Season Seven of The Office was Steve Carell's final season with the show. As such, my usual love for Jim and Pam-centric episodes winds up taking a back-seat here with a lot of the attention put on Michael Scott, his returning love Holly Flax, and his departure. Here are my favorites from the season.
1. Andy's Play
The theatre nerd in me appreciates this episode for its plot centered around Sweeney Todd. Andy's own cell phone going off while he's onstage in a scene is always incredibly cringe-worthy. And the end tag, showing Michael's audition of a full Law and Order episode is hilarious to me because I did a similarly stupid thing in the first show I ever really remember auditioning for. Auditioning for the buffoonish actor Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, I basically did an entire scene wherein I played all of the characters from the play within the play. It was so bad.
2. The Search
Season seven saw the return of Amy Ryan's Holly Flax so it was only a matter of time before she and Michael would get back together. She resisted in the few episodes leading up to this one but when Jim has to leave Michael behind at a gas station bathroom, Holly becomes the dousing rod that is able to follow the obscure trail that leads back to Michael, showing just how perfect they are for one another.
3. Threat Level Midnight
A payoff to a hilarious second season subplot about Michael Scott's secret screenplay, Threat Level Midnight winds up being a great opportunity to bring people back for what was well-known at this point to be Steve Carrell's final season. Presented as the culmination of a project many year's in the making, we get to see exactly the kind of action-spy-thriller Michael thinks he would be the star of, while bringing back people like Jan, Karen, Roy, and Packer. The whole episode is a great highlight for Michael's special brand of self-delusion.
4. Garage Sale
The culmination of the Michael and Holly storyline. Michael proposes in a beautiful scene. It turns to comedy gold when the overabundance of candles set off the fire sprinklers. And then it turns to heartbreak when Michael announces that he and Holly are moving to Colorado to be with her ailing father.
5. Goodbye, Michael
Steve Carrell's farewell episode (save the return cameo in the final season). Michael tries to avoid drama by planning to leave a day early but he also wants to get in appropriate goodbyes with everyone. It predictably goes off the rails early and he has to start rushing through moments. Jim, also predictably, realizes what he's doing but plays along one last time. And Pam, who kind of plays hookie, almost misses her goodbye moment but manages to catch him at the airport where the two hug in silence from the audience, as both removed their mics. Overall, it's a very touching sendoff for the character.