"The Alliance"
Written by Michael Schur; directed by Bryan Gordon

Dwight waits for Michael outside the bathroom so he can talk to him about Dunder Mifflin’s downsizing. Michael tells him there won’t be any downsizing, but Dwight wants to make sure that as the assistant (to the) regional manager, he’ll be safe. Michael admits that he may need to be worried. He interviews that unlike Donald Trump, he doesn’t like firing people; in fact, if he had a catchphrase, it would be, “You’re hired, and you can work here as long as you want.” Dwight interviews that he’s at a disadvantage for hearing office gossip because most of it is shared at the water cooler, but he brings his own water to work. This leads him to move the water cooler next to his desk. In an attempt to boost his employees’ morale, Michael decides to throw a birthday party for whoever’s birthday is the closest to the current day. No one has a birthday coming up, but Meredith’s is next month, so Michael says they’ll have a surprise party for her.

Angela, Phyllis, and Pam form a decorating committee for the party but can’t agree on a color scheme. (Angela thinks green is whorish.) Still, Michael is pleased with their previous successful party, an ‘80s bash where Michael dressed as Don Johnson. Michael suggests that the women get Meredith an ice cream cake, but Angela points out that Meredith is lactose intolerant. Michael doesn’t care, and also really wants mint chocolate chip. As Jim makes copies, Dwight approaches him and surreptitiously suggests that they form an alliance in case of downsizing. Jim plays along, thrilled to pretend to partner up with him. Dwight tells him to keep the alliance a secret, so of course, Jim immediately runs to Pam and tells her about it. Dwight spots them talking and pulls Jim into the break room to ask him if he told Pam about the alliance. Jim says he’s using her for the alliance because she would have a lot of information about the office. He adds that he’ll probably be talking to her a lot, and Dwight should just ignore them.

Michael shows the camera the card everyone got Meredith, announcing that he needs to write something hilarious to her. Jim and Dwight spy on Toby and Kevin eating lunch together, and later, Jim tells Dwight that things were very tense when he went in to talk to them - they want to get Angela fired. Dwight thinks this is good, but Jim notes that Kevin and Toby are in two different departments, so they must have formed their own alliance. He continues that they need to assume that everyone is forming an alliance and trying to get Dwight and Jim “kicked off” because they’re strong. Michael keeps trying to come up something for the card without any luck. Oscar comes in and asks if he’ll donate some money to a charity his nephew is collecting for. Never one to be the least generous, Michael offers him $25. As Dwight watches, Pam approaches Jim and mentions that she keeps overhearing conversations between Michael and corporate. Jim promises not to say anything to anyone. Later, he interviews that that was all her idea and he’s proud of her.

Michael calls Dwight to his office and asks him what he knows about Meredith. “I don’t think she’d be missed,” Dwight replies. He shares some facts about Meredith, including that she’s won multiple Dundies (see “The Dundies”) and had a hysterectomy (see “Health Care”). Jim and Dwight meet in the conference room, where Jim shares the news that according to Pam, an alliance will be meeting in the warehouse during Meredith’s party. Dwight is thrilled and even knows the best place to hide so they can eavesdrop. They head to the warehouse and Jim helps Dwight hide himself in a box. As everyone gathers to hide for Meredith’s surprise party, Jim tapes Dwight inside the box. Meredith arrives at the party and is so surprised that she thinks the party’s for Angela. Dwight sends Jim back inside to the party so no one will be suspicious about their absence. In an interview, Dwight admits that he doesn’t trust Jim, but he has no choice now.

Everyone at the party enjoys the ice cream cake (except Meredith, of course) while Jim tells Pam that Dwight is currently in a box. He sends her down to the warehouse to “work [her] magic,” and when she arrives, she pretends to have a phone conversation with someone. Dwight tries to cut a bigger hole in his box and tips himself over, cracking Pam up. Back at the party, Jim gives Michael the news that the $25 he pledged to Oscar’s nephew is actually $25 per mile. Michael quickly tracks down Oscar to take back his donation, but decides it’s not a good idea. He’s not pleased to learn that last year, Oscar’s nephew walked 18 miles. As warehouse worker Darryl (Craig Robinson) looks on, Dwight cuts himself out of his box. Meredith reads her card, ruining the mood when she reads Michael’s note, which mentions the downsizing rumors. When he tries for something else, he just annoys people. He decides the blame for the bad party falls on Pam, Angela, and Phyllis, which gives Angela the chance to blame Phyllis for an unattractive color scheme.

Michael announces that he pledged $25 (per mile) to Oscar’s nephew, then interviews that when he retires, he wants to “be the guy who gives everything back.” He writes out a check for Oscar, then quietly tells him not to cash it until Friday. In the conference room, Ryan confesses to Toby that today is his birthday, but asks him not to say anything to anyone. At the reception desk, Jim tells Pam that he’s convinced Dwight to go to the Stamford branch to spy on people there. He also told Dwight to dye his hair so he can go undercover. Roy arrives and catches Jim and Pam touching each other innocently. The entire office is alerted and Jim has to come clean about the pranks he and Pam have been playing on Dwight. Dwight, hiding behind a plant, announces that he has no idea what Jim is talking about. A blond Dwight interviews that he doesn’t feel bad about betraying Jim; he got what he needed out of him and then threw him to the wolves. He thinks Jim might have learned something very valuable from the situation.

WELCOME TO DUNDER MIFFLIN: Darryl

PRANKS JIM AND PAM PLAY ON DWIGHT: After Dwight asks Jim to form an alliance with him, Jim happily plays along.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “I suggested we flip a coin, but Angela said she doesn’t like to gamble. Of course, by saying that, she was gambling that I wouldn’t smack her.” - Pam

“I spend hours thinking of ways to get back at him, but only in ways that could get me arrested. And then here he comes, and he says, ‘No, Jim, here’s a way.’” - Jim, re: Dwight


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