I'm starting to seriously doubt the ability of "The Office" to rebound entirely from the departure of Steve Carell.
In an attempt to symbolically kickstart the crew's faith in his leadership, Andy takes our beloved Dunder Mifflin Scrantonites on a field trip to Gettysburg, the Northernmost battleground from the Civil War. Or was it?
Andy packs low-sugar lunches for his "soldiers" on their rented tour bus, and passes out hot pink hats that read "DB Does GB." It's humiliating, but the staff plays along, seeing what it means to their boss. They tune out entirely, however, when Andy attempts to deliver a carefully researched Civil War lesson on the ride. Darryl has Limitless on his iPad, and nobody wants to get off the bus before the movie has ended.
Matters only deteriorate from there, as complaints about the long walk and the elementary-style history tour lead Andy to feel as if his plan had backfired. But at his lowest point, Jim and Darryl point out that the group was there in the first place because they respect Andy as manager, and trust in his leadership.
Meanwhile, entirely by accident, Gabe finds himself playing Abraham Lincoln to a crowd of Gettysburg tourists who mistakenly took him for an employee reenactor. Reveling in the spontaneous attention and relevance, Gabe puts his all in the impromptu performance, acting out Lincoln's assassination to a standing ovation from onlookers.
Dwight spends his time vehemently arguing against the history books, insisting that Schrute Farms is actually the most Northern conflict zone of the Civil War (and the most gruesome). Ever the detail neurotic, Oscar counters by taking it to the source: a history buff from Gettysburg. To everyone's surprise, Schrute Farms actually was involved in the Civil War, but as a refuge for pacifists, an artistic haven for people to "put on plays, and sing and dance in the moonlight" during times of war.
Defeated and repulsed, Dwight storms out of the meeting.
Back at the office, the "creative thinkers" who stayed behind – Pam, Stanley, Angela, Ryan, Kevin, Meredith and Kelly – spend their afternoon pitching "game-changing ideas" to Robert California, who is rightfully disappointed by everyone's half-baked nonsense brainstorming. There's a moment of spark, when Kevin proposes changing the locations of certain cookies in the vending machine, but Robert soon realizes that it doesn't represent some larger existential metaphor for the staff at Dunder Mifflin. When? Right about the time the build-your-own-Big-Mac idea surfaces.
The strength of the show is lacking so badly, it leaves one wondering whether the writers have dragged out the Andy-as-underdog story a little too long. The episode is clearly an attempt to not only separate him from Robert California (a badly needed development), but further establish his Alpha status in the office. But is it too little too late? Will we see more boss-on-boss nauseating supplication, or will “The Office” grow a pair and take the next step? Time will tell…
CraveOnline Rating: 6 out of 10