Parks and Recreation 7×12-13 “One Last Ride” Recap

Production still from Parks and Recreation "One Last Ride," the series finale.
Source: NBC

Parks and Recreation “One Last Ride” Spoilers Ahead

I am ready to conquer many things, but I am not ready to say goodbye to Pawnee.

Episode Summary:  In order for their last day to be the greatest, Leslie Knope convinces the team that they should help fix a broken swing. This gives the group time to reflect on their experiences together and fortify their friendships even further. In 2025, the group reunites in Pawnee once more and this time, they’re staying.

Review | Analysis: I loved this episode so much more than I can say. And if I’m being completely honest, I don’t know where to begin or end. The thing with Parks and Recreation is that it did the most superlative job of inspiring its viewers to follow their dreams. It was cheesy, it dealt with clichés, it was hysterical, and it was brilliant. Here’s the thing, life is tough for all of us. It takes a while for our dreams to come true, it takes a while to find good friends, love, and it takes a while for us to learn how to love ourselves. And in the midst of all the difficulties we all face, we need the clichés to remind us that at some point life can be unbelievably, unexplainably, and immaculately perfect. 

Parks and Recreation is a series that focused heavily on the little things – it reminded its viewers that there’s beauty in hard work, there’s wonder in uncertainties, there’s power in uniqueness, and there’s strength in numbers. And that’s why I loved it so much. It’s why I have such a difficult time letting go. That said let’s begin discussing the glorious series finale.

2017 – the charming part of this episode came from the fact that the team got together in order to do something great. To show the world that no matter how big or how small a task is, when something’s done for the greater good with the people you love most, there’s nothing more beautiful in the world. It was amazing to see how excited everyone was to really come together because the series was filled with little moments where they could really treasure each other’s company and the offices they’ve worked in for the longest time.

Series finales are tricky because while you want to see everything wrap up beautifully, you don’t want to have it become too rushed or written differently just because it’s the end. What made the end of Parks and Rec phenomenal is that there was a subtly present in the way goodbyes were done. And we’re just going to take a little time to discuss where each character went.

In some ways I’m completely surprised Gerry remained Mayor of Pawnee but I’m also not. I suppose that somewhere in the world a man like Gerry will in fact serve 10 terms as Mayor then pass peacefully in his sleep at 100 years old. It could happen. Point being, Gerry was a hilarious and genuinely loving man – I hope that everyone in his or her lifetime meets someone like him. I also hope that when you do, you aren’t mean to him.

One of the things I love about Tom’s life in the future is that he’s still with Lucy. It’s great to know their lovely relationship is something that lasted and will continue to. It’s an enormous surprise however that Tom’s Bistro wasn’t a success even though he was doing so good for so long. But if writing a book came from his failure then that works for me. I enjoyed his launch event because as always, it’s just nice to see how much he really cares about his friends. And it’s amazing that there’s a book written about all these people. Where can I take the quiz to figure out who I am? Please and thank you.

There are not enough words in the English dictionary to depict how great of a woman Donna is. I’m so proud of her for pursuing a career and continuing to live a wonderfully amazing life. And the genius behind “teach yo self” is everything. It’s an impeccable and selfless idea that could truly benefit everyone from. I also loved how she went non profit later on but still remained as fabulous as ever succeeding left and right with everything she had planned.

First of all, I want to be hired to work as a ranger for Ron so if anyone’s got the application, send it my way. Ron’s strength and wisdom is incomparable. The most beautiful part about his arc is this season is how much he’s really grown. I loved that the fight between him and Leslie was once again brought up with genuine remorse and I love that Leslie helped him find the most perfect job for him. And did anyone notice that he now has pictures of his children? Yes!

Where do I even begin with Andy and April’s tremendously inimitable growth. Andy and April are parents. They’re successful madly in love adults with a child named Jack and another on the way. They’ve grown so much and yet they’re still the same – two spontaneous kids taking it day by day and not standing for anyone’s crap.

