Last week's episode of Parks and Recreation ended with a high-risk proposition: if the upcoming Harvest Festival isn't a financial success, the parks department will be shut down. This week, the department faces the first of what will likely be many obstacles in pulling off the festival, as Pawnee is struck by a nasty flu epidemic that puts Leslie (Amy Poehler) out of commission.
The timing couldn't be worse. Leslie is scheduled to deliver an all-important speech attempting to convince local businesses to support the Harvest Festival, and she's committed to going through with it—no matter how feverish she gets. Poehler has always played loopy well in Parks and Recreation, and her ever-increasing delirium provides many of the episode's funniest lines ("Don't move... the wall and the floor just switched"). When it quickly becomes clear that there's no way Leslie can deliver a coherent speech, Ben (Adam Scott) sends her to the hospital, despite her protests, and takes her place.
At the hospital, Ann is trying to get comfortable with dating the almost-superhuman Chris (Rob Lowe, who's just as hysterical this week as he was in the premiere). We're only two episodes into this season of Parks and Recreation, but the relationship between Ann and Chris is already far more compelling than her last-season relationship with city planner Mark Brendanawicz (then-regular Paul Schneider). In her relationship with Mark (and before that, with Chris Pratt's Andy), it was clear that Ann was well within her comfort zone, dating men that were pretty obviously beneath her. Her relationship with Chris—the first time we've seen her without the upper hand—reveals an insecurity that's believable and endearing.