When, two years ago, Steve Carell left The Office—a show that had already been on for seven years and had already wrapped up its main romantic plot—many viewers followed. It was hard to escape the feeling that the show had lost its momentum. But with the sitcom entering the home stretch—its final episode airs on May 16—some of those fans have been returning to see how it all ends for the employees of Dunder Mifflin.
But not everyone who may want to tune in for the finale has time to catch up on the new characters, romances and paper-sales developments that have been introduced over the past two seasons. If you stopped watching when Michael Scott left Scranton to start a life out west, here’s what you missed:
Jim and Pam: Had another kid, Philip. Pam’s maternity-leave replacement tried to seduce Jim, unsuccessfully. Jim started an athlete-management company (Athlead) with some of his college friends; it’s based in Philadelphia, so he split time there and and in in Scranton. This arrangement caused a strain in the Halpert family, especially since Jim was mistaken in his belief that Pam wants to eventually move the whole family to Philly. (Classic Jim: this is the same impulsiveness that led him to buy a house without asking her, except with a less-happy ending.) Roy gets married. Jim and Pam ended up in marriage counseling, with Jim deciding that Pam is more important than his job and agreeing to spend more time in Scranton. Jam ‘shippers should also watch the penultimate Office episode, if only to catch an incredible clip of the best Jim and Pam moments—the kind of thing you get if you type “best Jim and Pam moments” into YouTube, except supposedly made by the documentary crew—and the big reveal of the card that Jim took from the teapot before Pam could open it, all the way back in Season 2.
Dwight and Angela: Angela married State Senator Robert Lipton and had a son, also named Philip. Dwight believed that Angela’s child was his, despite her insistence that Philip is a Lipton, not a Shrute. Angela still harbored love for Dwight, and briefly acted on it. We met Dwight’s wacky family out on his farm and he began to date the daughter of a neighboring farmer (Esther). When the documentary was about to air, she had to tell Senator Lipton that she knew about his affairs (see below) and that she hooked up with Dwight. They got a happy ending, however, as Dwight became a black belt and was finally promoted to regional manager. He also announced his love to Angela—after a heart-to-heart with Jim that echoed the Michael-Jim chat in which Michael advised Jim to go out on a limb for love—after which she told him that Philip is, as he suspected, really his son. Dwight asked Angela, not Esther, to marry him. She said yes!
Andy: Was named manager by Robert California, who ran Dunder Mifflin while it was owned by Sabre. We discovered that his brother (played by Josh Groban) is the favorite son in his family. He had a new girlfriend after Erin, to whom he almost proposed, but ended up back with Erin. Got fired by Robert California and rehired, as regional manager, by David Wallace. Learned that his father had lost all the family money; acting on an impulse, he took a sailing trip (without Erin…see below) before their boat had to be sold. Eventually, his chronic absence from work got him fired—but not before he could (misguidedly) quit to pursue his dream of being an actor.
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Oscar: Discovered that Senator Lipton is gay and began an affair with him—but wasn’t the Senator’s only paramour. Ended up allied with Angela, even taking her in when the Senator went public about his sexuality and divorced her (for one of his other lovers).
Darryl: Fell for warehouse worker Val (who was originally in a relationship with someone else and then was pursued by Gabe). Got promoted and then joined Jim at his new business in Philly. Last we saw of him, he left Scranton to work in Philadelphia full-time.
Erin: Briefly moved to Florida until Andy came to get her back. They got back together for a while. Left Andy for Pete (see below).
Pete and Clark: New guys! Pete is supposed to be mini-Jim. He ended up dating Erin. Clark, mini Dwight, was briefly farmed out as a love slave for Jan, former Dunder Mifflin exec, who is now the paper buyer for the Scranton White Pages.
Nellie: Another newbie! Joined the cast as the special-projects manager at Sabre, Dunder Mifflin’s erstwhile parent company, but ended up working in Scranton, briefly replacing Andy while he was in Florida fetching Erin back. Although she was initially a pest, it turned out that she’s fun and cooky.
David Wallace: Became a millionaire after selling an invention and ended up buying Dunder Mifflin from Sabre.
Ryan and Kelly: Kelly dated a pediatrician (a much better match for her than Ryan), and moved away from Scranton. Ryan followed her.
Stanley: During a business trip to Florida, revealed his laid-back alter-ego “Florida Stanley.” Had several affairs.
Kevin: Successfully—and improbably—kept the secret of Oscar’s affair with Angela’s husband.
Meredith: Shaved her head when the whole office got lice from Pam and her kids.
Toby: Became obsessed with his role as a juror on the Scranton Strangler case.
Phyllis: Ate drug-laced cupcakes made by Todd Packer.
Creed: Was Creed.
The documentary crew: There was a moment where it looked like Pam might have an affair with Brian the sound guy, who was there for her while Jim was in Philadelphia, but when it became clear—from a trailer for The Office: An American Workplace on PBS—that the Dunder Mifflin staff was being filmed even when they didn’t know it, relations between the crew and staff fell apart.