The Office Series Finale Recap: 'Best. Prank. Ever.' - Do You Agree? [Updated]

The OfficeWarning: This recap contains major spoilers from Thursday’s series finale of The Office. Read on at your own risk!

Though it was long in coming, The Office‘s emotional final episode went by too quickly and was, at times, hard to handle (that’s what she said). 

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The 75-minute episode capped nine seasons with laugh-out-loud moments and tender tributes — a job almost as tough as medalling in Flonkerton or fulfilling the duties of Assistant (to the) Regional Manager.

The episode contained too many great jokes, throwaway lines and sight gags to list, so here’s a brief overview of what happened during Dunder Mifflin’s last outing, which took place a year after the events of last week’s episode.

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW | Dwight fires Kevin for being terrible at his job, proving himself a better manager than Michael or Andy ever was. (Does the fact that he delivers the news via cake make it easier or harder to take? I’m not sure.) In the same meeting, Toby also gets the buttercream boot. Kevin winds up buying a bar in Scranton, while Flenderson moves to New York to write a novel but mainly winds up sharing an apartment with six strangers. Meanwhile, Stanley retires to Florida and Creed — who turns out to be both a member of the Grass Roots and a wanted felon — fakes his death, leading to him losing his job and assuming a new identity. To shore up the staffing losses, Dwight hires newbies played by Ben and Kate’s Dakota Johnson and Better Off Ted‘s Malcolm Barrett.

MOVING ON | Darryl is enjoying Austin, where Athlead — now known as Athleap – is doing really well. Oscar is running for state senate. Nellie’s living in Poland (“the Scranton of the E.U.”). Andy hasn’t fared quite as well: Though he’s working in the Cornell admissions office, his breakdown during his America’s Next A Cappella Sensation audition has gone viral (think more “Leave Britney alone!” and less Justin Bieber), making him an international joke that even earns a few minutes of Bill Hader and Seth Meyers’ time during Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.”

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BOYS’ NIGHT | Jim is Dwight’s best man, or in Schrutespeak, “bestest mensch.” So he takes it upon himself to plan a bachelor party full of pranks. The guys pile into a limo, shoot bazookas, smoke cigars and wind up at Kevin’s bar – where Mose has stashed Angela, whom he ceremonially kidnapped. (Just chalk it up to weird Schrute traditions.) Kevin and Dwight get rid of the animosity hanging between them since the firing when Dwight asserts that it wasn’t personal: Kevin was just a truly bad employee. “Your Internet searches were so filthy, we had to throw out your computer,” he says, which Kevin finds oddly comforting.

PANEL SURPRISE | A panel discussion with the Dunder Mifflinites on the morning of Dwight and Angela’s wedding draws a huge crowd, many of whom adore Jim’s love for Pam but aren’t as effusive about Mrs. Halpert. But all of that pales in comparison to a question Erin gets from a woman (played by Joan Cusack) who turns out to be her birth mother! And her birth father (played by Ed Begley Jr.) is in the audience, too! The three have a happy reunion in the aisle.

WE TOLD YA! | As they’re getting ready for the ceremony, Jim informs Dwight that according to tradition, he actually can’t be bestest mench, because he’s not older than Dwight. As Schrute gets upset, Jim gives the camera a knowing glance… and Michael shows up in the doorway. (Called it!) As they hug, a tearful Dwight says, “Michael, I can’t believe you came!” Michael chokes out, “That’s what she said.” Jim caps the perfect moment with “Best. Prank. Ever.” (By the way, the episode could’ve ended there, and I would’ve been more than happy. Nicely done, Office.) Not long after, Angela’s making her way down the aisle (on Phyllis’ back) and standing in the grave next to Dwight’s (more Schrute weirdness), then they’re named man and wife.

TURN THE BEET AROUND | So many awesome things happen at the reception, I’m just going to list them in no particular order. Cool? All of the guests bring cats as gifts. Kelly is there with her pediatrician boyfriend Ravi (played by Heroes‘ Sendhil Ramamurthy), but ditches him to run off with single dad Ryan, who in turn ditches his infant son Drake with the doc. Don’t worry, the still-longing-for-a-child Nellie’s got it all under control. Michael is so proud of his kids (!), he has two cell phones to hold all of their photos. Phyllis and Stanley really miss each other. Dwight and Michael twirl each other around the dance floor to Bruce Springsteen’s “Rosalita,” and it is fantastic. As he peers over at Jim and Pam and Dwight and Angela chatting together at a table, the World’s Best Boss gets choked up and tells the camera, “I feel like all my kids grew up and then they married each other. It’s every parent’s dream!”

