Spoilers for last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I get a Bluetooth for the car...
Sigh... like Michael Scott, I had kind of fallen in love with Holly Flax over this last batch of episodes, and so watching them break up over that long(*) road trip to Nashua made for one of the more depressing "Office" episodes ever, though it was wonderfully acted by both Steve Carell and Amy Ryan (and, for that matter, Craig Robinson).
(*) I'm not sure what route they were taking, but Google Maps puts Nashua only a five hour drive from Scranton, which would stink but wouldn't be quite the ordeal this episode made it out to be.
What worked about the story -- other than its perfect deconstruction of how a long road trip can suck the enthusiasm out of anyone over time (as symbolized by the repeated plays of Tom Cochran's "Life Is a Highway" until it lost all fun and meaning) -- was that it became clear after a while that it wasn't just the (exaggerated) distance that was driving it. Just as important was Holly's realization that Michael maybe wasn't the man -- and by that, I mean "adult" -- she had thought he was. Michael had been on his best behavior for her entire tenure here, but when news of the transfer broke, she began to see him for the overgrown child he so often is. The distance alone was bad, but Michael's refusal to look for a better long-term solution made it much worse.
If I have a problem with the episode other than the departure of the perfect Amy Ryan, it's that there weren't enough laughs to compensate for the darkness of the Michael/Holly story. Jim and Pam's lunch date with his brothers -- both of them fighting to play the role of Roy -- was largely uncomfortable. And while there were some funny spots in Dwight attacking Andy through his Cornell obsession, something felt off to have Dwight playing the role of Jim -- and playing it so well, when we know Dwight both despises Jim and isn't good at imitating him. I think it might have worked better if it had been part of a more extended Halloween gag, though it would have deprived us of seeing Dwight as our third Heath Ledger Joker. (Then again, Creed's Joker was funny and terrifying enough to compensate.) On the plus side, it would have meant that Pam would have had to go to lunch with Jim's brothers while rocking the Chaplin/Hitler mustache. Ah, well.
What did everybody else think?