1. IT HAPPENED. Well, they didn’t dangle “TO BE CONTINUED” at the end of the last episode for nothing. Leslie and Ben decide to toss the wedding and just get married on the spot at the Pawnee Commons gala. In another instance of “the gang puts everything together at the last minute,” everything falls into place. Ann finishes Leslie’s gown with newspaper clips from her career. Ron uses light fixtures to make the wedding rings. April and Andy wake up the city notary to get the marriage license. And despite a spoiler move from Councilman Jamm, everything works out. The power of parks and friendship, y’all.
2. But really, the “aww” moments were off the hook. As to be expected, this episode was full of great moments – essentially a 21–minute–long smile for Parks fans everywhere. It wasn’t just confined to Ben and Leslie, too (even though their exchange of vows was one of the most beautifully done parts of the episode). Ron shares his feelings – gasp – and even gets choked up. Chris, consoling Andy, talks about overcoming tragedy. Jerry peed himself a lil’ bit. We, along with Leslie, are led to believe that the wedding is dashed, only to get surprised with an intimate ceremony in the Parks office. So much fuzziness, so many reminders of why we care about these characters so much.
3. Andy finds out he isn’t going to be a cop. So no one told Andy that he didn’t get the job – he assumed that he passed the personality test – and can’t contain his excitement about becoming a cop. Then he gets hit with the bad news on a night filled with good news. You really feel for him – “for once, I thought I really nailed something,” he tells April in a moment of uncharacteristic self–awareness.
4. Ron punches Councilman Jamm in the face. Jamm (played by the excellently douchey Jon Glaser) attempts to ruin Leslie’s wedding with stinkbombs and drunken boorishness – and Ron promptly punches him in the face. It was awesome. Between welding, getting all choked up and his KO of Jamm, this was another really strong episode for Ron.
5. What now? This episode was a great surprise and a love letter to Parks’ characters. With the once–predictable arc of wedding buildup (and a wedding season finale) out the window, though, you have to wonder – where’s the season going from here? I’m excited for the possibilities, but – as some critics have pointed out – the show’s team might be building up to a series finale, knowing their beloved but ratings–challenged baby might be on the NBC chopping block. Here’s hoping that’s not the case – clearly, Parks has a lot of life left in it.