Thursday, September 26, 2019

REVIEW: 'Superstore' - The Cloud 9 Employees Remain Passionate About Helping Mateo in 'Cloud 9.0'

NBC's Superstore - Episode 5.01 "Cloud 9.0"

Amy tries to help her employees cope with Mateo's ICE detention - and with the introduction of a new robot co-worker that makes them fear they could be replaced.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of NBC's Superstore.

"Cloud 9.0" was written by Jackie Clarke and directed by Jackie Clarke

There is a new sense of emotional gravity to the proceedings at the start of the fifth season. That's startling and different but very welcome as well. The fourth season ended on such a dramatic note. Mateo was picked up by ICE at the store. The employees were emboldened to unionize in order to fight back against corporate. Those situations haven't changed. Corporate still presents as the vicious enemy attacking the livelihoods of its employees. Meanwhile, Mateo is still in detention. All of this resonates with the core characters in a new way. The show has often been an outrageous comedy. It highlights the absurdity of this kind of work environment. It has always been very topical with its stories though. It is a comedy with a unique perspective on the world. It highlights how society truly is a melting pot of different ideologies. They all have to come together in order to work together. Everyone at Cloud 9 is united in wanting to help Mateo. A vigil outside the store really isn't going to change anything though. In fact, it plays more like he has just died instead of being obtained by ICE. He is still alive and can see visitors. Amy has been there for him. Cheyenne has been missing though. In fact, this story helps bring new depth to Cheyenne. She has largely been defined as the traditional bimbo who doesn't always understand the complicate nature of the world but delights in the sheer silliness of it all. And now, her best friend is going through something incredibly tragic. Mateo just wants to go home. He feels traumatized because he is continually being abused in this place. Cheyenne doesn't want to make that worse for him. She has been through all of this before when her own mother was in prison. But Mateo wants to see her. She can't dampen his spirits. She can only uplift them. She just has to remove that fear. Otherwise, she would spiral out of control and do a ton of damage at the store. Amy can't allow that. She acknowledges that Cheyenne needs her emotional support now instead of condemnation as a poor employee. That's meaningful. She is trying to play the larger game. She knows just how vigilant corporate has been about any talk of unionizing. Sure, that may feel like the show trying to delay that plot development after Amy was completely onboard at the end of the finale. But it's mostly just continuing to simmer and grow stronger. Everything that now happens should be seen through that prism. Corporate believes that it can appeal to its employees and customers simply by trying to modernize its store. Of course, it's mostly just confusing. It doesn't mean Cloud 9 suddenly stocks jet packs. It's deceptive marketing. And yet, it could also come at the cost of everyone's jobs. A robot is introduced in the store that can actually clean up the various messes. Jonah points out how this robot can actually be seen as the perfect employee. Corporate even wants to humanize the machine by giving it a name. It's just ironic and hilarious that it happens to be Glen. That makes the talk about killing Glen even more outrageous because Glenn wants them to state that these feelings of anger are extended towards the machine and not him personally. This too presents as a way for corporate to cut down on any talk about unionizing. They see this as the path towards the future where automation will make every person obsolete. That is absolutely terrifying. The entire staff rallies around the idea of throwing Glen off the roof of the building. It's a scheme that doesn't work though. Embracing the future may be inevitable. That is the sad but true irony of the proceedings here. The energy to fight is present amongst these characters with everything they do. There is just the looming fear that nothing they do will actually change anything because they are just some lowly cogs in the complicated and corrupt systems of the world. That shouldn't discourage them. It just makes the fight more passionate and personal which is a great way to start the new season.