Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Season seven of The Office has thus far established three major storylines. The first one involves the inevitable reunion of Michael and Holly. The second one is Dwight having purchased the building. The third storyline, involves Pam's promotion to office administrator. In China, Pam's new position crossed with Dwight's ownership and management of the building. The episode also takes the theme of victory and defeat, blurs the difference between the two, and questions the importance of emerging as the victor.
For Pam, she was well aware of her own lack of career success. Two years ago, she had failed out of art school. Frustrated with returning to work as a receptionist, Pam took a gamble by following Michael into his own paper company, and it got her a position in sales. Earlier this season, Pam discovered that she was not good at sales, and successfully hatched a plot to get herself promoted into the position of office administrator. In China, Pam found her first real challenge, to be against the Dwight, over his deliberately poor management of the building. Pam, like her husband, Jim, had found that she became mysteriously incompetent over the years, and acknowledged her disappointment of her own failures to Jim in the staircase. Despite overcoming her lack of assertiveness, Pam was unable to do better than putting forward a false alternative to use against Dwight.
Dwight on the other hand, wisely followed the advice given to him by Jolene back in Whistleblower, and went into buying property. He unleashed his evil side onto the office, to everybody's discontentment, putting Pam as the one person in a position to oppose him. After Dwight did some investigating, he found the truth behind Pam's bluff to move Dunder Mifflin to a different location. Instead of taking advantage of this misstep, he took a step back, falsely giving Pam the impression that she had won.
Not all the employees were fixated on the the lighting, toilet paper, and temperature. For some of them, they found great entertainment in Michael being right over Oscar. Over the last few years, Oscar had emerged as the sane one, that offered the voice of reason when it was most needed. China explored Oscar's internal motivation, as Jim and Andy explained to Michael of Oscar's proposed coffee discussion, while Ryan helped Michael prepare for it. Though Michael may be uneducated and ignorant, there is something that he does better than everybody else, as evidenced in Murder. He is an absolute expert at side-stepping any issue. By doing this, he took a step outside of Oscar's intellectual debate, avoided what was at stake, and managed to pull a victory out of nowhere by redefining the resolution as a rebuttal.