30 Rock – Recap & Review – Hogcock!/Last Lunch (Series Finale)

photo: nbc

photo: nbc

30 Rock
Hogcock!/Last Lunch

Original Air Date: Jan 31, 2013

Valentina D. – Senior Reviewer

Shut it down, nerds.

Time to pack up our night cheese and Sabor de Soledad because the 30 Rock train has left the station for the last time. It’s bittersweet, but you can take solace in the fact that this series finale may very well be regarded as a gold standard for all future finales. Yep, it’s that good!

Liz has taken on a new role in her life -mommy- yet she’s itching to get back to work while Criss acts as a receptionist in a dentist office. She goes to ask Jack for advice, but he’s too busy trying to find happiness. While Jenna is desperate to stay in the spotlight, Tracy has a hard time dealing with Kenneth as the new president of NBC.

Can Liz truly have it all? What will the writers order for their last lunch ever? Is Kenneth an angel, immortal, or what? Find out after the jump!

Bored at home (and visiting some pretty intense mom forums), Liz heads to Jack’s office for some advice. While she misses work, Jack has been excelling and calls himself the “high priest of capitalism.” Something is still off, though, as he realizes he’s still not truly happy. Then we’re treated to the last Star Wars reference Liz will ever make.

Liz visits Kenneth in hopes of discussing a future with NBC, but he makes it clear he’s after a certain type of television. He wants easily digestible programming, but Liz argues that tv can still be good without sacrificing quality. He presents her with a list of “no-no words,” which are basically things to stay away from. Some other words: high concept, complex, shows about shows, immortal characters…Justin Bartha.

The writers are packing up the writers’ room when Jenna storms in, and they ignore her. She realizes that everyone has been ignoring her lately and Frank says it’s because she’s technically not an actor anymore. She plans to pursue only dramatic roles and books a Law & Order episode, but changes her character when she learns she’s going to be killed off. She later hops on a plane to LA, but turns right around when she sees everyone is blonde, just like her. Jenna then announces she’s pursuing her first love: Broadway.

After getting into a heated argument with another mom on the forum, Liz shows up at the park for a brawl. It turns out this “mom” is actually Criss, who admits he hates working and wants to be the one home with the kids. Liz goes to Kenneth immediately, but he drops a bombshell on her: as per Tracy’s weird contract, TGS must air 150 episodes or pay him $30 million. TGS has aired 149, so this is their final chance. It’s time for Liz to get to work!

Tracy is having a tough time dealing with Kenneth’s success, especially since Ken won’t be around to do everything for him anymore. In their touching meeting, he finally releases Kenneth from all his responsibilities but not before Kenneth moves his car.

Jack adopts his business pie chart and applies it to his life. Again, he excels in all areas of his life and even finds time for a threeway with Nancy (Julianne Moore) and Elisa (Salma Hayek). The other suits congratulate him after Nancy Pelosi condemns him on tv, but things still seem off. He ends up resigning as CEO because he feels nothing, and this move astonishes Liz. She realizes that for these past seven years, Jack had no idea what he was talking about. Lots of stuff is said, and Liz proclaims they ruined each other while Jack agrees they’re just boss and employee at the end of the day. A delighted Jonathan provides some comic relief to a pretty heavy scene.

Liz and Pete (who’s concocted some kind of a double life and/or might be faking his own death) prepare for the final TGS episode, as Tracy tries to sabotage the whole thing. The writers’ room is chaos as well since it’s Lutz’s turn to pick where to order lunch from and he chooses Blimpie’s, an unpopular choice. Lutz (or Aardvark) later calls it “Lutz’s Revenge,” since they’ve all bullied him for the past seven years. Liz locks him in her office and orders sushi and cake for the staff, but tries to release him with guilt hits. Turns out he’s going through the ceiling and lands right on all the food. Lutz wins; they’re getting Blimpie’s.

As Jenna prepares in her dressing room, Jack visits to tell her about Liz and bursts into tears because for the first time, he thinks there’s a possibility they will never see each other again. He admits he’s alone and doesn’t have many people in his life, having spent Christmas alone in the Hamptons throwing firecrackers at Billy Joel’s dog. Jenna warns him to reconcile with Liz because she can hold a grudge (proved by a hilarious cameo from Conan O’Brien). Later, Jenna admits to Liz that she’s never met Mickey Rourke (gasp!!!!) and Liz sees Jack walking around the set acting strange.

Kenneth visits with Jenna and suggests she sing a song for the final show, which ends up being a song from the adaptation of her movie The Rural Juror. He tells her to put some emotion into it by thinking of what or who she’ll miss when it’s all over. She doesn’t get it until the team comes to take away her mirror –Brian Williams needs it for the floor of his bathroom- and she realizes she’ll miss it most of all, and bursts into tears.

Unable to find Tracy, Liz soon finds him at the strip club in a scene that harkens back to the show’s pilot. Tracy confesses it’s not about the money; it’s because he doesn’t want to say goodbye because he’s had to say goodbye to so many people: his dad, who went out for cigarettes and never came back, and foster parents who never adopted him. Liz admits there’s a chance they’ll never see each other again, and Tracy frustrates her but she loves him. They have to go back to the studio because tonight might be it, and he appreciates her brutal honesty.

Finally, it’s showtime! The TGS opening sequence rolls as Pete sneaks out with a huge duffel bag and Liz finds Jack’s suicide video note. She panics when she sees him on a bridge, and he jumps but doesn’t get very far. He bought a boat, and he plans to sail to discover what makes him happy. They say they love each other, and the best friendship on television is soon parted…but only for a few seconds. Jack has a breakthrough (clear dishwashers!) and retreats back as Jenna sings her Rural Juror song with tears in her eyes.

We get a taste of the gang’s lives one year later. Paula has tracked down Pete and tells him to get in the car while Liz is the showrunner of Grizz’s new show, Grizz & Hers. It seems a little lowbrow, but hey, it’s work and Liz’s kids seem to enjoy the set, too. Jenna accepts Broadway awards that don’t belong to her and flashes the crowd, while Tracy’s dad finally comes back from getting his cigarettes. Jack gets rid of Jonathan and replaces him with an attractive girl, and the show ends with canned laughter.

But wait…there’s more! The famous Atlas statue suddenly finds itself in a snowglobe being held in Kenneth’s hands. Hold on, they’re not pulling a St. Elsewhere, right? Fear not, because we see Kenneth considering a pitch from a very familiar looking…Ms. Lemon? She says her pitch is based on all these great stories from her great-grandmother, to which Kenneth replies, “I know…and I love it.” The camera pulls away and we see spaceships zipping around the sky. Just as we’ve suspected all along: Kenneth is immortal!

What did you think of the finale? Was the Kenneth reveal too much, or just right? Personally, I would have been so very disappointed if they never brought it up, so this episode hit all the right highs for me! Thank you, Tina and company, for an amazing seven seasons.

Lastly, I’d like to thank anyone who checked out my 30 Rock recaps & reviews, whether you read them religiously or clicked on them even once. 30 Rock is a sitcom I’ve adored since the pilot, and it’s been a complete honour covering it for The TwoCents. Thank you for watching along with me!

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