The final season of NBC's The Office heats up quickly, as comfortable relationships soon get rocky. Also, new staff unsuspectingly disrupt Dunder Mifflin's harmony. (Spoiler alert for details to follow)
In this season premiere, the paper-company gang returns from summer with stories about their off-season adventures, such as Kevin's run-in with a turtle (basically, he ran over the lil' guy and tried to fix the shell with workplace knick-knacks). Dwight concocted a beet run-off juice, causing a violent nauseous reaction. Jim met a high-school friend starting a sports marketing company in another city, and soon after their interview we first hear the voice of the documentary makers always behind the camera in The Office.
Wait, what?! Revealing the filmmakers was never even hinted at last season, so this twist is a nice surprise. Will we hear more of that voice or will we always remain in suspense?
Andy returns from a hiking trip with renewed vigor...for vindication. He glowers at Nellie like she killed his parents; rather, Nellie wrested Andy's manager job away from him before he took it back. She remains on the payroll but Andy assures her he'll make her remaining days a living hell. We get the sense Nellie will soon be shown the door; her character always hit one-note and I'm sure showrunner Greg Daniels is looking for a way she can make a swift exit.
Pam and Jim return as the happily married parents, but we get the early idea something is amiss; Jim's run-in with an old friend has him thinking about his career at Dunder Mifflin. It doesn't help one of the new guys is nicknamed Jim Jr. and starts to show streaks of ambition, talking about his millionaire dreams. Big Jim looks at him as a reminder of what he used to be; and it's that deadpan moment in Jim's face we begin to suspect he's feeling boxed in by marriage.
The show's writers really wanted to make sure we knew Pam was happy being a mom. More than once she said she likes living the routine life, contrasting with Jim's twisted face when he begins to rethink his paper-factory job.
The other new worker is nickname Dwight Jr., resembling the bespectacled nerd made famous by Rainn Wilson. Suddenly, Dwight Sr. feels threatened by the kid's spunk, and tries to best him in a feat of acrobatics. Let's just say Dwight ends up with a slapstick fail.
Many funny moments marked this premiere as one of the show's best in recent years. The last few years needed this injection of new staffers, as they work as a better foil than Nellie and the creepy boss played by James Spader.
I could mention a very ah-ha moment relating to Oscar and Angela, but it's too juicy to even include here, despite my spoiler warning, Let's just when The Office begins to develop that storyline, we're in for more fireworks than we may have ever seen on this NBC hit.