Thursday, May 3, 2018

REVIEW: NBC's 'Superstore' and 'Chicago Fire' (May 3)

Various NBC reviews for May 3, 2018:

Superstore - Episode 3.22 "Town Hall"
Chicago Fire - Episode 6.21 "The Unrivaled Standard"

In 2018, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on NBC from May 3, 2018. Enjoy!

Superstore - "Town Hall"
Directed by Matt Sohn with story by Justin Spitzer and teleplay by Jonathan Green & Gabe Miller

This was a wonderfully strong season overall for Superstore. Easily, its best so far. Yes, it played around with some very familiar conventions. Kelly came in to be a new love interest for Jonah to ensure that he couldn't explore a relationship with Amy following their kiss during the tornado. It inevitably ended with a breakup. But this was also the season that actually made me invested in Jonah and Amy as a potential couple. In the first two seasons, they were simply the tortured love story between two co-workers that seems like it must always exist on shows like this. It felt really forced and not natural. There were some elements of that this season as well. But the show was more playful in that regard because it definitely had fun at their expense. The two of them were refusing to admit their true feelings to one another even though it was abundantly clear to everyone else. They were only willing to take that next step after causing so much damage. Kelly is right to act the way that she does in this finale. Though I'm very curious to see her return next season with more agency beyond Jonah. And yet, Jonah and Amy are able to set aside these complicated feelings to focus on confronting the CEO of Cloud 9 about the true reason Myrtle was fired. It's fun that the show cares about Myrtle more since she was fired than when she was an employee. She was always a solid source of humor. But now, she is a figure for systemic issues within this cooperation. Now, it's a complete mistake for Jonah and Amy to trust Jeff to be their whistleblower. He holds no ill will towards corporate. He quit because he wanted to be with Mateo again. He's easily able to be tempted back with a promotion. As such, all of the hard work is for nothing and Mateo suddenly becomes single again. It's all very amusing. But this finale is obviously building to that final moment where Jonah and Amy have sex and Garret's backup camera streams it to all of the stores around the world. It's so completely horrifying while being funny at the same time. It's the show verging on the line of being cruel and abusive to these characters. None of the other main characters are watching the feed for the longest time. But this will also stir up so much drama at the start of the next season that will demand their immediate intention instead of figuring out if this was the right decision and if they should pursue an actual relationship even though Amy is pregnant with another's baby. A-

Chicago Fire - "The Unrivaled Standard"
Written by Jeff Drayer and directed by Joe Chappelle

This episode was infuriating. I say that mostly as a viewer who is so tired of Herrmann's whole schtick. In the beginning, he was the veteran at the firehouse who genuinely cared about the people he served with and was always there for them as they weathered their personal storms. But this season has just made him such an aggressive and obnoxious character. Things always have to be done a certain way. If not, he'll immediately get furious and act irrationally. Again, this has always been an aspect of his character. But here, it's pushed to the broadest extremes that makes me actively wish that he was the one who died in this fire. This entire season has been teasing the audience with the eventual death of a firefighter at 51. So many of them have suffered the most dire and extreme circumstances this season and managed to stay alive. Casey and Severide jumped off a building. Otis was shot. But everyone was completely okay with no long term consequences whatsoever. As such, it feels like the show is just spinning its wheels not really sure what to do with its characters. A big death clearly motivates a lot of them for their end games for the season. And yet, this death is just so completely inconsequential. Colannino has never been a significant character on this season. I had to even check online to see if he appeared in episodes before this one. Apparently, he had but he certainly wasn't memorable. He's a background figure treated like a main character. That's just so awful and makes it feel disingenuous when the show goes through the motions of the firehouse grieving with Boden and Grissom both deciding to go after the open fire commissioner position. That too feels like an inevitable story that will lead to a major shakeup at the firehouse. But again, there's just no weight in the storytelling whatsoever. It's hard to feel any kind of excitement to what's currently going on. I guess the show is trying to reignite things between Brett and Cruz. But that's really forced. Meanwhile, the sudden return of Sarah Shahi as Renee is a bit random and is mostly just setting up Severide's story for the final episodes. It may develop into something. But it's really hard to get a read on what the show is aspiring to do differently than it has in the past. C