Laura Tormos ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Already being this far into the season, it is very clear that the imminent conclusion of Parks and Recreation, as sad and heartbreaking as it may be, has given the final season a sense of purpose and direction that otherwise might have been absent. Week after week, the show delves deeper into its long list of recurring characters and brings back our favorite memories and running gags from the past years, calling them back in wonderful, hilarious ways we could have only dreamed of for Parks and Recreation’s final season. This week, the list grows ever longer: Marcia and Marshall Langman, the accounting guy who loves Ben, the animal control idiots Harris and Brett, Brandi Maxxxx, the IOW, not to mention all the cameos from U.S. senators in “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes To Washington”—and next week, the list of old curtain calls is bound to get even longer and better as we, sadly, begin to reach the final stretch.
“Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes To Washington”
The first episode of the night was important in terms of what April has been struggling with all season, and finally puts a conclusion to her career crisis. Aubrey Plaza will always be impressive with what she does on the show for managing to portray all of April’s growth and development while always remaining in that one, comedic, monotone note of hers we’ve seen since the beginning and have all grown to know and love.
But it is obvious April has changed. She talks about just how much she has in her emotional conversation with Leslie (Amy Poehler) in Washington after finally telling her she no longer wants to work in the government or the National Parks Service and when Leslie reacts strongly, she later apologizes for her initial reaction. We all know, after all, how overbearing Leslie can be when it comes to her friends. It was a beautiful scene when April told Leslie how much she cared about her, even though April had Leslie turn her back to her as she did it.
It’s become quite obvious how much April really cares about her coworkers, despite her general refusal to admit it outright. The real surprise comes in April’s anxiety at just telling Leslie outright about her intentions to quit, which reveals in her a more internalized niceness and genuine desire not to hurt Leslie’s feelings, which is the real selfless, vulnerable quality to April one would not have recognized in the beginning of the series.
As for the actual conclusion and reveal towards April’s “dream job,” it seemed a little anticlimactic—though, admittedly it does make logical sense and definitely fits with April’s personality and wants, which is pleasing in and of itself. More interesting than the actual job, however, is the location, because it seems that Andy (Chris Pratt), April, Ben (Adam Scott), and Leslie are all headed for Washington (with Leslie’s own job promotion and all.) Ben and Leslie, however, have mentioned thoughts on splitting their time between Washington and Pawnee—but April and Andy didn’t, which means the split with their hometown seems to be much more permanent.
The second episode of the night is all about the progression of Ben’s congressional campaign. It could really not have been done any better because it showcased something Parks does perfectly: political controversy. This time, via Men’s Rights Activist groups, which really hits the nail on the head of some of the more ridiculous “political” movements that are actually going on right now (yes, in real life) with lines like “Men have had a very rough go of it, just recently” and “Can we have one conversation about feminism in which men are in charge?”
The episode ends with a traditional Parks and Recreation scene, in which Ben holds a press conference in which both he and Leslie spend the beginning answering and, most importantly, bringing to light the sheer stupidity in all the questions asked to women in politics—which this show has always had a very clear and passionate stance on. It’s great to see Parks and Recreation scream it at the top of its lungs, if only one last time. (And Ben’s winning of the IOW’s Woman of the Year award for his efforts was a hilarious way to finish off the storyline and bring us back full circle.)
Lastly, however, we can’t close this out without first talking about the sides to “Pie-Mary” that aren’t about politics, like Ben’s pie calzone and Andy and Ron’s (Nick Offerman) amusement with how monumentally embarrassing April’s crush on Andy was. More importantly, however, there was, once again, a callback: this time to Ron’s love of impossible puzzles, and April and Ron’s moment under the tree once April finally solves it. Then there was, of course, Donna (Retta) and Garry’s (Jim O’Heir) entire subplot just on reminiscing about the old times and conveying acts of friendship, which is pretty much the exact kind of content everyone wanted from the final season of Parks and Recreation.
With only two weeks to go, the looming heartache is starting to set in, and the end is becoming agonizingly real. But there’s excitement, there, too—because if Parks and Recreation is doing this well so far, it’s bound to have one of the most amazing series finales we could have ever hoped for. Whatever the case may be, however, you better get your tissues ready, because you’ll need them soon.
Let’s hope the tears are good ones.
Overall Episode Grade: A