What is The Office ‘mystery story’?

In an Entertainment Weekly interview with The Office executive produce Greg Daniels, Greg makes an intriguing statement about this past week’s episode, ‘Goodbye, Michael.’

A tiny mystery story — which I’m not sure anyone’s going to catch and will come out a few episodes from now — is being set up here…

What do you think this ‘mystery story’ is? Post away! :)

183 comments

  1. Either:

    1. Phyllis is Erin’s real mother
    or
    2. Deangelo is the real scranton strangler. the way pam and jim look in the preview for the last 3 episodes totally look like it could be a reaction to that.

  2. As noted elsewhere, I’d lay pretty good money that the new plot is the Phyillis’ baby/Erin’s mom plot . . .

  3. To be honest, I’m going to rule out the official ‘outing’ of Angela’s boyfriend as I’m quite certain that most, if not all, viewers are already well aware of what may be going on in that corner.

    It is a definite possibility that Deangelo is the Scranton Strangler, but then again, he mentioned that he landed the job at Dunder Mifflin by having a run in with Jo and rescuing / saving her dog. Would this not imply that he was in Florida at some point, or perhaps it was while she was visiting in Scranton? I missed some of the story behind this so I could be wrong. It’s possible that he escaped to Florida after that police chase earlier in the season.

    I’d say it’s most likely that the mystery in question is the story behind Phyllis and Erin. They dropped subtle hints in last night’s episode that I didn’t catch on to until I read a few of the comments here at OfficeTally.

  4. I feel a little weird having to say it, but I think a lot of people aren’t joking when they suggest Deangelo is the Scranton Strangler. They already caught him and Toby, a member of the jury, is in the office with Deangelo.

    I am definitely thinking it is the Phyllis/Erin idea. Props to whoever thought of that first.

  5. #7 (Sean) – Perhaps they caught and sentenced the wrong individual, as Toby was so vocal about during Michael’s last Dundies performance? Just some food for thought. There could be something brewing there. :)

  6. I think that Phyllis/Erin thing would be so cool if it were true… Hoping so.

    Deangelo couldn’t be the Strangler because the Strangler is in custody.

  7. Hmmm…interesting theory about Phyllis/Erin. After all, wasn’t her nickname in high school, at least according to Michael, “Easy Rider?”

    At the Dundies, Toby said that he thought that the person convicted at the trial was not guilty. Perhaps Deangelo IS the strangler.

  8. It’s either Phyllis being revealed as Erin’s mother or DeAngelo being revealed as the actual Scranton Strangler (he framed the guy that went to court for the crimes).

    Both I feel are over-the-top and unrealistic even by this show’s standards, but…..hey, the writers do what they want to do.

  9. #6/9 Chris – I suppose it is a possibility, but it seems so far-fetched. In the cold opening for “Viewing Party,” the police caught the Scranton Strangler in a high speed pursuit. I can’t imagine them catching the wrong guy after a high speed chase like that. I guess it might be possible, but it seems too much of a stretch, even for TV writers! We’ll find out what it is soon enough though!

  10. Heh, let’s also keep in mind Deangelo’s odd sense of humor. You’ll remember that he would entice Andy to essentially inflict pain on himself, such as pouring a scalding pot of coffee on himself, eating soap, or unintentionally stumbling over a table and chairs.

    This sort of behavior would only further support Vickers role as the ‘real’ Scranton Strangler.

  11. This isn’t parks and rec or a soap opera. I would hate it if they did that baby storyline. The final three episodes look great though

  12. When I watched the episode a second time, I noticed that after the scene when Erin was talking to Michael about wishing she knew who her mother was, they cut to her on the phone then pulled to a wider shot of Phyllis on the phone holding it exactly the same way, and they were sitting next to each other in both conference room scenes…hmmmm.

  13. On his list of people he was saying goodbye to, Michael didn’t cross off Hank…maybe it revolves around Hank?

  14. I’m pretty sure Deangelo is NOT the Scranton Strangler… Toby was on jury for the trial so i’m pretty sure he wouldn’t let the Scranton Strangler work in the office.

  15. It’s Phyllis is Erin’s mother. They had Phyllis reveal that she gave a baby away and Erin wish to know her birth mother in the same episode. I think that a mother/daughter working together unknowingly is more realistic than Deangelo is the Strangler. He’s insane but he isn’t that insane.

  16. Gabe is the scranton strangler. When he corners Andy in the bathroom and says he watched a lot of horror movies and you don’t want to see what he’s capable of. Seems like it at least, more than DeAngelo.

  17. It has to be Phyllis/Erin. That would be so awesome. And their ages (Phyllis mid-40’s/Erin early 20’s) match perfectly to Phyllis giving away a baby and Erin mentioning her birth mother.

  18. I like the Phyllis/Erin theory! That would be crazy but potentially very interesting….

  19. Phyllis/Erin, though it could be something much more vague. How could they think nobody would get the Phyllis/Erin thing? Maybe it really is something nobody has said yet.

  20. Didn’t read any other comments so maybe this has been said, but I think Angela’s boyfriend (forget his name) is gay. I thought it as soon as Angela started showing Michael those pictures.

  21. I am thinking Pam going to see the King’s Speech without Jim is quite suspicious??? Why would she go to a show without him in the middle of a work day? I KNOW I KNOW, I don’t want no problems with JAM, but I’m just saying.

