Parks and Recreation 7×03 “William Henry Harrison” + 7×04 “Leslie and Ron”

Spoilers Ahead

Full of heart, humor, and exceptional performances, tonight’s two-part episode is without a doubt one of the greatest in Parks and Recreation history. You’d have to not only be dealing with two insanely gifted actors but excellent writing to make an episode like “Leslie and Ron” work – by the time it was over, I was left thinking it had passed by too quickly.

Episode Summary: During “William Henry Harrison” Ron and Leslie compete towards finding someone to represent their proposal for the Newport land. Leslie finds out that ninth President William Henry Harrison has a descendent named Zach Harrison while Ron reluctantly agrees to have celebrity Annabel Porter represent his company. However, learning the secret behind Morning Star and watching Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman brilliantly manifest a full range of emotions was the cherry on top in “Leslie and Ron”. 

Review | Analysis: I imagined that I’d get emotional over Ron and Leslie repairing their friendship, but I most certainly didn’t think I’d be a sobbing wreck. No exaggerations. If I’m being honest, I probably sat in front of my screen for a good fifteen minutes and cried. Days later and I’m still having  a difficult time coming up with the proper words to do such an episode justice.

For starters, it was an excellent choice on behalf of everyone to lock those two in their original office. And not to mention the idea of a place holding so much significance is beautiful. When trying to figure out what could’ve happened between Leslie and Ron one of my initial thoughts was that time had changed things. And to think that it was because Ron Swanson missed his friends breaks me. Going back to the conception of a place being special, I understand how utterly upset Leslie was over Ron demolishing Ann’s house. As she said, it’s not just the house, it’s the fact that so much has happened there that on its own, the house is a part of them. And it’s interesting that of all people, Ron who misses them so much chose to shut to tear it all down. It only brings me to my next point, which is that it’s pretty unimaginable how alone and awful he must’ve felt from being the only one left at the office. And it was gorgeous that in the moment it was revealed, Leslie found it in her heart to not only forgive Ron, but to completely emphasize with him.

Ron Swanson doesn’t have time for anyone’s sh*t, he never has, but somehow, he instantly gave a woman who stood up for what she believed in a job. A woman he knew would drive him insane. And years later, that same woman became one his best friends. I’d be really hurt if I felt unloved by someone like Leslie Knope too so his feelings are entirely understandable. I feel that the biggest tragedy in life is to lose the people you care most for. And I also feel it could damage you ways nothing else can which the show did an excellent job of showcasing.

It was so much fun to watch Leslie do everything in her inimitable way to make Ron talk while he angrily sat and refused. It was hysterical to see her come up with insane theories of what could’ve gone wrong followed by his attempts to escape from her. Tonight’s episode provided the perfect amount of humor and heart making it one that’ll undoubtedly be watched over and over again. I can only imagine how much fun this episode must’ve been to film for Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman as they were locked in that office.

That said it’s beautiful that the episode chose to illuminate man’s desire to selflessly choose to be around loved ones. Because Ron Swanson missed Leslie and their group of exquisite friends immensely, he was willing to work for the federal government. It’s always so glorious when someone comes to the realization that home isn’t a place, but the people who make your heart feel safe. And when a grown grump like Ron Swanson tearfully admits the pain within his heart, how do you not cry? Nick Offerman was nothing short of brilliant with the emotional vulnerability he brought to the table. And Amy Poehler was merely genius in the way she reflected his heart with her flawless performance.

It was lovely to have Willie Nelson’s “Buddy” play during the montage of Leslie and Ron trying to make the office feel like home again.

Leslie Knope received a gift without having planned one to give. Even when Ron was angrily demolishing Ann’s house and stepping on everything that reminded him of the sadness he’s feeling from missing everyone, he knew that someday, he’d patch things up with Leslie. He knew that he should savor a part of Ann’s house and what better part than her door. THE SYMBOLISM AND DEPTH OF THIS GIFT MAKES ME SO HAPPY THAT I FELT IT WAS APPROPRIATE TO SCREAM IN CAPS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN A REVIEW. I don’t know whether this is appropriate or not, but this episode called for it. Ron Swanson gave Leslie Knope a photograph inside a frame built from Ann Perkins’ door. And that’s probably one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever heard of anyone giving another person. Symbolically doors represent entrances, transitions, endings, and beginnings. Ann’s front door was always open to Leslie. And later on, it was open to everyone else she welcomed into her life. As Leslie pointed out, so much has happened behind that very door that’s changed them all in wonderful ways. It amazes me and in so many ways makes me insanely proud that the writers chose to have Ron save the door. It’s sheer genius. Although Ann’s house is no longer there, the welcoming presence is not only perpetually in Leslie’s hands but it represents the transition between the entire group. The change in their friendship. The inevitable changes in their lives that have to happen but in the midst of all they remain stronger than ever. Their hearts will always be open to one another no matter where they end up in life.

And there aren’t many things as adorable as Leslie telling Ron that she’s got three years of hugs to makeup followed by their breakfast date.

Last week I stated that my only concern with the show is that we weren’t getting anything regarding the triplets. And while we were given incredibly sweet deleted scenes, I still wish they were on the show because not everyone knows about deleted scenes. Anyway, what’s cuter than three kids trampling Ben Wyatt? Very few things that’s what.

Additionally, scenes with April this week were as great as always. I loved Andy doing everything in his power to make sure he helps her figure out what she wants to do by coming to the conclusion that they should figure out why she loves the things the does as opposed to what. And that brief moment of April realizing she may be close to her dreams was fantastic. I cannot wait until we get to explore this storyline with her more as it’ll definitely be an emotionally moving and hysterical one.

Now that Ron and Leslie have patched things up, I imagine that it still won’t be that simple when it comes down to who’ll earn the land. We all know it’ll be Leslie, but I can’t wait to see how it plays out. Also, I can’t wait to see everyone back at one office soon.

“William Henry Harrison” was a fantastic filler but “Leslie and Ron” did the best job of exhibiting the heart of Parks and Recreation. Friendships and dreams – creating special things from nothing.

Top Three Favorite Quotes

1) Ron: We just spent 12 hours together, woman!

Leslie: I don’t care! I have three years worth of hugs to force upon you against your will. 

2) Ron: Why would anyone eat anything other than breakfast food?

Leslie: People are stupid, Ron.

3) ”You missed your friends!“ Leslie to Ron

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