Fake apocalypse or not, your priorities change on your last day on earth. Long term plans and practicality both go out the window and eking out one last moment of happiness becomes paramount. And even though the Apocalypse that’s bearing down on Pawnee is of the crackpot loon variety, the implications of it have loaded the members of the Parks department with whimsy.
With her concerns about her political future put on hold for an evening, Leslie’s thoughts go right back to Ben. The pair of them are assigned to stand watch over park as Pawnee's favorite cult, The Reasonablists, pow-wow around a campfire and wait for Zorp to arrive and melt their skin with his volcano mouth. When Pawnee’s intrepid young reporter Shauna Malwae-Tweep expresses an interest in Ben, Leslie has difficulty coping with the idea of her ex making out with anyone but her (Leslie continues her streak of substituting ‘making out’ with ‘sex,’ which is so freakishly cute it hurts). Beyond the stray glance here and there, Leslie and Ben haven’t really spoken to one-another since their break up, leaving a lot of lingering emotions between the pair of them.
This leads to Leslie dragging Ben around town to just about anywhere to keep him away from Shauna. And it’s in front of Mick Jagger’s gas station that the truth comes out. If they’re going to continue this charade of not being made for one-another, the two of them basically can’t interact beyond a professional level. If they don’t move on, then the two of them are doomed to misery.
Leslie goes to where she always goes during troubled times: into the cold, indifferent embrace of Ron Swanson the Wise. Ron has spent the evening with The Reasonablists, enjoying the evening air and exploiting the cult’s will to pay for his overpriced hand-made flutes (After all, what good is a check on the eve of Zorp’s return? Ron’s knowing smile melts right through that.). Ron tells Leslie that even though it may seem like the end of world of Ben and Leslie, it’s all false. The sun will rise again and the world, and Leslie, will still be right where it was before. Comforted, Leslie apologizes to Ben, and the two of them reconcile, which should last us, oh. Another five episodes or so before their romantic tension bubbles up again.
While the apocalypse that has ensnared, oh, 10 or 12 people in Pawnee is of the raving loony variety, Tom and John Ralphio face a more literal end of days: the collapse of Entertainment 720. Sitting in the now empty hanger that served as the company’s lush office all of those… what? Weeks? Tom and John Ralphio ponder over their failure at moguldom and cry into what money they have left. But rather than take his half and sulk on home, Tom hatches a plan to throw the greatest party ever thrown, an end of the world party complete with a drum line, a caged tiger and a VIP room so exclusive that no one can get into it.
The party is a hit, which goes to show that, when the stakes are out the window, Tom actually has the skills to put together something great. Even Donna calls Tom’s party a success, and if Donna is one thing it’s hard to please. Not only was the evening a much needed win for Tom in the business world, his end of the world party also saw the return of Lucy, Tom’s love interest back at the tail end of Season 2—a welcome sight for both Tom and me. The end of Tom and Lucy’s little arc felt rushed before, and their broken relationship always felt like a messy loose end.