I’m just going to come out and say it: beyond the resolution of the Erin/Andy storyline, I honestly didn’t understand the point of this episode. Not only is Nellie Bertram’s presence unnecessary, but the whole character is bringing down the show at this point. Nellie feels like a David Brent/Michael Scott hybrid, but unfortunately is not half as funny as either of them. The tension that has been created between her and the rest of the office feels so forced and unnatural that I’m not quite sure why her character is still on the show.
This episode focussed around two main storylines. Firstly, Andy’s quest to tell Erin how he feels about her and to bring her back from Tallahassee, and secondly Nellie’s power grab at the Scranton branch.
Andy and Erin’s storyline was nice and it was lovely to see them back together, but to me, this wasn’t the central focus of the episode. The continuing presence of Nellie Bertram was far more important than the resolution to Andy and Erin’s will-they-won’t-they romance.
Basically, Robert California has transferred Nellie to the Scranton branch despite the failure of the retail project, which she was in charge of. While looking for a place to sit, she takes Andy’s office and more or less decides to usurp his position at the branch. In and of itself, this is a funny idea, but its execution was rather disappointing. It’s made quite clear that Andy won’t lose his job, so is it entirely unreasonable to expect Nellie to be out of the picture at this point? Her presence on the show is puzzling at this point, and the only explanation I can think of as to why she is still on The Office is that she may be replacing Robert California as the CEO at the end of the season. This storyline was much, much funnier when the characters namely Jim and Dwight were not interacting with Nellie, their chemistry with her just doesn’t quite click.
All in all, this was a disappointing episode, but I think it signals the beginning of the end for The Office. Week after week, they’ll find more ways to insert Nellie into the show despite her obvious lack of chemistry with the rest of the cast. I’m giving this episode a B-, because it was redeemed by Andy and Erin, two characters who have really surprised me in the second half of the season.