Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Things You Forgot Happened In The Office Finale

The Office, one of the great American sitcoms about a great American workplace (the dour Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin, a slowly failing paper company) is deeply embedded into the minds and hearts of millions. Endlessly quoted and turned into memes, reruns of The Office air on local stations and cable TV nearly endlessly. Not to mention, it's one of the most popular streaming shows of all time, at one point ranking as Netflix's most-viewed offering. 

The low-key, hilarious adventures of Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Pam Beasley, Dwight Schrute, and all the other Dunder Mifflin rank and file are so voluminous and omnipresent that it's easy to forget that The Office had a definitive ending. After nine seasons, the show concluded with a two-part final episode that aired on NBC in May 2013. It packed a lot into its one-hour runtime, wrapping up complicated character arcs and hanging plot threads and throwing in plenty of surprises. But if you've spent most of your time binging the earlier seasons, it's easy to forget what went down in its big finale. So, if you want a refresher of everything that went down in Scranton, here are all the major events that happened on The Office just before it closed for business.

The Office finale brings everyone together for a Q&A

The Office ran for so long — just over 200 episodes across a span of nine seasons — that the conceit for the show was slowly forgotten. When it started back in 2005, it was explained a couple of times that a camera crew was following the staff of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, a mid-size northeastern paper supplier, to gather footage for a documentary film. But besides the "talking head" interview solo segments and Jim Halpert's nagging habit of turning to the camera silently to express judgment and alarm of other people's actions, not much of that premise was ever talked about beyond the first few episodes of The Office. 

However, writers brought it all back for the finale. The two-part final episode takes place a year after that long-in-the-making documentary, The Office: An American Workplace, aired on PBS to much acclaim and attention. The setup for the final installments of The Office is that the crew is looking to add some "where are they now?" bonus footage for the DVD release of the documentary, which includes a live Q&A between Dunder Mifflin employees and fans, which proves revelatory.

Jim makes up for his pranks

If you don't remember exactly when down in The Office finale, well, here's some major good news. The "will they or won't they" of Dwight Schrute and on-again, off-again girlfriend/co-worker Angela has finally been resolved, and the two are getting married. The ceremony and its preparations include a lot of bizarre (fictional) traditions from Dwight's heritage, which are blended with modern matrimonial customs. 

And despite a mutually acrimonious relationship characterized by savage pranks and nasty revenge, Dwight selects Jim Halpert to be his best man (or "bestest mensch"). Jim knows when it's time to put the mean and childish tricks aside, and he decides to pull a series of "guten pranken" — good pranks, or nice surprises, in other words. Jim plans and executes an epic bachelor party for Dwight, which includes a limousine ride, a bazooka-firing session, and a lap dance (which utterly baffles the groom-to-be).

However, on the day of the wedding, just before the ceremony, Jim pulls off what he calls his "best prank ever." He lies to Dwight, telling him that he just heard from the minister that "it's tradition" that the bestest mensch be a man older than the groom. As Jim is younger than Dwight, he resigns the post, only to reveal an extremely suitable replacement.

The triumphant return of Michael Scott

That new bestest mensch is also the bestest mensch of The Office universe — Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell until his departure from the series in 2011. He's as thrilled to be at Dwight's wedding as Dwight is to have him. "I can't believe you came!" Dwight whispers. "That's what she said," Michael replies with his gross, annoying catchphrase, true to form.

Carell's cameo appearance included some updates on what Michael Scott had gotten up to in the two years since the Dunder Mifflin gang (and viewers ) had seen him last. In addition to sporting some distinguished salt-and-pepper-hair, he and Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), the human resources representative he'd proposed to, still live in Colorado, where they moved in order to be closer to her family. Michael also finally became what he'd also desperately wanted to become — a father. He and Holly have four kids already, and he's a very doting dad. "Michael has so many pictures of his kids he had to get two phones with two numbers, and he pays two bills," Pam says. "He's just so happy to have a family plan."

We need to talk about Kevin

Throughout the finale, Jim conducts a series of good pranks to celebrate Dwight's marriage, but perhaps the best of all is when he forces two former co-workers and friends to resolve a workplace dispute that drove a wedge between them. 

