Andy's coming back tomorrow and nobody's really looking forward to his return. Kevin will miss the three-month-old milk he left in the fridge, Dwight will miss having an imaginary boss who does his bidding and Erin's planning to dump himâ€¦ as she should. Pam and Jim are looking forward to a low-key but romantic Valentine's Day together, while everyone else decides to hit the mini-mall to score the couples discount for one last boss-free hurrah. So, of course, Andy shows up a day early, one hacky sack short of looking like a full-on island hippie.
Andy racks up a number of impressive achievements in his first hours back: losing the Scranton White Pages account, collecting a bonus for the fantastic numbers the branch posted in his absence, pissing everyone off and revealing that he never technically informed David Wallace he was leaving. When Wallace comes into the office for a meeting, Andy tries to cram by getting the employees to catch him up on everything he missed (read the weecaps, dude), so they fill his head with lies to trip him up rather than outright squealing on him. Andy figures it out and rescues himself with some fast talking (and a shave and a change of clothes), but his relationship with the employees is probably not the best right now. He also manages to talk Erin out of breaking up with him, but doesn't exactly cover himself in glory there either.
Meanwhile, Jim and Pam go to meet Brian the sound guy and his wife for lunch, only to discover that he came stag. In fact, he and his wife will be splitting up. During an emotional moment, Brian alludes to Pam's breakdown from a couple of weeks ago, which is the first Jim's heard of it. He gets pissy with Pam and tries to run away to Philly rather than dealing with it, but she puts her foot down and decrees they're going to spend their Valentine's Day having the fight they've been needing to have sinceâ€¦ oh, October or so. Good call, that.
At the end of the day, Erin breaks the news to Pete that she couldn't pull the trigger, but when Pete understandingly says he just wants her to be happy, she changes her mind and goes and dumps Andy for being gone for three months. While, unbeknownst to her, he's on speaker with David Wallace. So, you know, that's kind of awesome.
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No teaser this week; just mini-credits and we're on, with Jim and Pam talking at their desks about how lucky it is that Jim's in town for Valentine's Day. Of course, it's going to cost him an extra day in Philly next week, but whatever. Up at Reception (which is decorated with a Happy Valentine's Day banner), Erin flirtatiously invites Pete to play hooky with her today. "I really want to have fun today, because tomorrow is going to be a nightmare," she THs. She adds that when Andy returns from his "stupid dumb boat trip" (no argument about that) tomorrow, she plans to dump him. Cut to Pete's TH, voicing his doubts about Erin's plan. After all, she's offered to do anything he wants, just like his family did with his childhood dog on his last day before going to "the farm." And then Erin waves a Frisbee at Pete, which doesn't seem to calm his fears.
Dwight enters Andy's vacant office and plays out a scene between the two of them, taking both parts, complete with annoying humming as Andy. Dwight THs about how well he gets along with Andy lately. "He's pretend, and he does exactly as I tell him to." He's also not looking forward to Andy's return tomorrow, "unless he comes back as Pretend Dwight, in which case we're in for an epic, confusing showdown." Couldn't be worse than last season.
Kevin has been sneaking a bit out of Andy's milk carton in the fridge in his absence, but the boss's return will mean "goodbye chunky lemon milk." He comes out of the kitchen and announces to the bullpen that he wishes Andy would stay away. Nellie suggests "one last fun bossless day." Meredith's idea of booze and cocaine doesn't get much traction, so Phyllis suggests hitting the mini-mall to cash in on the couples' discount instead. Stanley offers to pretend to be Phyllis's husband, having already been sick of her for years, and Kevin volunteers to be Angela's "foot-buddy" at the nail salon where she gets her feet detailed. Nellie drafts Clark ("It's what I do," he says gamely, at least when Jim's in the office and he has nowhere to sit), and Oscar asks Darryl to go with him. Darryl sneers, "No," then quickly corrects himself by going into "not that there's anything wrong with that" mode in record time.
Jim and Pam hang back and eat chocolates in the kitchen, and discuss their romantic plans to share a bottle of wine that evening. Pam tells Jim that they have lunch reservations with Brian and Alyssa. Pam thinks it's a good idea to thank Brian for saving her life, and Jim doesn't disagree. In Jim's TH, he maintains that he's looking forward to seeing Brian and his wife. "And he got fired for protecting my wife from a jerk in the warehouse? I'm sorry, but you know him. He's a good guy."