  22. I’m pretty much with everyone else.

    The absolute most likely “mystery story” is the Phyllis being Erin’s mom story. It actually seems pretty obvious in retrospect, though I admit I didn’t catch it at all when I watched it first.

    But Deangelo being the Scraton Strangler also seems interesting and perhaps true. The only reason to consider the possibility was because Toby said he wasn’t sure if the guy they caught was guilty. Plus Deangelo being somewhat odd and having the odd sense of humor in Training Day.

    I’m thinking that the mystery story Greg is talking about is the Phyllis/Erin story, but I’m not sure that means the Deangelo-strangler story is ruled out, either. He was talking about the “mystery story” being set up in last night’s episode, and that would be the Phyllis/Erin story.

    So, that’s how I see it…

  23. Phyllis is Erin’s mother. Her line about giving away a baby seemed to be a joke at first, but then Erin reiterates the fact that she doesn’t have a mother, and after that scene we go back to Phyllis. I’d be surprised if it turned out to be something else.

  24. Deangelo being the Strangler doesn’t make sense I got the impression from the episode that he recently moved up to Scranton from Florida. If anyone in the office exhibited potentially violent tendencies it was Gabe, but I don’t think he’s been in Scranton long enough.

  25. I like the Erin/Phyllis idea; hadn’t thought if it before.

    My wish, though, would be to have the documentary air. At the end, Michael says to the crew ‘tell me if this ever airs’.

    Then again, that would be much better as a series finale (with Michael returning) or (pipe dream) an Office movie.

  26. Pam going to the movies (or buying tickets) in the middle of the day was the most mysterious to me. Michael’s leaving a day early is pretty weird too, although I guess it’s kinda true-to-life…just doesn’t seem true to Michael’s life. Alleged Phyllis/Erin connection might be true, but in some ways, I don’t really have a lot invested in that, so…

    At the end of the episode, I had this heartbreak pain in my chest, so I suppose mission was accomplished in terms of saying goodbye to Michael. Really was an Ouch episode. Caring about no mystery at this time. :(

  27. My first inclination was the Phyllis/Erin connection, but I think they are going to fake us out with that. We’ll be given more hints that it could be true, but in the end isn’t. The possibility might make Phyllis take Erin under her wing just as Michael had over the last two seasons.

    My second guess is something is going on with Pam. Her going to the movie was completely out of the blue with absolutely no explanation. As someone mentioned in the episode comments, it seemed like she wasn’t giving us a completely verbatim transcript of what Michael said to her in the airport. I wonder if job dissatisfaction is getting to her again? Maybe rather than a new manager to replace Michael, Sabre reorganizes the branch and that opens up multiple management positions and Pam gets one?

  28. It can’t be Gabe though because Erin pulled him into the conference room where they watched the Strangler being caught in the chase. The Phyllis/Erin theory makes sense but how can they even build on that plot? I find it kind of boring. As for Angela’s Boyfriend being gay, I think that’s kind of obvious to be the mystery. The only thing I can think of is Pam and the King’s speech. That seemed kind of odd but again I don’t know what that would lead to. I personally think it was the scene where Michael was playing basketball and in the background, the warehouse was being cleared out. Maybe the mystery is linked around that. Very interesting though

  29. Maybe the mystery story is the fact Pam enters the movie theater to see the King’s Speech at 3pm after Michael asks for her. Then she’s back to work when Michael leaves, close to 4pm. How long is the movie? haha

  30. I doubt Deangelo’s the Scranton Strangler. But it definitely has to do with him. It must have the something to do with what he was doing with the coffee pot in the break room.

  31. The Strangler was striking long before Deangelo came to Scranton. I have to believe that it will be Gabe. The confrontation with Andy in the restroom was too creepy. the Phyllis is Erin’s mom theory doesn’t match up on age. She stated she was in high school when she gave the baby away. Erin is that old…

  32. Subtle, (and I think kind of obvious) Phyllis/Erin
    More subtle, the Scranton Strangler might be in their midst.
    Almost off the radar, Pam at the movies alone.
    The Office, many times, deals with multiple examples of an episode theme within said episode.
    Just my two cents.
    GO The Office GO!

  33. It’s supposed to be a subtle mystery. So which one is more subtle? The Phyllis/Erin thing. DeAngelo will get freaked out and leave because of his eating.

  34. @#17, very nice catch about the telephones. Just rewatched it and it was so clear. I think the Erin/Mother story is it.

  35. So I’m thinking Phyllis/Erin as well, but what about Michael as the dad? He did say that Phyllis was cute in high school. Do you think they would have ever hooked-up? I suppose Michael was never that lucky…

  36. Another hint…

    During the “Michael’s Last Dundies” episode Michael says the following: “Erin, come on up here to receive the cutest redhead of the office award!”
    During last night’s episode, Michael says: “When Phyllis was in high school, she was so cute… And she still is.”

  37. Nick- Toby said he wasn’t sure the man at the trial was guilty. So, that opens up possibilities.

    I like the Phyllis/Erin storyline much more than the Strangler being in-office (though if it’s the case, I’d peg Gabe over DeAngelo). Though I know either is “possible”, the former is a bit less “loud” and silly than the latter. I know every serial killer (or strangler) in history has likely had an office or workplace, but….. the first story seems more likely to me (and less over the top to the point of absurdity).

  38. Sean also- See Toby’s comment in Michael’s last Dundies.

    Although i did say it could be cheesy….

    I just thought of a few things in favor of it being a scranton strangler story and perhaps being narrowed down to the office…but not necessarily exactly who for a bit.

