The Office Recap (Season 7, Episode 17): “Threat Level Midnight”
This is the most ridiculous episode of The Office yet. Remember the paintball or zombie episodes of Community (sure you do, everyone loves them)? This is The Office equivalent of that. And I thought it was great.
For the last eleven years, Michael Scott has been making a movie. He wrote, directed, edited and starred in the movie, titled Threat Level Midnight. A few years ago, he showed an incomplete version of his movie to everyone in the office and they laughed (it’s not supposed to be a comedy) and he became disheartened. But now he has finished it and everyone demands to see it.
Threat Level Midnight is about Michael Scarn (Michael), one of the world’s greatest secret agents who retires after his wife, Catherine Zeta Scarn (guess who), is killed by the villain known as Goldenface (Jim with his face painted gold).
One day, Scarn is awoken by his butler, Samuel (Dwight, playing a robot for some reason), who informs him that the president needs him for a mission. “It’s Goldenface…” Scarn mutters. “That makes it personal.”
Scarn and Samuel arrive at the White House and meet the president (Darryl, who thought it would be good for his daughter to see a black president: “What a stupid waste of time”). The president tells them that Goldenface is going to blow up a stadium during an NHL game and has taken all of the concession stand workers as hostages. Scarn agrees to stop him, but only after he has flipped a coin seven times (the suspense!). At this point, Scarn uses his catchphrase for the second time: “Looks like there’s going to be a clean-up on aisle five.”
Meanwhile, Goldenface explains to the hostages (Kelly, Toby, Kevin, Pam and Pam’s ex (I think?)) that he’s going to “dig up Scarn’s wife and hump her real good.” Jim cringes.
The only way Scarn can get into the game is by pretending to be a player. Unfortunately, Scarn has no idea how to play hockey. Enter his mentor, Cherokee Jack (Creed, obviously) who teaches him how to mop in a montage.
Scarn has to beat two other aspiring civilians (Oscar and a mysterious figure) in order to be accepted into the game. The mysterious figure is revealed to be Goldenface, who engages in a gun battle with Scarn as the two race. Neither of them hit one another: “I wasn’t trying to kill you,” Goldenface says, “I was only trying to slow you down.” It turns out Oscar won the race and Scarn loses his shot of getting into the game.
Scarn approaches Oscar afterwards and reluctantly strangles him to death with a flag. Everyone cringes this time, except Michael, who grins.
Later on, Samuel randomly intercepts a name: Jasmine Windsong, who works for Goldenface at the Funky Cat, apparently the hippest Jazz Club in town. Scarn goes there to see her (hey, it’s Jan!). Jasmine reveals the location of the hostages to Scarn by singing backwards before she is killed.
We then witness Goldenface shooting the hostage played by Toby in the face, which results in a gigantic explosion repeated numerous times (“it was integral to the story,” Michael explains). Scarn and Samuel confront Goldenface, and explain that the hostage’s death means nothing (“joke’s on you, the man was a wanted animal rapist”). The two ask Goldenface where the bomb is and he responds by throwing a puck at Scarn. Goldenface wants Scarn to forgive him for killing his wife but Scarn tells him to go “puck yourself.” Goldenface shoots Scarn (though Dwight jumps in the way first in an unscripted moment) and the screen goes black.
Scarn wakes up in a hospital where a nurse (Pam’s mom) immediately has sex with him. Scarn and Samuel return to the White House where it is revealed that the president is working with Goldenface (what a twist!). The president wants the insurance money (he owns the stadium) and Scarn tells him he will never get away with it. Scarn and Samuel flee the Oval Office as Goldenface and his henchman shoot at them.
Scarn, who has lost his confidence, ends up at a bar ran by Billy (Andy). Billy’s TV doesn’t work but realises Scarn has bigger problems. He attempts to cheer him up by introducing him to a group of bachelorettes (Phyllis, Angela, Meredith and Karen (hey, get back to Parks and Recreation, Rashida Jones!)) but Scarn is in no mood to bang the entire bachelorette party.
Just like every other spy movie, what happens next involves a musical number where Scarn sings and dances and everyone in the bar attempts to follow along. Todd Packer appears (remember him?) and Jim can’t stop giggling. Michael gets annoyed and turns the movie off. Everyone tries to reassure him that the movie is good and he asks Holly what she thinks. She doesn’t have an answer for him and Michael takes the movie and leaves.
And now we break away from Threat Level Midnight as everyone goes back to work and Michael tries to find out what Holly really thinks. Holly wants to know why Michael cares so much about his movie when he has her. Because Michael is Michael, he rants about Woody Allen and Antz and decides to show the rest of the movie to the people who want to watch it.
Back in the movie, Scarn realises he has to get to the puck before halftime or the stadium will explode. Unfortunately, Samuel tells him that his mentor is dead. Cue emotional moment.
During the intense hockey match, Michael randomly becomes human again and leaves the room to talk to Holly. He tells her that he knows it’s not good but it doesn’t matter: everyone is enjoying it (kind of like The Office in general?). Cherokee Jack appears as a ghost and convinces Scarn to take out all of his problems on the puck. He knocks it out of the stadium and into space, where it hits a satellite and fixes Billy’s TV and conveniently lands in Goldenface’s lap while he is counting money and laughing. The puck explodes, Goldenface dies and everyone bursts into applause.
The film ends with Scarn accepting another mission from the president (who cares if he was evil?). It also turns out that the narrator of the film is an older version of Scarn with Stanley’s voice (Morgan Freeman wasn’t available).
“Threat Level Midnight” is one of those episodes of The Office that doesn’t make any sense (why would half of these people even agree to be in the movie?) but it doesn’t matter: I enjoyed it.It was ridiculous and fun and the most unique episode yet. This week’s recap is far more detailed than any other I’ve done (1000+ words!) but I think it was worth it. This was a very special episode of The Office and it might be my favourite episode this season.
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