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Not quite "Game Over" for 30 Rock, but getting close

30 Rock poster

Written by : published Saturday 12th January 2013

It feels like the beginning of the end this week for NBC's 30 Rock. Jack (Alec Baldwin) engages in a final battle of the wits with Kaylie Hooper (Chloe Grace Moretz) for control of Kabletown. With the current CEO, Hank Hooper (Ken Howard), set to retire, Jack feels his chance to run the company slipping away to an evil teenage girl. Kaylie may be Jack's greatest foe yet, and the battle of wits between them becomes convoluted and full of deception.

This is a really great plot because Jack is at his best when threatened, and he has to end up a high note. Inheriting the position without having to work for it one more time would have been hugely unsatisfying. Instead, he is pushed to his breaking point, having to use all of his wit, and use the witless pawns Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Devon (Will Arnett, somehow finding time off from Up All Night and Arrested Development) in order to come out on top.

It's interesting, because Hank is a truly good guy, one who appreciates kindness and old-school morality. Neither Jack nor Kaylie is a worthy successor, both plenty willing to splash in the muck, and more shrewd than generous. Part of me thinks that a last minute twist could keep the company from going to Jack, since that is not really what Hank Hooper would want, should he know all, even though Jack won by appearing to be the more heartfelt. But at the same time, Jack is a more important character than Hank, so this may be it.

I really liked that Devon is drawn into the game. With the end in sight (airing January 31st), 30 Rock parades through a few recurring characters in this episode, giving them one last hurrah before the curtain closes. Devon is a great recurring player, and Lenny (Steve Buscemi), Bev (Megan Mullally), and Doctor Spaceman (Chris Parnell) make appearances, too.

Jack isn't the only one heading for his endgame in "Game Over." Liz (Tina Fey) is frustrated with fertility treatments and waiting to adopt a baby, so she considers taking in an older child instead. It makes sense, since she's already spent seven years raising Tracy (Tracy Morgan), who is like an infant. Now, she can graduate to the later stage of motherhood, and be happy.

Tracy finally gets to see himself as others see him in "Game Over." On set at his new film, in which he has cast Octavia Spencer (The Help) as Harriet Tubman, he finds out just what an immature, crazy diva can do to a production, as Spencer turns out to be the female version of Tracy in a hilarious sequence of scenes. Bringing in someone with such recent acclaim as Octavia to play the outrageous role is the type of genius casting that 30 Rock is known for.

Yes, the antics of Octavia are extremely funny, and make for an entertaining episode, but more importantly, Tracy gets introspective. He has to try to understand what Liz puts up with, and how she can get things done. He isn't successful in corralling Octavia, but he gets a lesson in himself.

That's what "Game Over" is all about. On the surface, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. But underneath that, the major players are all moving towards their finales, taking stock of their lives, and setting themselves on their next paths. Being able to do this without resorting to the sappy, staying as zany and goofy as ever, takes monumental talent. 30 Rock is killing it.

30 Rock continues Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC for just three more weeks.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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