Before addressing the deep-rooted (but strangely charming) insecurities of Scranton branch’s employees, and especially those of the commanding duo of Michael and Jim, “Koi Pond” opens with Daryl pushing a paper-cart full of saucer-eyed kids through a haunted warehouse, outfitted with costumed co-workers and, well, not quite the age appropriate thrills. Michael successfully demonstrates the “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” theory by simulating his own hanging, kicking out a chair and convulsing his suspended body with his head tied in a noose. It was a nice nod to Halloween’s festivities and serves well in the rank Season Six’s killer openings.
The story forks into a pair of pretty solid plotlines. Jim is peeved when he’s forced to have Michael tag along his big sales call, while Pam and Andy’s bottomed sales award them the cold-call honors for the episode. The former ends up another opportunity to see Jim illuminated in different, unflattering hues, but overall fits well into his so far season-long pummeling as the new boss.
As suggested in the title, Michael and Jim’s meeting ends with a Koi Pond plunge, clued by Michael’s sopping-wet return to the office. His soaked-cat appearance told us everything we needed to know, except for how, exactly, he fell into the giant fish tank (thereby crushing the head of a $300 fish). The mystery untold still would have been grand, but security camera footage provided by Meredith shows Michael’s funny fall and Jim’s not-so-funny passivity during the accident. The film clearly shows Jim leaning back as Michael flails for balance.
There are at least a couple ways The Office is developing Jim with this. Whether or not a the Koi Pond incident could have been prevented, perhaps a more rigid backbone would have kept him from leaning away. Also, Jim wants to come into his own as Scranton’s co-boss, so letting Michael fall was his way of telling him that he shouldn’t have been with him in the first place. No matter how you look at it, Jim is becoming less of a heartthrob and more of a headache this season. In a glass-is-half-full approach: less ideal, more human. We know. He’s doing his best.
The Office keeps its wit for the seventh episode, such as Michael’s public self-depreciation that unveils a whole history of abuse by male and female peers. Poor guy. Other notable scenes include Koi Pond puns and teases from the co-workers, a scattered “Do Not Mock” list revealing Dwight’s small-nose insecurity and, lastly, a glimpse into what’s brewing between Erin and Andy these days.