Parks and Recreation went into unexplored territory last week when they examined what we'll call "bad feelings." Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope had to mend their friendship, which they did, after some betrayals and letting time get in the way of their "work-proximity-associateship" (as Ron so elegantly put it). "Leslie & Ron" was the first standout episode of the season, but now that they're on the same page, there's plenty of room for classic P&R hijinks.
The lead-off ep, "Gryzzlbox," concentrates on the technological improvements Pawnee has seen during the time jump. Speaking of which, before we dive too deep into the final season, let's take a look at what life's like two years from now, according to Parks and Recreation.
- The Chicago Cubs win the World Series.
- Will Smith returns in Hitch 2 and, of course, Tom loves it.
- Kevin James takes over as Jason Bourne in the Bourne franchise. Nice.
- Listicles are eligible for Pulitzer Prizes. That's not a bad prediction actually.
- Shia LaBeouf makes expensive wedding dresses.
- Morgan Freeman is feuding with Shailene Woodley and it's bigger than Biggie and Tupac's beef.
- Elton John owns Chick-fil-A. Sales increase.
- Game of Thrones has joined forces with Pirates of the Caribbean, which Ben loves.
- Christina Aguilera and Bruce Willis live together?
Leslie is back to devising a plan on how to defeat Gryzzl, a tech company with billions of dollars. After they start dropping boxes with person-specific gifts that prove the company is invading everybody's privacy, like one man's love of making stuffed pigs that look like celebrities (Hamuel Jackson from Pork Fiction ... genius), Leslie holds one of the signature town meetings. Much to her surprise, the people all agree with her, for possibly the first time in the show's history.
Ben and Leslie visit Gryzzl's headquarters — the belly of the beast — disguised as hipsters (Ben sports a Pharrell Williams-style hat). She lures Roscoe, the vice president of Cool Shizz, into a debate on the privacy issue. Bad move, Roscoe. Thankfully, this takes place on The Perdples Court, a legal show hosted by fan-favorite and captain obvious Perd Hapley. Turns out Ben screwed up because an addendum to Gryzzl's contract with the town was added the day the new Star Wars was released. Ben worries that it's the making of another Ice Town mishap, but he ends up presenting a passionate argument.
April continues to rehash her glory days, speaking to some new potential interns and persuades a youngster that reminds her of April 10 years ago to go do something fun, like trying to control a bird's mind. But Craig, an unusual voice of reason, points out that the Parks internship is the best thing to happen to April.
Tom has to put on his friend hat to help Andy renegotiate his Johnny Karate contract. We finally get to see Andy in action on his television show, and he kills it. Tom's able to get Andy the rights to his character, a move that might give him the idea to become an agent. His karma comes back when Lucy reveals she broke up with her boyfriend.
The title of the follow-up episode should have been enough to get devout Parks and Rec fans excited. "Save J.J.'s Diner!" is the direct foil of last week's "Ron & Leslie." Sweetums announces that they're going to sell the land to Gryzzl, so Ron suggests he and Leslie drown their sorrows in waffles. The pair have to team up to keep their favorite eatery in business after Dennis Feinstein (Jason Mantzoukas) doesn't allow the sad-sap restaurant owner to renew his lease. Game on. This was one of those "we're getting the band back together" moments, despite Ron and Leslie's inability to secure a high five.
Once again, there's another corporate entity threatening to destroy Pawnee, but Knope and Co. won't let it happen without a fight. While trying to save J.J.'s, Leslie hatches a plan to redirect Gryzzl's plans.
The side story is also a gem, as Tom and Donna participate in Treat Yo Self 2017, their made-up holiday of material indulgences. They head to Beverly Hills for one extravagant send-off and freak out over everything Usher.
Parks and Rec has been heavy on nostalgia so far, and that's the greatest gift a true fan could ask for as the series winds down. All the characters are getting a solid amount of screen time and the guest appearances have been on point. All we can hope for is that showrunner Michael Schur has more of the same planned for the final eps, and since Leslie says the group has five days to do three months of work and accomplish their goals, my guess is we're in good hands.
BEST RON SWANSON QUOTES
"If you're going to sign a legally binding document, you need to read it thoroughly. That's why the only contract I've ever signed is my Mulligan's Steakhouse Club card. And even then I used a fake name. Les ... Les Vegetables."
"I can't think of anything more noble to go to war over than bacon and eggs."