"Filibuster"

1. Leslie pulls a Wendy Davis. Even though she’s just planned a perfect (early) 90s–themed birthday for Ben, Leslie steps up and delivers an epic filibuster at City Hall. Councilman Jamm pulls a classic jam by introducing a bill to prevent former Eagletonians from voting in the imminent recall election and Leslie is forced to speak for hours on end. It’s initially a good move: Leslie assumes the Eagletonians will vote for her because she bailed out the town. In reality, they want to vote to recall her, so they can get one of their own on the city council. But Leslie is Leslie and she fights through Jamm’s taunts and schemes to secure voting rights and a truly epic pee.

2. Andy is back! He’s back—for 19 hours! Andy returns from across the pond, appearing at the parks office at the beginning of the episode and surprising April. There’s adorable moments aplenty and we get to find out how things are going in London, after hearing little else from Andy after the season premiere. Bottom line: he’s not so sure what to do with his newfound authority and is scared to go back, preferring to hide in a dumpster than get on the plane. But April cheers him up with a pep talk and cookie–bologna sandwiches.

3. Tom’s girl. Things are going well for Tom and his out–of–his league doctor love interest, Nadia. Unfortunately for him, she’s leaving to go to Rwanda in a week to do big doctor stuff. Tom is terrified, of course, and tries to win something for her at the arcade to remember her by (a large bear). They eventually steal it from Ann, who bought it, but Tom gets something better: Nadia’s word that she’ll call him when she returns from Rwanda. Could this finally be the end of Tom’s women woes?

4. Ron and Donna go hunting. At the 90s party, Ron becomes obsessed with a hunting arcade game that Donna loves playing. But Ron is not good at virtual hunting, so he takes Donna for “actual” hunting. It’s lovely to see the two in hunting orange, joking, “do we need a permit?” Though they bag a deer, Ron still fiends for the arcade game, so they return. It was nice to watch a subplot with Ron and Donna, who play off each other very well. Also, the more Donna we see, the better.

5. Miscellaneous observations. There were a ton of laugh–out–loud and clever moments in this episode. They centered mostly around the early–90s party, which was brilliant. A few gems? The banner that reads “Ben Thugs–n–Harmony” and Rob Lowe’s all–denim costume (exactly what he wore as Sodapop in “The Outsiders”). Also, we find out that Ben has a serious thing for women wearing skates, and that a throwaway joke from earlier in the season has caught on: Jerry is now referred to as “Larry.” Damn it, Larry.

"Recall Vote"

1. Knope out. It’s been hinted at throughout this season that Leslie would face a tough fight to keep her seat on the city council. Of course, she’s powered ahead anyway, often doing the right thing despite the fact that it could hurt her chances. In this episode, we find that no good Leslie deed goes unpunished: she gets voted out of office by a considerable margin (adding to the sting is a characteristically Perd Hapley reveal of the results). It’s certainly the turning point in this season: how will Leslie use her last days in office and what will she do after she’s no longer Councilwoman Knope?

2. Leslie and Ben almost get tattoos. Before Leslie realizes she has 30 days left in office to accomplish her goals, though, she goes into an epic, Paunch Burger–eating, bench–sleeping funk. Ann and Ben try to get her out of it, but even a paper mache Lil’ Sebastian proves useless. At one point, Ben and Leslie get drunk together, thinking that each had already “peaked” in life (remember that Ben was impeached as mayor at age eighteen). Leslie resolves to spend her post–peak life “chilling” and the two almost get prison tattoos from the pawn shop guy. It was all a funny peek into an alternate Ben–Leslie universe, but it’s jarring to have typical, can–do Leslie disappear, if only for a few minutes.

3. Rent–A–Swag sold. Tommy Haverford “sold out.” He agrees to sell Rent–a–Swag, but not before a last–ditch effort to get back in the game. After Ron’s woodwork is featured on a yuppie lifestyle guru website—"Bloosh”—Tom tries to parlay his boss’ success to get on the site himself. But it is not to be, and though Ron advises Tom that your name is everything, Tom sells the name, for double the price and a cut of the new business’ profits. What he’ll do with the new money is anyone’s guess, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rooting for a reboot of Entertainment 720.

4. Ron gets hip. Ron was a fish out of water this entire episode, from his interview on “Pawnee Today” with lifestyle “guru” Annabel Porter (“she spent four months living in Kate Bosworth’s poolhouse!”) to the party where his famed wood chair was on display. It’s always fun when this show juxtaposes no–nonsense Ron with the techy, bougie Tom and Donna, but it was especially “delicious” this time around. While "Parks" delves often into cultural and political satire, this plot was a laugh–out–loud funny critique of the wishy–washy lifestyle culture of fishmongers and conflict–free paella.

5. Miscellaneous observations. Leslie wants to get a tattoo of Eleanor Roosevelt with a tattoo of Pat Benatar on her arm. “Subtle.” Ann and Chris are pretty cute, so cute that even April—”weak” because she misses Andy”—concedes the fact. It was nice to see Joan Calamezzo back, fawning on “Pawnee Today” over Porter.


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