The amazing cast and creators of Parks and Recreation returned with a half-hour special to help raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response fund.
We got to see our favorite characters deal with quarantine and social distancing measures, and it was everything we could’ve dreamed of and more. Not only did the entire main cast return, but several fan-favorite guest stars made an appearance.
The episode starts out with a message from Bobby Newport, a.k.a. Paul Rudd, explaining the mission behind the special and what we can do to help. He was as charming as ever. Bobby Newport has always been a reflection of Americans who are completely out of touch with the world around them, so it’s not surprising he has no idea what COVID-19 is. Hopefully, someone will explain it to him.
Leslie Knope, on the other hand, is well-aware of COVID-19 and the affects it’s having on the world. She’s closed all the parks in her jurisdiction and is taking her job very seriously. She’s the perfect person to count on at a time like this. She’s even set up a phone tree to make sure all of her best friends are being checked on during this time. Whether or not they want to be checked on is a different story, but it’s impossible to say no to Leslie.
Everything about this special was so perfectly in character. The different ways people were experiencing the quarantine made perfect sense. The magic of Parks and Recreation was always its distinctive characters, and it’s refreshing to see how well it holds up five years later. Time flies, but it feels like we never left Pawnee.
Most of the episode takes place in a video-call format, which lends really well to filming an episode about quarantine while everyone’s actually in it. They had to be a bit creative to explain why the show’s married couples weren’t in the same room, but they pulled it off.
Andy locked himself in his shed and refused to ask for April’s help getting out. That’s very typical Andy Dwyer. Bert Macklin would never accept defeat. I wish we got to see more of April in the special, but a thirty-minute time slot kept most characters’ appearances pretty short.
Chris Pratt also reprised his role as Johnny Karate, beloved Pawnee children star. We may not be able to karate chop the virus away, but at least he’s still trying to motivate the kids! Johnny Karate assured us that things will get back to normal eventually, anywhere from a week from now to a couple of hundred years or so. Hopefully, the former.
Parks and Recreation explained that Ann and Chris were quarantined in separate parts of their home because Ann had gone back to work as a nurse. The healthcare system needs all the help they can get, so it adds up that Ann would be back out on the front lines. Chris is quite literally the healthiest man alive, but he wouldn’t want to risk exposure for him or their children. Especially since he’s now been selected for testing to help build the vaccine. His red blood cells are apparently so large they can be seen with the naked eye, so if we could bottle his immunity, we’d all be set. Sadly, Chris Traeger isn’t real, but maybe Parks and Rec is onto something about Megan Rapinoe…
Ben and Leslie’s separation was a bit harder to explain, but it ended up being boiled down to Leslie’s need to work during this pandemic. She does her video calls from the office whenever she gets a break, while Ben’s at home with the kids. Unfortunately, this isolation has taken a toll on Ben. That’s right, he’s making more claymation.
Requiem for a Tuesday was a cry for help if I’ve ever seen one, so it’s safe to say the quarantine was affecting his mental state. He comes around by the end of the special, but Leslie might need to keep an eye on him! It was genius for the writers to bring back claymation and The Cones of Dunshire to show how Ben’s doing. His short film is one of the most referenced jokes from the show’s seven-season run, and it was inevitable that all of this time alone would make Ben revert back to his most useless habit. We’ve all found ourselves reaching new levels of boredom the longer quarantine goes on, but I beg, please do not make a claymation film.
Tom and Donna’s parts in the special showed the two are still treating themselves the best they can in a pandemic. They’re pretending to go on a beach vacation now, but I’m sure they’ll go on a real one as soon as this all ends.
Ron ran away to his cabin with Dianne and the kids when Tammy II shows up. It’s convenient that Ron and Tammy II’s actors are married in real life, so they were able to be a bit more creative with that storyline. Their violent relationship has always been horrifying to watch, but it’s nothing if not hilarious. And Ron’s right, the wolves should be scared if she’s loose in the woods.
