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’30 Rock’ Review: “Game Over”

30 Rock Game Over Photos Will Arnett
NBC

We’re in the home stretch of the last season of ’30 Rock’ (yes, ever), and this week brings back guest stars Will Arnett, Chloe Moretz, and Steve Buscemi, as everyone is locked in their own private battles for their personal futures.

Now that we’re nearing the end of ’30 Rock, loose ends are being tied up and goals are being realized for each character — for Jack, that’s becoming the CEO of Kabletown, which means going head to head with Hank Hooper’s granddaughter Kaylie (Moretz). For that, he enlists the help of private investigator Len (Buscemi, who blissfully dresses in drag and easily has the best lines of the week), who discovers that Kaylie’s been cozying up to Devon Banks (Arnett). And so begins a battle of the wits, with two master manipulators (three, if you count Devon) trying to outsmart each other. The end result is a hilariously classic ’30 Rock’ sequence, with Jack and Kaylie each revealing their “real” plans just as the other thinks they’ve been had, but as usual, it always comes back to something simple. In this case, Jack kept Kaylie distracted long enough to forget her grandpa’s birthday, but Jack didn’t forget to send a card, leaving him the heir to the Kabletown throne.

Sure, it feels a little paint-by-numbers with the reveal, but how else could Jack ascend to the CEO position? It would always come down to this — Jack going so far as to engage in battle with a 15 year old girl to get what he wants, but the surprise here is that he isn’t as off the rails as Liz thinks; he wouldn’t be genuinely hurtful to get what he wants. Jack isn’t like that. Instead, he uses his intelligence and cunning to outsmart the competition, and maybe Devon feels a little hurt, but it’s Devon, so who cares? And maybe Kaylie has to have some other bright and successful future, but she’s proved her intellect, and she’ll be fine, so who cares?

Tracy is put to the ultimate test this week — the last great conflict the ’30 Rock’ writers could put him up against is, of course, himself. Working on his new Harriet Tubman film, Tracy must battle with Octavia Spencer (guest-starring as a heightened version of herself), who turns out to be a female Tracy, complete with her own crew, Miz and Dot Gov. So Tracy decides the best way to handle the situation is for him to become Liz, with a striped t-shirt, glasses, and Sabor de Soledad chips. But Tracy can’t be Liz because he doesn’t have the strength or tolerance she does, or the understanding of how to placate the talent into doing what is needed.

No real lessons learned there, but Tracy’s arc works in service to Liz this week, as she starts taking hormone injections to help aid her pregnancy attempt. Put off by the idea of waiting four years to adopt a newborn baby, and scared to cut her wait time down by adopting an older child, Liz learns through Tracy that she’s already taken care of the biggest babies there are with Tracy and Jenna, staying up with them all night, giving into their childish demands, and comforting them when they throw fits. Like Tracy says, Liz has put up with all of this, so she’s equipped to handle anything — an older adopted child shouldn’t be a problem, and since she’s already technically taken care of two babies, it’s not like she needs to go through all of that again.

So can Liz Lemon really have it all? We only have a few episodes left to find out.

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