HitFix First Look: On ‘Parks and Recreation,’ Ron solves a puzzle

I don’t know if you’ve noticed (I’ve been writing about it every week), but “Parks and Recreation” is in the middle of one of the classic farewell sitcom seasons.

The time jump, the characters’ new jobs, and the knowledge that there are only a handful of episodes left, seems to have re-energized everyone in the cast and crew, and the show is much closer to its creative peak than it has any right to be at this late date.

Tonight’s two episodes (airing, as usual, at 8 & 8:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC) are both quite strong, and represent two different flavors of the show. The first involves a trip to Washington, DC, and a lot of cameos from real-life politicians who are very good sports, while the second involves Leslie and Ben being caught up in another ridiculous Pawnee controversy.

The latter episode, “Pie-Mary,” has a subplot where April enlists Ron’s help in solving a mystery, and so much of it was good that the episode is getting the Producer’s Cut treatment, where a longer version will be available on NBC.com and Hulu tomorrow morning. One of those scenes that didn’t make the final cut for the broadcast version – which we have here as an exclusive clip – features Ron and Craig at Pawnee’s bicentennial Harvest Festival, and serves as a reminder of Ron’s love of, and uncanny skill at, solving puzzles. Enjoy: