In the season-five finale (and the 100th overall episode), The Office brings back its most beloved guest star, opens a whole new plotline for two of its oldest characters, and pays homage to one of the most famous scenes from the original British series. Not bad for a wrap-up of what was, perhaps, the show’s best season.
Holly Flax is back! When Amy Ryan made her debut in last season’s finale, she was pensive, shy, and sweet, passively reacting to the loons around her. In her season-five incarnation she became as massive a goofball as Michael, tapping into her inner dingbat while still providing a credible, and elusive, romantic foil for him. When they come together at the company picnic, she quickly (and temporarily) casts aside her live-in boyfriend to write a “corporate skit” with Michael.
The couple and the producers seem to have come to the same conclusion about this relationship: Holly (Amy Ryan) can’t actually stay with Michael (the show), so let’s just enjoy her while she’s here. And if you can’t enjoy Michael and Holly’s deranged “Slumdunder Mifflinaire” (“How did you know how Dunder and Mifflin met? How did you know? ZAPPPPPP!”), then you probably can’t enjoy much in this life. Amy Ryan will never become a regular, but as long as she pops in every once in a while, that will be enough.
Meanwhile, Stringer Bell gets his official send-off, with Charles Minor turning into an ultracompetitive asshole, using every opportunity to trash-talk his Scranton opponents in an intra-office volleyball game. An injury to Pam (who turns out to be a fantastic volleyball player) leads to a hospital visit and the finale’s big reveal: It appears she is pregnant. In a nod to the British-version scene in which Tim takes off his microphone to tell Dawn he loves her, we can’t actually hear anything, but you can see Pam and Jim’s reactions, and they say there’s a baby coming.
There are dangers anytime a show spins off in the baby direction (nobody wants the Halpert-Beasley child to turn into Cousin Oliver), but for now, we’ll bask in the happiness of two main characters who have waited a long time for it — and meanwhile enjoy Michael, who’s willing to keep waiting for his reward. Likewise, we’ll be biding our time for the three months it will take The Office to return.