Thank God! Parks and Recreation is back after a five-week hiatus. Bradley Whitford even drops by as a guest star. The fate of the Parks Department drives the episode, along with two, equally engaging story lines in “Live Ammo”. The election is only a few weeks away, and this funny episode serves as a nice return for fans to get up-to-speed on what’s happening in Pawnee as we get set for the show’s big finish to season 4.

The Players:

  • Director: Tristram Shapeero
  • Writers: Dave King & Chelsea Peretti
  • Cast: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Lowe, and Chris Pratt

Episode: “Live Ammo”

Without considering the negative impact on her campaign, Leslie fights City Council against its proposed budget cuts to the Parks department

The Good:

  • Tom Haverford’s Apartment: The most important thing to know is that there are soft blankets everywhere and the temperature is always 80 degrees.
  • Speaking of Tom: His line about bouncing business ideas off Russell Simmons on Twitter deserves a few claps.
  • Ron & Yoga (Pants): The delivery of the line “I’ll stand” by Ron inside the yoga shop could not have been more perfect. The entire Ron-Chris-Meditation storyline was great. And how could it not be with spinning cones of meat, and a damn good bottle of whiskey.
  • Dog Biscuit: Ben has himself a bite. One of the better quick, funny moments in the episode.
  • Bradley Whitford: Solid appearance as guest star. He made his bones on “West Wing”, so ‘Parks and Rec’ cued up a nice tip of the hat to the show with a some walking-and-talking scenes down long hallways in City Hall between Leslie  and Whitford’s Pawnee councilman character.
  • Donna: The fake back-stories for the dogs and cats up for adoption was delightful. “What? This cat was in ‘Boogie Nights’?”
  • Andy: Didn’t do a lot, but was funny as hell when he did something.

The Bad (but not that bad):

  • Ann/Tom: The mere thought of them together drives me nuts. I do not get it! And she loves the guy’s apartment, which definitely has merit. Tom does have a mostly sweet place. Luckily, post cold open the ‘relationship’ was not touched on again.

Overall:

All three story lines – April, Leslie/Ben, Ron/Chris – worked pretty darn well in “Live Ammo”. The Knope campaign arc is still working nicely as we lead up to the big vote.

The episode hummed along nicely, offering up laughs and continued excellence from the cast. While Leslie’s story was good, Chris recruiting Ron to be his new deputy and April trying to do her best Leslie I-Love-The-Parks-Department impersonation with work duties were both even better.

I still cannot get the image of Ron standing totally still in the meditation center out of my head. It was so great. He and Chris’ whiskey talk near the end was also good stuff. Pairing up Ron and Chris has delivered all season.

Not a thundering success like many this season, but “Live Ammo” still served up great comedy, and helped get fans back on track after the hiatus as we get set for the remaining three episodes.

Rating: 9/10

Parks and Recreation airs on NBC at 8:30 pm (ET/PT) on Thursday nights.

What did you think of last night’s episode?