In the past year, Dwight — now regional manager — tells viewers via a solo interview segment that he's aggressively managed his Dunder Mifflin branch and secured contracts as a paper supplier for the phone book, local school district, and county government. He also had to clean house a bit, mentioning that he hasn't seen accountant Kevin "since we let him go." The footage reveals that Dwight fired the not-very-bright Kevin in a unique way. He presented him with a cake that spelled "get out" in frosting. Kevin didn't understand what it meant, so Dwight had to explicitly let him know he terminated. Oscar later tells Kevin's replacement that he was let go for gross incompetence. He had a "magic number" called "Keleven" which he used to balance his accounts when they just wouldn't go.

Kevin goes on to own a bar, and Jim steers the bachelor party there, forcing Dwight and Kevin to reconcile. The former accountant's heart was broken by the termination. "It was nothing personal," Dwight explains. "It's just that you were terrible at your job," he adds, citing Kevin's lack of organizational and time management skills and how the office had to throw away his computer because his "internet searches were so filthy."

The wedding preparations feature some familiar faces

All the major characters of The Office get at least a satisfying ending in the series finale, and a couple of minor ones get a nice last look, too. For example, Mose — Dwight's strange, mischievous beet-farming cousin with the long beard — makes an appearance, seeing that a Schrute wedding tradition is completed. He kidnaps Angela, the bride-to-be, and places her in a trunk. To free her, Dwight explains, he must buy a round of drinks at a local pub. Angela makes it out alive, of course, while viewers last see Mose falling in love with a scarecrow at his cousin's wedding.

The last episode of The Office squeezes in yet another alumni of The Daily Show. Joining former correspondents Steve Carell and Ed Helms is Rachael Harris, who shows up as Angela's sister, Rachael. She attends Angela's bachelorette party, where things get even more familial but not in a good way. That's when Spencer Daniels shows up as Jake, the troublemaking son of troubled supplier relations rep Meredith Palmer. He'd previously appeared during a take-your-kids-to-work-day episode from 2006, and when he returns for the finale ... he's the stripper booked for the bachelorette party.

Andy and Toby are at least doing what they like

Andy Bernard is tough to like, as he's a rage-prone whiner who constantly talks about his wealthy family and how he went to Ivy League school Cornell, where he believes he was popular due to his involvement in the a capella group Here Comes Treble. In the final episode of The Office, viewers learn that Andy experienced some mortifying downs along with some redemptive ups. 

Andy went after his dream of appearing on TV's America's Next A Cappella Sensation, only for the show to air footage of his humiliating audition. "When I started sobbing uncontrollably, apparently that struck a chord with quite a lot of people," Andy reveals. "The clip went viral, as they say." The Office reveals that it became fashionable for a time to mock Andy. YouTube parodies of his video sprung up, and Bill Hader (playing himself) impersonated the man known as "Baby Wawa" on Saturday Night Live. After declining to join a support group with fellow viral stars "Star Wars kid" and "double rainbow guy," Andy was invited to speak at Cornell's commencement (as a joke), which led to his new position in his alma mater's admissions office.

The other least-liked Dunder Mifflin employee, Toby, the milquetoast HR guy (and Michael Scott's mortal enemy), moved to New York to become a famous novelist. So far, it hasn't happened, and he lives in an apartment with six roommates.

Kelly and Ryan are together forever in their terribleness

By the time the series ended in 2013, every major romantic subplot on The Office had received some measureof closure from writers. Jim and Pam were happily married, Pam's jilted ex Roy found love again, Michael moved away to be with Holly, and even weird Dwight and mean Angela found happiness with each other. 

The final episodes of The Office also reconciled the situation of the one couple with unfinished, outstanding business — temp-turned-executive-turned-receptionist-turned-salesman Ryan Howard and excitable, lovelorn customer service rep Kelly Kapoor. These two get a fitting final chapter, seeing as how both are self-absorbed narcissists. Back in season eight, Kelly starts dating the Halpert family's pediatrician, Ravi. Ryan can't handle letting Kelly slip away again, and he asks her to choose between him and Ravi. She chooses Ravi, moves to Ohio, and Ryan follows her.

Kelly attends Dwight and Angela's wedding in the finale with Ravi, while Ryan shows up with his baby, Drake, whom he parents as a single dad after the kid's mother left. As Ryan is an awful person, he feeds Drake a strawberry, to which he's allergic, handing him off to Ravi for treatment and to get Kelly alone. They abscond from the wedding together, leaving Kelly's husband and Ryan's baby behind. Nellie, who moved to Poland after her time at Dunder Mifflin, ultimately decides to take care of Drake.

