After visiting Mr. Muoi’s warehouse, Fowler goes to the American Legation, and asks to speak with Pyle. He says that he has an appointment with Pyle—a claim that the guards in the Legation reluctantly believe.
Fowler is talented at bluffing his way into any situation—clearly, he’s had years of practice doing exactly this.
Inside Pyle’s office, Fowler finds Phuong’s sister, who works as Pyle’s typist, and Joe, another American Legation employee. Joe greets Fowler and tells him that Pyle is working from home that day—Fowler mutters darkly that Pyle is probably with Phuong. Joe scolds Fowler for talking about “such things” with Phuong’s sister in the room.
In this quietly devastating scene, Fowler is confronted with a dark truth: Phuong has chosen Pyle over him. There’s also a hint that Pyle has gotten in Phuong’s good graces by getting Miss Hei a job—suggesting that Pyle isn’t above some manipulations of his own.
Fowler decides to leave the office. He goes to the men’s bathroom and weeps for the first time in years.
Fowler, for all his cynical jabs, is only human—he felt something strong for Phuong, whether it was love or not. The fact that she’s chosen Pyle is devastating for him.