    Both DeAngelo and Gabe have shown weird….”signs.” Gabe’s strange house, attack on Andy (verbally)….

    DeAngelo’s sexist qualities and strange quirks. Plus… what an exit that would be for DeAngelo as regional manager, which we all know IS going to happen.

  39. @ 27. CarpenterThatMakesStairs

    “The King’s Speech” is definitely not a movie Jim would watch. Seeing it during the workday would mean Pam didn’t lose any time with Jim after work.

  40. I think the deal with Pam going to the movies was just that she has no time anymore with the baby to just go enjoy a movie. I’ve told a boss I was going to “a dentist appointment” and gone to the movies instead.

  41. I honestly don’t think Pam going to the movies was anything more than just wanting some time with herself to see a movie. I mean, with the baby, I’m sure she doesn’t get to do that anymore. Plus…using her made up job title to go “check prices on shredders” (aka going to the movies) fits haha. She already gets paid for a made up position. Why not go to the movies too and get paid for it?! I think I saw an interview somewhere around the time of Timothy O. being on the show as Pam’s ex where the showrunners/writers said how Pam and Jim were solid & there won’t be any problems between them like an affair or anything like that because someone suggested that he was brought onto the show to come between them.

  42. Gabe has only been in Scranton since Sabre while the Scranton Stranger has been referenced for a few years now. I think the most likely scenario is Erin and Phyllis.

    BTW..I was shocked how much of the remaining plot was given away in that teaser video at the end of the episode. I guess the element of surprise was sacrificed for ratings?

  43. Sorry, just had another thought. Going the more shocking root: Gabe as a transvestite? He had QUITE the halloween costume after all!

  44. If you remember in Launch Party Michael knew Phyllis had a long lost kid. Only in that case it was Dwight! I for one don’t want Erin to be her daughter.

  45. I thought they were possibly foreshadowing Darryl becoming Regional Manager. Michael gave him his unfinished book, “Somehow I manage”. Who knows though? The Erin/Phyllis storyline possibility is too odd and random for me to wrap my head around.

  46. the erin/phyllis theory is awesome, but I’m thinking it’s too huge a storyline to constitute a “tiny” mystery story. I hope it’s an explanation of the Pam going to the movies alone on what she thought was michael’s second to last day of work thing. I’m pretty sure they could have come up with a better (and more in character) excuse for Pam to be away from the office all day, so there better be a reason/ further explanation behind it.

  47. I think the Phyllis/Erin angle is the mystery. As to the Pam at the movie potential, I don’t think that is it. I got quite a laugh out of that scene because I used to go on sales calls and that is something sales people do when they are supposed to be working.

  48. @32 The trailer had to be so specific because the producers were worried that people would think that Michael’s last episode was the season and/or series finale. The trailer was really just telling people “The show is not over, come back next week.”

  49. I don’t think DeAngelo or Gabe is the Scranton Strangler, wouldn’t Toby have said something? That’s pretty strange that Phyllis could be Erin’s mother, but totally possible (really weird) but i do feel like Gabe could be a mass murderer or something. He’s a total creep, and i would like to see him leave.

  50. 1) I could see them playing with the Phyllis/Erin thing, but who’s to say that mystery couldn’t resolve with them being convinced of it and falling into the roles before a DNA test proves that it’s not the case? I’d buy that more and it’d open the door to some interesting character development without becoming too much like a soap-opera.

  51. @59 Toby wouldn’t know. The idea would be that the wrong man was convicted of being the Strangler, not Gabe or Deangelo, who would be the real Strangler.

    Personally, I don’t think Deangelo is the Strangler, for several reasons. 1st off, from what he said on last night’s episode, it seems like he just came to Scranton a few weeks ago, while the strangler has been going on since before Cece was born. 2nd off, Daniels said that the mystery story would be resolved in a few episodes, and Deangelo is leaving after next week. Gabe might be, I could see that happening, but it’s a real long shot. I’m 60% sure it’s that Phyllis is Erin’s mom.

  52. 1) Dwight isn’t Phyllis’s son, that was a little joke for their commercial.

    2)Pam definitely went to the movies just for fun. She said she was going to get a shredder and just went to a movie instead, nbd.

    3)Deangelo as the Scranton Strangler? Not likely. He seems like he wouldn’t be that violent. Yeah he joked around with Andy but we also saw in the preview that he’s wacky and weird, and didn’t mean to cause Andy harm, he just wanted him to do something funny and make him laugh.

    4) Erin and Phyllis–I’d put money on that.

  53. I think Hank is the Scranton Strangler! He feels under-appreciated at work. Instead of his neighbors coming home to find him hanging in his garage for “lack of appreciation”, he strangles people. Anyone?

  54. 2) I don’t buy Deangelo as the Scranton Strangler, but Gabe is looking more and more odd. For those saying the timeline doesn’t add up, Andy’s paper in ep. 6-18 is reporting on the Scranton Strangler’s 4th victim being found. Gabe arrived in episode 6-15, probably a month or so before the birth which seems like enough time to rack up 3 other victims. It’s probably a stretch still, but more likely than Deangelo. Plus, he was a little weird about them watching the car chase on TV in Viewing Party. You never know…

  55. The mystery is “How did Pam get through the TSA checkpoint at the airport without a boarding pass?”

  56. To anybody who thinks that toby would have noticed that Deangelo was the strangler, he thinks the guy they caught is innocent. A very slim chance that he is the strangler but still possible

    P.S
    This is the kind of thing the show has lacked since “The Job” which is making us excited for the next episode and leaving us wanting more!

