TV Review: Parks & Recreation Finale 4.22, ‘Win, Lose or Draw’

The ballots are open in the season finale and it’s up to Pawnee to decide who their new councilman is...

rating: 4.5

The ballots are open in the season finale and it€™s up to Pawnee to decide who their new councilman is; the patriotic Leslie Knope or endearingly dumb Bobby Newport (guest star Paul Rudd). Meanwhile Ben gets a new job offer, Mouse Rat perform and Ron dispenses wisdom and advice all over the place in a very satisfying and fitting end to a consistently well written fourth season. Show-runner Michael Schur (who I still only see as Mose Schrute) writes and directs tonight€™s episode which had some genuinely touching moments without compromising the comedic flow of the show, or without feeling too forced, much like Community the past few weeks, which hides behinds longing glances and cute music. The opener was great, with Leslie and Ben complaining about a voting machine that gave you a chocolate bar if you voted for Newport and the sound of a baby crying if you vote for Knope. Tom gets a premonition (dream) that he and Anne will get back together, as well as getting high-fived and given $40 mil from Blue Ivy Carter, so it must have been real. It€™s the funniest Aziz has been for the second half of the season, he seemed to of gotten sidelined with the Anne relationship which I felt fell flat, he€™s best when he€™s with his partner in crime Jean-Ralphio, who thankfully makes an appearance later on. Paul Rudd continues to be charmingly stupid as Newport, I hope this isn€™t the last we see of him now the campaign has come to a close. It€™s great to see how Leslie has begun mothering him, basically holding his hand in appearances and even helping him to vote as he couldn€™t work it out. Meanwhile Newport€™s campaign manager Barkley, who can€™t wait to get out of Pawnee, offers Ben a job to work on a congressional campaign in Washington and a day to decide whether he wants it. Chris€™s loneliness is put on standby since getting laid last week, and decides he wants to pursue Barkley again before she leave town. Hilarious to see him sprint off after he asks Anne, who doesn€™t care, for advice. They end up boinking again in a closet. Back at the Parks department, April calls Andy after fearing that she deleted all the files on the computers. Andy is of course no help whatsoever but still funny, his best solution to blow on the computers monitor. It was a fun little side story that ended with Donna saving the day as she had backed up all the files because Jerry deletes important stuff all the time. Back at the polls, Ron informs Jerry that he€™s too late to vote after spending all day handing out leaflets to vote for Knope, Jerry then spends the rest of the episode paranoid that if Leslie loses by one vote it€™s his fault. Ben and Leslie go back and forth deciding whether Ben should stay or take the job in DC. Leslie initial reaction of hearing the news with joy and anger was perfect, but it€™s easy to see the emotional toll it€™s putting on her, it€™s the day she€™s been waiting for but now she has to worry about losing Ben. Eventually Leslie comes to her senses after a heart to heart with Ron F-ing Swanson and tells Ben that he should of course go. Be interesting for part of the next season to see their long distance relationship, and unlike the Jim/Pam divide in The Office at least they€™re already together, so it€™s likely they€™ll break up. It€™s a sitcom, couples that stay together are boring, like Jim and Pam in The Office now. The votes are counted up and Newport is in the lead by 21 votes, but the episodes got 10 minutes left; they can€™t fool us. Ben demands a recount, much to Barkley€™s annoyance, who just wants to go home, and even bargains with Joe Biden€™s phone number to no avail. Anne breaks the news of the recount in the most dramatic way possible, by stating the race is over and it€™s still 21 votes, pause for effect, but 21 votes to Leslie. She won. We can sleep easier now. The victory party begins. Cue that awesome Mouse Rat song €˜Catch your dream€™ and Newport in an interview saying how relieved he is. Ron then turns down Chris for the assistant city manager job, echoing his earlier comments that he€™s happy where he is in life, no reason to change. Jean-Ralpio then unexpectedly pops up at the hearing on a job opening. He still reminds me of that dumb eagle in Looney Tunes. Leslie wraps up the episode with her victory speech, which she has to partly improvise as Ben hadn€™t finished it on purpose, she struggles at first but then speaks from the heart. She probably should of taken a glance at it before going up, but that wouldn€™t of been as dramatic. Leslie then proudly places her picture up as we see she is Pawnee€™s first female council(wo)man. Season five, which has been confirmed for a full 22 episode series (unlike 30 Rock and Community), is going to take the show to new heights with Leslie as a councilman and Ben working in DC, but proved it€™s still going to be the same old Parks & Rec we love with its closing gag in which Ron informs Leslie that Jerry didn€™t vote, and we get a perfectly timed €˜Dammit Jerry€™ as the episode ends. Oh, and Anne drunkenly telling Tom they should date, oh jeez. Overall a very funny episode to round off the season that successfully put across some touching dramatic moments. Parks & Recreation returns to NBC with season five in late 2012.
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