There Can Only Be One

Thursday, January 15 by

Andy still doesn’t know about Dwight and Angela’s wedding, so after the truth is revealed to him, he challenges Dwight to a duel in the parking lot outside the building.  Michael also has a meeting with David Wallace in New York where his boss tells him something is not quite right with Scranton’s numbers – so to speak. Check out the full recap after the jump, junkies.

Episode 11: The Duel
Full Episode Online: TV Dome

Wow, this office really has nothing to do.
One of those fancy schmancy speed monitoring traffic devices has been installed outside of Dunder-Mifflin, which of course gives Michael the opportunity to be late for work while seeing how fast he can run past the thing – his record: 13 miles an hour, until a car happens to drive by and he starts running again, taking credit for the 31 miles an hour the car was going.

Nobody said Andy was the sharpest tool in the shed

Andy wanders int the office, with an announcement to make, an awkward one: that none of his officemates have RSVP’d to his wedding to Angela – yup, more than two weeks later (17 days as a talking head informs us), and Angela still has not broken the news. (More unbelievable is the idea that the entire office could keep a secret.)  Michael almost tells him, until Jim informs him that Andy doesn’t yet know – Michael tries to hold it in, while Dwight reveals to the whole office in the break room that he is still having sex with Angela and then accosts her later in the hallway that yes, she should come out and tell Andy.  Angela refuses, prompting Michael to, on his way out the door for a business meeting in New York with David Wallace, tell Andy about Dwight and Angela’s affair, right before the car window rolls up and Michael drives off to NY.

Something’s working in Scranton….but what the hell is it?

Up in New York meeting with David Wallace, Michael finds out that the surplus of a few episodes ago was a sign of something greater: Uttaca, Albany, all the other Dunder-Mifflin branches are reporting lower income, but Michael’s branch is doing something that is making their numbers higher than ever.  So, Wallace ends up willing to cater to Michael’s every whim (temperature up three degrees? Sure! Some ravioli for lunch? Why not.), because of course our lovable bumbling boss doesn’t really know what he’s doing right – he just does it – winding up regaling Wallace with pointless anecdotes and predictable punchlines.   After Michael recounts how he told a tweed jacket-wearing Kevin he felt the “need for tweed,” he’s about to dive into another, before Wallace stops him, realizes the reason employees get work done better is because they don’t want to talk to this annoying idiot, and thanks Michael for his time.  Outside the building, Michael is of course thrilled with the meeting, and we the viewer, ask ourselves why all that time was wasted with Michael just so we could learn that he’s a boss you don’t want to have to talk to. (Which we got from the first episode.)

Dwight and Andy’s Epic Final Battle (kinda sorta)
Andy walks back into the office, seriously and morosely, and heads over to Angela’s desk to bring her into the conference room to talk, where she admits to him that she has been sleeping with Dwight, for awhile, and yes, indeed, the whole office is aware, as evidenced by their curious stares into the conference room from outside. Pretty damn surprisingly, Andy gets upset (that jerk!), and asks Angela why he should believe she loves him.  Angela tells Andy that they can prove the rest of the office wrong – they can be together.  Andy walks out into the office to challenge Dwight right then and there for Angela’s heart, which Jim stops, but Dwight and Angela decide to duel in the parking lot at 4 PM – by what kind on weapon?  Bare hands, Andy says.  “That is stupid,” Dwight points out. “I will use a sword and cut off your bare hands.”  Jim, in preparation for the fight, grabs a box and finds Dwight’s hidden weapons all over the office, including one under his own desk.  4 PM rolls around, and Dwight is running around in the parking lot, brandishing a belt and calling out Andy’s name, until he sees a note ten minutes later on the bush, typed by Andy, and admitting Dwight is the stronger man. The entire office watches from the conference room, breathless, as they see Andy pull up in a Prius behind Dwight and slowly wedge him against the bush and the fence behind it, causing Dwight’s leg to fall asleep.  He and Andy have a shouting match, until Andy wonders aloud why Dwight has been sleeping with her this whole time and only with Andy twice.  Dwight is baffled and heartbroken – the duplicitous Angela had told him his big red beet was the only one for her.  The two walk back into the office – Andy gets online to cancel a wedding cake order, and Dwight ceremoniously lifts up the trash can and ker-plumps the Dwight Bobblehead into its unholy depths. (What?? What will millions of Office fans do with their bobbleheads now that it has been cursed by being thrown away?  That thing was on the show for years!) Now, if you ask me, Dwight was the one who should have received his comeuppance – he’s been a devious bastard to Andy’s innocent doofus, and his role as the greedy grinch who sold Unicorn Princess dolls for 200 bucks a pop and got away with it cemented his sneering cockiness that’s nothing like the Dwight we saw in the first season.  And so the entire Dwight/Andy/Angela love triangle is closed off with nothing for Dwight but a broken heart (but the writers have toyed with his heart too much for the conclusion to matter – as Dwight had not so much become a real person as a tool the writers used for sneering, clever dumbassery and vindictiveness). Now that it’s over, though, let’s hope to God we don’t get a Creed, Meredith, and Toby love triangle.

Review
You know, after all this time, I really must say that it’s good to see the Andy/Dwight/Angela triangle go – yes, it was entertaining, and made for some hilarious and pretty good TV, but look what it did to the characters, and the believability.  We’re supposed to believe this room full of gossip kings and queens kept in a secret about Andy from him for two weeks? Wouldn’t Michael have some point said something to Andy when he walked in in the morning.  Not to mention Andy for some reason inexplicably developing a backbone, despite having showed no signs of such potential before.  As you’ll recall, Andy got sent to anger management a season or two ago and got a complete personality overhaul.  Now there’s another big office confrontation and Andy’s personality seems to have changed.  Are the writers following a formula?  Rebooting Andy’s persona every so often when plotlines start to go stale?  Maybe it was the only way they could write themselves out of the corner of this whole awkward love triangle, but it’s a bit anti-climactic.  Sure, Andy pushing the Prius up against Dwight’s leg until it threatened to fall asleep was humorous, but not the way they should have finished a plot thread they’d kept going for so long.  And suddenly Dwight’s transformed too, merely by this one piece of knowledge, that Angela was sleeping with a man she was engaged to?  Come on, even for Dwight, that’s a stretch.  And then there’s the whole, “what the crap” factor of Michael’s business trip, which seems to show us the very important plot point that Wallace wants to buy Michael some French fries.  When we find out what actually is going it’s a little disappointing, and obviously existed solely as filler for the climactic (or not so much, as we found out) end to the office love triangle. Pam, Jim, and Roy were much more fascinating. So, on the whole, I’d say it’s the worst episode yet of the season, in part also because it brings Michael right back to where he was in the second season – an incompetent nincompoop. Did we really need this character digression?  The past few episodes have really matured Michael away from this, so of course what was it time for? A show that showed how infantile and utterly clueless he was!  Despite these flaws, if you’re an Office fan, it’s worth watching. But if you only tune in occasionally to catch the really good episodes, skip this one and read the wikipedia summary (or better yet, settle for this recap – hey, there ya go!).

-Thomas Anderson
aka Movie Buzz Review Dude. Check out his blog here.

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