  57. @67 it can’t be gabe. Gabe is from Florida, and the scranton strangler was mentioned before Sabre came into the picture.

  58. I vote for the Erin/Phyllis plot. I don’t know if i like that though, i wouldn’t want it to become a big thing.

    I doubt it has anything to do with Deangelo, being as he’s gone next week and Greg says this will come out a few episodes down the line. Deangelo won’t be here.
    The only option would be something to do with Gabe. Whatever that could be.

    @Cece JAM – That’s great reasoning for why Pam went to the movie. I like that. It never really bugged me, but put that way makes perfect sense. I can see her doing it.

  59. Maybe we find out where the rest of Stanley’s gift is. He is missing balls and some mini cue sticks.

  60. I think it has something to do with the letter Gabe left for Erin. They mentioned it, but nothing ever came of it during the episode. I wonder if we will ever know what was in the letter…

  61. It’s definitely the Erin/Phyllis thing, but it could easily backfire and seem too unrealistic.

    Nothing else has any evidence, and the scene switching (from Erin to Phyllis and Erin in the office) was absolutely deliberate and meant to be the hint.

  62. I think it has something to do with the pants Andy was wearing on the sales call. Anyone notice them?

  63. Erin is Phyllis and Michael’s daughter. Boo-ya.

    Michael said that Phyllis was really cute in High School, and Erin treats Michael like her dad.

  64. Did anyone catch during the Dundies episode that Michael comments “I’ve never seen this place in the daylight” about Meredith’s house? When has he been to her house at night? She laid a pretty big kiss on him in that episode, too. Probably has nothing to do with the mystery, but I found it interesting.

  65. This “Pam going to the movies” thing has been blown WAY out of proportion. She just played a little hooky, that’s all. It’s NOT out of character for her to do so. She’s sneaked out of work early before. She’s pretended to do work while really just goofing off too. For crying out loud, she B.S.ed herself into a phony salaried position at the company! Jim and Pam are married, not physically joined at the hip…she can do her own thing every now and then without it being “OMG problems with JAM!?!?!”

    I’d have to go with the “Phyllis is Erin’s mom” idea rather than “Deangelo is the Strangler” one. Both ideas are ridiculous, but the Strangler one is just too over the top. The Phyllis/Erin story is “smaller” and fits in with the show’s dynamic better. If Greg hadn’t mentioned a “mystery” no one would have thought anything of the Erin/Phyllis stuff, so I don’t think it was done too obviously.

    Plus, according to the quote Greg says the mystery was being set up in “Goodbye Michael,” and the possibility of the Strangler being someone else was introduced in the prior episode, NOT “Goodbye Michael.”

  66. But how did they start the Phyllis being Erin’s mom in the last episode?
    P.S. remember Erin’s actual name is Kelly. a little flashback.

  67. I think it’s definitely that Phyllis is Erin’s mother. I just rewatched the episode, and noticed another little hint that I don’t think others have mentioned yet. Erin says that she wishes she could know her real mom so that her mom could tell her who to date. Maybe a reference back to the help Phyllis gave to Michael when he didn’t know what to do with Jan back in season 3 in the episode when Michael takes all the ladies to the mall?

  68. I first thought about Angela’s boyfriend and Oscar… it was suspicious. The Erin-Phyllis thing is almost ridiculous.. i don’t think so.

  69. Some of these guesses are making me cry (cry!) with laughter!
    #70 – Maybe we find out where the rest of Stanley’s gift is.
    #65 – How did Pam get through the TSA checkpoint at the airport without a boarding pass?
    #73 – I think it has something to do with the pants Andy was wearing on the sales call.
    I love you tallyheads so much!

  70. The Scranton strangler COULD NOT be Deangelo! Don’t you remember that Toby actually sat in on that trial for jury duty? He would’ve recognized him a long time ago!

  71. LISTEN! I can’t believe no one has mentioned this yet. Did anyone find it odd that Michael didn’t get any sort of closure with Kelly? I mean, I know Kelly is a self-consumed materialistic girl and the two aren’t really close, but I found it odd that their goodbye didn’t end on a positive or even neutral note.

    So I think whatever Kelly was texting has something to do with the mystery? If not that, then something with Kelly in general. We could all probably assume she’s going to vie for the manager position but I’d want the mystery to be something more jawdropping.

    Phyllis and Erin thing is too soap-opera-ish! The clues make sense but I mean c’mon man, this is The Office, not the 2nd season of The OC!!

  72. Just a thought on the idea that Phyllis is Erin’s real mother- Mother’s Day is in a couple of weeks, and the episode after “The Inner Circle” has not been named yet..

  73. Just watched it again, purely speculative, but why would Deangelo say “dead man walking” as he leaves Michael’s office after that? Hmm. that or he’s headed to fat farm after pigging out on cake. Either way he won’t be around for long.

    As for Gabe, he said “I’ve seen some horrible things, I OWN ## horror movies” OWN. He’s too much of a pussy and is from Tallahassee. It can’t be him.

    Loved Andy “Michael, I just lost Porter Hardware, I lost em!” LOL!

    I think the Erin/Phyllis thing will play out, and in the end Toby will be the Strangler.

    Thoughts?

