Parks and Recreation Finale Recap: A Fresh Start

Parks and Recreation Season 6 Finale RecapThe future is bright for Leslie Knope.

The close of Thursday’s Parks and Recreation Season 6 finale jumped ahead three years to find Leslie at work in her new job after convincing Grant to let her move the Midwest office from Chicago to Pawnee.

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Earlier in the episode, Grant told her she could hire two people for her staff of six. She got shot down by Ron, who laughed at her, and Andy and April, who told Leslie the city sounds like it it has lots to offer, but she “likes to do nothing with no one.”

Thus, we discover that Jerry Larry Terry is the only one who seems to be working for Leslie. But there’s someone even more inept than him at the new office: guest star Jon Hamm, who thanks Leslie for the literally hundreds of opportunities after she fires him. (Noo, come back, Jon Hamm!)

Meanwhile, Ben strolls in, wearing a tux, and tells his wife everyone is waiting in his office. He suggests they hear what they have to say. What do you think the mysterious meeting is about? And could Ben’s fancy attire have something to do with his Cones of Dunshire game taking off three years earlier?

Then we meet Ben and Leslie’s toddler kids — that’s one way to skip repeating a pregnancy storyline! — who are being babysat by April and Andy. (Why is Andy’s arm broken?!)

The time jump certainly presents an interesting reset of sorts for Season 7 and leaves a lot of questions. Like what are Ron, Donna and Tom up to? Before you hit the comments with your thoughts/theories, let’s review some other highlights and memorable quotes from the episode:

* Craig: “From now on, everyone call me Kristen. Because I am wigging out.”

* Leslie’s response to meeting FLOTUS Michelle Obama is super loud.

* Ben trying to win over a tech startup to get Pawnee free wifi: “We lead the country in online pizza ordering. In fact, a lot of people go to the library just to order pizza online.” He eventually wins the company over by beating them at Cones of Dunshire.

* Ron’s ex Tammy II makes a return, threatening, “I will defeat you right in my pants.” Did she make good on her promise?

* Another mystery to ponder: Did Andy and April actually get divorced and remarried like they wanted?

* Tom’s Bistro’s soft opening is a disaster — Ron’s a perfectionist with the chairs, the menus feature pictures of Larry’s dog’s rectum — but a second dinner with the Unity concert VIPs is a success.

* Ben totally has a crush on Letters to Cleo’s lead singer.

* Ron to Leslie: “The sentimental people in this office will probably miss you.”

* Ron finally makes his very public debut as Duke Silver, helping Mouse Rat close out the Unity concert with an ode to Lil’ Sebastian, accompanied by a hologram pony. (Ben’s look at the camera after the hologram appears is priceless.)

Parks and Recreation fans, grade the episode via the poll below and then head to the comments to back up your pick.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Party stamps says:

    I dont think I’ve ever been more satisfied by a comedy season finale.

    • Bryce says:

      Me too! I’ve seen a lot of finales but that one took the cake!
      I cried when Leslie met Michelle Obama
      I cried when they unveiled the updated Pawnee statue
      I cried during “Goodbye Lil Sebastion,” especially when Duke Silver took the stage
      And I cried during the time jump
      And how surprising was that time jump?!!!! TV hasn’t had a surprise time jump in a while and that one was perfect. They even flashed “one month later” for a few seconds just to psych us out.
      I har to say that I’m more excited for Parks and Rec than ever. It’s been given a ton of fresh blood now and not only does the future look bright, it looks long and storied. “Parks and Rec” as a title means more than ever now and I can’t wait to see the amazing things Leslie has to do. One thing that struck and impressed me was how she fired someone, which shows considerable character development. Leslie now has a bigger job to do than ever, her heart is still huge, and Parks and Rec experienced a perfect finale tonight. I’m blown away.

    • Amber says:

      Same here! Very pleased with that finale, probably one of the best this tv season.

    • Isak says:

      Me too. The only thing I really really wanted but didn’t happen was a sexual interaction between Craig and John Ralphio. It would have been EPIC.
      Nonetheless, their scene together was hilarious.
      I really really hope that Billy Eichner sticks around full time, or at least as a recurring.

    • Anna says:

      Right there with you – this was perfect. I’m so excited for season 7 now!

  2. webly3 says:

    This episode is just another reminder of how much the Emmy’s snub Parks & Recreation. It was quite the shocking episode, but in a good way. I had no idea where they were going to go with Leslie’s job and all, but I knew Leslie could not leave Pawnee, Indiana. I was very, very surprised by the time jump and I hope next season maintains its brilliance.