I cannot come up with the right words for Ben and Leslie. There are numerous great couples in the world and each of them in their own way are beautiful. Ben and Leslie are the perfect support team – since the moment the two of them got together, it was always certainly worth the risk. I don’t know how to describe, I sincerely don’t. All I can tell you is that I fell in love with the way they accept one another, adore each other, and ceaselessly support each other. While the detail of who’s president is left ambiguous, something tells me it’s Leslie Knope. It has to be. She’s a legend. And it would make all the sense in the world if it was her. And I can only imagine how incomparably proud Ben Wyatt would be of his wife. Earlier this year I ran into Adam Scott at work and I’m so happy I got to tell him how much I adore Ben Wyatt because he truly is the paradigm of a perfect man. His selflessness in the finale left me in tears. What a character. Just as everyone in the world deserves a wife like Leslie Knope, everyone deserves a husband like Ben Wyatt.

2025 – EVERYTHING I COULD’VE EVER WANTED TO SEE IN THIS SHOW’S FINALE, WE DID. This is a thing that required caps lock. The one thing that had left me saddened was the idea that we may not actually get to see Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger return, but they did – Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe were as amazing as ever, making an impeccable entrance as though they’d never left. I loved the fact that they brought back Leslie’s use of metaphors for Ann because for me personally, it’s the greatest way a friend can ever speak to another. There’s never been anything more unique then that and the acknowledgment was a remarkable touch. Also what could top Leslie’s comment about “our kids are falling in love.” All the best friends in the world do this and I cannot wait to do it with mine. It was also great to hear that they’re moving back to Pawnee because the town’s always been the heart of the series, an individual on its own and most impeccable personification ever.

The series has always been about good friends coming together for the greater good (even if they sometimes didn’t want to). And that’s what’s always been beautiful, each and every individual on this show, in their own unique way has cared about something, revolutionizing the conception that it’s essential to love people and acts. They’ve brought a piece of themselves to Pawnee no one else could – as did the perfect cast of effortlessly talented tropical fishes.

“When we worked here together, we fought, scratched, and clawed to make people’s lives a tiny bit better. That’s what public service is all about: small, incremental change every day. Teddy Roosevelt once said ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ And I would add that what makes work worth doing is getting to do it with people that you love. I started my career more than thirty years ago in the Parks and Recreation department right here in Pawnee, Indiana. I had a lot of different jobs, including two terms as your governor. And soon, a new, unknown challenge awaits me which to me, even now, is thrilling because I love the work. Not to say that public service isn’t sexy because it definitely is, but that’s not why we do it. We do it because we get the chance to work hard at work worth doing, alongside a team of people who we love. So I thank those people who walked with me and I thank you for this honor. Now, go find your team and get to work.”

Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation “One Last Ride”

The reason I love this show so much is because of how genuinely inspiring it is. I can no longer stand around doing a job I dislike when I know my dreams are out there. Much like Leslie Knope, I have dreams that I’ve been wanting since I was five. And it’s time to chase those dreams. This website, this tiny little website that my best friend and I created nearly six years ago was one of those dreams. And it doesn’t stop here. Dreaming, thriving, succeeding never stop. Leslie Knope taught me many things within these seven seasons, but I wholeheartedly mean it when I say this character helped me through a life changing stage. Leslie Knope taught me that it’s okay to be excited over little things even if people don’t understand you. I get excited over the smallest details and for a while, I believed it was pathetic, like I needed to remain a certain way so people would take me seriously. And this bold, courageous woman taught me to never be ashamed of being eccentric; being loving and sensitive is beautiful – being different is beautiful. She taught me the importance of self love in the most inimitable way and I’ll always be grateful for that. And last but certainly not least, I’m thrilled to have always been the one amongst my friends to deliver epic speeches because that’s how emotional I’ve always gotten. Thank you, Amy Poehler for bringing this character to life in the most immaculate way!

This episode is very difficult to review and I knew I couldn’t do it justice alone so I asked seven of my beautiful tropical fishes with stunning incomparable hearts to tell you what Parks and Recreation meant to them. The friendships is  why I fell in love with the show in the first place. If you have good friends, you have everything.


I am in denial.

