Last week, The Office came out of the gates post-holiday break strong, but could they continue that momentum this time around, in an episode entitled "Suit Warehouse?" The episode was written by former Simpsons writer Dan Greaney, which is a positive. It also featured the long awaited return of a beloved character. That's right, Clark. Andy is still gone, Jim kissing Pam is still the only thing we see in the opening credits, and their relationship is still a key part of the episode. However, to the degree "Suit Warehouse" is about anything, it's about Dwight acting in a ridiculous, cartoony fashion.
It began reasonably enough in the cold open. Dwight found out some father and son suit company need a new paper supplier. Back in the day, this is where Dwight and Jim would pretend to be siblings to get the business. Sure, we've never seen this before in over eight seasons, but we have seen Dwight and Jim work together before. Alas, Dwight cannot convince Jim to drive back from his new job in Philly to help out, even though it will only take him a half hour if he drives 240 miles per hour.
Fortunately, Clark has just returned, apparently, from a trip with Jan. He comes bearing an espresso machine, which will feature in another storyline, but not this one. Given the fact Clark sort of, kind of looks like Dwight, Dwight recruits him to pretend to be his son. Will a new dynamic duo be born? Or will it all be wasted on some dumb jokes? It's the latter.
First, Dwight and Clark are pretending to be a loving father and son, the kind who go hunting and behead deer and what have you. Things take a turn, in terms of the story and the quality of the material, when the father tells Dwight that he and his son don't get along. Suddenly, Dwight is acting hostile toward Clark, who eventually picks up on it. It goes to ridiculous, but not funny, places really fast. It was all clunky and repetitive. Then, Dwight went on a long jag about Clark following around a cat and collecting excrement that was really dumb. Sure, we eventually find out Dwight actually did that, but that just makes it dumber.
Then, the son shows up, and it turns out he's the boss, not the father. Now, Clark takes control of the meeting, and Dwight deals with his advancing age. This could have made some sense, but it didn't work that well. The age system was all skewed. The father of the suit duo was clearly older than Dwight, and the son was clearly older than Clark. Dwight's not an old man on his way out or anything. He's a middle aged dude with plenty of work ahead of him. Eventually, Clark finagles Dwight into buying him a suit, but when Dwight sees the suit, he likes it and decides to get a fancy getup of his own.
The fact Clark has barely been involved at all in this his only season didn't help this storyline, since there is nothing to him as a character, but that wasn't really the main issue. It was all pretty flat. Nothing really seemed to happen, it wasn't interesting or engaging, and it was, at times, actively not funny. The show had been doing well with Dwight this season, but this was a step back for him. Hopefully this is an anomaly. That happens.
Meanwhile, Darryl heads to Philly for a job interview at Jim's company, and Pam tags along because who is going to stop her? Nobody, that's who. She's above the law. Darryl is nervous about the interview. Pam tries to calm him down. We finally get to see Jim's business. It's a pretty nice setup. It's not quite Entertainment 720, but they've clearly splashed some cash on the place. Additionally, Jim is clearly busy, which is a nice thing to see after last week's magical dream tour with Dr. J.
Darryl at first seems like he will sink the interview, but he finally relaxes, is looking good, and then decides to pick up a basketball and take a shot at a hoop. It clanks off the rim and knocks a lamp into a fish tank, killing the fish. It was awkward, to say the least. A bit silly, a bit over the top, but kind of funny too, in that cringe-y way The Office does things from time to time. However, because this is the final season of the show, despite this Darryl gets the job. He's evidently headed to Philly full time. Way to go Darryl, I suppose.
The reason Pam was dragged along for all this is for her to have an existential crisis. Left sitting around while Darryl interviews, the receptionist casually mentions that they all can't wait until Jim and Pam move to Philly full-time. This is something Pam does not want to do. This will, I presume, cause conflict. Pam's a small town girl living in a lonely world. Although, she did go to New York once. Anyway, I figure in the end they will end up moving to Philly, but not until the series finale or something. Also, they will be very happy.
In the other storyline, we basically get to see what the rest of the gang would be like if they were on cocaine. However, since this is The Office, espresso stands in for cocaine. It's all very silly, but in a good, entertaining way. A bunch of the folks left in the office decide they are going to try every flavor of espresso. Naturally, that's a lot of caffiene. Everybody gets a ton of energy and are flipping out. Then they start sweating and crashing. Then they decide to move the copier, and after that tear up the carpet to expose the hardwood floor. Creed got a couple of really funny moments. One involving giving some espresso to a plant, another where he steals Phyllis' ring. Also, Meredith has a bad wig now.
Eventually, it's 5:00 and everybody gives up and heads to their car, where they get in a parking lot traffic jam. At the end of the day, Pam and Darryl show back up to an empty office with a bunch of ripped up carpet. The best part of the espresso stuff involved Erin, however, who was back to her slightly odd, kinda dumb behavior. First, Pam asks her to deal with a shipment of pens, but she has no clue what to do and panics. Then, while hopped up on espresso for the first time, she decides to unpack the pens, for it is better to be a busybody than a lazybones, until Kevin says she is gunning for Pam's job, which makes her paranoid so she puts all the pens away. I think this could actually be some foreshadowing. Pam moves on to Philly. Erin moves from receptionist to office administrator. Happy endings all around. Except for the show Happy Endings. It's probably going to be cancelled.
"Suit Warehouse" was a step back from last week. It was pretty good, mostly on the strength of the espresso gags, but nothing more. There were a few clunkers, Dwight was poorly used in a go nowhere storyline, and the stuff with Jim and Darryl was fairly slight as well, if slightly better and slightly funnier. It also didn't do much to push things forward. It maybe moved Jim and Pam's situation forward one small step. The Office is running out of time, and it is sort of disappointing to see them burn an episode with something like "Suit Warehouse."