  3. Ron says:

    Overall, I liked it. And I understand that at one point it was potentially going to have to function as a series finale and not a season finale. I was okay with the one month time jump–kinda made sense. However, a three year time jump?!?! I think that was a bit extreme (though I guess it was nice to see Leslie being successful at the new job from Pawnee). Also, I seriously can’t handle another Jerry name change. I’ll happily watch season 7, but kinda hope it’s the final season.

    • Ron says:

      I feel like I should just clarify that I still thought it was a funny episode and that the characters, as usual, knocked it out the park. It’s mainly just the large time jump and name change that made me 90% satisfied as opposed to 100% satisfied.

    • webly3 says:

      Well actually, I’m pretty sure this episode was filmed after it was renewed.

  4. cececece says:

    This episode was so amazing! I cannot wait until next season! and where can i download that 10 thousand candles in the wind

  5. Morganic says:

    Time jump!!!!!

  6. JoeTV says:


    ^^^My reaction to the last few minutes…

  7. James says:

    CONES of Dunshire

  8. Nabil says:

    BEST FINALE EVER and one of the best episodes of the show to date!

  9. knd says:

    Loved it!!! It had everything lil sebastian, mouse rat, lester k-nope, duke silver, clones of dunshire, the first lady and a Jon Hamm cameo! Perfection!

  10. rebecca says:

    The Finale was perfect.

  11. digitalrd93 says:

    Rumor has it that an extended edition will show up on Hulu tomorrow.

  12. Michelle says:

    That was a really satisfying finale! I’m actually pretty excited about this time jump because it hopefully will open up all sorts of possibilities for new storylines. I know there were a lot of complaints this season about plots feeling redundant, so this may be a great opportunity to fix that. Also, I loved hologram Li’l Sebastian (and Ben’s reaction to it). And I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I squealed when I saw Jon Hamm.

  13. MJ says:

    Ginuwine dedicating “Pony” to Lil Sebastian was everything I ever wanted in life.

    Excellent Finale!

  14. Charlotte says:

    So disappointed by the last few minutes. Way to cheat viewers out of THREE years of awesome storylines watching Leslie adjust to being a mom. Who cares if “the baby storyline had already been done with Ann.” Ann is not Leslie and skipping forward three years shows an inability or unwillingness to be creative.

    • Citizen of the Internet says:

      There’s no guarantee season 7 will pick up three years later. We may be filling the gap

      • Charlotte says:

        I’d like to think so, but then what’s the point in doing one of these time jumps? Then it just feels like a cheap party trick. I hope you’re right though!

    • Bryce says:

      This is such a stupid thing to complain about. It’s not like Parks had an unlimited amount of seasons. We miss three years narratively now but we get three more years into the future that we wouldn’t have without a time jump. Don’t complain about a trade of apples for apples when there’s zero chance of you ever getting an orange.

  15. cjeffery7 says:

    “awesome” is not strong enough a word to describe my feelings about the finale.

  16. Dani says:

    Absolutely loved it!

  17. arob says:

    Honestly, take away the last 3 minutes and this would have been one of the greatest series finales of all time. That being said, I have a feeling next season will fill in the gaps between Leslie moving to the third floor and where we ended things tonight. Then they’ll either save what we just saw for the series finale or keep time jumping back and forth until we finally see what’s going down stairs in the final episode.

    • Lindsey says:

      I agree. I loved the episode but didn’t like the time jump much. It would have been perfect for a series finale, but I really hope they don’t do all of next season 3 years in the future.

  18. Keri says:

    It was ridiculously awesome. Im wondering if next season wont be one of flashbacks here and there since they skipped ahead 3 years… though either way… Im stoked for fall.

  19. lululime says:

    This was by far the best episode of the season. I’ve never seen a comedy pay attention to so much detail and then vomit it (in a good way) all over you at once. I hope they stick with the time jump.

  20. Nerdygerl says:

    I’m totally cool with the time jump. It would have been hilarious to watch Leslie and Ben adjust to parenthood. However, realistically, having at least 6 babies on set at times to play triplets plus with the real life medical complications, I think the story lines would have really suffered. We have so many directions to go. It also allows the loss af Ann and Chris to not be so sharp. After three years and kids they may still be close, but not necessarily frequent visit close. Seriously, you know Ann would have been there for Leslie.