Erin enjoys a touching reunion in The Office finale

Clues carefully doled out over many seasons of The Office provide a convincing backstory on why sunny but naive receptionist Erin Hannon is the way she is. She experienced some delayed development due to being born four months prematurely and spent ages three to six hospitalized most of the time. She also grew up in the foster child system, a very lonely world for her apart from her foster brother, Reed, with whom she shared the same temporary home during two lengthy time periods.

In the latter seasons of The Office, Erin starts a search for her birth parents, which is apparently covered extensively during the in-show Office documentary. At the Q&A session with Dunder Mifflin employees in the finale, a woman in the crowd asks Erin to elaborate on her feelings toward her biological mother. "I would just imagine that you were so angry at her that you would hate her," the stranger suggests. Erin, forever kind and understanding, says she'd "have to meet her" to assess her anger. Erin then realizes what viewers already have — this woman is her birth mother. Better still, the guy seated next to her is Erin's biological dad. And in a nice little surprise, the two are played by Joan Cusack and Ed Begley Jr. in two of The Office's greatest guest spots.

Creed was menacing and strange to the very end

Every office has its office oddball, and for The Office, that oddball was Creed Bratton. Blurring reality with fiction, Creed Bratton — a real-life actor and musician who played with '60s hitmakers the Grass Roots — played the character Creed Bratton, a former member of the Grass Roots who's lived the wild, subversive and boundary-free life of a libertine and somehow wound up working in the quality assurance department of a paper company. 

In the series finale of The Office, the past transgressions of Creed (the character) catch up with the guy. According to Dwight, he was wanted by authorities for a litany of bizarre crimes, including stealing "weapons-grade LSD" from the U.S. military and selling the meat of endangered species. The Office documentary shone such a spotlight on Creed that, fearing capture, he faked his own death on the Dunder Mifflin premises, making it look like he died in a paper baler accident. Only Kevin was fooled, but Creed avoided arrest, secretly living inside the office. Dwight fills the job vacancy with Devon, fired back in season two, while Creed shows up to Dwight and Angela's wedding anyway, wearing a beard and claiming to be a ceramic tile salesman named "Jeff Bomondo," and before the episode is over, he's arrested.

Phyllis misses Stanley

While most of the action on The Office focused on the cool, young people at Dunder Mifflin, many secondary plots involved the workplace's older, exhausted sales staff. Phyllis Vance, who went to high school with Michael Scott and often bore the brunt of his boorish behavior, fell deep in love midway through the show's run with Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration (which shared an office park with Dunder Mifflin). And for 16 years, she worked alongside Stanley Hudson, a man who didn't suffer fools, didn't like to work harder than absolutely necessary, didn't like Michael Scott and his shenanigans at all, and certainly didn't like to be a paper salesman at a Pennsylvania paper company's branch office. 

But as ascertained from the finale of The Office, old, dour Stanley is gone, replaced with happy Stanley, who's divorced his wife, lives just outside of the Everglades in Florida City, Florida, and sits on his front porch "all day, carving birds." The Dunder Mifflin staff doesn't begrudge Stanley his happiness, but Phyllis has a hard time accepting his absence in the office. When new salesman Malcolm comes on board, Phyllis feeds him regular deliveries of her homemade fudge, seemingly trying to make the new guy gain enough weight to one day more closely resemble the heavyset Stanley.

In The Office finale, Pam and Jim are off to Texas

The final seasons of The Office injected some uncomfortable drama in the pairing of Jim and Pam Halpert. Jim gets stressed out and stretched thin, splitting his time between his job and family in Scranton and launching Athlead, a sports marketing company, in Philadelphia. In one ugly moment, the usually sweet and moony Jim screams at Pam over the phone, and she finds consolation in the arms of Brian, the documentary crew's boom mic operator who's clearly in love with her. At the Q&A session with fans of the documentary in attendance, a woman in the audience makes Pam reckon with why she let her trust in Jim and marital bliss slip when her husband went off to Philadelphia. "I was scared, you know?" Pam explains. "I loved what I had, and I didn't want to risk it."

Fortunately, TV's power couple weathered the storm, and in last episode of The Office, they reveal that they're off to Austin, where Jim is going to help former warehouse manager Darryl at a branch of what's now called Athleap. And in a nod to how Jim once bought his parents' house for him and Pam to live in, without telling her, Pam secretly put the house on the market in advance of their move, dedicated to helping her husband fulfill his dream.