Once again, the Scranton branch finds itself at the mercy of corporate and financial difficulties. The employees have gone through a lot of downsizing over the years, from Devon's termination, to mergers, and most recently, the closing of a branch. Despite the various successes on the part of the Scranton employees, they inevitably and always find themselves in a position where corporate has to make unpopular decisions. "Murder," is another such The Office episode, where the employees are in a state of panic, out of fear of losing their jobs.
When dealing with serious financial situations, Michael has learned that he has absolutely no control over corporate decisions. His experience has taught him that it is best to not fixate on the financial and layoff problems. However, his methods of denial are seen by Jim as being completely unproductive and inappropriate, which leads to the two of them butting heads again. Jim is well aware of the consequences of losing his job, and would much rather involve himself in a situation where he has no control, to attempt to give himself and others the impression of some control. In the end, Jim finally buys into Michael's wisdom from experience, and revels in Michael's office antics to take himself away from the harsh reality.
Going away from the harsh reality can also cause greater grief. It is in this illusion, that Andy and Erin unintentionally sabotage genuiness, out of fear of rejection. Afraid to admit their attraction to each other, they hide behind their roles, only to accidentally confuse themselves, thus causing each other unnecessary heartache.