AFTER THE PARTY IT’S THE PAPER PARTY | A post-panel PBS party at the warehouse features an unveiling of Pam’s new mural – which tells “the history of us” – and then a group shot that features a lot of The Office‘s behind-the-scenes staff and crew. Very sweet. Then, the main players retire upstairs for a private bash, where they reminisce and drink and Creed serenades them (?). And he’s good (?)! When Dwight and Angela arrive, Jim and Pam take their boss aside to let him know that they’re moving to Austin – thanks to Pam’s “big Jim gesture” of listing their house with a realtor (Nancy Walls’ Carol, another nice touch) – and that Jim is going to rejoin Athleap. Dwight fires them, and Jim fears that the regional manager is mad… but he’s really just trying to get them a nice severance package. Aww. Everyone waxes nostalgic and hugs, Pam muses that “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” and then Creed is led away by the police. Didn’t we always kinda know it was going to end this way?

What did you think of the episode? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the comedy’s finale.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kristina says:

    The writer of the article made it seem shocking that Creed could sing. He really was a member of The Grassroots back in the 60s. Anyway, excellent finale. Made me realize why I loved this show. Makes me want to re-watch my favorite season (2nd) all over again.

  2. Ruby says:

    I have watched every episode of this show from the very beginning and I have to say that this episode was perfect. Way to go, Office writers, for giving us everything we wanted and then some. What a wonderful wrap-up to a wonderful show.

  3. Amelia says:

    If perfect exists. This ending was perfect. With Michael Scott being the last face we saw. Beautiful. Thank you to everyone!

  4. JB Smooove says:

    that finale was LEGEN-wait for it-DARY. Oh how im going to miss the office. i think the finale was eloquently written and it wrapped everyone up very nicely.

    Just makes me think back on my last eight years, what i have and havent done, ways i have and havent changed. Pams final thoughts punched me in the stomach: It took me so long to do so many important things. Its just hard to accept that i spent so many years being less happier than i could have been….act fast because life just isnt that long.

    Whew, huge life lesson.

    THANK YOU, The Office.

  5. Heather says:

    Why wasn’t Steve Carell in the retrospective??

    • JLK says:

      To make people think that he really hadn’t found time to come to the set? It looked like most of those interviews were done between takes.

  6. Allie says:

    I get the sense that some of these online reviewers don’t realize there was really a Grass Roots band back in the 60’s and 70’s which had quite a following. For 9 years many of us marveled that Creed really was from the band and what a crazy cool casting move that was. And at the end of the finale, Creed’s storyline comes full circle acknowledging him for who he really is in real life. For Creed to sing a GR song at the end was the coolest thing. And what a treat to hear him play guitar.

    • tnsmoke says:

      Also, Creed told in a confessional in a deleted scene on the S2 box set (Booze Cruise deleted scenes) that he was a member of the Grass Roots and held up a photo of the band and him in it. He said he did a lot of drugs and fried his brain and ended up at Dunder Mifflin. He said most days he can only work a couple hours because of his bad memory. He also had a scene where he rocked out on the guitar on the cruise. It was awesome!

  7. Ashleigh says:

    My favorite part: Dwight saying Pam was his best friend. I have always loved he relationship between the two of them, and to see him acknowledge it in that way…my heart swelled.

    Loved the el. What an amazin send off.

  8. mistr says:

    For those complaining about bad ending for Toby. In my eyes, it wasn’t a coincidence that while Andy was talking about good old times at around 44:46, they clearly showed Toby hanging out with Meredith in the background. Being outsiders and with Meredith’s PhD in psychology, they would make a nice match, but authors probably felt that putting together another pair would be too much for the Finale, which is why they just gently implied it.

  9. Dave says:

    Creed actually WAS the guitarist for The Grass Roots in the 1960s (In my Midnight Confession) so I don’t know why you’re surprised that he was good. Most of the characters back stories throughout the years was based on aspects of their real lives.

  10. Really says:

    When it was revealed Michael had kids, I started crying for happiness. That is the first and probably only time I will ever literally cry at something on TV. I do not cry at things on TV. He always wanted kids so badly, but never caught a break.

    • Ashleigh says:

      Oh, I wish I didn’t cry about things on TV! :) I am not really a crier in real life, but I get emotionally invested in the stories in books, tv, movies. Those emotions often manifest in tears, especially during series finales. I’m a sentimental sack sometimes. :)

      I agree, was very happy for Michael.

      • JLK says:

        lol…I’m the same way! It’s a rarity for me to bust into tears over my own life, but endings on TV shows, deaths in movies, I weep like an infant. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the series finale of Friday Night Lights because I just knew that I was going to start crying 2 minutes in and not stop. I’m saving it for some day when I feel like I need a good cry…and, thankfully, that day hasn’t come yet. :)

  11. Really says:

    OMG, I also forgot: Andy got to deliver the commencement speech at his beloved Cornell. Totally, awesome.

