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The funny moments in this episode are great. Phyllis, who remains a badass, takes down Kevin in poker just by having all the “clovers.” Jim messes with Dwight (mind control prank) and Dwight is hopelessly wound-up in Michael’s two-date issue. Angela is subtly flirting with Dwight. Creed is stealing shit on the periphery. Everyone, by the end of Season 2, is in their element here. The characters are formed. We’re familiar. The Office takes a big swing and it connects.
Later, head-to-head with Pam, Jim goes all-in. I mean, literally at the poker table. But then afterwards, he gambles again when they’re alone.
He said earlier in the episode that he felt like he had no future in Scranton. He joked to Pam that he had no dreams. That’s not true. She’s the dream. Then we get the parking lot scene. Re-watching it a few times, it’s stunning how nervous it makes me. Dude is really putting it all out, all at once. And Pam gives him the, I value our friendship and I’m sorry you misinterpreted things runaround. Jenna Fischer does such a good job here. You can see her eyes welling and that she doesn’t mean that — but Jim just dropped a bomb and there’s nothing to say but platitudes. She’s not yet ready to blow up her life.
Jim finds Pam talking to her mom on the phone in the office and he kisses her and the season ends. It’s chill-inducing. It’s this little bit of hope for Jim, a great season-end to a love story and a damn funny episode.
It’s an episode about people who are struggling to find their place. Michael is clueless and loveless. Jim is directionless. Pam is stuck. They’re all looking for a way out. Work is full of downsizing rumors and boredom and frustration. And at this point in the show, we truly have no idea how this is going to work out for any of them. But it ends with a glimmer of hope. Our friends might just be OK.