I haven’t yet watched any episode of the final season of Parks and Recreation yet. Because if I don’t watch them, then they don’t happen, if they don’t happen…the show doesn’t end right?

I was a late starter when it came to Parks and Rec. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. The appeal was with Leslie Knope. She was enthusiastic about everything and at that point in my life…I needed an outside source beyond friends and family to show me that being cynical was sucky. That loving the world was better for your soul and by being excited and enamored with the world…you’d be happy and successful. Also…breakfast foods. I’m going to miss this show. This unashamedly feminist, funny show. My heart is a little bit broken but I now know that being like Leslie Knope is definitely not a bad thing.

Dana Anne

The loving friendships and relationships portrayed mixed with the satire and humor offered me an immense source of comfort during some of the most difficult and uncertain times, and even losing the show can’t take away the comfort it still makes me feel. I’m really grateful they made the show.


There are those shows that come along every now and then that have a character that just comes alive. They have this way of making you care about them. You cry at their losses, you’re proud of their triumphs, and when they invite you on their journeys each week you happily follow because you are invested in who they will become. And there is Parks and Rec, with this band of ridiculous, hilarious, and beautiful characters that all managed to come alive and I literally fell in love with each and every one of them. Not just for who they were as individuals, but for the way they came together as friends, as a family, and the way they made you feel a part of it all. So this week, instead of saying goodbye to a show, I felt like I was saying goodbye to some really wonderful friends, and I am so thankful I was invited along for the ride.

M. L. Sarkisian 

Certain television shows have the uncanny ability to open our horizons and alter our narrow views of people, ideas, situations, relationships, etc. Ben & Leslie’s relationship did just that, which is precisely why Parks & Rec climbed its way into my list of all time favorite shows.

When it comes to Ben and Leslie’s relationship, most of us can confidently concur that it transcends beyond the proverbial male/female dynamic. While Ben does take on the masculine role, following age-old social scripts as the protector, it was refreshing to observe a more egalitarian relationship blossom between the two throughout the duration of the series.  We see a man so confident in his masculinity to the point where his ego is never bruised while standing next to the all-empowering and incomparable Leslie Knope. We watch him cheer her on and serve as an impeccable support system, even during times where he himself was jobless and fragile. On that same token, while Leslie takes the crown as the poster child for the modern feminist movement, she is, at the same time, instinctually a nurturer, a quality that has been evolutionarily shared by females.

What Ben and Leslie represent is perhaps revolutionary in the way we see couples on television. They break social norms and showcase the possibility of two dominant individuals maintaining a beautiful relationship rather than the typical dominant/submissive duo we’re so used to. Viewers see an iconic power couple emerge and thrive – something that is even more evident in the series finale, with glimpses into the future. And even more admirably, we see a man who is not afraid to sit on the sidelines and let his lady take the spotlight every once in a while.


What I truly love about Parks and Recreation is how it never was a tv show about politics like many believed it would be when it first came out. Frankly, who would even want that (sorry Scandal fans!)? But instead, Parks was a show about friendship in the purest form. We were introduced to an original group of eight very different people with completely different personalities who, somehow, managed to work or see each other every day and still live in fairly harmony. They were all extremely well written characters, flawed, funny, emotional, real and we learned to love traits and parts (not to say them whole) because we could see ourselves in them, we could see people who we know in them. Waffle lovers understand Leslie better than anyone else, excessive buyers sure know how to treat ‘em selves, the introverts agreed with April many times and even the more conservative found a friend in Ron. At the end, we were one of them. We had seven years of growing up with them, we celebrated every one of their victories, we mourned every lost, we laughed through it all and now we’ve come to the point when we just have to let them go. It is not easy to accept the fact that a show that beautifully talked about important matters such as feminism, politics and even friendship itself on a half-an-hour tv comedy has come to an end but it’s reassuring to know that Parks leaves a rich legacy to the entertainment community and to all of us. Farewell, Parks and Recreation. You shall be missed!

What are your thoughts on Parks and Recreation “One Last Ride?”

And all Parks and Recreation reviews were by @GissaneSophia

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