The more I think about it, and the more I read clever blog dissections of The Office season finale, I think I was too negative in live-blogging the show. Moral of the story: Just sit and watch, THEN blog.
The best surprise of the show was that they surprised us. Like an old-school football coach calling a misdirection play, they had us all looking in different directions. We were wondering if Jim and Jan would have a pity hook-up. Or if Jim was about to tell Pam he was transferring. We’ve known all along that they couldn’t simply leave Jim and Pam in mutually unrequited love forever, but at the moment Jim said something, we were still surprised. That’s brilliant writing and directing.
I’m not completely convinced that a cliffhanger was the best way to go, but the powers that be have given themselves several good directions to go next season. My pet “if I were writing” scenario: We pick up next season during a workday, and we’re not told right away what, if anything, has happened between Jim and Pam. Only at the end of the episode do we find out that they’re together and trying desperately to hide it from the rest of the group.
The Jim-Pam tension was fun but had clearly gone as far as it could. I’m not quite ready to see them settle into a happy, open relationship. Keeping it secret could give them a new story arc that has a lot of potential.