Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Well, I’ve managed to emerge from my river of tears, swim to reality, cough up the raw emotional turmoil erupting inside me, and rewatch the greatest episode of Parks and Recreation this season had to offer. The incredible cameos and group of recurring guest characters from over the years alone were enough to have me on the floor praising Mike Schur for this treasure of an episode.
Leslie (Amy Poehler), Ben (Adam Scott), and Andy (Chris Pratt) are in San Francisco so that Leslie can speak at the National Parks Conference. Once she gets there it becomes clear she is going to be pushed into making a decision soon about where her career is heading. We all knew that the issue of whether Leslie would be taking the new job or not would be addressed this episode, and the process of how it happened was both hilarious and heartwarming. She decides that after talking to Grant and the FLOTUS and special guest star Michelle Obama (Leslie’s face when she saw her for the first time will forever be the phone wallpaper of fans everywhere) that she is going to take the job.
Meanwhile, there are two other stories going on while Leslie’s future that seems as bright and shining as her hair is unfolding before our eyes. Ben and Andy went to speak to a company that is working on getting free wi-fi for cities. They are trying to get that for Pawnee and are tunred down pretty quickly. Ben notices the company workers playing Cones of Dunshire (so glad they brought this back!) and challenges them for reconsideration. Ben at his best is Ben at his nerdiest and he did not disappoint. His knowledge in all things nerd never fails to impress everyone and I don’t think he’s ever been as cool as when he knew he had won the game.
Tom (Aziz Ansari) is also branching out and it’s opening night at his new resturaunt. Things are not going as planned (which lets be honest, do they ever for Tom?) which is mainly in part due to his horrible employees… aka his insane Parks co-workers.
One of the greatest scenes from the episode was when Ben was helping reassure Leslie that she made the right decision to take the job. He takes her out to a spot that allows them to walk through the national park and then look out over the Golden Gate Bridge. He shows her where her name would be on a sign that says she works for the National Parks Department and I have to say that I’ve never been more in love with a fictional couple. He knew exactly the right thing to do to help her and thank god because I don’t know what I would have done if Leslie turned down this opportunity we all knew she was capable of taking on since season 1… I don’t think anyone would be able to handle seeing anymore of Leslie duking it out with idiots like Jamm and Joan Callamezzo.
Back in Pawnee we finally get to see the Unity Concert play out and it was the exact opposite of a Freddy Spaghetti Concert… There were thousands of people there and the show consisted of guest stars such as Yo La Tengo, Kay Hanley, Jeff Tweedy, The Decemberists, and even… Genuwine. He was especially great to see in the episode because he has been mentioned as being Donna’s (Retta) cousin since season 4.
We got to see that even Genuwine couldn’t stand up to her and she forces him to go to Tom’s restaurant along with other A-list Pawneeans which ultimately brings about it’s success. As the concert progresses we see something that I would have expected as a scene set for the series finale. Andy is asked to sing “5,000 Candles in the Wind” on stage with all the musical guest stars and most importantly… Duke Silver. Now at this point I was convinced the episode could not get any better, but I was dead wrong.
This wouldn’t be a proper Parks finale without a heart to heart with Ron (Nick Offerman) and Leslie. When she realizes that Ron had made over a floor in town hall, she came up with the idea that she could relocate her department of her new job to Pawnee. I wanted to faceplant into a wall at the sheer and utter perfection of this turn out.
At the end of the episode, we see that the show did decide to take on the time jump and we lose three years of coverage of their lives. I have to admit I was fooled by the first “one month later” shot and hysterically laughed my way to tear-town when the three year time gap showed up. We see that Leslie and Ben are on top of the world with their ADORABLE triplets (if the girl is not named Eleanor, Mike Schur will be receiving a strongly worded letter from me) and careers. Now the unthinkable is happening: we all have to wait five months in order to find out what Ben’s big night is, what’s happening in Leslie’s career, and wonder if we will see flashbacks to the triplets as babies…
If you want to read more about what it took to make this episode and more about the show’s future check out this Entertainment Weekly interview with the show’s creator Mike Schur.
Overall Episode Grade: A+