We also got to see brief appearances from recurring characters like Joan Callamezzo, Perd Hapley, Jean-Ralphio, and more. It’s nice how many actors came back for the special on such short notice.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Parks and Recreation special without Li’l Sebastian. Ron got the whole gang together (virtually) to surprise Leslie with Mouse Rat’s hit single, “5,000 Candles In The Wind.” The tribute song would make anyone cry (unless you’re Ben), and it certainly warmed Leslie’s heart, as well as the rest of ours.
Parks and Rec came back exactly when we needed it most. It was such a special show, and hopefully, this won’t be the last time the cast reunites. Under better circumstances, another reunion special would be a great idea. We miss you, Pawnee!
Oh, and as for Jerry’s appearance-
Chicago Fire Review: Last Chance (10×21)
Tonight’s penultimate episode of this season of Chicago Fire had our central couple at odds, another couple fighting off blackmail, and an unlikely couple solving a mystery.
A car crash involving a food truck was the central case of the week, after a propane tank in the truck nearly exploded. They were able to detain the fire beforehand, but it was near close. The chef of the truck was incredibly desperate to find the truck, and Cruz and Severide looked for it. Once they tracked the lot the truck was at, a glance into the truck revealed that the propane tank that didn’t explode was actually full of drugs. With a special cameo from Hailey Upton, they arrested the chef before he could attack Severide.
Turns out, Severide messed with the wrong people, and he was lured into a back alley and attacked, while a mysterious man in a car watched. It looks like Severide is going to have to escape from the cartel!
Severide and Stella are going through pre-wedding jitters. Their professional argument last week involving Gallo drove a wedge into their relationship, as the two love to never discuss anything with each other after something tense happens with them. Herrmann gave Stella some advice about love and that conquers all, the usual flair that Herrmann gives it. At the hospital after the attack, Severide and Stella reconciled and decided to have their wedding next week (season finale time)!
With Emma threatening all sorts of threats to Violet and Hawkins, the two of them were skating on thin ice to avoid her wrath. Violet continued to give Emma the cold shoulder throughout work, in the most comedic middle-school like way.
After Violet told Gallo about the situation, Gallo went to Hawkins to see what he was doing about it. Hawkins showed him Emma’s file, where there appeared to be tampering with previous records, specifically disciplinary. Gallo went to Emma’s old firehouse to ask the chief about it, and although appearing hesitant, he gave no details to Gallo about Emma’s history.
On a call at a crowded street, Emma tried to take charge from under Violet, leading to yet another public argument between the two. During the bickering, a car swerved onto the street, and Violet pulled her nemesis from getting hit. Violet helping her shifted Emma’s plans ever so slightly: rather than go for Violet’s job, she’s going to go for Sylvie’s so that she can always be with Violet! Emma is, I must say, out of her mind, for even trying this, and I’m certain it will all go away very soon.
The comedic sideplot gave two very small characters a chance to shine. Capp and Tony broke Mouch’s favorite couch while playing catch with an egg, and Mouch launched a full investigation to find the culprit, and recruited Ritter to help him. In a world full of Dick Wolf shows, it was like a mini Law and Order episode. The case was solved when photo evidence of Capp and the couch covered in egg yolk did the two solve this mystery. They even bribed Capp to bring his own couch from home as a replacement for the one he broke. I say this show gets another spin-off: Mouch and Ritter.
Next week is the season finale, with the wedding we have all been waiting for, as well as the return of the man himself, Matthew Casey! This will probably be Casey’s swan song, so it’s time to take it all in while we can!
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Leave a comment below!
Chicago PD Review – House of Cards (9×21)
And that’s how you end a penultimate episode on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger!
Chicago PD crafted a compelling case with Los Temidos and Escano, and bonus — it’s a case that has invested audiences for multiple episodes.