  12. Magically Suspicious says:

    This is one of the few shows that I will gladly watch in syndication, regardless of how many times I’ve seen the episodes.

  13. Rachel says:

    Does anyone know the song that Creed played during their private upstairs Office party? It was so pretty but I cannot find it anywhere. I was guessing it was a Grass Roots song but no luck….

  14. Dean says:

    As a Brit, I watched the original UK version of The Office during its actual run and never missed an episode.

    When I heard a remake was in production in America, well like most people I was very apprehensive and worried. The first couple of episodes were hard to get into as they basically mimicked exact episodes of the original. But by the end of the season they found their groove and by season two they were on a roll.

    I’m not going to lie and say every single episode of the later seasons were as good/original as the earlier seasons but they were still a damn sight better than alternatives on TV.

    I was there watching live when Tim kissed Dawn for the first time and when David & Gareth were comforting colleagues through song. But I can positively state the impact Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute & the greatest love story of all TV in Jim and Pam, had on me far eclipses the original UK version.

    As much as I love Ricky Gervais, there’s a reason it only had two seasons here – not because that’s ‘the British way’, because they didn’t have a sustainable shelf life. The American version has shown creativity and consistency long eclipsing what the UK one would’ve been able to provide.

    The long standing myth that ‘British is better’ is just that, a myth.

    I’ve never became as emotionally invested in a TV show or it’s characters as much as I have this show, and that’s how you know they created something special.

  15. KG says:

    I gave it an A+, and the I remembered there’s and A++.

  16. Lisa says:

    I cried from the time the retrospective started until the final episode ended. Amazing cast amazing show. I will miss seeing Andy, Jim, Pam, Dwight, Angela and the whole gang every week but I’m so glad I have my DVD’s to get me through. Thanks for a great 9 years!!!

  17. Nic says:

    Was I the only one that got teary when Creed was singing? And then in his last bit with the camera. UGH. Well done, Office. Well done.

  18. Maria B says:

    Also, as a resident of upstate New York I would like to thank The Office for including us and our cities (Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton) in the Scranton regional universe all these years. I got to see the Dunder Mifflin commercial on TV last night!!!

  19. CJ says:

    That was a truly phenomenal finale. I laughed, I cried, and it left me satisfied and smiling ;-)

  20. Jessica says:

    Best series finale. ever.

  21. S. from E. now says:

    stealing the bride and the groom rescuing her by buying drinks for everyone is actually a tradition in the rural parts of austria. ^^ though we steal the bride ON the day of the wedding, not the day before the wedding.^^

    is dwight supposed to be speaking german?

    • JLK says:

      They focus on Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) customs for the Schrutes, so the language has Germanic roots, but I think they’ve got their own regional dialect now. People refer to it as Pennsylvanian German sometimes.

      • S. from E. now says:

        thanks for clearing that up! i just thought it was another case of wacky german on an american tv show. ^^ my mother tongue is german so this has been bothering me for ages. ^^

  22. Jam says:

    As an American who loves Britcoms and loved the original Office, I rolled my eyes when I heard that the show was gonna have an American version. And the very first episode was so underwhelming, because it was an exact copy of the British version–but not as good. But I hung in there, and yeah for me it was the basketball episode in Season 1 that I enjoyed the most and foreshadowed the competition between Jim and Roy for Pam. And Season 2 was marvelous, and 3, and yeah after Steve C left the show, I thought it went downhill fast and stopped watching it. About halfway through last season I started watching again and it had gotten better. But the finale was absolutely the best. Best finale ever. And yes I am so glad we got to hear and see Creed play. Michael’s appearance in the finale was perfect: I was not one who guessed that Jim was talking about Michael to Dwight, as others here have stated, because I went into the show fully expecting and accepting that he wouldn’t be there. Then WHAM! This is one of the few TV shows that I can say enriched my life. And I have 2-3 dozen Dwight bobble heads in my closet-lol..

  23. T.MacMillan says:

    *Perfect* balance of heart and humor. I could not be more satisfied with the reverent farewell the writers gave my all-time favorite cast of tv characters. Andy’s auto-tune youtube song knocked me right off my couch. Wouldn’t be suprised if it actually went viral (in the real world). Amazing run, thank you to everyone involved in it’s creation. And yes Pam/Jenna, we WILL be watching and laughing in ten years. *Farewell*

  24. Leah Hoffman says:

    I was really impressed. It’s funny how every moment throughout the years led up to this final episode, as if it was written from the first day it aired.