  74. And the Gay State Senator isn’t much of a swerve at all, I saw that coming. Oscar outed him at Christmas.

  75. Didn’t Toby’s brother sound eerily like Michael Scott…maybe Rory Flenderson and Michael Scott will end up working together.

  76. I don’t know if it’s been posted or not, and it more than likely doesn’t matter, but “Hank’s” name was on Michael’s list, and he never crossed him off.

  77. I think the mystery story is either

    -Phyllis is Erin’s bio-logical mother. Since Erin has never met her real mother, and Phyllis said she gave a baby up when she was in high school.

    -DeAngelo Vickers is the Scranton Strangler.

  78. Michael is not the Father of Erin. He says in ‘Weight Loss’: “I once went 28 years without having sex… and then again for seven years.”

  79. My guess is it’s either the Phyllis thing (Not that she’s Erin’s mom. It might be funnier/less-obtrusive if her kid is someone real minor we’ve seen just once or twice. Like one of the interns in “Gossip.”) or Gabe’s letter.

    An out-of-left-field/implausible one, possibly, is the “when is this going to air” line. Because I’m sure virtually ever viewer just took as a fun joke and they knew they would. As I think the next season should be their last, almost no comedies are benefited by a ninth season (well maybe Cheers), I think they could shock us by dealing with that.

  80. Anyone else remembering that Gabe said “it explains everything” about the letter he left at Erin’s car?

    Yet it’s just a minor remark, it could point in the direction of the Strangler theory. Definitely a suspicious sentence for someone trying to win an ex-GF back.

  81. @74 I agree that Erin is Phyllis’ daughter, but the father couldn’t possibly be Michael. In “Gay Witch Hunt”, Phyllis states that everyone thought Michael was gay in high school. Also, in “Weight Loss”, Michael says that he once went 28 years without having sex, so he couldn’t have had a baby with Phyllis in high school.

  82. Something just hit me. Why would they give Andy and Deangelo a B story in such an important episode? Well for one, to get Ferrell out of the office so he wouldn’t take the spotlight. But what if they are setting up Andy to take over The Office? Just a thought!

  83. RE: 73. james1414d “I think it has something to do with the pants Andy was wearing on the sales call. Anyone notice them?”

    How could you *NOT* notice them!? It was like he was wearing a costume! I know he’s meant to be “collegiate/preppy,” but come on!

  84. The Phyllis/Erin thing, Deangelo being the Scranton Strangler, and possible Jim/Pam conflict all seem like legitimate ideas. Phyllis mentioning a lost child and Erin mentioning not having a mother, Toby saying that he doesn’t think the person being accused of being the Scranton Strangler is actually guilty, and (questionably) Pam randomly going to a movie in the middle of the day aren’t things that the writers just write for no reason. I think the writers were trying to give themselves lots of options for where they could go with the story, especially now that Michael’s gone.
    Right now I’m not sure which one I’m leaning toward, but honestly I love this show too much to think one’s going to be better than the other. I’m going to watch it no matter which storyline (or storylines) they choose.

  85. I’m gonna say that Gabe is the Scranton Strangler, and that Dwight takes Gabe’s job, which is the whole letter of reccommendation thing.

  86. I don’t think it has anything to do with Pam going to the movies. As someone who has worked in a loosely supervised environment and been given the task of running errands, I found it to be hilarious as I myself went to run “errands” several times, and instead went and saw a movie by myself. Especially with the baby at home, I don’t think it’s anything other than a new way we’ve seen her avoid working at work.

  87. I’ll say it again: Gay state senator is the Scranton Strangler. Jack Coleman was the Salem Strangler in Days of Our Lives. If this turns out to be true, I will feel so special.

  88. maybe next week the body of the real Deangelo, the man who was supposed to run DM is found. Dead man walking…Michael was next on the strangler’s list but his unexpected departure saves him.

  89. @ #85, Steven:
    I KNOW what you mean about the almost non-existent interaction between Michael and Kelly !! I’ve seen the episode about 3 times now and it looks like there are only two very quick shots of her (and obsessed with her Blackberry or phone): 1) at her cube when she told Michael to go away. 2) when Michael called everyone to a meeting in the conference room, she seemed to be the only one uninterested in what Michael had to say or announce and was again reading or typing on her phone. Maybe she was just in denial about knowing Michael was leaving soon and didn’t want to deal with her feelings, but I think she was the only one who had NO eye contact with him the entire show.

    I’m not sure what exactly that is all supposed to hint towards, if at all , but it was just downright weird !!

  90. Whoa- I think that all this Scranton Strangler stuff is getting out of hand! It seems extremely unlikely that they would reveal a character to be a serial killer. Way off from the tone of a TV show like this one. I think that that whole plot is just a diversion to be funny.

    I was too busy tearing up at this week’s show to even notice the Phyllis-Erin thing. Haha- could be.

  91. @Kimmie

    During Toby’s acceptance speech at the end of “Michael’s Last Dundies”, he very briefly says that he doesn’t think the convicted killer was guilty after all. In that case, Toby would not have seen Deangelo before…which means that Toby might be next! Or not. I think there’s a reason why they tacked that to the end of the episode, but it isn’t the mystery.

    The mystery is likely Erin/Phyllis. But I feel like the only person who didn’t catch that :(
    That would be a weird story to explore.

  92. I KNOW WHAT IT IS!!! I think Phyllis is Erin’s mom!! Erin once mentioned how she never met her mother, and Phyllis gave away a baby!!