It’s fun to watch Intelligence work a case that doesn’t just wrap up within the hour. Blood, sweat, time, and energy has been poured into building this case up, mostly from Anna (guest star Carmela Zumbado), who is self-motivated to take down the gang and Javi.
As far as CI’s go, Anna has been one of the most intriguing and promising. Over and over again, I find myself rooting for her and hoping that maybe she’ll be offered a spot in the unit after all of this is over.
But, admittedly, I was also very terrified for her safety on Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 21.
The long game is not an easy one to play, especially when you’re trying to one-up a very paranoid man while also gunning to go back home to be with your child.
Escano is well aware that he’s a target, so he’s kept himself clean as a whistle. There’s nothing tracing him back to Los Temidos and no money trail linking to the drugs. Heck, the man doesn’t even use his personal car to go anywhere aside from the bakery. He’s that careful. The dude knows what he’s doing, so nailing him is almost an art at this point. They only have one shot, and they cannot waste it.
The fact that he’s so aware and ahead of the game means it’s also incredibly dangerous. He knows everything about Anna, he’s suspicious, he has Voight’s direct number, and there’s no telling what he’s thinking and plotting.
Voight has been very strategic in his movements because he wants to land the big fish, and his only shot at it is Anna. She has built up a repertoire with Escano, and he trusts her.
Voight and Anna have also formed a special bond as well. In fact, Voight cares about Anna and her safety a lot, which is why he’s been an open book with her.
So when he found out that Escano was likely responsible for ordering the gang rape on Anna just like he did with Mateo, it was a bit jarring that he kept the piece of information to himself.
Hailey suggested being upfront with Anna about the whole thing. As a woman, she was probably right, but Voight was coming at it from an entirely different perspective.
He knew that being a full-time, around-the-clock CI was taking a toll on Anna. He knew that despite being internally motivated that she was in a bit of a fragile place, so he weighed his options and understood the risk he was taking by not telling her.
Anna has proved that she’s whip smart and can handle anything thrown her way. I mean, she’s a pro at navigating this lifestyle; she does it with ease. Voight could have told her the truth about Escano ordering her rape and hoped that she would make an informed decision rather than an irrational one, but he wasn’t willing to take that chance.
I understand where he’s coming from because when Anna found out from the source — Escano himself — her reaction was exactly what Voight was afraid of.
And no, I’m not talking about her anger at being blindsided by the person she trusted unconditionally. I’m talking about the red hot motivation to take the enemy down by any means necessary, which also meant throwing caution to the wind.
Anna was furious — all she could see was revenge that she wasn’t listening to reason or logic.
Voight and the team knew that something wasn’t right with the buy. There were too many moving parts, too many unexpected visitors, and, of course, Escano’s decision to change routes and head back to the cash house in the suburbs, but Anna ignored his concerns.
Also, shout-out to the series for finally venturing into the burbs!
Voight meant it when he said that his number one priority was keeping Anna safe, so when he realized that there was no way he could talk her out of going through with the buy, he ordered his team to move on it.
It seems as though the plan was to seize everything now and hope that something against Escano would stick.
I know that they are hoping to link the drugs to Escano, but they have all this video footage of him clearly not being an upstanding citizen, so I wonder why they can’t just use that. His pat down with Anna, in particular, seems like it could definitely be admissable in some way.
But again — big fish require a big score.
Intelligence almost had it, but then, in the blink of an eye, the whole thing just blew up in their faces… literally. There was a literal explosion from within the truck filled with drugs.
The driver got away, but Halstead and Upton didn’t come out unscathed. In fact, last we saw Upton, she was completely unconscious from the blast.
And it wasn’t any better for Ruzek, who was forced to shoot the man who ambushed the driver of the truck in the motel.
Anything that could have gone wrong did.
There are plenty of unexpected twists, turns, and moving parts with this case, but my best guess as to what happened is that another gang tried to move in on Escano’s territory and take out his buy.
