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Superstore - Part-Time Hires - Review: "It's Never Mutual"



Last week, I argued that the episode "Brett is Dead" was all about friendship, and I stand by that argument. Coming off of that, if "Brett is Dead" was about friendship, then this week's episode of Superstore was all about relationships: the relationship between a mother and a daughter, a person and the person they're sexually (but not necessarily romantically) involved with, and a construction worker and an employee bathroom.

The episode opened with Glenn (Mark McKinney) welcoming Emma (Isabella Day), Amy's daughter and a new hire, to the store Cloud Nine-style. This entailed creating an embarrassing slideshow of Emma's baby pictures and regaling the staff with stories about Emma. Luckily, the presentation is stopped before Emma dies of embarrassment. However, unfortunately, the staff meeting itself ends too soon for Kelly (Kelly Stables) to introduce herself as another new-hire and actually learn what her job is supposed to be.

The open sets up a running gag throughout the episode which I really enjoyed. Kelly, clueless about her job, occasionally approaches one of her fellow employees and asks them what she is supposed to do, often resulting in her getting brushed off.

However, there are two instances that this pattern falters. In the first, Carol (Irene White) actually approaches Kelly and offers her advice on doing the job, which Kelly gratefully excepts. It seems like the start of a beautiful friendship, until Carol begins telling Kelly how she'll win back her ex-boyfriend (and Sandra's current boyfriend). The plan starts with her visiting the comatose boyfriend in his hospital room and ends with Carol becoming pregnant with her ex's baby. Irene White played an unhinged Carol very well, and Kelly Stable's freaked out facial expressions were top notch in this scene. However, I found that the joke veered a bit too far from unnerving in a funny way, into just plain unnerving territory.

At the end of the episode, Glenn (Mark McKinney) approaches Kelly and tells her that she's done a great job throughout the day... except that she forgot to clock in (because no one told her to), and she won't get paid for wandering the store clueless all day. It's a scene that out of context would be really depressing, but Mark McKinney's continual positive and clueless delivery of every line had me in stitches.

Sandwiched in between the fleeting moments of Kelly's cluelessness was the actual plot of the episode, the meat of which composed of Amy's (America Ferrera) struggles to connect with her daughter. Emma is a lackluster employee, and Amy hopes that working at Cloud Nine will give her daughter discipline. However, after a talk with Jonah, she fears that the divorce is going to drive her daughter away from her, the "bad cop", towards Emma's father Adam, the "good cop". As a result, Amy tries (and fails) to be the cool mom and relate to her daughter. However, a lapse in judgement from both Amy and her daughter leads to a co-worker getting injured, Amy tries to get someone to yell at her daughter. Though Jonah (Ben Feldman) is resistant to yelling at Emma at first, after seeing Emma slack off, he tries to discipline her, spouting one of the funniest lines of the night:
“So get back to work, or your ass is grass, and I'm the lawnmower!"
Of course, Glenn has to walk by at just the right moment, and hears this very awkward (and slightly too suggestive) line. Misreading the situation (or, if you think about it, reading the situation like a normal person), he proceeds to yell at Jonah for daring to say such a thing to a minor.

Personally, I feel like Mark McKinney's Glenn really shined in this episode. Some of my favorite moments from Superstore come from Glenn's excessive positivity, along with how Glenn is whenever that positivity breaks to show a slightly less bright side. In this episode, we got both, and I am supremely grateful. We also saw a warm side of Glenn, as Amy confided in him, he asked her if she was stupid, and he told her that Emma's a teenager and that Amy shouldn't be worrying.

Overall, I thought that Amy and Emma's plot was the strongest of the episode, and I hope we get to see Emma more in the future,

However, I am still a bit iffy on any and all Garrett (Colton Dunn)/Dina (Lauren Ash) development. I never understood why Superstore put the two together or whether we're supposed to root for them or not. Because of my initial misgivings, I wasn't as into this episode's Garrett/Dina plot as I wish I was.

Early in the episode, Dina approaches Garrett at his work station and tells him that they haven't been having sex because she has been seeing a therapist and that she should work on herself before they do anything together. Garrett says that they should go separate ways, and Dina agrees. He believes that the separation is mutual, until he rolls into the break room at Glenn, Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom), and Justine (Kelly Schumann) invite him to their wine club in order to mend his broken heart. They tell him that Dina told them that she broke up with him.

Afterwards, Garrett struggles with what to do, as setting the record straight could hurt Dina. He confides in Jonah, but Jonah is such a good/bad listener that Garrett has to hilariously ask:
“Can you stop active listening?”
Despite Jonah's efforts, he doesn't really help Garrett all that much. Garrett ends up using the intercom to announce to the entire store that the breakup was mutual. However, he begins rambling and accidentally reveals that Dina has been seeing a therapist. Garrett apologizes, and the two seem to reconcile and get back together. However, mere seconds later, Dina breaks up with him, leading to this absolute golden interaction:
Garrett: “You’re a monster.”
Dina: “Enjoy wine club.”

Even if I don't personally understand where the Garrett/Dina relationship is going, I do have to appreciate the fantastic banter.

Since they both covered some valuable character development, Amy and Emma's plot and Garrett and Dina's plot took up a lot of screentime, leaving comparatively for the third plot, but good pacing and a really good hook enabled the story to stand comfortable on its own two legs.

Making progress toward getting over his ex-boyfriend Jeff, Mateo (Nico Santos) flirts with attractive construction worker Scott (Wolé Parks). Mateo initially thinks that everything is going great, until Cheyenne theorizes that Scott might just be flirting with Mateo to get his employee ID card to gain access to the employee restroom. Cheyenne's theory is quickly proven right when Scott almost immediately backs away from Mateo after Mateo declines to give Scott his employee idea.

However, despite being the one who opened Mateo's eyes, Cheyenne falls victim to Scott too. He goes to the bathroom using her employee ID, leaving her to later remark that she doesn't even really care, because
“When he smiles at you, it feels like the sun is coming up.”
The gag of Mateo, Cheyenne, and later Carol getting manipulated all for a bathroom is funny enough, but it's the final stinger that really puts the plot into perspective and turns in from funny into genuinely hilarious:
Mateo: “Why does he have to go to the bathroom so much?”
With "Part Time-Hires", Superstore adds another solid episode to its roster. The first three episodes of season three have all been hits in my book, and I'm excited to see where it goes next.

What did you think of this week's episode of Superstore? How do you feel about Garrett and Dina? What was your favorite joke? Share your answers in the comments below!







 
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