  93. The mystery might also be who *really* broke the shredder. Was it Kevin and his magazines? Or Deangelo and his latest victim?

  94. It is probably the Phyllis/Erin theory but has anyone mentioned the obvious? Who is going to replace Michael? Which has sort of been looming over all season.

  95. The more I think about it, the more I think that Phyllis/Erin is a red herring. It was said, “I’m not sure anyone will pick up on this…” and unless they are greatly underestimating fans, I think we need to look elsewhere. Maybe the mystery is what did Andy say to “Boris” to get him to re-up with them?

  96. Okay, I think a lot of people are forgetting that this is the Office. I think it’s really unlikely that a character would be revealed to be the Scanton Strangler. And they wouldn’t have Phyllis be Erin’s mom. I just can’t see that happening! If this was a soap opera or drama maybe. But it’s the Office!

  97. @104 & @85

    I agree that it has something to do with Kelly. She is usually really excited when someone talks to her and won’t stop talking until they basically tell her to shut up. The fact that she was acting nonchalant and all around abnormal makes me think that something is seriously up.

  98. Uh, I thought the Scranton Strangler was already caught and his trial already ended. That was why Toby was gone. The theories about someone from the office being the Scranton Strangler should end. Yeah, Toby said he thought the person was innocent but would an innocent person escape from a SWAT team and become involved in a high speed chase with the police? + I doubt anyone from the office can do that. :) I just want to know what his story is!

    @ #89. lvis – Yeah. He’s Toby and Michael rolled into one!

  99. Is it possible MIchael is Erin’s father, and Phyllis the mother? How else would Michael know about the baby, since Phyllis was worried about him telling everyone?Plus on more than one occasion, Michael has done some not so subtle flirting with her. Plus in one episode, Phyllis talks of a one night stand, so even if not Michael, possibly someone else in the office?!

  100. i think the hint came from jim when he said “You’re filming us in the bathroom now?”. Maybe the film crew has been secretly filming people in the bathroom and it is gonna come out on the show! :o

  101. I still think DeAngelo is the Scranton Strangler. It never said where he was from, it just said he was a fan of the southwest. One thing I noticed in this past episode was when DeAngelo and Andy were out on their sales call, after Andy seals the deal and he comes outside to celebrate with DeAngelo. If you watch that scene, when DeAngelo is hugging and picking up Andy he kind of puts his hands by his neck and pauses for a minute, slowly. Kinda like he wanted to strangle him. Watch that scene it’s odd.

    I think the most logical explanation is the Phyllis/Erin scenario. Although I feel like this is something they could be doing on purpose to make us think that it is it. Greg Daniels said it’s something no one has picked up yet….guess he hasn’t seen the tallyheads hard at work lol!

  102. How would Gabe be the Scranton Strangler, they’ve been mentioning the SS since well before he relocated to Scranton when DM was bought out by Sabre. Deangelo on the other hand, could be. But I don’t think it’s the likely.

  103. How bout Creed drinking out of Michael’s mug as Michael leaves. Could it be a passing
    Of the torch?
    It’s Creed so I’m sure he just took the mug out of the garbage.

  104. I don’t think Deangelo is the Scranton Strangler, but perhaps people will begin to suspect it was really him all along, and that the person on trial was falsely accused. His bloody handprint above the breakroom door was a bit of a horror movie touch, plus the stuff other people have mentioned.

    That said, when I went to rewatch the scene with Michael and Erin outside and saw the cutaway everyone has talked about where they’re holding the phone exactly the same, it seems very plausible that this is the actual “mystery.”

  105. oh god, i hope it’s not that phyllis is erin’s mother. that would just be too soap opera-y. if that’s it, i swear, i will stop watching the show.

  106. I completely agree with Bella, #113. I think we’re losing sight of the show in all this excitement. The phyllis/erin and deangelo/strangler ideas are really fun in theory, but I think both are far too soap opera-y for the Office.
    I think the best bet is something more low-key like Pam at the movies or Kelly not looking up from her phone, or something that we’ve all completely overlooked. Either way, I love how that one comment by Greg Daniels got us all speculating and pulling all these theories out of that episode. I love office fans!

  107. I hope it’s not the Phyllis/Erin thing, because that doesn’t sound very funny. I am 100% sure Deangelo is not the Scranton Strangler. After Michael said into the tape-recorder, “T-shirt idea: Goodbyes stink” he put the recorder back in his desk and left. It would be a funny cold-open if they listen to all of his ideas over the 19 years.

  108. They’ve been talking about the Scranton Strangler since season 2. It’s not Gabe, or DeAngelo.

    [from tanster: season 2? proof?]

  109. How is the Phyllis/Erin thing unrealistic? That kind of stuff happens all the time! I like the idea and think it could be a fun twist. The Scranton strangler idea is completely unrealistic to me. Whatever it is, I am intrigued.

  110. I just rewatched the episode, and I have some theories.

    When Oscar met Angela’s boyfriend, he told us that the senator was gay. In the pictures that she shows Michael, there is another man with him, who is likely his boyfriend, not his advisor or what she thought.

    There was a dog bone shaped sign in Toby’s cubicle that said “Toby’s Troops”. Not sure what to say here.

    In the cold opening, why was Michael wearing those boots?

  111. I’m interested in how they would handle the Phyllis and Erin thing. If done right, i guess it could be okay. It would forever change their relationship, or rather create one since they never talk now, and i don’t know if i like that.

