Last week, Central Park returned for its second season with three new episodes. The fun continues with “Of Course You Realize This Means Ward” where the Tillerman clan and Bitsy have a set of different issues to manage.
Owen is stressing to find an engaging and enthusiastic speaker to talk to all the kids from the outer boroughs coming in for a field trip. Let’s just say the guests from previous years have been lacking and the schools are contemplating foregoing visits to Central Park in the future. Meanwhile, Molly plays supportive girlfriend by attending Brendan’s indoor kite flying competition and Bitsy and her brother, Ambrose, race to see who can publish their memoir first.
Owen settles on the man that led him to pursue a career in parks, Dr. Ward Whitlinger (Keith David). There’s an interesting dynamic between the two since Ward is much more jaded and pessimistic at his old age and his speech to the children isn’t very rousing. Owen steps in to save the day and in doing so discovers he’s the new generational Whitlinger motivating the young students to care for the environment. To cement Owen’s new role, Ward even partakes in Central Park’s offerings on his way out. It’s also a joy to listen to David’s distinguishable voice singing.
Molly and Brendan continue their young wholesome puppy love relationship but the real standout from their subplot is Cole. He tags along with his sister curious about indoor kite flying and falls in love with the pageantry. Cole is already a sweet little boy but helping Brendan with choreography takes his adorableness to another level. Watching his unconventional body execute classical techniques is so heartwarming.
The storyline with Bitsy and Ambrose is probably the least engaging one. It highlights their ridiculously privileged upbringing and their childish rivalry plays for laughs. Something more intriguing is that it brings up the possibility of exploring Bitsy’s unresolved parental issues. How contentious the Brandenham siblings are can only contrast to Molly and Cole. Owen and Paige’s children are close, loving, and supportive, almost to a too enthusiastic level.
The musical numbers of this episode of Central Park impress visually. “The Answer is Ward” is a psychedelic display leaning towards Dr. Whitlinger’s tree hugging past and though it doesn’t reach Cole levels of adorableness, young Owen is still pretty cute. The song also teases Keith David’s singing but he’s overpowered by Leslie Odom Jr. The guest star has his chance to shine in the closing “Why Bother.” It’s upbeat and positive and manages to get the kids to participate. Musically, there still isn’t that knockout banger yet.
“Of Course You Realize This Means Ward” is an inspiring episode where Owen is passed the baton of parks champion with added adorability complements of young love and Cole.
New episodes of Central Park drop Fridays on Apple TV+.
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