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Parks and Recreation Recap/Review: “New Beginnings”

Emma Doherty ‘16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

After last week’s episode where Leslie (Amy Poehler) dealt with her last days in office, she is officially off city council and back full time in the Parks department as Deputy Director. Although she is excited to give her full attention to her original government job, she realizes that things are not quite the same as when she left.

We have had the chance to see Tom (Aziz Ansari) and April (Aubrey Plaza) blossom and grow in their departments, Tom develop into a business tycoon, and April handling animal control responsibilities. One of the best things about this show is character development, and these are two prime examples of how executive producer Mike Schur has made that happen. Our characters have changed a lot since they originally came to the Parks department. Leslie realizes that everyone has bonded in her absence, and freaks out at the change. Although the change is scary for Leslie, this is definitely a good thing. She has clearly outgrown her job here and what that means for her is still a mystery. Ron (Nick Offerman) ends up being the one to tell her that she is no longer necessary in the department. She has taught everyone in the department and they have achieved a lot because of it. I am waiting to see where she is heading next, but we all know it will be bigger and better than anything she’s done thus far.

Photos Courtesy of NBC
Photos Courtesy of NBC

Leslie isn’t the only one returning to city hall though. Ben (Adam Scott) is starting his new position as city manager and is trying to find the balance between fun Ben and boss Ben. He got the position when Chris announced that he was moving and hired Ben to fill in. Ben has always been a little uptight, so the parks employees decide to prank him to try to get him to relax, but that backfires. This was a great B plot for the episode. Donna (Retta), April, and Andy (Chris Pratt) get Ben arrested and we get to watch Ben have a complete mental breakdown. Instead of reprimanding them, Andy convinces Ben to try to prank them back, but this also does not go well. Being the tightly wound guy that he is, he can’t manage to go through with the prank and freaks out. Getting to see flustered Ben is always a highlight to an episode, and this is way more entertaining than if he actually went through with it.

Once again, Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ann (Rashida Jones) are away from the rest of the cast in their own plot. I love seeing the two together, and they are obviously preparing for their upcoming absence from the show, but we need to see them with everyone else. With the baby on the way and their move just around the corner, the two decide that they want to get married. They decide to pick out an engagement ring. They battle back and forth about whether or not a wedding is right for them, and realize that they have never been traditional. They’re decision is true to them and follows the theme of their history on the show. Surely the few episodes to come will be harder and harder to watch knowing their time in Pawnee is almost up.

Photos Courtesy of NBC
Photos Courtesy of NBC

Mike Schur said in an interview that Leslie is planning a huge goodbye for Ann on her last episode which he called “her most elaborate event yet”. He also said that the writers decided that they didn’t want the two to move too far away and stated “we’re keeping Ann and Chris relatively close by, geographically, so they can maybe come back.” They do this knowing this will hopefully get fans through the heart-break of the loss of the pair. Their goodbye is guaranteed to be a heart wrenching and entertaining episode.

Make sure to watch Parks next Thursday at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.

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