The Office Review: “Paper Airplane” (Season 9, Episode 20)

the office paper airplane

The Office continues with its main story arcs in Paper Airplanes while still being able to deliver a fun little episode like it usually does. This week, we see Andy move forward in his acting career while Jim and Pam keeps working on their relationship. In the middle of it all we get a paper airplane contest which makes way for some funny moments and an interesting turn in the Dwight-Angela relationship.

But first, the cold open, which explains the main paper airplane competition that takes up this episode. Frankly, that Toby moment was hilarious. Of course, he gets hit straight in the eye with a paper airplane. In my review for the last episode, Stairmageddon, I mentioned how I missed Michael’s constant verbal attack on Toby. Fortunately, we have a replacement in the form of Nellie, although she doesn’t do it directly. “We are now down to an elite eight, well, seven and Toby.”

Once again, the least interesting part of this episode is Andy’s storyline, although it was much better than the last episode’s. He gets into a ‘movie’ where he has to explain the chemical handling protocols, and as you would expect from him, he does horribly with it. When it comes to washing out his eyes, Andy freaks out as he hates things going into his eyes, a characteristic that was set up early in the episode. For a while, I thought Darryl would replace Andy and get the role instead, but Andy succeeds and impresses Carla Fern by the end.

There’s really nothing interesting to note about this episode, except maybe Carla Fern herself, the best part of this storyline. Even then, she doesn’t get to do a whole lot. Considering she’s only in one more episode, maybe all this will be done and over with sooner than I thought. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this arc, I’m just indifferent to it.

Fortunately, the rest of the episode is all good, especially with the paper airplane competition. For one thing, Creed does a bit more than just sit around. Things get serious once everyone realizes that there’s money to be won. Erin can’t tame the beast within her as she goes all out crazy to win this thing, scaring Pete in the process.

It’s revealed that Kevin doesn’t know how to make a paper airplane, having to get one from Craigslist instead. By the end of the episode he still can’t make one, but watching him write down what to do better next time was a funny little moment. I don’t think anyone else could’ve been the referee, Nellie and her sarcastic face was just what the event called for. She clearly doesn’t want to be there, even forgetting to inform everyone that there’s a cash prize for the winner.

Dwight and Angela are this close to getting back together until Esther shows up and ruins whatever moment the two of them were leading up to. Angela is struggling with her son and cats now that she’s broken up with the Senator, and the scene inside her house may be one of my favorite Angela moments. She has so many cats that there’s barely any place for her kid. Having just inherited a farm, it wouldn’t look good for Angela to go back to Dwight now. But clearly they both still have feelings for each other.

Dwight and Angela face each other in the paper airplane finals, and Dwight almost lets her win until she stops him. She doesn’t want his or Esther’s pity. But their longing for each other is only growing stronger. Dwight needs to get rid of Esther quick. Even if she defeats Angela when it comes to manure. Dwight ends up getting the $2000 after winning the competition and Creed makes the generous offer to turn that money into $800, just for Dwight.

The meat of the episode though comes from Jim and Pam trying out the new tricks they learned from couple’s therapy. Personally, I loved it. They are working at their relationship, although like Pam said, her heart is blocked. They make extra sure they appreciate and acknowledge each other’s sacrifices. Perhaps my favorite moment from this episode is when Clark asks them if they are high, because he’d sure like to get whatever they are having.

The constant acknowledgement of each other’s good deeds feels forced throughout, and it doesn’t seem like it is working for a while. Pam especially seems upset and sad throughout, with all signs pointing to a broken relationship. In the end, Jim has to head back to Philly, and as Pam brings him back his umbrella before he leaves, things seem to turn around. For a moment, it’s all awkward and uncomfortable. But you can feel Jim wanting to do something, and so he takes a leap and just hugs Pam hard. And in my head I’m cheering for them, as the wise words on love spoken at their wedding is played back over this scene. We even catch a glimpse of Michael Scott from the event. While it was beautiful to watch them reclaim the Jim and Pam magic, I’m not sure I want it to be fixed just like that. But I suppose we will find out next week if it truly is.

Paper Airplane was a good episode that showed progress in both the Dwight-Angela and Jim-Pam story lines, although I’m not exactly sure where the Andy story is going. With only three weeks left, there’s a lot that still needs to happen. After all, the documentary story-arc wasn’t even touched upon this week. I would also like to see some significant progress in the story arcs of the other characters. I feel as though all these ‘good’ episodes are leading to a ‘great’ finale, so enjoy the ride while we still can.

What did you think of The Office this week? Can you act better than Andy? Let us know in the comments as usual.