Either that or this was all part of Escano’s plan since he knew the feds were onto him. He seemed convinced that Voight was a dirty cop that could be paid off, but it’s Escano, so it could’ve all been part of the plan to pull one over on them.
I mean, why else would he switch up directions at the last minute?
There’s also the fact that they have no clue whether or not Escano was at the gang initiation where Anna’s rape was ordered, so it’s possible that she was burned from the beginning. Maybe the explosion was meant for Anna.
Bottom line is that none of this bodes well for Intelligence. They are in a cat-and-mouse game with a very dangerous man who has unpredictability on his side.
Unfortunately, Hailey’s decision to respond to the rape involving Mateo put the cops on Escano’s radar. I’m glad she did because she helped Isabella, a victim just like Anna, but it definitely hindered their chances of bringing him down and putting him behind bars.
I don’t know how it will all pan out in the upcoming finale, but I am hoping that Anna will find a way to get her peace and reunite with her son. I want her to get a cut of Escano’s money and start fresh with Rafa so that he has a better life.
As for Hailey, she’s a fighter, so let’s hope that the explosion only left her a little banged up. Intelligence needs her.
It’s a wise move on PD’s part to end the best season to date with an established case because it keeps the audience fully invested in wanting to find out the outcome. We’ve bonded with Anna, we have a soft spot for her just like Voight does, and we want to see justice served.
How do you think this will all come to an end? Will Upton survive? Will Anna get her revenge? Will Escano be so spooked her gets tripped up with his own shady business dealings? Let us know in the comments below!
Chicago Med Review – Lying Doesn’t Protect You From The Truth (7×21)
The medical professionals at Gaffney walked away with some big lessons on Chicago Med Season 7 Episode 21.
There were some compelling cases in the penultimate episode, but a good chunk of it was also setting the scene for the upcoming season finale next week.
Dylan Scott and Milena’s story took an unexpected turn when a police-involved shooting connected to the case she has been working as an undercover.
Sam was shot while responding to a gang situation. His wife, Alice, was equally terrified as she was scared, and it became clear that she didn’t support his career in the slightest.
And on some level, I get it. Being a cop is dangerous. Every single call comes with its fair share of risk. However, how can you really love someone if you don’t support such a big part of their life? As Dylan pointed out, being a cop is in his nature, and it likely was in Sam’s as well.
When it was revealed that Sam endured complications from a previous shooting that he didn’t tell Alice about, the decision about his medical care fell on her.
Of course, she immediately gravitated towards the option that would end his career as a cop, but neither Dylan nor Ethan could go through with it as they both knew that Sam wouldn’t have wanted this.
They decided to appeal to Alice once more in hopes of changing her mind and showed her a video of the shooting. Right after being struck, Sam called out his wife’s name meaning that despite being a proud Chicago cop, he cared about her even more.
Alice knew in her heart that she couldn’t be selfish with this decision, so she reversed her decision and agreed to the thoracotomy.
As I mentioned previously, the case was connected to Milena’s undercover work. She sought out Dylan later in the evening to inform him that there was a mole within the CPD and she was made.
Dylan suggested that she crash in one of Halstead’s available units while laying low to thwart off any heat. It was also a breakthrough moment for them as she informed him that her real name was Jo. She’ll always be Freya Mikaelson to me, but I know, I know, different show.
While things seem to be safe for Jo and Dylan at the moment, I don’t believe they will stay that way. After all, one of the gang members saw her getting close to Dylan, so it’s safe to say that her cover was already burned ahead of time. Once she goes missing, I would imagine the Serbian gang would come after Dylan to get to her.
Halstead’s new apartment unit seems to be the saving grace for everyone, including Hannah Asher.
But I’m definitely on her side when it comes to all the coddling. I know Will means well because he wants to be a source of support for Hannah, but treating her like a china doll or some fragile little thing isn’t the answer.
Hannah is an independent woman who is committed to her sobriety. She can make sound decisions as a doctor, she can pay her rent, and she can speak for herself.
