"I'm ready," declares Leslie before the screen cuts to black. And her brilliant, proud, smile lets us know that she's indeed telling that truth.
After a trying process of coming to terms with moving on, the emotional whiplash of Parks and Recreation Season 7 Episode 12 draws to a fulfilling close. Unlike other fan-favorite sitcoms that have recently come to an end (*cough* How I Met Your Mother *cough*), Parks and Rec sticks the landing in more ways than one.
Seemingly an ode to one of the greatest series finale of all time, tonight's hour-long episode gave us glimpses into the entire gang's future. While Leslie, April, Tom, Donna, and all the rest, are worried about their various moves in life, the audience is gifted with ESP. While they are left in the dark uncertainty of change, we get to see the future.
We got to stare into the crystal ball and come to the comforting realization that life may actually be cyclic – that it's not all random, but rather a free-flowing, yet intertwined, sea of relationships.
I wish I had had that same thought to comfort me when I moved to a new town back in high school. I may have been able to overcome the shock, and disorientation, even sooner.
But that's where the beauty of this episode lies – even though we get to see the, essentially perfect, paths all these individuals lead on their own, only to eventually get back together (because some bonds don't rust with time), the gang in the present day has to come to grips with facing the unknown.
Leslie doesn't get to see into the future and find comfort in the fact that they all (including Ann and Chris) get together in their office eight years down the road.
April doesn't get to know that her kid will make Ron proud with his handshake.
Donna doesn't realize that she'll soon embrace the best of both worlds – the best of having self-confidence, and providing for those less fortunate.
They only have each other, and the moment.
Yes, I'm ready.Leslie
The problem lies in the fact that it's an internal struggle. There could actually be a psychic there, in 2017, telling Leslie that she's seen the future, that it will all turn out fine. There could be video footage sent back in time via some super crazy time capsule made in 2025, that shows Leslie and the rest of the gang back in Pawnee, as a team once again. But none of this would change impact of the transition in the moment.
You simply have to come to grips with the now, and place faith in the fact that life does work itself out somehow down the road.
Maybe they're just the luckiest group ever, maybe it's just a TV show, but the sentiment is genuine.
You don't – you can't know what happens, so it's best not to worry about it.
The Gang: Surprise!
Leslie: Oh wow!
Ben: That's what you wanted right? Everyone in the same room, at the same time?
Leslie: I can't believe you. We're all together in the same room. This room. I don't think I could be any happier!
Ben: Wanna bet?
Leslie: Oh Ann's here! Ann's here!
I mean, even looking back at season one...who knew April and Andy would be on their way to having a second kid (maybe completely unknown to the ever-oblivious, but still lovable, husband of the year), or that Leslie would fulfill her 5th grade dream of wanting to be a Governor?
We all might've been able to predict that Tom would always find a way to stay relevant, but who could've known that he'd find such a solid partner in Lucy?
Ron and Gary's stories are equally beautiful, seeing as how they both, in their own ways, end up surrounded by what/who they love.
And that has always been Leslie's goal for her work-proximity-associates – for them to do work worth doing, with people they love:
We get to do work worth doing, alongside people we love.Leslie
If anything, this finale was a bit too clean, and wrapped up with too flawless of a bow – but then again, did this show really have to do anything different? There was no need for this finale to be revolutionary, or even surprising in any way.
The most we should've been asking for was a lasting message – and I truly we got something to take home with us. Now, as we all fall asleep tonight, and reminisce about the show's hits, and our favorite Aziz Ansari or Nick Offerman colloquialisms, or Aubrey Plaza death-stares (a vampire 'till the day she dies), or Amy Poehler tirades, we also have an interesting concept to toss around.
According to Parks and Rec, life works itself out – you just have to be ready for it.
Watch Parks and Recreation online in case you missed any of this very enjoyable, and equally satisfying, series finale. Also, head over to Parks and Recreation quotes for your final set of Parks and Rec highlights.
Finally, please feel free to leave any thoughts about the finale or the show as a whole down below: it may be over, but who knows what the future holds for these actors, writers, and directors? Surely their talent can find another fitting home, and I guarantee we'll all be there to support them when the time comes.
We'll miss you Parks and Rec!