by Samantha Rullo
via The AV Club
Finally, after weeks of entertaining but ultimately unimportant episodes, “30 Rock” delivered with a solid episode that brought some major developments for its biggest characters. As the finale quickly approaches, the show seems to be getting its major stories in place to end the season on a strong note.
“30 Rock” also made up for the recent lack of Liz-centric episodes this week by bringing back guest star James Marsden as her now long-term boyfriend Criss, and focusing on their relationship. Specifically, this week’s episode dealt with the long-forgotten premise of Liz adopting a baby, something initiated in earlier seasons and only sporadically mentioned since.
The idea was reintroduced smartly, and the scene in which an elementary-aged version of herself pushes Liz back towards wanting kids was a sweet moment, only topped by Criss later agreeing. As fun as it has been to watch Liz struggle with relationships and balancing the different parts of her life, the problem of having such a likeable character is that viewers want her to end up happy. Tonight, “30 Rock” made it seem that Liz may be heading towards “having it all,” as she has always craved, and it would be a welcome change.
Though much less likeable, Jenna was also given her chance at happiness this week, and in the process hilariously parodied some of Hollywood’s best breakdowns. It’s surprising that a show with so many cultural references and a character as crazy as Jenna has never devoted time to the breakdowns of young stars, but after seeing Jenna run through a glass wall at “The Today Show” it was worth the wait. Even with her usually irrational behavior, Jenna has just enough redeeming moments to make her reunion with ex-boyfriend Paul (Will Forte) another pleasing advancement this week.
Despite all of the great things happening to Liz and Jenna, they were completely overshadowed by “30 Rock’s” biggest advancement—possible progress in returning Jack’s wife, Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) from North Korea. Though the very short scene towards the episode’s end did not provide much, it seems that there might be some hope for Avery before the sixth season finishes.
All of these major developments in the show’s few ongoing plotlines blended together well, along with Jack’s less important couch issues, into an episode filled with great scenes and perfectly random recurring jokes about Bazooka Joe gum. It will likely have to hold fans over for a few weeks though, as next week will be the second live episode of “30 Rock,” which is not likely to contain any more major events. Still, as Liz Lemon put it, “life is happening,” and if last season’s “Live Show” is any indication, there is still a lot to look forward to next week.
Samantha Rullo is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.