    And OMG, I love that Lil’ Sebastian song more than ever!

  21. Parker says:

    Now I’ve seen perfection!!!
    How can TV top that??? Like EVER?!?!

  22. Kristen says:

    Great episode. I loved all the callbacks from earlier seasons.

    I’m a little nervous about the next season taking place in the future. If they make up what’s happening in 2017, it’s going to be weird to watch the show when it’s shown in reruns in the future.

  23. DebLG says:

    Absolutely loved it. Saving it to watch again.

  24. Lisa says:

    I was sooo happy! I was two seconds away from taking my lighter out to “Bye, Bye Lil’ Sebastian”.. That was a perfect way to end the season and I can’t wait til next year

  25. Babybop says:

    I loved it… But I’m a little scared with the time jump, to be honest.

  26. NYCER says:

    What a fantastic season finale! PARKS AND RECREATION is hands down the best comedy series on network TV. I can’t wait for Season 7!

  27. Justin says:

    Loved every minute of it. So many funny, poignant moments that I honestly can’t pick a favorite. I, for one, loved the time jump at the end. Whether or not it actually happened, it was very interesting to see (and it could work out that way).

  28. When Ginuwine came out and the Lil Sebastian banners dropped I lost it. This is the greatest show on television.

    Maaaaaaaaaaaaan I thought Leslie was going to go and I felt the tears well up – BUT THEN IT ALL STAYED IN PAWNEE. Awesomeeeeeee. Also Amy Poehler got bangs and it’s amazing, and so many feelings and MOBAMA!

  29. Olga says:

    A little conflicted because on one hand, good for the show for avoiding a repetitive pregnancy storyline, but on the other hand, Leslie Knope is one of the few people I really WANTED to see pregnant. I thought there could have been a lot of Ben and Leslie comedy with that. But I respect the show’s decision. Great finale.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      I agree, i understand all the reasons why they skipped it…including things like having to have babies/1yr olds/2yr olds on set….BUT of all the characters to have a blast watching go through pregnancy and birth and new babies it would have to be the amazingly weird Ben and Leslie. Hopefully we get flashbacks or webisodes or SOMETHING.

  30. JW says:

    They had The Decemberists and Jeff Tweedy, so it was already going to be awesome. The Lil Sebastian hologram was brilliant. Everything about that episode was perfect.

  31. Aaron says:

    Isn’t it Cones of Dunshire?

  32. DV says:

    I literally slapped myself in the last few minutes. I kept telling myself it must be some kind of daydream of Leslie’s. The entire episode read like an excellent series finale except now it keeps going! The best part about the time jump is there are so many possibilities for the show to go in. The hour was just simply, perfection.

  33. Lecholls says:

    I loved almost all of it, but there was so much going on that Tammy 2 had almost zero screen time, which was kind of disappointing. I loved Ben so much in this episode. He got to help Leslie, win Cones in front of all those people, get the copyright for Cones, turn down the accounting job again, sing and dance backstage to Letters to Cleo, have three cute kids, and wear a tux. He’s on top of the world. I’m excited for a great final season. Parks will forever be one of my very favorites. It always makes me so happy.

  34. Mandy says:

    I don’t even know how many time I said “this is why I love this show!” during this hour. So much about it was so good. I was confused by the ending, because a 3 year time jump made me think I had missed an announcement about this being a series finale, so I was happy to hear it will be back in the fall and super curious about what will happen next and any wait for the mysteries to be solved.
    Also, Adam Scott looks good in a tux!

  35. Spencer says:

    Am I the only person who had no idea the time jump was a real thing until just now? To clarify, when I first watched it, I thought that it was just a little preview of the future and season 7 would be set in normal time leading up to the events in the finale. Either way, that truly is a “seismic shift” and I’m already counting down the days until my favorite comedy returns to TV!

