ review: The best season 9 (and post-Steve Carell) episode yet

The OfficeIt’s been easy as of late to dismiss “The Office” as of late as television’s favorite punching bag. It’s lasted for longer than it really needed to, and at times following the exit of Steve Carell it’s felt silly and a shell of its former self.

On Thursday night’s new episode, some of the familiar problems still remained: Kevin has been reduced to being just a dullard and nothing else, Pam’s anger over Jim’s secret disappeared into thin air, and David Wallace seemingly doesn’t care that Andy is off traveling the high seas on a boat. However, to focus on all of this would be missing the point: ever since Greg Daniels returned as showrunner for this final series, the show has steadily improved. What resulted of this Thursday night was easily the strongest half-hour the show has presented to us since Carell’s exit, since it tackled Oscar’s cheating scandal with the right amount of humor and heart.

First of all, massive applause to Oscar Nunez for a great performance this week. He’s always been one of the show’s underrated players, and for too long he wallowed without any great material. Seeing him conflicted between rage, guilt, and heartbreak made for great TV even in the most ridiculous moments: he knew and did something terrible, and yet he still had the audacity to blame Angela for putting herself in this position by marrying a gay man. The idea that Angela tried to even arrange a hit on him courtesy of Dwight’s friend Trevor was actually rather believable for her character, and for a few minutes we actually thought that this guy was the Scranton Strangler. The best thing was that there was no real forgiveness here at all, and nor should there be considering the circumstances. The Dwight / Angela scenes were also especially well-written in that there was no push to get them together romantically, but instead Dwight was placed into a position where he was forced to comfort a woman he once loved (and possibly still does) over another relationship.

Like we said, the other stories were pretty silly, but at least by and large it was funny to see Jim get his buttons pushed by Stanley and Phyllis just so they would cover for him while he did work in Philadelphia. The only real issue was Pam deciding to suddenly get a nasty complaint against her just to fit in, largely because there were no actual consequences to it at all. Even Michael Scott was yelled at from time to time.

Overall, do you think that this episode was genuinely the strongest work “The Office” has done following Carell’s exit? Be sure to share your thoughts below!

Photo: NBC

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!