I swear, I go back and forth between liking Halstead and having so much resentment for his character.
I’m glad that he finally saw the error of his ways after witnessing a patient’s mother trust in her ability to care for herself and her newborn child.
It’s great when a patient also provides a teachable moment.
The patient in question was a 22-year-old hot yoga instructor who was pregnant. She was rushed to the ED by her overbearing mother after she collapsed. The mom naturally blamed the hot yoga but tests diagnosed her with a rare disease that essentially resulted in liver failure.
Asher had to deliver her 26-week-old child prematurely before rushing the young woman into a liver transplant.
Her mother immediately offered to donate a piece of her liver to save her daughter.
Crockett performed the surgery, and though it was rocky for a bit when he couldn’t stop the bleeding, Pamela was on hand to inspire him.
She was, however, sitting on the sidelines after being diagnosed with spinal compression.
Pamela initially refused to get surgery because she didn’t want to sit out for a few weeks and let her patients down, but Crockett stood his ground by telling her she couldn’t operate in this state.
Doctors really are their own worst patients. She wanted to cure herself with physical therapy, but she eventually came to terms with the fact that Crockett not only had her best interest in mind, but he also had the best interest of their patients.
And he was absolutely ready to step in and handle things in her absence.
I love their relationship because Crockett seems to ground her. It’s a good balance of personalities. Plus, he’s not afraid to stand up to her or speak his mind, and it makes things so interesting.
As for the new mom — she welcomed a beautiful baby into the world and found some common ground with her own mother. They were given a second shot at rehabilitating their fraught relationship, and nothing brings people closer than a new baby!
Speaking of babies… Maggie found herself torn by the idea of reaching out to Vanessa’s birth father.
Maggie didn’t want to spring this on him after 20 years, but she was also terrified of feelings resurfacing as she actually loved him at the time.
Sharon Goodwin suggested running the idea by Ben, but Maggie didn’t want to rock the boat and ruin the good thing they have going.
Of course, it’s obvious that Maggie will eventually reach out to Grant — she already looked him up — and it will likely cause a rift between her and Ben.
And honestly, I don’t know what Grant’s family situation is like in the present day, but I could see how this little family reunion could bubble up some feelings.
Ben is a good guy, though, so I hope Maggie doesn’t ruin anything. I do feel like it would be nice to see him have some kind of relationship with Vanessa.
Vanessa teamed up with Dr. Charles to help diagnose her patient, Lydia, who arrived at Gaffney after choking on her cereal.
Lydia explained that she had seen every specialist under the sun, but no one could properly diagnose her so she continued to feel off.
Two emotional and random outbursts led Vanessa to believe that it was a psych matter, but Dr. Charles actually realized that she had a rare form of ALS. It’s not an ideal diagnosis, but simply having one and finally having an answer after all these years gave Lydia some comfort and peace of mind.
Lydia’s talk also inspired Dr. Charles to tell his daughter, Anna, about his new relationship. Unfortunately, when he finally mustered up the courage, Anna was in a negative place because her boyfriend, Luke, broke up with her.
Yeah, no heartbroken teen wants to be put down even more with news that her father has a new girlfriend. It’s best to put that one away for another, sunnier day.
Ethan met up with the man that his late father was having a romance with for almost 50 years. And the fact that he had pictures of Choi’s whole family because he felt like he knew them was super emotional.
Choi’s father was in love, but he could never be honest about it, and they had to keep their relationship a secret for nearly five decades.
It must be such a relief to finally have Ethan over for a drink and a chat. And for Ethan, it’s a way to truly get to know his father and keep his memory alive.
On tap for next week is likely the trial against VAS-Com where Halstead plans to testify. It’s his moral obligation, but it might put him at risk. He was warned that they are going to come after him with everything they can… and Halstead has some dirt in his past that they can likely dig up. I have a feeling this might get messier than the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp defamation trial.
What did you think of the episode? Are you excited for the season finale?
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