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The Office: Horribilis Interruptus

There’s already been a notable Halloween episode (in season two, when Creed, in his first appearance, was almost fired), so it’s understandable that The Office wouldn’t have another. It’s a shame, though, that the cold open this week wasn’t followed through. Michael is hosting a haunted house for local children, and it’s alternately surreal and totally inappropriate. He’s dressed as one of the dick-in-a-box guys (of course), Dwight is Jigsaw from the Saw movies, and Creed is an old-school vampire. (Oh, and Mose Schrute pops up!) Michael terrifies the 7-year-old visitors by mock-hanging himself, with the helpful “message” that “suicide is never the answer.” We could watch a full half-hour of Michael horrifying young children, but, alas, the haunted-house story line is dropped.

Back in the office, we have another entry in the Michael-and-Jim-pissing-match plotline, a good idea that’s showing diminishing returns. Jim is frustrated that Michael insists on coming along for a business meeting, and doesn’t help him when he accidentally falls in a koi pond. (Companies have koi ponds like that in the middle of the office? In Scranton?) This doesn’t move the story along much. Michael and Jim like each other but are constantly fighting, pathetically, for power; we knew this would happen from the get-go, which is why David Wallace was so dumb to make them co-managers in the first place. We end with the same fight-fight-resolve-smile patterns we’ve already seen twice this season.

Still, Michael’s fall in the pond leads to one of the most hilariously shocking moments in recent memory. Michael, embarrassed, makes everyone list their one sore spot on a Do Not Mock board. (Angela’s is “eats like a squirrel.”) When it comes Meredith’s turn, she steps up and writes “sex with a terrorist.” Her explanation: Hey, people were gonna find out anyway.

The No. 2 plot, with Pam and Andy on a sales call, is undercooked, apparently existing solely to get Pam out of the office and avoid the Michael Sleeping With Pam’s Mom story. Although we’re officially onboard with the brewing Andy-Erin romance. Pam, in a clever touch, clearly dislikes her replacement as secretary, yet she still tries to set them up. Another office romance might be just what we need. Even if Andy reminds Erin of Marlon Wayans — yeah, dead on.

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Photo: Courtesy of NBC