Parks and Recreation "Halloween Surprise" Review: The Engagement at Blood Lake

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Parks and Recreation S05E05: “Halloween Surprise”

Love was absolutely in the air last night Pawnee. Halloween brought with it a heart-shaped demon this year, and it even stalked Ron Swanson. As things with Diane (a wonderful Lucy Lawless) heated up, and with Andy around to play overgrown son to Ron’s '50s Mad Men dad, we got a lovely glimpse into a different side of Ron Swanson. A man that was happier, more relaxed, less... abrupt. He will always be the Mr. Spock of Pawnee, calm and logical, displeasing of emotion, quick to levy snap judgement based on his own empirical evidence. But there were also glimmers of a deeper character, a doubt surfaced, perhaps, in the rigidity of his bachelor lifestyle. Nick Offerman played it with perfect nuance, as usual. For my dollar, I’d say he has the best camera glance of the bunch.

For you millennials out there, Donna was live-tweeting EVERYTHING, especially the screening of Death Canoe 4: Murder at Blood Lake for scary movie night—and later when she gleefully told off the spoiler-averse gent who complained, we learned that her dispatches were as NSFW as Retta's real-life Twitter feed can sometimes be. Donna also had one of my favorite lines of the night, “In the third one, the canoe was actually the hero!” Brilliant. Geeky. Real. Between Donna tweeting and Tom’s iPhone addiction, the show has really been ramping up the shout-outs to generation “limited attention span.” I was struck again last night by just how gifted the cast continues to be. Donna usually has maybe two jokes in every episode, but she kills them every time.

Poor Jerry was doing some “live tweeting” of a very different sort. Excessively. Painfully. Loudly. After Jerry suffered a fright—and the onset of a minor heart attack—he evacuated a string of what could only be classified as the longest on-camera network fart ever (please tell if you know of a longer one!). He landed the hospital, where we got an ever-so-sly sales pitch for Obamacare and he vowed to make some changes in his life. Jerry’s unfortunate flatulation also set up some great punchlines, Tom Haverford having one of the best with “Fart Attack.” I LOL’d all over the room. And I’m sure Tom hashtagged that stuff. #fartattack #didyoueatfartsforlunch

It was around this point that a theme doth arose from the episode. Most of the characters last night decided to make real change in their lives, take action, plot a new course. Ann seemed ready to answer the question, "Who is the REAL Ann Perkins?" And I sense some soul-searching to come with her. Tom and Ann both have done some growing since they called it quits. Tom was back to his first love, entrepreneurship, and seemed content and excited.

Leslie took action, too. She leased a bigger house to share with Ben. It didn't have a trampoline room, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the people we love. But before she could say two-car-garage... the evil Jennifer Barkley (the slick Kathryn Hahn) attempted, again, to steal Leslie’s man. Though with a name like “Halloween Surprise” I couldn’t help but wait for something BIG to jump out around the corner. And it finally did. After many a night alone, riding the LDR train for most of this season, our Leslie was reunited with her beau and got engaged. Awwwwwwww. Seriously, in one of the most heartfelt television proposal moments I’ve ever witnessed, Ben stepped up his game, went in for the kill, and scored one for the nerds. How's THAT for new beginnings?! I do hope it’s a spring wedding. May sweeps, if you please…


Talking Points


– Okay, TV-philes. I’m for serious. Longer fart on tv? Find one. I dare you.

– Bets on who’s going to procreate first? April and Andy or Leslie and Ben?

– I got Leslie’s Rosie the Riveter costume. And Ann was some sort of Go U.S.A.! Olympics person. But did anyone else dress up besides Diane and her kids?

– Oh my god, who is Leslie going to choose to be her maid of honor? I bet it is not the obvious choice.