  36. Jason says:

    It’s no big deal, but “Clones” should actually be “Cones.” To be fair, Tatiana Maslany DID have a part in Parks and Rec, so I could see the confusion there. :)

  37. Jss0058 says:

    I love parks (and I didn’t.mind it so much here)….but I’m in general over time jumps on shows. Its starting to read to me that the show runners/writers can’t creatively think of a way to continue the story so they take an easy way out and say “I know lets time jump”

    • Est Nai says:

      THANK YOU! I’m so distracted by how awful the time jump thing is that I don’t even care about what happened in the rest of the episode,

  38. aren says:

    I agree this was an absolutely amazing (best ever imo) and landmark episode for Parks and Rec. The past six seasons have revolved around individual or collective struggles and tiny victories but finally, for everyone, everything comes to fruition in a huge way. Not to mention the arc in character development and production this season has been the best to date. And yes, the time jump felt surreal, but seeing the level of writing on this show reach its best, it would utterly bewilder me if there isn’t a lot of filling in the gaps or as one commenter pondered, and I think would be the most brilliant move, is for that last three minutes in the future to serve as the beginning of the actual series finale and not pick up from there as the premiere of season 7. Finally, huge props to the show for assembling such an awesome cameo filled concert, including Mr. Duke Silver :D
    Oh, and anyone notice the striking Chris vibe from Jon Hamm?

  39. Isabella says:

    That was literally, the best season finale ever.

  40. Rich Abey says:

    Wow! That was literally one of THE BEST episodes of Parks & Rec ever, and one of the best comedy finales in like ever! Perfect, just perfect.
    It gave all the needed answers & character developments to whet our appetites while still leaving enough to question to keep needing more answers when Parks returns for Season 7. For 2013-14 until last week, Community & Brooklyn Nine-Nine were the joint-best comedies of the season. Now I’m proud to say that Parks & Rec has surpassed them all. Perfect. Just Perfect!
    – Is the Unity Concert one of the best concerts, real or fictional, of recent times? That ending with Land Ho, Mouse Trap, Letter’s to Cleo, & all the other singers performing ‘1000 candles’ in memory to Lil’ Sebastien was just heart-warming & awesome at the same time.
    – Leslie finds the perfect solution to keep both her family in Pawnee & get the new job…though it can be quite stressful at times. But as long as a useless Don Draper is around to make work interesting (nooo…don’t fire Jon Hamm!). Was Jon Hamm the best ‘guest star to impress in the shortest time’ after Joe Biden? Surely yes!
    – Seriously..did that pest of a Councilman Jamm resign?
    – What happened in ‘Tammy 2 vs Ron “DAD-dy” Swanson’? Eager to find out next season.

    Well that was worth the wait, and it was as earth-shattering as the cast & writers promised.

  41. sara says:

    It was amazing!!!!

  42. Regina says:

    Now THAT’S how you do a finale! And for those complaining about the time jump, at least they didn’t jump forward to show Ron and Diane got divorced, Ben was dead, and Leslie trying to get permission from her kids to date Ron…

  43. Joey Padron says:

    Great season finale. Good to see some of fan favorite characters come back and great guests they had in finale. Surprised about ending. Guess season 7 will take place 3 years in future.

  44. Jen says:

    I get that some people didn’t love the time jump, but honestly, I have total faith in Parks and Rec and know I won’t be disappointed with next season no matter where/how they pick up.

    When Mouse Rat started playing at the Unity Concert, I actually said out loud “I want to live in Pawnee.” I’m so glad Leslie stayed!

  45. E. says:

    Great season finale for a fantastic show. But why does this article still say Clones of Dunshire? It’s Cones of Dunshire. There are giant cones of many colors everywhere on the game board.

  46. R.O.B. says:

    When Larry explained the photos in the menu were pictures of his dog’s rectum, I barked ice cream out of my nose. Painful but worth it – holy crap was that funny. Also, I can watch an entire comedy series of just Craig screaming about stuff.

  47. Kasey says:

    I really, really hope that they named their daughter Hillary Ann. I mean, how could they not? It would be such a great way to honor two of Leslie’s favorite ladies!

  48. asm says:

    Is Craig coming back next season? Coz we didn’t see him in the picture. I really wish he’ll come back coz he’s a fresh character in the show and he’s hilarious.

  49. ggny says:

    Great finale. Sets up so many question and new stories for next year. Only thing that made me a little disappointed is that April and Andy didnt have a kid(As far as we know) was really hoping they had a little around the same time Ben and Leslie did

    • jen says:

      I read somewhere (probably TVLine) that they didn’t want to give Andy and April a kid b/c their charm is that they are irresponsible. Give them a kid and they can’t make poor decisions, which make for good storylines.

  50. MiaB says:

    I don’t necessarily think the time jump means that Season 7 will be three years in the future. It could be that they spend next season filling in the blanks, it could be that they spend next season on just a year and just wanted to show how it ended up, it could be that it DOES jump 3 years in the future. Regardless, I loved the ending. and I totally trust the Parks and Rec writers that the next season will literally be the best Season 7 in Parks and Rec history.