    This would definitely be new territory for The Office. I hope it’s something completely out of left field. And not as “serious” as the mother thing would be.

  112. @127 No they haven’t. His first mention was in the episode that Cece was born, a few episodes after Sabre took over. So it could be Gabe, but not Deangelo.

  113. I think the mystery is that Angela’s senator boyfriend is gay. There’s a scene where she brings it up, and Oscar gives the camera a funny look.

  114. Remember “Local Ad,” where Dwight gave Phyllis the piece of paper that read “You have a son, and it’s me?” Could that have been foreshadowing? I don’t mean that Dwight is really Phyllis’s son, but still, do you think the writers have been waiting to reveal this piece of Phyllis’s past for a while now?

  115. I agree that it’s most likely the Erin/Phyllis connection. I went back and looked at the phone scene that has been mentioned. Great catch by whoever noticed that first! The way they framed that scene, it really highlights the connection. Having said that, it could totally be something else and the show’s writers are surely having a good laugh at all the guessing. If nothing else, it helps distract us from the sad reality of no more Michael Scott.

  116. I think the reason they had Pam go to the movies was to keep her away from the office longer—to build suspense as to whether or not she’d get back in time to say goodbye to Michael. It didn’t really occur to me that there could be some sort of mystery behind it.

  117. @Jeffrye Way
    I don’t think it is Angela’s boyfriend is using her as a beard.The joke there is that everyone knows he is gay. Even Michael seemed to pick up on it.

  118. there has to be some significance to Pam going to the movies. If it was just to build suspense for the ending then the show would’ve just shown her pricing shredders like she was supposed to do. Something happened inside of the movie theater and I think more clues will be presented in the next few episodes. She isn’t cheating on Jim though. Pam would never do that.

  119. I think that it has something to do with Kelly. Her interaction with Michael was uncharacteristic of her and Mindy Kaling has talked about her contract being up and leaving after this season. It might have something to do with her leaving the show.

  120. Do you think that the Scranton Strangler could be Will Ferrell. Toby said he didn’t believe they caught the right guy. Will Ferrell was a random guy on the street that helped Jo with her dogs…

  121. I would agree with the Phyllis/Erin likelihood, but why is Pam going to see a movie in the middle of the day?

    Maybe to blow off work – maybe because Jim doesn’t want to see it – maybe just a plot device to build the “is she going to return in time” suspense. Either way, it seems a bit odd to me.

    It’s been pretty obvious that Angela’s boyfriend is gay, right?

  122. I believe the mystery story is that Pam is scouting venues for the documentary to be shown, on the final episode of the season.

  123. I think an obvious one is where Erin says to Michael outside “I think I’m in Love with Andy. It’s not really a subtle hint but the type of subplot that the writers would be likely to go after.

  124. Why would Toby be talking to his brother about Michael, and why would his brother be so anxious to meet Michael when he gets to Boulder? Michael said he has some interviews when he gets there – maybe we will hear later on that he ended up working with/for Rory Flenderson. That would be about par for Michael’s luck! (PS – I think Steve Carell was playing the part of Toby’s brother. Lots of heavy makeup and listen to his voice!)

  125. Interesting what people are saying, it sounds like the Phyllis/Erin plot line makes the most sense even though it seems surprising for the Office. The writers are clearly trying to be creative, and I could imagine that as a creative twist.

    Having a character as the Scranton Strangler just is too off-base; the Pam or Kelly stories make some sense and could work, but it could just be nothing.

  126. Michael never cleaned out his desk. Maybe he will come back!

    What did Pam say to Michael?

  127. #73 – I’m convinced the mystery is with Andy and that sale. His clothes are strange and no surprise the pants were pink… but did I notice that they were dirty?

    If you were writing a mystery, wouldn’t Andy be the best person for it?

  128. What we learned in Michael’s last episode is that he REALLY knows everybody. He’s been saying Toby is evil since day 1. Toby is the Scranton Strangler.

  129. @144: Rory was played by Warren Lieberstein, Paul Lieberstein’s real-life brother. That would make for a very funny story later on when/if we ever see Michael again.

  130. Something is definitely going on with Pam. The thing with the movie was weird–I don’t even have a guess. I am betting whatever it is has more to do with her job than her relationship though. I don’t think they are going to rock the Jim and Pam boat with Michael leaving….too traumatic for the audience!!

  131. Going by the lack of JKras in the listed cast, I’m guessing Dwight fires Jim in the May 12 episode.

  132. RE: 142. Sara
    It would certainly explain why she was there more than the time it would take to get tickets for a later show, but not long enough to watch it all the way through. Remember when she drove into the parking lot, she was completely calm. If she had received Jim’s text and left the movie early I think she would have had a more frantic air about her.

    The only question is why that would be her responsibility.

    But I did wonder why she was there for the amount of time she was, but came back to the office in such a nonchalant manner.

  133. I agree that it either has something to do with Phyllis/Erin or Pam being at the movies (especially considering the movie that she went and ‘saw’ was never explained or discussed).

    It could also have to do with the Scranton Strangler, but I don’t feel that it would be Will Ferrell (although it would make sense since he is leaving the show). On a side note though, perhaps it could be GABE? He is an obvious creep who admitted to owning over “200 horror movies.”

    JUST A THOUGHT… ANYONE AGREE/DISAGREE?

  134. I think people are overthinking this “Pam at the movies” thing. Where else could the writers put Pam where she couldn’t receive a call or text? The whole thing was just to set up the airport farewell with Michael.

