Last night's "Goodbye Michael" episode of The Office had some heavy expectations from fans and show creators alike. Most importantly, Michael Scott's last day needed not to suck—it needed to strike the right note of bittersweetness, while reminding us of everything we've loved about this character.
Not only that, we as viewers needed to come away feeling like while the goodbye was satisfying, we'll also tune in next week to see what happens with the rest of the characters. After all, while this is the end of Michael Scott, it's not the end of the show.
It was a lot to get done in one hour, and for a show that's increasingly relied on gimmicky side-plots, I wasn't sure they'd be able to pull it off.
I think they did, though. It wasn't a 100% pitch-perfect episode, but for the most part, "Goodbye Michael" seemed to get the right balance of sadness and humor. I'm even reluctantly interested to see where they're going to try and take the show from here.
My (spoiler-laden, duh) take on the good and not-as-good from Michael's last day:
• The awkward juxtaposition of a particularly brilliant Michael Scott scene followed immediately by a lame preview for Steve Carell's upcoming role in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
• The never-ending "See you on the flippety-flip!" basket-shooting gag in the warehouse, although it was maybe worth it for his expression when Michael finally made a basket ("Really?").
• Will Ferrell. I have started to loathe this character, and the whole Andy-Deangelo subplot was just kind of painfully lame.
• Jim's weepy conversation with Michael, although I also kind of loved this interaction, too. I think I just hate it when Jim "cries."
• The opening scene where Michael gifts Dwight with a discussion about bear safety.
• Michael's farewell present to Oscar: specifically, Michael's reaction afterwards as he laughs hysterically over Oscar's low opinion of him.
• The scene in the break room where Michael listens to everyone chatting about a new shredder, and his eyes slowly fill with tears (realistically, as opposed to Jim's oh-hey-let-me-try-this-shot-with-eyedrops).
• Dwight reading his recommendation letter, and the rare emotion that played across his face while doing so.
• The utterly perfect moment of Michael returning the microphone pack to an unseen camera crew and saying, "This is gonna feel SO good getting this thing off my chest"—before his first unmiked, silent words directly afterwards, "That's what she said."
• Finally, the Lost in Translation-esque goodbye with Pam at the airport (she apparently bought a ticket in order to get through security, but whatev).
There were a lot of little fun moments in with the big ones (like Phyllis and her confession of being "a person who buys a lot of erotic cakes"), and overall, the show seemed like a fitting goodbye for the utterly irreplaceable Michael Scott.
But who WILL replace him? NBC hasn't announced who will permanently fill Steve Carell's very big shoes, but it looks like guest stars in this season's remaining episodes include Jim Carrey, James Spader (looking a little worse for wear, wouldn't you say?), Will Arnett, Ray Romano, and Ricky Gervais. It should be ... well, it should be interesting, let's say that.
What did you think of Michael Scott's final episode? Did it live up to your expectations, and do you plan to keep watching now that he's gone?
Image via NBC