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I have to admit, when I first saw that this episode was named “Angels and Mermaids”, I had assumed that the main plotline would involve both mentions of angels and mermaids. Instead, Superstore gave me a plotline involving angels and a plotline loosely involving mermaids. That’s probably for the best, but a part of me is still disappointed that I was wrong.

I was slightly disappointed in this episode too. Though none of Superstore has never had a truly bad episode, something about this episode felt incomplete.

The Dina (Lauren Ash) and Glenn (Mark McKinney) storyline felt the most complete. In the cold open, Dina, having agreed to be a surrogate for Glenn’s child, gives Glenn shots in the breakroom. Her rationale is that if she has to go through that sort of pain, he does too. During the rest of the episode, Dina and Glenn struggle to come to an agreement on the terms of their surrogacy, leading to each party going to increasingly dramatic tactics to get the other to agree to their terms. Glenn hires a lawyer, Dina pretends to be having sex with Marcus (Jon Barinholtz), and Glenn pretends to dump Dina as a surrogate in favor of Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi). However, in the end, Dina and Glenn make up, and Dina continues to be Glenn’s surrogate. The story is wrapped nicely. I couldn’t exactly same for the episode’s other stories.

While Dina gives Glenn shots in the breakroom, the other employees begin discussing all creatures mythical and non-mythical. It is through this conversation that we, the audience, and Jonah (Ben Feldman) find out that Kelly (Kelly Stables) believes in angels. Being the satire on white liberals he is, Jonah doesn’t react the best.

Jonah tries to make Kelly’s beliefs align more with his own, which only pushes her away from him. His efforts lead to Kelly cancelling a weekend trip between the two. As Jonah and Garrett (Colton Dunn) are still roommates, this is a damper on Garrett’s plans for a Jonah-free weekend. With his weekend hanging in the balance, Garrett pulls out a beautiful speech about not letting a good girl go that would be perfect in any cheesy rom-com to convince Jonah to apologize to Kelley. After Jonah leaves to apologize to Kelly, Garrett calls his friend Randy to tell him that their boys’ weekend is back on.

I thoroughly enjoyed Garrett’s speech and how it was the right thing to say for the wrong reasons, and I did get some laughs out of the storyline, but it didn’t seem enough. After Garrett’s speech, we didn’t even get a scene of Jonah and Kelly reuniting. I understand that those two are not the show’s endgame couple, but it just doesn’t make sense for a couple to one of the episode’s focus and not even have a resolution scene.

Meanwhile, Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) works on a birthday party for her little girl, Harmonica. Cheyenne is trying to please her recently-released-from-jail mother (Mary Hollis Inboden) by throwing a Green Day party. Knowing that two year olds typically don’t like Green Day, Amy (America Ferrera) convinces Cheyenne to go with a more kid-friendly theme, like mermaids.

Amy also tries to help Cheyenne stand up to her controlling mother, with little success. What begins as a discussion about the birthday party ends up with Cheyenne taking the phrase “You can’t tell me what to do!” too far and telling her mother that she’ll make all sorts of bad decisions.

Amy later apologizes to Cheyenne’s mom, and the two find that they agree on a lot of stuff. They soon work as allies to get through to Cheyenne. This works… kind of. Cheyenne’s mom quickly turns on Amy in order to get back into her daughter’s good graces.

By the end of the episode, it is Cheyenne and her mom holding an intervention and telling Amy that she needs to stop butting into things. This is true, and the situational irony was an interest twist. Yet, it didn’t feel like an appropriate resolution. By the end, Cheyenne is still controlled by her mother, even if she’s slightly happier about it. We never find out what kind of birthday party little Harmonica ended up having. A story that could have provided a lot of emotional payoff just didn’t. Frankly, I would have been fine with sacrificing a little bit of humor for a little bit of emotional payoff.

I’ve been wanting the show to do more with Cheyenne for a while now, and though this episode is a step in the right direction, it wasn’t enough. It would have been stronger if they solidified Cheyenne’s character a little more. For example, there could have been a birthday party theme that she wanted, and she could have been fighting for that against her mom (and possibly against Amy, too). In a story that was ostensibly around Cheyenne trying to have some sense of agency, Cheyenne had little say in it. Sure, her little outbursts were something and they provided some laughs, but the treatment of them as jokes prevented Cheyenne from being a fully realized character in this episode.

Hopefully, this is just a bump in the road for Superstore, and Cheyenne will get her justice soon. I believe Superstore can create a good narrative for all of its characters. It’s just a question of when.

Other thoughts:

  • Dina was extremely relatable this episode.
    • "If I wanted to avoid doing things with people I hate, I would never leave my house."
  • Poor Marcus and Sandra, though. Someone needs to give these two a hug.
  • Marcus thinks that humans evolved from mermaids. Oh, Marcus. Sweet, dumb Marcus.
  • The discussion on mythical, real, and extinct creates was a really great gag. I liked seeing the chart and hearing everyone's reactions to it.
  • Cheyenne's mom had a really great fashion style, if we're ignoring the blouse she tried to make Cheyenne wear (which, to be honest, seems a little out of character considering she rolled up looking more like a teen rebel than her actual daughter, who should be a teen rebel, if anything). I'd never want her to mother me, but I think I might want her to dress me.
What did you think of the most recent episode of Superstore? What mythical creatures do you think is real? What theme would you have chosen for little Harmonica's birthday party? Share your answers in the comments below!


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