This was an enormously fun and clever episode. The premise was small and contained and allowed for a lot of creativity. Basically, Leslie is throwing Ben an early '90's themed birthday party at a roller rink. However, Councilman Jamm tries to pass a ruling that won't let Eagletonians vote in the recall elections, and Leslie can't let that happen. She needs those votes so she won't lose. In order to stop Jamm's ruling from going through, Leslie has to Filibuster. Ben and Chris stay to support Leslie in her endeavor. Meanwhile, at Ben's birthday party, the rest of our characters get into a variety of shenanigans.
So, I'll start by talking about the filibuster plot. Filibusters are great. They're great because they can sometimes have real historical weight behind them, and they're also great because they can lend themselves to some great comedy. In Leslie's filibuster, she has to go through a lot of obstacles. At first, she's in skates, and she uses up one of her strikes in order to take them off. Jamm turns up the heat so she will be extremely uncomfortable, and by the end she has to pee very badly. However, she does make it in the end, and the Eagletonians are allowed to vote in the recall. All of these moments were really funny, and a great chance for Leslie's character to shine through.
I also like the slightly more serious element to all of this. Partway through the filibuster, Leslie learns that if she saves the Eagletonians' votes, they're going to vote for someone else to take her spot in office. She has a crisis, because she suddenly realizes that the filibuster is not in her own best interest. However, she believes in the freedom of the town and on the right of everyone to vote, so of course she continues on anyway. Ben and Chris' support of Leslie was awesome to see, as well. Their friendship is understated but I always love seeing them on screen together. Ben's strange attraction to women in skates had a great payoff at the end of the episode - everyone should just go watch it.
Then there's the birthday party side of things. There are lots of tiny mini-threads within this thread, so I'll tackle them really quick.
- Andy's back in town! April is happy to see him, and they have a good time at the party, but when April says goodbye to him so he can go back to London, she catches Andy jumping out of the cab and jumping in a dumpster. He then reveals that he's not sure he's cut out for his job. April encourages him, and he decides to try it again. I liked this one. Any time we can see a bit of a more sincere side to April, I think it works very well.
- Donna and Ron actually stole the show a little bit for me. Their little thread was my favorite. Ron is distressed to find out that he isn't very good at a hunting video game in the roller rink. Donna, on the other hand, is very skilled. Ron then says that it's not real hunting, so he and Donna go out to really hunt. However, Ron then realizes that he wants to conquer the game. After playing for hours straight, he manages to get a high score. Seeing these two characters play off of each other was enormously satisfying. I was laughing the whole way through.
- Tom and his new girl are having a good time at the arcade. Nadia asks Tom to win her a big teddy bear, but it costs an insane amount of tickets. While Tom is working at it, Ann buys the teddy bear for 50 dollars because it reminds her of one she had when she was a kid. Tom and Nadia steal the teddy bear from Ann, but she later steals it back from them. Nadia is going to work with Doctors Without Borders, but she says she'll call Tom when she gets back. I think I wanted a little bit more with this thread... it wasn't bad, but Tatiana Maslany was a bit underused, and I'm disappointed that we won't really be seeing her again. Still, I thought Ann was funny. I'm really going to miss Rashida Jones when she leaves the show...
Alright! I managed to keep that decently brief. In all, I was very happy with this episode, and I have no real complaints.