  25. Amazer says:

    Tried reading as many posts as I could but don’t think anyone mentioned James Spader. Why was there absolutely no mention of his character?

    • JLK says:

      Maybe because he’s no longer with Dunder Mifflin? He was CEO of Sabre and after Sabre sold Dunder Mifflin to David Wallace that was the end of his ties to the company. Can’t say I cared that he wasn’t mentioned at all. But, I never liked his character.

      • Amazer says:

        I did not like the season he was on but I still thought there would be some mention of him. His character was mostly unlikable and strange. They mentioned Kathy Bates briefly.

    • JB Smooove says:

      I did see spader in one or two clips, but no talking. Maybe he was too busy with blacklist. But whatevs, he’s to me the sign of the worst times of the show.

      • Amazer says:

        I must have missed those clips – I agree, that was the worst times of the show anyway but thought he’d at least get a mention.

  26. Azure says:

    Does anyone know where I can watch the 1-hour retrospective online? I have seen every episode of The Office from day 1, and my DVR decided not to work at the *most* inopportune time possible. I mean, what are the odds? I watched the finale on Hulu, but would like to see the retrospective too!

  27. I’m surprised that David Wallace wasn’t mentioned.

  28. TeresaBs15 says:

    Almost Perfect!

  29. Lindsey says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned the Kelly/Ryan story line here! Worst part of the nearly perfect finale. Even though Ryan is, well, Ryan, I just don’t think anyone would abandon a baby like that. I imagined their story being wrapped up with Kelly marrying the doctor and having a baby. Ryan gets hired as their “manny.” But, we never really know who is the father of the baby ;). I think that would have gone over much better! Even though it wouldn’t have wrapped up Nellie’s story line, they could have given her a baby in a different way.

  30. Nero theTVFiddler says:

    Outstanding final series episode. The Office finale ranks right up there with the best. Plus, the voice-overs/interview documentary-style of the show helped give the finale a nice understated tone. Very nice work.
    Best moments – the Michael appearance, the appearance of real estate agent Carol and that third cake for Toby. Poor Toby. And the very best moment – Pam pulling down off the wall her framed drawing of the D&M Office building, and a follow-up shot of Michael putting that drawing on the wall once upon a time with a fade-out to the actual building – very, very classy way to end the show. Puts this finale up there with the Cheers and Friends finales.

    PS – final shout out to Creed and his ‘Grass Root’s guitar playing and having the team gather around him. My guess is that may have been the final scene filmed – a nice way to end filming for the actors – a nice touch. My only wish – I wish Creed could have played an acoustic guitar version of ‘Temptation Eyes.’ I love that song.

    Thank you ‘The Office’ – all the best to the actors and staff. Will see you in re-run syndication heaven for years to come.

  31. This finale is just perfect. PERFECT. I couldn’t even…
    This is what they should have done in FRIENDS on its final episode.

    Currently looking for my The Office season 1 dvd just to watch this amazing show over again.

  32. Mari says:

    I just watched the finale and OMG I cried my eyes out. This finale was great!! That’s how you end a tv show properly. I’m gonna miss The Office so much.

  33. joelscorp says:

    Sorry to be a party pooper, but this was a waste of time. Yes, some jokes were funny but mostly it just seemed like a self-indulgent ego party during which lines of dialogue were phoned in to make it seem like an episode. I don’t need these characters to say trite, cheesy things. That’s miles from what made the show so wonderful. And it went on for so long, you just wanted them to end — the indulgence and pride was annoying and incessant. The best way to pay tribute to these characters would be to stay true to the show. Instead we got hokum. And where the hell was James Spader, who was brilliant during his arc.

  34. Tod says:

    Leading up to the finale, I was really hoping they would end it by Dwight FINALLY getting to be the manager, but then Dunder Mifflin hires Michael back as the manager and he makes Dwight the Assistant to the Manager. It would’ve been a great way to bring things back around full circle. However, I’ll admit that I like the actual ending better.

  35. Olivia says:

    I came to The Office party a little late – I only just finished the series last night. I was so upset about it ending at first, but after I watched the finale I really couldn’t be. Every loose end was tied up. it was so well thought out that the weirdness of seasons 7 and 8 was worth putting up with after all.

  36. Connor says:

    When Phyllis started talking about the “office games” and Creed said “I still have my medal from that.” Then Angela goes, “do you even own a mattress?” An creed replies, “No, but I still have my medal from that.” I wanted to cry. Also Andy’s final interview where he talked about the good ole days finally got me to tear up. I honestly loved every single thing about the episode except for that it was the final one.