  135. So, what about exactly what Michael said to Pam at the airport? I know he didn’t tell her how excited he was to be going to see Holly. So what did he actually tell her?

  136. Isn’t this Mindy Kaling’s last season too? I think the “mystery” will somehow involve her departure.

  137. I am more and more convinced it will be about Kelly and what had her so distracted when Michael was trying to say goodbye. After the Ryan business last week, there is little doubt left in my mind about it.

  138. I knew it! After watching tonight’s episode I’m convinced it has to do with Kelly. What is going on with her. Soooo mysterious.

  139. phyllis gave her baby up 20 yrs ago… who thinks jordan could be her long lost love child?

  140. After last night’s episode, it seems to do with Kelly.

    Erin could be Phyllis’ daughter, but there was nothing about that threaded through last night’s episode.

    Gabe can’t be the Scranton Strangler. Remember, he lived in Tallahassee long before Sabre even had a whiff of Scranton.

  141. Creed is now the boss! – he drank out of the world’s best boss mug as michael was leaving – it must be that!

  142. @163, I think you’re right! While I think he’ll be the temporary boss, I can see exactly how that is the mystery. Awesome! :o)

  143. I think the reason Pam went to the movie and such, is because she couldn’t bear to say goodbye to Michael, and was just doing other things to distract her from it.

  144. Given the announcement of Jenna Fischer’s pregnancy, I’m even more convinced that the mystery involves Pam. I think they are going to have her try a job outside the office for the first part of next season. How she ends up back there I couldn’t guess.

  145. Did anyone notice that Andy was wearing the exact same slacks/jeans this episode as the last?

  146. The mystery is since when did michael have a brother?? Check Season 1 episode 1. he got the throwing away a memo from his brother. He is coming to replace Michael!!!

  147. I think Pam went to a movie during a working day b/c….SHE WANTED TO SEE THAT MOVIE! Wow, a working mom wanting a little time to herself doing what she wants. Groundbreaking!

  148. I thought Pam going to the movies was just something she typically does when she has to run work errands during the day. Kinda funny. And a little suspenseful since she didn’t know Michael was actually leaving that day. I didn’t really find it out of character or strange…just something else that made me think “DAMMIT SHE HAS TO GO BACK”.

    If Greg Daniels actually thinks no one would have caught the real mystery, maybe no one did. He also describes it as “tiny”. That is, the mystery story is tiny, not the clue. So perhaps it’s not as huge as Phyllis being Erin’s mom. Although, that is entirely possible since he did say it’s only the set up…hopefully it resurfaces during the finale!

  149. @Kirk “I think Pam went to a movie during a working day b/c….SHE WANTED TO SEE THAT MOVIE! Wow, a working mom wanting a little time to herself doing what she wants. Groundbreaking!”

    Except that absolutely no explanation was given. If it was just Pam taking in a movie for fun why not a TH to that effect? It would have made a cute joke, but instead it is left completely hanging. Coupled with Pam’s odd explanation of her final talk with Michael (rewatch that scene and tell me her description matches the video) and Jenna Fischer’s pregnancy and I’m still betting on Pam being involved in the mystery.

  150. @172 Roy’s Mugshot: I agree with Kirk. The reason it was never explained is because it meant practically nothing. It had one minor purpose in the episode: to add to the suspense of whether or not Pam would make it back in time to say goodbye to Michael.

    And why couldn’t Michael have said something like “I can’t wait to start my new life with Holly” to Pam at the airport? That fits his character, the occasion and her explanation afterwards.

  151. My guess it’s gonna be either it’s revealed that Phyllis is Erin’s biological mother or Kelly’s been hiding some personal conflict from everyone and that will finally be revealed, to where she is written out, since her contract expires after this season. It was just odd how distant she was to Michael when he attempted to say goodbye to her, while she was texting to someone on her phone. And then she was late in the “(Acting) Manager” episode and claims it was a personal, “medical” situation.

  152. Well well well, it appears that we were right and wrong at the same time for not one, but TWO things. well done office tally users. Phyllis may have been Erin’s mother but she isn’t. Also the senator is gay but is not having an affair with Oscar. so you decide what is the mystery story? Phyllis Erin? or gay senator?

  153. @#175 Mr. Halpert – It was definitely the Phyllis/Erin thing. Oscar outted the senator (small s) weeks ago. China, I think.

    It’s a little sad that it isn’t true. But maybe Phyllis and Erin will stay close anyway.

  154. Seems like the mystery turned out to be Creed taking the World’s Best Boss mug. Maybe Jim Carrey is the Scranton Strangler? His comment about people disappearing in the Finger Lakes seemed odd.

  155. @177 No, it was the Phyllis Erin thing. And Jim Carrey is a one time cameo, not the Strangler.

  156. The mystery is the Phyllis and Erin thing. It is subtle, but first we are told she abandoned a baby in high school, later in the episode it is revealed that Erin does not know who her biological mother is. Directly after that take, the scene opens with a shot showing Erin and Phyllis both holding their phone in the same fashion. Great use of camera work!

  157. I agree with #123; I’ve always wondered what made Michael hate Toby so much. Maybe it will finally be revealed. Either that or Kelly is on American Idol (or something else to do with her).

  158. If the mystery was supposed to be “solved” in a few episodes, does that mean that it was the Phyllis/Erin thing? Seems like the other hypotheses haven’t been solved by the finale.

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