The Office: “The Target” (Episode 9.08)

TV Reviews
The Office: “The Target” (Episode 9.08)


We say that not just because Angela didn’t break Oscar’s kneecaps this week after finding out he’s been sleeping with her husband, but because The Office has finally put forth a truly strong episode this season, one that reminded us of what the show is capable of.

There wasn’t a single throwaway plot in “The Target,” as each arc managed to advance the plot and get laughs while also gently tugging at the heartstrings—something The Office made a name for itself by doing that we haven’t seen in quite some time. The big story this week was the fallout from Oscar and the Senator’s affair. After Angela finds out Oscar’s betrayed her, she goes running back to Dwight, asking him to help her seek revenge. He knows a guy, but when Angela suggests murder (in a she’s-not-serious-she’s-just-upset kind of way…we think…), Dwight demonstrates how much he’s matured since we’ve last seen these two together. Maybe those anti-anxiety pills have straightened him out? Anyway, he convinces Angela that taking out a knee or two will be all the revenge she needs—until he figures out Oscar is the target because he and the Senator have been “gaying each other.” Semi-surprisingly, it’s Dwight who reminds Angela that she can’t hurt Oscar because he’s her friend, and this all leads to an extremely well-done confrontation scene that featured the best Angela and Oscar performances we’ve seen in years.

Meanwhile, Jim and Pam are also both reminded of their office friendships, albeit in different ways. Jim takes Phyllis and Stanley out to lunch to try to convince them to take some of his workload so he can shift to a part-time schedule that will allow him to spend more time working on his new business. They make him sweat it, ordering lobster and wine and causing a scene in the restaurant, but on the way home Phyllis reveals to Jim that they were just messing with him and they’ll cover for him because “we love you guys.” Aww.

Pam’s story’s a little more complex—but no less enjoyable. She starts off the day declaring she’s finally going to start painting the mural in the warehouse after stalling by applying a zillion coats of primer, but she’s quickly paralyzed by her fear of failing, so she wanders back upstairs and finds Pete and the rest of the office in need of one more complaint to finish the tower of complaint cards they’ve been building. After it’s revealed she’s the only one in the office who has never been complained about by a customer, she volunteers to get the final one, calling up a client and insulting her mother. It’s all fun and games for a bit, but everyone’s smiles fade when they realize they’ve just lost some business over the fleeting thrill of a card tower.

It’s pathetic, but it’s also effective: Pam learns not to care so much what people think of her and finally starts that mural, declaring that her coworkers are her role models for being so uninhibited. It’s kind of a throwback to the old Pam from seasons ago, but it’s touching. Pam and Jim have been primed for some time now; it’s time for them to stop worrying about making a mess and start painting.

Whether that’s a choice that’ll be made for them or not remains to be seen. The fact that the entire office spent a day building a tower of the complaints that have been filed against them while their boss is away on a two-week boat trip (and managed to lose at least one client while doing so) is a pretty strong indication that the folks at Dunder Mifflin are not, in fact, that great at their jobs. Realistically, business can’t possibly be good. Will The Office end with the Scranton branch closing?

Stray observations:
-Great to see Dwight and Angela playing off each other again. Their final scene with Toby was hilarious. It’s only a matter of time before these two are back together.
-”There’s a documentary film crew that’s been following our every move for the past nine years, but I don’t see them right now, so we should be good.”
-The show really is trying its hardest to make Pete the New Jim, down to the way they’re styling his hair now.
-Drunk Phyllis is pretty incredible.
-”Hold on, I’m gonna send him an SMS text.”

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