TV Recap: Parks and Recreation, ‘William Henry Harrison’ & ‘Leslie & Ron’

Written by Megan LaBruna

Parks and Recreation

William Henry Harrison and Leslie & Ron Episode Summaries:

In an attempt to win the bid for the land donation, Leslie holds a press conference which is sabotaged by Ron. Fed up with the fighting, Ben and the others take it upon themselves to force Ron and Leslie to spend some quality time together in the hopes the pair will work through the problems that caused the dissolution of their friendship.

Still in the running for the land donation, Leslie (Amy Poehler) finds out that William Henry Harrison, former President of the United States, owned a cabin on the land she is trying to win. If she can put together a convincing presentation to name the land as a historical landmark, she’ll win the land for the national parks. Since William Henry Harrison died from pneumonia after serving only 32 days in office, she doesn’t have much to work with. Ron (Nick Offerman) finds out about her plan and schedules a press conference at the same time right next door, which is accompanied by much more flash, entertainment and Annabel Porter (Erinn Hayes), a local Pawnee celebrity.

Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC
Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC

Because both Ron and Leslie refuse to meet to sign paperwork for Ben (Adam Scott), he is forced to visit them separately, dragging along Terry (Jim O’Heir) who has recently fulfilled a life dream of his to become a notary public. Of course any Parks and Rec fan knows that if Terry is involved, the outcome is probably not going to be good. History proves this theory true as Ben ends up in a paperwork nightmare having visited both parties multiple times without successfully having the documents signed. Once he’s reached his breaking point, he devises a plan to lock Leslie and Ron in the old Parks offices forcing them to work out their differences.

The entire sequence of the two of them in the old Parks offices is highly entertaining and reminiscent of past seasons. Emotions run high and Leslie makes a lot of charts; that woman is proficient. Ron unsuccessfully makes several escape attempts, including using his partially diffused land mine, a gift from Leslie, to blow a hole through the door. The only thing the land mine blows up is a balloon with Ron’s face on it congratulating him for being a great worker. It also shoots confetti! He does however manage to carve a key for his old office and locks himself away once Leslie starts getting too close to the emotional truth.

Ron has never been an emotional character. Honestly the show has never been an emotional show, but this episode truly explores the range of emotions these characters do have. Ron visibly tears up and is honestly hurt by past memories.

The events of “Morningstar” are finally revealed to the audience as a luxury development project that Ron had taken on which destroyed Ann’s house, a house full of memories for a nostalgic Leslie. Leslie’s timeline shows how the “workplace proximity associates” in the words of Ron, started to drift apart due to their lack of proximity.

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC
Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

After several hours of Leslie breaking Ron’s will down along with the help of a bottle of liquor, Ron finally admits that Leslie slowly hired everyone from the old department, until one day he looked up and didn’t recognize anyone. Despite his hatred for the federal government, Ron went to Leslie to ask for a job because he missed his friends. Unfortunately when they were supposed to meet for lunch, Leslie stood Ron up because she was called away on an issue. Then Morningstar happened and they stopped speaking.

This last season is really stirring the pot with the character relationships. I know other seasons have touched on little moments in life that are sweet and endearing rather than just comedic, but this is the first season I’m really noticing a lot of depth to the friendships that have culminated over the years. As a fan, I’m glad the writers and actors are letting us see these different facets of each character, although I think it’s only going to make it harder to say goodbye to Pawnee in a few short weeks.

On the upside, Ron and Leslie are friends again and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Even Andy and April grew a bit in this episode. Andy, despite being clueless most of the time, every now and then manages to stumble across something brilliant…in his own way of course. After making a list of April’s favorite things and then losing the list and writing it on his leg (oh Andy) he realizes they’re going about her job search the wrong way. April enjoys working with things one on one, so focusing on each individual thing she loves and figuring out why she loves it is the true key to finding her career path.

I’m interested to see what the last few episodes hold in store for viewers now that the war between Ron and Leslie has come to an end. I’m hoping for some more genuine laughs and surprise appearances..maybe even from the Lil’ Sebastian look alike!

Parks and Recreation airs Tuesday nights on NBC.


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