Tonight in “The Search” we witnessed Holly, Erin and Dwight head out on a search to find an abandoned Michael, but the real search was the deeper, emotional one that has been building since, well, the beginning of the series. Michael has always been a romantic looking for that special woman who completes him (no easy task). After multiple failed attempts—from Carol and Jan to Pam’s mother Helene—he found ‘it’ in Holly, but circumstances kept them apart. Tonight they finally (re)connected. Michael was literally lost in this episode, and it was Holly who found him. Reunited and it feels so good.
So, I went off on some rants last week and the week before about how this show has essentially ruined three of the series’ original great characters—Jim, Pam and Dwight. Honestly, this episode did not do anything to change my opinion of that. I still find Pam obnoxious and smug—and this episode further proved my complaint that all she does is come up with waste-of-time projects. An art doodle caption contest? Really? Again, if these projects of hers were every once in a while they would be fresh distractions…but this is becoming an EVERY week occurrence and it is getting really old as the standard go-to B-story. Meanwhile, in addition to my complaints, I now have another set of questions for Jim—what is going on that he keeps disappearing for entire work days? Is John Krasinski so busy with other projects that he has asked for reduced time on The Office? Did Krasinski have a falling out with a co-star or writer? Or do they just really not know what to do with the Jim character anymore? Because tonight was yet another instance where we saw his character for the first few minutes and then he had some excuse to not be present. Tonight, his absence did serve a purpose in that it set-up the main storyline of Michael being left at a gas station without a wallet or phone when Jim had to rush off to get baby Cece. BUT, they could have picked any character to be Michael’s abandoner. It just as easily could have been Stanley or Andy or Phyllis. I really am curious as to whether his multiple absences are for a reason—if anyone can shed light on this, please comment! Or am I the only one who finds it weird?
Back to the big picture with Michael and Holly. It is clear the show has been building a self-realization arc for Michael this season since it is his last. We have seen many times this season a more soulful Michael—questioning his own sense of self and the world around him. He became surer than ever that Holly was his missing piece and that the order of the universe would not be restored until she realized this too. When Michael finds himself literally alone after being ditched by Jim, he begins his hero’s journey back to Dunder Mifflin, but not without making a few stops to marvel at puppies in a pet store and failed attempts to barter for food. Dwight and Erin quickly realize that Holly and Michael share a common mind since everywhere Holly thinks to walk next leads them to more clues of Michael’s recent presence.
Erin continues to be a bright spot for me this season (as is Andy). I love that in this episode she must struggle between her earnest desire to find Michael and the knowledge that her sort-of-enemy Holly is the one person capable of finding him. A few episodes ago, when Holly first returned and met Erin, it was odd (and very funny!) at how much Erin disliked Holly for such seemingly random reasons. Yet, at the same time, we have seen throughout this season that Erin increasingly relies on Michael as a father-like figure and has developed a genuine bond with him. This episode more than any other made me feel like Erin was Michael’s daughter and Holly the potential new bride of her beloved father (i.e. to Erin, Holly represents the wicked stepmother vying for Michael’s love and affection). Erin’s odd jealousies and negative comments don’t seem so out of place anymore. But even the threatened “daughter” could not deny the happiness she witnessed at the end when Holly stumbled across Michael on the roof of a building and the two finally expressed their feelings and kissed.
One last note on the happenings back at Dunder Mifflin before I sign off for tonight. It was nice to get some Kelly-Ryan time in the cold opening…especially one that told us they were getting divorced (as Andy put it: when did they get married?!). Apparently the week prior while drunk…ha! Oscar provided a good laugh too, when Ryan said he didn’t want to stay married when not all people have the right, and Oscar—speaking on behalf of the gay community—gave Ryan and Kelly their support. Mindy Kaling will surely be missed at The Office…not only is Kelly one of the best characters, but she is a tremendous writer for the show as well.
What did you think of the big reunion between Michael and Holly? Were you into the whole “caption Pam’s art doodles” contest? And finally, how long do you think it will be before Andy gets another shot with Erin—they are certainly doing everything possible to make Gabe unlikeable (which cheapens the love triangle, in my opinion).