Jim and Pam have had it rough on this final season of The Office.
For those of you who haven’t been keeping track: Their storybook romance has been strained ever since Jim took a second job with a sports marketing company that he started with a few other investors – a job he took without asking Pam, by the way – forcing him to split his time between Scranton and Philadelphia. As a result of Jim’s extended time away, Pam has found herself having to carry the load of raising their two children alone, which has proved harder than she ever anticipated.
After months of holding in their respective issues and letting their troubles slowly consume their relationship, last night’s episode saw the pair voicing their problems big and small after a trip to a marriage counselor. But they weren’t having normal conversations – it was a creepy, frustratingly calm form of communication that had them acknowledging and appreciating their truths and opportunities. Without knowing they were going through counseling, Clark even thought the two were totally baked. “Are you guys high? Because if so, to speak my truth, I would appreciate the sacrifice of including me in some hits off your kind buds,” he said.
This robot-like communication got old fast and quickly turned passive-aggressive. Midway through the episode – around the time Pam admitted in a confessional that her heart felt “blocked up” – the whole thing became difficult to watch. After all, this is Jim and Pam – one of the greatest TV couples of all time. The pair we rooted for, cried with, and, ultimately, watched experience every important life milestone. And they were in big trouble.
At the very end of the episode, though, things took a turn.
As Jim was leaving the office to go back to Philly, he told Pam that he knew it was weird for them to be doing therapy but that he wanted to stick with it. She agreed, half-heartedly, and he exited. As he did, Pam noticed that he’d left his umbrella behind, and, being Pam, she grabbed it and ran after him, catching him just as he was about to take off in a cab. Exchanging a quick thanks, Pam started to walk away, but Jim stopped her…
[Note: This whole scene was reminiscent of several other big moments they’ve had, from Jim’s confession on “Casino Night” to their long silence that said a thousand words in “Booze Cruise.” As a viewer, it was so intimate, I almost felt rude watching it.]
…For a brief moment, Jim had trouble finding the words for what he wanted to say. “Sorry” clearly wouldn’t suffice, so instead he hugged her. Like, really hugged her. It was as if in that instant he remembered that he was once not Pam’s husband but a guy who had a crush on a girl who had a boyfriend.
It took Pam by surprise. And she didn’t hug back right away. Instead, we cut to a flashback to their wedding, where Jim’s brother (who presided over their wedding) read aloud, “Love suffers long and is kind – it is not proud. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails and now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
In case you have to ask, she finally did hug him back. Really hugged him. Heart unblocked.