It's been awhile since I've written a review for anything on this website, but I don't think there's an episode I'd rather review more after a long break from writing than this one. It was a perfect encapsulation of what makes Parks such an incredible show, a show passed The Office a long time ago in terms of quality.
Here, we find Leslie and Bobby Newport (played by Paul Rudd in a performance that swings from goofy to childish... in other words, a great performance) finally having the debate that will likely decide who becomes mayor. Leslie knows that Newport has no public speaking skills and will likely crack when forced to face the hard topics, but she forgets that a.) Pawnee isn't a normal town and b.) Newport has a great aide in the form of Kathryn Hahn's character. The debate ends up making Newport look like a bullied, helpless child, while Leslie Knope comes across as the bully.
Meanwhile, the rest of the characters get equally fun story-lines. April and Andy hold a debate viewing party at their house for Leslie's campaign donors, with the help of Ron. When the cable doesn't work, Andy ends up re-enacting his favorite movies for the crowd (Andy grabbing a donor by the neck and screaming, "I ***ed guys like you in prison!" was one of my favorite moments of the entire show). Back at the debate, Chris, Ann and Tom get caught up in some sort of love triangle. I've never been a fan of Ann on the show, as talented as Rashida Jones is, and I've always thought the Tom/Ann relationship was a bit absurd, but adding Chris to the mix makes it all feel fresh again.
Most shows have a superb cast but have trouble providing scenes to each character that feels worth watching. Parks is incredibly consistent in finding something for each character to do, and this episode is no exception. Also, kudos to Amy Poehler for not only writing and directing the episode but giving her best performance yet this season.
*After Leslie's epic closing statement, Bobby Newport says incredulously, "Holy s***, Leslie, that was awesome!"
*Any time Tom Haverford says "Noooooo!" in that high-pitched voice of his, I can't stop laughing.
* "Leslie Knope is literally overflowing with ideas for this town. And speaking about methane, have you heard about her plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions?"