This past Thursday saw Parks and Rec finally return from its month-long hiatus with “Live Ammo”. The episode featured the return of Jennifer Barkley as Bobby Newport’s campaign manager, Ron and Chris bonding, and April taking on greater responsibility as Ron requested a few episodes back.
The episode begins pre-title card with a hilarious scene of Ann and Leslie exploring Tom’s five star apartment, quickly establishing that Ann and Tom are still dating, perhaps because we do not actually see the couple together in any scenes this episode (I know, I was sad too. They have quickly become my favorite thing about this season).
Cut to post-title card, we find out the parks budget is about to be slashed 8%. Leslie ambushes Councilman Pillner (bottle ship enthusiast) and guilt trips him into making the cuts elsewhere.
“She’s enrolled in five of our parks programs. Our department is the only thing between her and a life of tube tops and tribal tattoos and hot tubs”. Hey, that argument would work on me as well. Tribal tattoos are the worst.
Meanwhile, April is trying to run meetings in Leslie’s place, a position she comes to resent as quickly as meeting-goers find her unqualified for said position. Donna is too busy making awesome faces in the background to help while Tom is otherwise occupied.
April is not the only one climbing the ladder in the department. Chris informs Ron that he is a finalist for the position of Assistant City Manager. He also insists that Ron join him for a day of meditation so they can consider what it means to work together. As you can imagine, Ron is the opposite of thrilled, though he turns out to be a natural at meditating.
Later on, Leslie and company turn on the TV to find Jennifer Barkley talking about how Leslie Knope used her insider influence to save the Parks budget and how the local animal shelter is going to be shut down instead. Jennifer is brilliant as usual.
Leslie insists that she can come up with some way to fix the situation. Ben then wakes up the next morning to this:
April volunteers to host a pet adoption at one of the parks so they can save the animals while buying time for Leslie and Ben to go through the budget to find another program that can handle cuts. They end up suggesting to Councilman Pillner that three D1 employees who haven’t worked in 2 years be fired. This, unfortunately, backfires (hahah) when Ann comes to them with a termination slip, saying that all D1 employees have been fired.
Things aren’t looking good for Chris either, who is informed that his job is in peril due to his work with the Knope campaign. If Bobby Newport gets reelected, his position will be given to somebody else. Chris lets Ron know that his new position may never come about and Ron invites the clearly-shaken Chris to share his form of meditation.
April’s pet adoption doesn’t go well and she angrily runs off after a woman who actually drops off two cats. In the sweetest moment of the episode, Tom comes over to cheer her up by showing her a picture of the one animal that did get adopted due to April’s efforts.
Leslie comes up with an idea to salvage her situation by committing political suicide. She and Ben meet with Jennifer and suggest that Bobby use his personal fortune to save the animal shelter. In return for this stroke of inspiration, Jennifer agrees to not run any more Leslie-the-puppy-killer ads. It is also mentioned that next week, we will see Bobby and Leslie go head to head in debate.
Overall, I thought the episode was funny and cute, but not as funny as the last one. I’m excited to finally see Bobby Newport again in the next episode and I don’t know everybody else, but I’m ready for this election storyline to be over soon. I feel like it’s been dragging on for a while. What were your guys’ thoughts?