Andy stumbles up to Reception, making Erin giggle and referring to Weekend at Bernie's. He asks if she's excited about their date, and she drops back into character, saying. "Of course, Nathaniel." She asks where he's taking her, and he claims the finest steakhouse in Savannah. Still in character, she says that's far from Scranton, and he asks if she means a real date. "No," she says. "Do you?" Andy: "Totally...not." Erin just gets up and walks away. From her desk, Pam watches her go with a rueful look. She's not a miracle worker, after all. Erin THs, "I thought it was for real, so I was excited but it was just part of the game." She smiles bravely, but I don't think anyone ever has or ever will again be this disappointed about not getting to date Andy.
Michael's still playing the murder game, but Dwight's the only one playing it with him. Jim and Pam watch for a bit, then do a joint TH in which Pam thinks Michael has snapped. "Or maybe he's just stuck in character," Jim suggests. But which is worse? "Both," Jim says. "They're both worse." I'm sorry, these are the jokes.
Jim tries to reassure Pam in his office that it'll be okay, until Michael bursts in to drag her off to the witch doctor. Of course they're worried about the future of their child, but will the kid be worse off if they both lose their jobs or if they don't?
Jim enters the conference room, which has been transformed into a crime scene with Meredith as the corpse on the carpet (complete with brain spatter) and Andy, Kevin, and Dwight as forensics workers. Jim says, "Okay, I'm just gonna skip past the what and go with why." Jim asks for a moment, but Michael won't come until he snaps. "Caleb!" They head into Michael's office, slam the door (forcing the camera to shoot through the office window), and Jim starts, "Today of all days--" but Michael screams at him to shut up, in his own voice, only screamier. "They need this game, Jim. Let us have this stupid little game, all right?" Jim just nods, defeated, and Michael drops right back into character when Erin pops in to say David Wallace is returning his call. Michael says he'll only talk to a Detective Wallace, so it looks like Jim is taking this one.
In his office, Jim hears Wallace telling him over the phone that it looks like the company will be out of money by the end of the year. Before adding more, Wallace starts to end the call, not even willing to listen to an idea Jim wants to pitch him. Wallace doesn't want to listen to Jim's every thought? This is an emergency!
So then Jim has to go back out into the bullpen, where everyone is expecting an update. "Nothing yet," is all he says...at first. But then he adds that there is bad news: "There has been another murder," he drawls. Michael lights up. "I do declare," he says slowly, and everyone except Stanley and Phyllis head back into the conference room for another round. As the game gets back underway, Jim VOs about how it was a good day to have two managers. "If you're a family stuck in a lifeboat in the muddle of the ocean, one parent might want to just keep rowing. But if the other parent wants to play a game, it's not because they're crazy. It's because they're doing it for the kids. And I get that now," he concludes as we see that he's actually sitting next to Michael. Who says one more thing in character before dropping the voice and declaring, "Today is the hardest I have worked in a long, long time." Jim doesn't argue the point, because it's probably true in more ways than one.
In the tag, Dwight, Michael, and Andy are all in a three-way standoff in the conference room, pointing imaginary weapons at each other. "Andy revealed himself to be a double agent," Jim THs from his office. "At which point Dwight felt comfortable revealing that he also was a double agent, and then Michael announced to everybody that, get this, he was a double agent. Oh, and it is six o'clock." We return to the conference room, where Pam has now joined the standoff somehow. Jim walks in, ready to go. "Really?" is all he says upon taking in the scene. Pam stays in character, and Jim tells her, "Yeah, I want to go home." "Get the keys out of my purse, start the car," she commands, and backs out slowly, leaving the other three to pretend to shoot each other and pretend to expire noisily on the floor. Well, I'm glad someone's having fun.
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter , or just e-mail him at m.giant[at]gmail.com.