The penultimate episode of season eight of The Office delivers many laughs, and sets the table for the finale of what has been an up-and-down season for the TV comedy. With a boozy Robert California in the thick of the storyline, along with vintage Jim and Dwight hi-jinks, “Turf War” should bring a smile to even the most dissatisfied fan of The Office.

Check out our full review below…

The Players:

  • Director: Daniel Chin
  • Writers: Warren Lieberstein & Halsted Sullivan
  • Cast: Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, James Spader, B.J. Novak, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, Paul Lieberstein, Oscar Nuñez, Craig Robinson, Phyllis Smith

Episode Title: “Turf War”

A drunk Robert California shuts a neighboring branch, setting off a sales war for the clients; Andy plots his comeback.

The Good:

  • RC: As good as Jim and Dwight were together, “Turf War” is dominated by the sexed-up, boozed-up Robert California. James Spader delivered some dynamite lines that were funny as hell. The scenes with Pam, the lizard king reference, the Geisha stuff, the moment with Andy in the kitchen… all highlights.
  • What’s Better Than a Hung Over Robert California?: A vomiting Robert California next to Jim’s desk. The man can dive into a wine bottle, yes?
  • Jim: Possibly the best Jim episode of season 8. Busting out the ‘so you’re saying there’s a chance” line to Dwight was great. The facial expressions were having a good night.
  • David Wallace: Only on screen for 10 seconds? No problem – he still gets a mention in the rundown. Great hair! If there is a season 9, do we get more D. Wallace? Let’s hope so.
  • Pam: Nice to see the writers make good use of the talented Jenna Fischer. Nice scene with Nellie.
  • Lloyd Is A No Nonsense Guy: Toby gets to play a tough guy salesman. Short scene, but terrific.
  • Angela: Couldn’t have been on screen more than a minute, but funny as usual.
  • Fast & Furious: The entire car scene with Jim and Dwight and the NOS reference to The Fast and the Furious is comedy gold. Gold!
  • Gabe: The writers showed Gabe the love as well, with the cold open, and his “ovaries in my scrotum” line. Not sure about the new Gabe haircut.
  • Dirty Messages: There needs to be a transcript of the voice mail Robert left for Nellie. It must have been triumphantly naughty.

The Bad:

  • Mrs. California: Back on episode 9 we met Susan, Robert’s wife, played by the lovely Maura Tierney. It looked as though we’d be seeing her again. Robert mentions the finale of their divorce in the latest episode, but Susan has been nowhere to be found. So it’s a bummer that, barring an appearance in the finale, that Mrs. California never made her return.
  • Andy: Once again in his usual spot on the Bad List. Up until he gets motivated to make things happen with the up-for-grabs client, I was hoping Ed Helms would walk off the show right there. The ‘Andy is hanging out at the office’ deal turned annoying quickly. Even his cooking up cherries jubilee in the lobby did nothing. But he redeemed himself with a visit to Homer Simpson…er! Dan Castellaneta.

Overall:

The immediate, don’t over-analyze opinion here is that “Turf War” is a top three episode of season 8, with a chance of it being number one.

There is a liveliness in the episode, which we’ve not seen much of this season. Even the Office viewers who have pretty much signed the show’s death certificate already would have to agree there was some fine comedy packed into the half-hour.

The ensemble was in top form, and the script terrific. Many in the cast shined in “Turf War”, notably Jim and Dwight – working great together as usual -, and good, old Robert California. This might have been the best Robert California episode, along with “Pool Party”. That verbal bashing of Andy towards the end after he hears of Andy’s blackmail plan, plus the lizard King line, a nice tip of the cap to Jim Morrison, was simply awesome. I believe he calls Andy: “…ineffectual, privileged, effete’… soft-penis, debutante…..”

For a minute, it looked as though the writers were just dusting off old scripts when Andy went Michael Scott-style to pull clients away from his old office mates. But thankfully we see a clever wrinkle in his plans,  which leads all the way to the front door of David Wallace.

Now that we know the company is apparently headed over a cliff courtesy Robert California, there’s a bit more urgency heading into next week. But it looks as if Andy is going to save the day, which is either awesome, or terribly annoying, depending on whom you ask.

As for “Turf War”, it was good, very good, and a nice way to get set for the season/series finale.time. The Office can still bring it when it wants to.

 

Rating: 8/10

The Office airs on NBC at 9pm (ET/PT) on Thursday nights.

What did you think of last night’s episode?