The Asian ladies at the nail salon fawn over tiny Angela, as she's clearly (and happily) used to them doing. At another table, one of the manicurists points out that Clark looks like a pretty girl. Nellie joins in the kidding, and Clark announces they're not actually together, so the couples discount won't apply. "She's living a lie," he says loudly. "Turns out I can't even be in a pretend relationship," Nellie THs.
Oscar and Darryl show up at the counter and ask for the couples' discount. The older woman in charge laughs them off, so Darryl steps up, grabbing Oscar's hand and passionately declaring their love. "And we have two disposable incomes and no kids, and we're taking our business elsewhere." And with that, he leads his fake boyfriend out of the store.
Jim and Pam show up at the restaurant and find Brian sitting at a table alone. He gives the crew -- his former coworkers, obviously -- an awkward smile as they sit down. They make a little small talk, and Jim thanks Brian for everything. And Brian breaks the news that he and his wife are splitting up. Think it's because he's in love with Pam? Nah.
In Andy's office, Dwight has Pretend Andy sign another form, complete with a gratuitous "Rinka dit-dit-dit-doo" in Dwight's Andy-voice. "Hi, Dwight," says a bearded figure in the doorway behind him, wearing a guayabera shirt, a Rasta hat, and beads in his scraggly facial hair. "You're back!" Dwight gasps at the new arrival because it's Andy. "And you're disgusting!"
Everyone returns to the bullpen to find hippie-Andy perched on a desk, saying, "I guess I can cancel my order from Zappos, because the loafers have arrived!" Good one, especially coming from a dude who skipped out on work in November. He goes for a hug from Erin, but is fended off by an awkward high-ten from her instead. Erin THs that she's so bad at breakups that she's still dating her first-grade boyfriend, plus she forgot to get him something for their twentieth anniversary.
Oscar asks Andy why he's back early, and Andy duhs that this is his super-romantic Valentine's Day surprise for Erin. He presents her with a couple of bamboo sticks and expects her to join him in an impromptu performance of some island music on the spot. "Hey, Burning Man, if it's not selling out too much, you might want to throw on a tie," Dwight interrupts. "David Wallace is gonna be here in an hour." Andy says that's why he's here. Oh, and also for Erin (who repels another hug attempt). It turns out that Andy never technically told Wallace he was gone for three months. "But we've been in touch the whole time. It's not hard to get high-speed Internet in Turks and Caicos, people." Erin looks visibly disgusted, for reasons that become clear with a quick TH inset from her saying, "He only emailed me four times." That's actually twice as much as I thought he had. Andy asks where Jim is and wonders why he's at lunch for two hours. Oscar pointedly asks if long absences from the workplace concern Andy. "If the shoe fits, "Andy non-answers. I think he means loafer.
At lunch, Brian is talking to Jim and Pam about the end of his marriage and suddenly breaks down into tears. "We have to find a different way to communicate other than breaking down in front of each other," he says to Pam. "At least my crying won't get you fired." Which is all clearly news to Jim. "Crying?" he asks, taking his hand from the back of Pam's chair.
Andy congratulates Dwight on landing the White Pages account, but dings him for not getting pricing approval. From Andy. "You were on a boat," Dwight grumbles, and refuses to agree that they're "coolio." So to win the point, Andy calls up Jan on the phone. Once she's on the line, Dwight desperately hisses "coolio" several times, but it's too late; she's so disgusted at Andy calling her after the fact to price-gouge her that she cancels the contract on the spot. "That was not how I had hoped that would go," Andy understates.
Andy visits Accounting to collect his back paychecks. Which turn out to include a bonus from David Wallace for the branch exceeding its sales targets the last quarter. Roughly the length of Andy's absence, in other words. Angela and Oscar look at him expectantly, but he takes the bonus and heads out. Even Kevin glowers at the camera over what a bum deal this is.
In the break room, Dwight is holding court with complaints about how Andy blew the branch's biggest sale ever. Clark takes it particularly hard, given what he had to do to get it. Even Dwight is sympathetic. They're all wondering what they can do. "Short of telling David Wallace that he was gone for three months..." Dwight floats. Nellie refuses to rat Andy out after he gave her another chance. "So the least I can do is have somebody else rat on him." She turns to Meredith, but apparently there are lines Meredith won't cross. After all, nobody ever called her a narc. "Floozy, yes, alky, check... vomit-mop, sure. Floor-meat, that's me. Flesh-Hoover--" Pete finally cuts her off, asking, "Why does no one stop her?" Erin says she understands that everyone is mad at Andy, including hers, and says there's no need to rat on anyone; Andy can get in trouble all by himself. Dwight agrees that Wallace will fire Andy after taking one look at him, at which point Andy walks in, still rather tan and floppy-haired,