Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
This week’s episode of Parks was a pleasant surprise and brought forward a lot of potential for the remainder of the season. Things have been moving very slowly on the show since the return from the hiatus. Since the show returned this year, a lot of the focus has been dedicated to saying goodbye to Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe). Now that they have made their official exit from the show, the focus is slowly returning to Pawnee and how the future will hopefully be changing. We saw this episode touch upon a piece of information that has not been talked about for a very long time.
The story of Ron (Nick Offerman) having a child is finally brought back and we see that not only is he having a baby, but that he has already been born! It isn’t a surprise that Ron wouldn’t have gushed about the birth of his son John “middle name redacted” Swanson, but it was quite a shock to realize that he notified no one about the birth. However it was extremely entertaining to see Leslie’s (Amy Poehler) reaction to this news. Although this was a great scene, it would have been wonderful to have an episode slightly dedicated to the day John was born. Seeing Ron’s prideful face surrounded by people he acts indifferently toward but really cares about would have been a delightful change for the show.
Even though this was no small bit of news, perhaps the best part of the episode was Leslie’s story. This episode continued on with the Pawnee Unity Concert that the youth council came up with on last week’s episode. It sure is great to see an idea being continued and developed in Pawnee. Not to mention it has also been great to see the newest cast member Craig (Billy Eichner), in another episode. Now that they have a solid plan and know what they need to do, Leslie tries to publicize the event. She does this by making a point that Pawnee and Eagleton can no longer be divided. She tears down the wall that separates the two parks, while announcing the event she thinks she will get everyone’s attention. Unfortunately for Leslie, this plan backfires tremendously when bees spew from the confines of the fence and attack a large group of Eagletonians. This scene was so incredibly funny; from Andy (Chris Pratt) saying he was immune to bees and shoving April (Aubrey Plaza) into his sweatshirt, to Leslie wrapping herself in the American flag, to Craig screaming and fleeing the scene, this was easily the most entertaining part of the episode.
Of course whenever Leslie tries to make progress her efforts are met with opposition and hardship. The media construed the event to say that Leslie planned on this happening, and for Eagletonians to get hurt. When visiting the victims (one of which is Councilman Jamm, played by Jon Glaser) of the hilarious event in the hospital, the media bombards her. Things quickly got heated between Jamm and the unwelcomed visitors and Leslie got the worst of the brawl. She accidentally gets punched in the face when someone was aiming for Jamm, and ends up with a massive black eye.
This was definitely meant to be a funny thing, but it gets tiring watching Leslie try her hardest to do what is best and being a kind person only to have something like this happen. When she returns to the department she meets with the Director of the National Park Service to discuss the Eagleton/Pawnee Park. He reveals that he can’t do anything to help with the park, but he had other intentions when coming to meet her. He then brings up Leslie’s proposed Pawnee River Clean-Up bill that we saw her bring to Washington in early season 5. This is the first we’ve heard of it since then which means things are definitely happening! He then reveals that he is offering Leslie a position to run a branch of the National Park Service.
FINALLY something good is happening for Leslie. But what does this mean for her future? The show is going to have to face a difficult decision, because if Leslie takes the position, the entire dynamic of the show will change. She will have to move away and that will place stress on her marriage as well. If she doesn’t take the job, she’ll be stuck in this repetitive position constantly trying to make a difference and being shut down. This seems like it could be a monumental turning point for the show that could surely affect everything henceforth. Either way, this episode was great and there is a lot to look forward to next week.
Overall Episode Grade: B