Michael Scott's final day on The Office, was very, well, un-Michael Scott-like: There was no over-the-top celebration, there was no huge tearful final speech, and Dunder Mifflin's employees had few distractions from getting their work done. Nevertheless, it was a fitting farewell for a character ready to move on to the next chapter of his life.
Because goodbyes are sometimes a "b----", as Jim said, Michael (Steve Carell) decided to forgo his own going away party and secretly leave a day early for Colorado. (Very unlike Michael considering he quit Dunder Mifflin altogether because Charles canceled Michael's 15th anniversary party.)
But while there was no cake or karaoke, there were plenty of tears (among viewers at home at least) for Michael's last day. His glowing recommendation letter for Dwight, and Jim calling Michael "the best boss I ever had" could each bring a tear to the eye of even the most stone-hearted Office fan.
Above all else, the episode showed it was really time for Michael, who exhibited uncharacteristic maturity and compassion, to move on. Where previously he created a horrible white elephant gift exchange as an excuse to get rid of Phyllis' Christmas gift of homemade oven mitts back in Season 2, this time around he couldn't wait for the new mittens Phyllis was making him, forcing her to speed-knit until her hands started to ache. Where before Michael demanded mint chocolate chip ice cream (his favorite!) for past celebrations, this time he told Pam to get a flavor everybody likes. And back in Season 3, where Michael was so reliant on advice from his female colleagues when he wanted to break up with Jan, this time it was Michael giving the relationship advice to Erin. "You don't need a mom," Michael told her, "because you have my number and you can call me anytime." He even bestowed longtime man crush Ryan with his beloved St. Pauli's Girl beer light (progress, indeed).
However, the biggest change of all was probably the one that was most easily missed: Michael's World's Best Boss mug in the trash, replaced on his desk by the new World's Best Boss trophy from his employees.
The best goodbyes were saved for last, as Michael parted ways with the documentary crew and Pam, respectively, at the airport. "Hey will you guys let me know if this ever airs?" he asked the crew as he took off his mic and slowly walked away, mouthing a final, unheard "that's what she said." Then, just before it was too late, a barefoot Pam embraced Michael in a hug and the two shared their last (unheard and unknown) words before she watched his plane take off into the night sky and into the next chapter of his life.
And after oh so many years of depending on Jim, Pam, Dwight and the rest of the office to be his family, Michael finally sounded ready to start his own. "Holly is my family now," he told the camera crew. "The people you work with are, just, when you get down it, your very best friends."
What did you think of Steve Carell's last episode?